How to get under 30 sec on GP8 Gymkhana layout
When it comes to the better times in moto-gymkhana you will notice that experienced riders split the whole layout into smaller parts and basic elements. One of such smaller part is a GP8 layout.
GP8 is a globally recognized rating/grading system for gymkhana riders, because the layout is the same for everybody.
Layout consists of 2 cones of 40cm height at 12m distance with start/stop gates 3 x 1m each in 3m out of one of cones.
The aim is to do five figues of eight as quickly as possible.
Despite it’s visual simplicity, passing the GP8 right and fast it’s a whole thing by itself and require use of miscellaneous techniques very fast and accurate.
It is always a good to look at those who do things well.
Bob do the GP8 in 26.20 sec and Richard does in 26.64, which is incredibility fast by iteself, just look:
Once you try GP8 by your own and look at these videos, you would definitely say: “That’s incredible, but looks so easy”.
We can’t agree more, that’s why we want to reveal some aspects of doing it right, so that you can get to a faster time on GP8 and do it in less then 30 sec.
Let’s see what the rider can build and practice on GP8:
- good body position on the bike. Try to keep in line with the bike and don’t counter-lean (although counter-leaning might be more comfortable when you are just beginning).
- find proper trajectory: brake and turn in points
- head and eye focus on trajectory points
- get used to a deeper and more stable lean angles, but not a knee/elbow down
- build accurate control over the front and rear brakes to turn in and therefore load the front suspension and tire up to it’s limit, but without stressing them
- increase the corner entry speed
- accurate and aggressive work with throttle
We’d call them a focus areas, because all that need to be done literally at the same moment, so keep all of them in mind.
Detailed controls guide
Focus areas are quite generic and you probably wonder now: “what should I do exactly”.
Firstly, the rider need to know what is the best way to do it and then experience that during hours of practice.
The GP8 picture below shows the sections S1, S2 and S3, where:
- S1 – is braking into the corner and reaching full lock by leaning into the corner and using front and rear brakes
- S2 – is rolling through the corner with a fastest possible speed and minimum use of brakes, but keeping the turn radius as minimum as possible
- S3 – acceleration and switch the side of the lean
Under the picture you can see the detailed chart depicting what happens in each S-section and sub-sections A-H.
We decided to start from the end, from section S3, sub-section H
- Aim to the entry point of the next cone
- Lean the bike
- Apply front brake
- Start cornering, control the brakes and turn of wheel by holding handle bar, but allowing it to close fast and controlled.
- Slowly reduce front brake
Note: During braking in lean you may feel the handle bar is pushing into your right hand and in left corners to the left hand. It may be or not, depending on the setup of the bike (if it’s neutral or not)
- Slowly start rear brake
- Apply counter steering to increase lean angle
- No more front brake because steering is going to maximum
- Slightly add rear brake
- Then quickly go to full lock without pushing the bike upright
Note: If you feel the bike go upright when you brake and turn, you are doing it wrong)
- Turn your head and look to the entry point of the other cone
- Keep the full lock rotation
- Apply rear brake to minimize radius, but release it if not needed. Pulsing technique could be used here
- If you do not have raised idle that keeps pulling the bike out of the rotation, hold the throttle manually in a slightly opened position, speed should be controlled with the rear brake, not the throttle
- Fast, but controlled open of throttle
- Release rear brake
- Aim to the entry point
- Quick change of bike tilt side
- Close the throttle
- Start braking with front brakes
As you can see it’s not an easy thing despite it’s simplicity, but don’t be demotivated, as practice matters.
Get a few cones and go training ;)
Different riding lines of GP8
Some of the riders may already noticed that we haven’t mentioned trajectory and here is why.
It is really a problem or let’s better say, there are different riding lines depending on which bike you are:
- motorcycles with high bottom-end torque can go with shorter line
- low bottom-end torqued bikes, such as NSR250 needs wider line to keep motorcycle in power band
- bikes with a smooth bottom-end rpm (3 or 4 cylinder with short gearing) don’t need clutch
- with a rough bottom-end rpm (1 or 2 cylinder) need clutch to smooth out all the big peaks of the engine.
Variation of techniques on GP8
After preparation of diagram with Richard, he wrote something that surprised us a lot, we thought there is some “best technique” kind of a “Holly Grail” of GP8, but it was only partially true..
Here is what Richard says about it:
“Well apparently Bob uses a complete different technique, then I do for GP8. I use full-lock and then throttle to get the motorbike out of the rotation, Bob uses not full lock and then hits full lock to get the motorcycle out of the rotation and only then uses throttle. Bob can do 26.20, I can do only 26.67. My version is probably better for “beginners” – wide entry line, get used to full lock, then accelerate to get out of the turn, it seems more logical”
Now you have a feeling of how many things are behind the simple GP8 layout and believe us, you’ll discover a lot more, once you start practicing it.
How to practice
Don’t be scared of all that, you just need to take one area and practice on that until you feel that your own level rise up.
The criteria here is how much more confident and relaxed you became in doing this or that. Then take another one and do the same. With time, you’ll be able to focus on few of them at the same time and switch between in the correct moment.
Advise: Ask your friends to film you at the beginning and at the end of practice. Do it from the same spot, that will help you to recall the way you did before and after the practice.
Best of the best
You know, gymkhana is a Japanese sport and the best from top riders are there, so everyone guess how to do GP8 faster than 25.790 sec?!!!
Look how the Haruhiko Tsujiie does on it’s GSX-R1000.
- brake as less and as light as possible
- release brakes earlier than you are used to
- brake smoothly
- trust your tires, even if you enter with a little overspeeding
- tilt your body into the middle of the turn
- keep your head as lower as possible and turn it earlier during the turns
- when bike is exiting the turn – you can smoothly, but strongly open the throttle; at this moment keep your bike leaning and open the throttle being in the lean
- brake smoothly and practice this together a lot
- it’s very important to sustain smoothness, keeping the G-force at the similar level
- turn in the bike into full lock, when you do it fast, then the bike is speeding in the corner
We want to thank Richard van Schouwenburg, Bob Stupler, Jan Zapach and Haruhiko Tsujiie for such comprehensive advises, review and preparation of this article. You inspire the whole gymkhana riders over the world! MotoGymkhanaKyiv wish you guys achieving great results in gymkhana competitions!
And for reading audience we wish the patience and safe riding!
Use of parts and/or whole publication only after agreement with MotoGymkhanaKiev, except Richard van Schouwenburg, Bob Stupler, Jan Zapach and Haruhiko Tsujiie who are free to use the material for commercial and/or education purposes.