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Video Analysis: Dirt Norco Race Team in Leogang.

Video Analysis: Dirt Norco Race Team in Leogang.

Dan Stanbridge

Morrocco Media travelled to Leogang in Austria for the UCI DH MTB WC 2013 Finals to provide sports video analysis support for the Dirt Norco Race Team throughout the course of the weekend. This edit shows some of the sections looked at on course and the results from the analysis.

MTB Video Analysis Leogang WC – Dirt Norco a Mountain Biking video by mtbvision

Words from Stefan Morrocco:

Arriving on the Friday morning we had a quick chat with the Dirt Norco Team and then headed up the gondola to get started.  We spent Friday working our way down the course filming different sections and identifying which parts of the course would glean the most from being analysed.  The Leogang course offers few line choices for the riders, so the gains are predominantly due to technique differences between the riders, especially in the top third of the course where it is about cornering technique and speed.  The middle part of the course is about carrying and maintaining speed from the upper third along the flatter section and over the jumps, so hitting the jump transition smoothly and accelerating off the back end of the jumps is crucial here.  The lower third of the course offered most from analysis with several parts having key differences in line choice

Steve vs Gee leogang
Steve vs Gee leogang

Friday night was spent analysing the footage to identify fast lines, any rider techniques that were helping them get through sections faster and comparing the Dirt Norco riders against the faster riders to help them improve.  On the Saturday we targeted three key areas; the rock garden, the steep rooty section and the low-gradient jumps section.  The analysis was crucial as it confirmed that the outside line through the rocks was quicker, including entry and exit speeds.  The top line on the steep rooty section was fastest as it rounded off the lower tight left-hand turn and gave faster exit speed which outweighed the slower entry speed compared to the middle line.  On the flat jumps it was clear that hugging the right-hand side of the track was faster and getting pedal strokes in where possible really counted.  Again, all this was analysed and shown to the team to help Ben and George with their race runs.  Sunday morning was spent checking that the lines identified on the Saturday were still fastest and confirming with the team that they were still on the fastest lines.

The advantages of the sports video analysis service are:

  • That it is entirely objective, there is no subjectivity involved;
  • It quantifies improvements
  • It visually represents where improvements could be made or which lines are faster and why, which is a great tool for riders as they can actually see the differences.

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  • Technique Development – Off-Season Training Days – or private sessions.
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  1. Ben

    Daft that this has taken this long to reach our sport. Great that it has though

  2. Willy W

    Yep so sad that our sport is so desperate to be cool that proper sport science support and tools like this are painfully slow at taking “root”!

    It will stay that way too considering how many “cool” guys are involved in the industry..it’s just all bro and no pro!

    Good job on the video Morocco Media!

  3. Oz

    Ben and Willy are you guys serious? If you think the top teams don’t already have guys timing sections/lines during practise then you are mistaken. Most riders/teams will view and compare headcam and video footage for better line choice. Just because it’s not published on here, doesn’t mean it isn’t already happening. My personal opionion is that this sort of analysis should be left in formula 1 – what’s next…painting flo-vis on the bikes for aero testing? Downhill should be an individuals sport and the rider should use his instincts to learn the fast lines. Where does it all stop? When each rider has a team of 50 guys supporting him to get an advantage over the next guy. It’s rediculous.

  4. Willy+W

    Typical backwards bullshit attitude Oz, your opinion is just sad. Do you think we should go back to full rigid bikes? No progression what so ever. Downhillers barely make a decent living as it is, with the exception of the about 12 guys and 3-4 girls, the rest of the riders are working in the off-season! Why because outside sponsors see it as a kids games, a laughing stock. Audi dish out free cars to skiers all winter long and the ski racers get payed a decent wage, have large endorsement contracts and go to prestigious venues for classic events! Why is that money there? Because the sponsors know that the professionalism and support is there that the teams, federations and skiers are doing everything possible with analysis, wind-tunnels, equipment and physical prep!

    Downhill is growing but only that…long way to go.

    And if you think that comparing some GoPro footage is the same as Dartfish you are mistaken.

