Bombing a Hill with Dexter Manning
In February, Dexter Manning went down to California to test some new DH gear that we’ve been working on. Here’s some insight on the run, straight from Dex.
Early in the trip I realized that the new board and trucks were working really well and that I might be able to get something on camera at Tuna. So much insane stuff has gone down at this spot that I’m always a little apprehensive about committing to filming there, so I put some work in over the time I was there to figure out a line I wanted to try.
I filmed a run at this spot back in 2016 and had been super happy with what I put down at the time. In hindsight, however, it was pretty clear that I had left a lot of speed on the table. The gear that we have at our disposal now makes it possible to approach a run like this similarly to how we would go about putting together a qualifying run on a racetrack. It was really exciting to work through a line on a road like this with a level of detail that’s usually reserved for racing.
Here are a couple of the areas I focused on finding time in on this run. Hopefully this sheds a little light on my thought process for putting stuff like this together.
(0:35) 1st left bend: It’s important to stay tucked here but really scary. It’s easy to lose a lot of momentum in this section because a lot of the bends look tighter than they are, but it’s functionally a long straightaway from the first big left all the way to the 1st chicane. The retaining wall on the inside, the rock wall on the outside and the cat eye that you need to cut inside all make what should be an easy left kink really intimidating.
(0:51-1:00) The Rock Wall: This sequence is all about measuring the braking on the entrance correctly so that you can keep momentum mid corner and get a good run into the next straight. Positioning through the first two parts of the sequence are super important, you want to apex the right super late to open up the last left so that you don’t need to slide a second time.
(1:14) Sessions Left: It’s tempting to brake for this corner in the right kink because it’s really awkward to leave all of your braking for the left. There’s a lot of time to be found here by not flicking right if you can manage to get enough braking done though. You need to initiate the slide super far to the right side of the road, over the white line if possible, to give yourself a chance of getting slowed down in time to make the apex. I didn’t realize how close I’d gotten to those fallen rocks until I watched the footage back, spooky.
(1:40) Left before the open straight: Because of the change of direction before this corner and how hard you’re fighting for grip here, my back foot kept slipping back too far making the straighaway sections really unstable. I had to do a weird little shimmy on the exit of this corner because that was the last opportunity to get my feet set if I wanted to get into my tuck right at the top of the straight. This sequence is important because if you’re slow through here you cost yourself speed all the way down the straightaway which follows it. This is also the last turn on the road where your left-side wheels have some life in them. Because the top part of the run asks so much of the left wheels, they’re hurting by this corner, and smoked after this.
(1:57-2:05) Open straight: I tried a bunch of different lines here before settling on the late right kink drift. The main reason is that I had a hard time gripping the right kink without fading too far to the left side of the road. This meant I couldn’t open the left up as much as I wanted which lead to too much braking and a slower run into the closed straight. This is also the first right slide on the run so the right-side wheels are in a lot better shape and you can get the same amount of braking done in a shorter distance than if you were to slide left again.
(2:13-2:16) Closed straight: The left-right-right combo after this straight is probably my favorite sequence of turns I’ve ever ridden. It’s close to 60mph and insanely banked so you can keep a lot of speed through it. In 2016 on the big board I had to skip the first right apex in order to straighten out the second part of the corner. On the smaller boards you can change directions much earlier, hit the first right apex and stay a lot lower on the banking which gains some time and feels really cool.
(2:27-2:32) Last corner: By the time you get here your front wheels are smoked and the balance of the board has changed pretty significantly. You can see how reluctant the front was to turn in and I ended up not making it to the apex at all. Luckily, it’s a really banked corner and has a consistent radius so you can carry a good amount of speed even fairly high on the banking.
I’m really stoked on this footage and I hope this shows a bit of what goes into filming the downhill stuff that we do. We also learned a ton about how these new boards and trucks work on this trip and have updated a couple things in time for race season. I’m really excited about how well they’re working, and I can’t wait to get them out under everyone’s feet.
Check out the full run
Dexter’s Pro Model is a board that’s at home in the mountains, The Gambler has been designed to let you get the most out of big terrain. A short wheelbase, subtle features and finely tuned handling characteristics will make beating your friends down your local hill a sure bet.
No slop, all control. Don’t accept anything less than the perfect complete.