The best riding tip I ever got for cornering came from watching Steve McQueen playing in the sand with his friends in the classic 1971 film On Any Sunday.
The late legendary Hollywood actor was also an accomplished motocrosser who even represented America in the international six-day enduro trials in 1964, so he obviously knew what he was doing.
Watch any videos of his riding style and you will notice that on corners, he raises his outside elbow ridiculously high. The idea is that it forces you to pull the outside bar and push the inside bar while tilting the bike.
That’s counter-steering and it works equally in the dirt as it does on the road.
He’s not the only dirt rider who does it, but he is the most notable and was one of the most obvious proponents. In fact, some road racers even do it … former dirt tracker Colin Edwards comes to mind.
I was reminded of his technique when I kept running wide in the dirt and couldn’t quite get the front tyre turned into the apex on MX tracks.
The MX coach suggested I over-empahsise the counter-steering by lifting my outside elbow. That tweaked my memories of Steve McQueen in On Any Sunday as well riding a Triumph TR6 in The Great Escape. I tried it and it worked! Simple as that.
I’ve also used this technique on the tar when going into corners a little hot, or if I feel nervous about turning on a slippery surface such as a dirt road or in the rain.
It’s not necessarily something you should do all the time, but it’s handy for tight turns, u-turns, slippery surfaces or just for restoring some confidence.
Try it. You will never run wide again.