    I was at 4 of the world cup races this year and I know for a fact that there is next to no timing of lines or any such support in any of the teams. Who does this timing? No one as there is no support or coaching staff on any of the teams to do such a job. Some of the teams bring there physical coaches to the events and these guys go track side and watch etc… but they don’t time or analysis. Oscar Saiz has in the past done some of this for Factory Giant but less so this year, likewise Myles Rockwell was around in 2012 timing and filming with TWR but he’s gone now and no-one replaced him. The syndicate have Kathy busy making food and taking picks and being a manager, leaving the mechanics to do their job and who else to time?…..no-one.

    The reason it’s not published on here is because it doesn’t happen at all…anymore.

    In the past at worlds video and timing was a little more accepted but not anymore.

    The sport needs to grow, it needs money to do so and it needs professionalism to get that money. World Cup racing should be just that WORLD CLASS! Not on par with you and your buddies dicking around at a national event or mates race. Grow up, it’s attitude like yours industry wide that hold this sport back at professional level. We are all here for the love of riding but that love shouldn’t hold back the advancement of the sport.

    1. Oz

      I am all in favour of progression, I just can’t see a link between this specific technology and the growth of the sport. You mentioned that only a few riders make a decent wage from downhill. This is true, but this sort of technology will only widen the gap between the top riders/teams and the rest of the field. Only the big teams with the most money will be able to benefit.

      I totally agree that it is difficult for unsponsored and mid field riders. The big teams command such a high percentage of their sponsors budgets, that it doesn’t leave a lot left for other riders. Finding the money for worldwide travel, accommodation, equipment, spares etc is certainly not an easy task, but introducing another advantage that only the top teams can afford surely makes it even harder for the little guy.

      The growth of the sport and how much money it attracts is a completely different debate, but professionalism and resources are a result of sponsorship, not the other way round.

  5. dave

    just ride the fucking bike, why do all this bullshit, its not f1 for fuck sake, just makes you look like you have to copy other people

    1. Willy+W

      Typical small minded attitude getting the top level of the sport nowhere! This is supposed to be a professional world class sport, not you are your mates doing turnbars down the woods!

      1. Oz

        Hey Willy how about a response to my previous post?

        I’ve been thinking about the practicalities of such a system and I really can’t see how this technology is even relevant in downhill.

        – A downhill race isn’t won or lost in a few technical sections. Time can be lost anywhere on a track and the best riders will make small amounts of time everywhere.

        – Is the intention to film every difficult part of the track? How much manpower would this require? Is it possible on a track such as Champery or Val Di Sol?

        – The footage has to be taken during practise/qualifying to be analysed in time for race day. Not many riders will be going at race pace in practice and some lines might only be ridden on race day or rideable at race pace.

        – What if conditions change for race day? What lines?

        A good rider should be able to make a decision on what lines are the fastest for them – they may not be the fastest for the next guy. Often some riders can find lines that others can’t. This makes the difference between a good rider and a great rider. Technology and progression is goos. Technology for technologies sake isn’t.

        I’m sorry if my posts seem overly negative and I’m sure the guys doing this are highly skilled and professional in what they do. I just don’t see how useful this is to the sport of downhill.

  6. Ginner

    Willy, sponsors hammer skiing because there are millions of rich skiers compared to fuck all dirtbag DHers.

    1. Willy+W

      I’m pretty sure you are dreaming there buddy, “millions” of rich skiers? Have you not seen the average middle aged British “enduro”/Trail centre rider? Tanked up to the gills in colour coordinated alpine ready kit on-board a €/£6k carbon bike.

      The days of a dirt bag DHer are most certainly dwindling. People race DH or ride trail bikes now a days, alot less people just ride DH especially somewhere like GB as it’s waste of time if you don’t race when you can have a blast on your trail bike!

      Skiing is huge recreationally but those recreational skiers know little of the top level of the sport and the horrific turns the recreational skier makes down the blue slope in any ALpine resort mean they are practicing a very differnt sport then their World Cup stars!

      The sponsors hammer Alpine skiing because yes it is “high-end” (why shouldn’t WC DH aspire to that?) but because the sport conducts it self with professionalism, eeks out performance advantage where-ever they can, push the limits of athleticism and general creates asport that top companies want to be involved in. WC DH doesn’t do that.

      Alot of people ski, rich and otherwise but they don’t ski at 120 km/h on 218cm long stiff as hell skis, they ski on their little easy to control forgiving things. Likewise a lot of people ride bikes on and off-road that doesn’t mean they couldn’t wonder at and hold in high-regard WC DH and make it attractive to big sponsors!

