How to link up dirt jumps
Riding for the Polygon UR team, Andrew Neethling is a seasoned pro who’s regularly cracked the top 10 at World Cup and World Championship races. He started racing over 15 years ago and, as one of most stylish riders on the circuit, is a good bet for skills tips. Here, he unlocks the secrets to jumping sets of doubles.
1. Landing the first jump
Linking dirt jumps is all about maintaining speed, or even increasing it to get over the next jump. The aim is to land as near to the top of the landing as you can and touch down with your bike at the same angle as the downslope with your weight in a neutral position.
2. In the bowl
Once you’re on the downslope you can adjust your position if you need to. For example, if you’re too much over the back, shift your body weight towards the middle. Your eyes should be looking ahead to the next jump. Then, when you’re in the bowl between the jumps, you can adjust your speed if necessary. Just as you’d pump a roller on a pump track, you can pump the bottom of the landing into the bowl to gain speed.
3. Up the lip
As you approach the next jump, you again need to be in a neutral position. If you seem to jump and land nose heavy, you may have your weight too far forward, and vice versa if you’re landing back wheel heavy.
4. Taking off
Nailing the take-off is super-important, and your arms play a big part. I pull off the lip to dictate the angle I want my bike to take off at, pulling on the bar to get the front wheel up and then using my hips and feet to level it out. If you just let the jump dictate the take-off angle, the back wheel can get bucked, sending your weight over the front.
5. In the air
This is where it gets fun! If you’ve executed a good jump, you can relax and enjoy the airtime – and maybe throw in some shapes! Then adjust your position and bike ready for the landing.
6. Land the next jump
As with the first jump, aim to land high up the downslope and judge if you need extra speed for the next jump. You can pump the bowl harder and maybe pull up off the lip to get more distance if needed. Once you do a set of jumps a few times, it will become instinctive.