Dirtwise with Shane Watts Vol 1 DVD Review

JC Hilderbrand | September 25, 2009

Shane Watts is putting his years of racing experience on display and breaks down the techniques needed for advanced off-road riding.

Dirtwise with Shane Watts
Advanced Instructional Volume 1 – Mud, Sand and Rough Ground

Shane Watts is one of the most interesting off-road riders around – a six-time Australian Enduro champion, Australian 500cc Motocross champ, 1997 World Enduro champion, 1998 overall ISDE winner (only guy ever on a 125cc) and 2000 GNCC champion (with wins on six different bike displacements). The Australian is no longer a regular contender on the big professional scene, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how to go fast. Quite the contrary, Wattsy is teaching his secrets to others in the form of instructional schools and now electronically with a series of DVDs. With fall and winter around the corner, it made perfect sense for us to start thinking about wet weather riding again. Volume 1 of Watts’ new videos ($24.99) deals with mud, sand and rough ground – all things we’re going to experience as the riding season comes into full swing and then merges into winter’s sloppy conditions.

The teachings are based upon the principle of four basic fundamentals – body position, throttle/clutch control, balance and confidence. Shane constantly refers to them throughout the 63-minute video. Chapters break it up into an Intro, Fundamentals, Advanced Fundamentals, Accelerating, Mud Corners, Deep Ruts, Slippery Hills, Acceleration Bumps, Sand Whoops, Braking Bumps and Sand Corners. Each is broken up by short segments covering basics for preparing for these nasty conditions with tips for goggle and helmet prep, bike maintenance and suspension setup. Each section contained at least one really good quote that resonated with me. The musical score is engaging and Watts’ hard-revving KTM 250 2-stroke can invade my eardrums anytime.

Shane invites along his good ol’ flannel-wearing southern buddy, Wally the Wanker, who is indeed “happy as a pig eatin’ crap” to be on the show. Ultimately he becomes a bit of a distraction. I appreciate the attempt at humor and having some clips of him demonstrating the wrong technique is beneficial, but there are times when I just want to see Shane get back on camera and demonstrate his ridiculous skills.

The video left us wanting to attend one of Watts’ schools or multi-day training camps.

Something that really sticks in mind after watching the entire video is how often Shane has his front wheel outside of a rut. His precision is unbelievable, especially if you’ve ever had any experience with the red clay he is riding through. The video really made me want to experience one of his Dirtwise with Shane Watts Academy of Off-Road Riding schools or camps. I have a feeling he is much more efficient in person. His style is unique and his language entertaining. “We don’t get a pounding up the butt… we want to try to stay away from that.” Amen, Wattsy.

Combined with the info gleaned from Stefan Everts’ instructional sand-riding video, I should have the soft stuff covered. This DVD features more of the mud and rut issues and Watts is fun to watch, full of information and has a personable demeanor. The DVD lacks a little polish on all fronts, from on-screen skills to camera work and production. But, the important thing is that the message gets delivered. Ultimately I have a lot of respect for Shane Watts and I would purchase the other DVDs in this series.

Volume 1 – Mud, Sand and Rough Ground
Volume 2 – Braking and Cornering
Volume 3 – Hills, Gullies and Off Cambers
Volume 4 – Logs, Rocks and Wheelies

For more information visit www.shanewatts.com.

JC Hilderbrand

Off-Road Editor| Articles | Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA’s Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn’t matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.