      1. Ginner

        Sponsors sponsor to make a return on their investment. If DH AND Enduro allowed the return then you’d see the investment. If you think Audi or any other top end brand put money into skiing simply because of the professionalism of the athletes, you’re absolutely mad.

        And yeah, I’ve seen tonnes of Southerners at Glentress and Innerleithen and wherever else with shit hot kit but they fill a car park. Skiers have caused the building of entire towns across the globe so they can fill them for 5 months.

  7. Willy+W

    Oz my old pal.

    There’s that funny “can’t do” attitude again. Ohh we could never get the footage back to review the night after practice…? Of course we could! A team of 2 videographers or maybe 3 could cover large areas of the course. Money is all that is needed, your attitude is stuck in the now not in the possibilities of the future it’s dull dogmatic thinking like yours that holds development of any sport back. “Oh leave it how it is”!

    Contrary to what you say there is frequently a make or break section on courses, A section where 1 line is much faster then another but may not be clear to the rider. I’m not saying Dartfish is gonna change the DH world, anything but. But it would be a tool to have in the “toolbox” for a top team and rider to use to gain even a slight advantage! Maybe not every course, maybe not for every rider. But an option non the less.

    As for not riding at top pace in practice, you obviously have not attended many of the World Cups this last few years or even raced a one? Practice is intense, not full runs at that intensity but many sections and longer portions at or dare I say beyond race pace.

    The fans favs in practice (read Brendan Fairclough etc..) always go harder, faster and wilder in brief sections in practice then their inferior physical ability can maintain for a full race run.

    You’ve got the either.or attitude which is a killer of progress. Either we use this technology and not choose any lines ourselves or we don’t use it and make subjective guesses only….em bull!! How about a mix when necessary, no one is saying the rider should leave line choice up to the video and dartfish, no, top riders frequently know the best lines off feel and experience, but having the option of this technology will help make a educated guess in certain situations.

    Dartfish would also be used in testing and with technique refinements etc… Now most MTBers at WC level think their technique is perfect but it is actually anything but and that’s why guess with actual solid technique (Minnaar, Bruni, Brosnan, Hill, Smith) excel an almost any track.

    So there you go, add to the technology toolbox to up the professionalism of the sport and drop the either/or dogmatic horse-poo attitude is my advice to the world! Presidential Office for me? :-)

    1. Oz

      Well I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one, and your comment reads like you have a vested interest in this project so there’s probably no changing your opinion.

      I do think this technology could be very useful in a training environment, where conditions are repeatable, and real back to back comparisons can be made. The video footage and overlays could be very useful to suspension technicians and also to coaches and physios in analysing body position strength/weaknesses.

      I just don’t think it’s a relevant solution to improve line choice at a race weekend, and my opinion on that won’t change. Call me dogmatic…I prefer realistic.

      1. Willy+W

        Ahh, well I agree with you that this technology has it’s greatest plus points in training and testing work and not race weekends! Your original post made it seem as if you thought this sort of tech should not be involved in DH at all. Now we can agree that it has a place in the wider tool-box!

        I don’t have any vested interest in this at all. Just love this sport and want to see it grow at all levels especially at the top where professionalism and critical thinking are still lacking in many areas!

        Your point about the variety of people who could use this data after a training day/camp (suspension tech, bike designer, coaches etc…) is my point exactly.

  8. ronin

    i agree with both Oz & Willy. for me the cool part about the modern DHer is the creativity and style each one of them bring to a course.

    Unlike other “wheeled” sports, here the engine and cpu are organic and are in constant flux so for me that is where the excitement comes from. I can’t easy relate to motorsports at this level simply because I’m not in that tax bracket(haha).

    does this technology have the potential to add more venues and events to the calendar for pro DHing allowing for bigger financial opportunities for everyone? yes? sign me up! No not really? then leave it like surfing. ..but by all means you gotta try it.

  9. WAKi

    Why do I have a same idea that some people get over excited about things like that? Trolling is understood, but at least do it on a topic that may have at least a tiny impact on your life. Look – 650B makes it next to impossible for me to buy a 26er next year, but fk it, I wouldn’t anyway. But in a year it will turn the second hand parts market into hell. So I care, I am pissed off about it, makes me all emotional and shit, it will always do. But I really don’t get you guys – I say screw the fact that you have not tried such service, but why on earth do you rant on something you will never ever try in the future, so your life will proceed exactly as it is whether it exists or not? Just please, don’t say a word about the spirit of the sport

    Warming up before that sht hits Pinkbike…

    1. Oz

      Definition: troll (noun)

      One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers.

  10. Ben

    I’m back.

    Oz, I’ve worked with the top downhill teams. So, I seriously KNOW that this tech isn’t getting used (yet).

    Don’t pretend you know what the sport is like when you don’t.

    And don’t give me the whole “you can throw everything away in one section” BS.
    Of course you can. Same way an F1 driver can. Fact is, you’ll be going quicker until the point of the mistake. SO…

    Yes, we should go in to the wind tunnel.
    Yes, we should paint frames with flo-vis.
    Yes, we should wear tighter fitting clothing (within the rules, of course).
    Yes, we should record sections of the track to find time.

    This is a sport that is about going down the hill as quickly as possible. Teams should be doing as much as they can to push the sport. But, they’re scared to, because of the likes of people like yourself. Once it gets over the initial hump, over the point where the teams doing this are the minority, it will become accepted and the sport will grow.

    But as Willy says, there’s too many cool kids involved at the moment, although they are fading out.

    1. Oz

      Ben, the teams aren’t ‘scared’ to introduce this technology because of my opinion. That’s a ridiculous statement in itself. The teams have budget constraints and this sort of thing is way down the list.

      I agree that there are many different ways of making a rider go faster, but it all comes down to money. Windtunnel testing, Flo-viz, etc…these things are afforded by F1 because it has a global audience of over 500 million people.

      I also think you have touched on something very relevant. Perhaps it’s that rule banning tight clothing (so that DH looks cool) that’s holding the sport back? Lots of time could be saved if they simply allowed riders to wear a skinsuit. What that rule says to me is that the image of the sport is more important to the bike industry and outside sponsors than any behind the scenes technical advances that make the riders go faster.

      You may know a lot more about downhill racing than me. I just like to watch bikes, ride bikes (for the last 22 years), and spend my money on bikes. I’m not trying to pretend the sport is something that it isn’t.

  11. ronin

    @waki-so this is where you warm up for pnkbke!

    are you saying bros before pros or the opposite? let’s be honest we would all benefit more with a “how to” ride than a “what to” hang on your ride. lookin forward to your pnkbke props counter!

    1. WAKi

      I am saying pros are bros, I am not taking any side here. This tech is cool, it will shave you off more time than carbon. Actualy if people would film themselves more how they are riding with an IPhone cam, the average riding level would jump up big time. People having romantic visions about spirit of the sport, riding blind and all this gay stuff are most welcome to practice their beliefs and keep them to themselves anytime they feel the need to enforce it for the greater good of the sport… as far as riding ethics go, there is one commandment and that is for trail cutters to have their dicks cut off with Ryan Air plastic knife.

  12. Big Dawg

    I don’t know why you’re all getting so hot and bothered about this. Isn’t it clear that Dirt are posting this as an obligation to ‘Morrocco Media’ because they provided their service for the Dirt Norco team during the race? I’m sure Morrocco probably approached Dirt asking them for publicity in exchange for their services. Maybe I’m wrong but it looks like an advert to me.

  13. Ben


    The teams have budget constraints for sure and a lot of them have quite tight ones at that. But the bigger teams have budgets that could afford the above… they just don’t want to.

    TWR’s Project Q was brilliant (as much of a stunt as it was) but the majority of fans had this “it’s not F1″ attitude and laughed at it. What good is there in carrying out proper research if it’s just going to put people off the team, riders, brand etc.

    If DH fans were more like F1 fans, or road fans, or skiing fans, then we’d see progress. But this whole “it’s not F1″ attitude will continue to hold the sport back.

    With regards to the image etc, yes, the image is important to the sport. It’s more difficult to get kids in to a lycra-clad sport. But I’ve said hundreds of times that the top guys could train (and would probably prefer to train) in their current kit, and then for quali and race throw on a skinsuit. That would just work, well!

    When races are won and lost in tenths of seconds, finding speed by whatever means possible is important!


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