Motocross: How To Do The “Bubba Scrub,” With James “Bubba” Stewart

The motocross king gives you the lowdown on his signature move.

How did you come up with the Bubba Scrub?

When I started doing the Bubba Scrub, it was just a way to go faster around the racetrack. I remember coming up to a jump and just leaning the bike over and actually going straight instead of up in the air – almost like airplane wings, cutting through the air. I did that a few times and then they caught a photo of it, and they just named it the ‘Bubba Scrub’!

It looks like you’re turning the bike completely sideways in midair.

Yeah – the difference between doing the Bubba Scrub and not doing it is basically like if you’re driving down the freeway at 60MPH, and you take your hand and spread it open, almost like you’re going to give somebody a high five – that’s how people used to jump back in the day. Now, if you take your hand and just put it flat, you’re cutting through the air instead of going against it. There was no technology behind it, I didn’t think like, “Ah, yeah, aerodynamics!” It was just, “You know what? I gotta go faster than you, and I’m going to figure it out how to do it somehow in the air.”

So you’re really just decreasing the wind resistance, but it has a side effect of looking really cool?

Yeah! It’s just another way to resist wind. So, like I said, now it’s become a move where you couldn’t even compete in high races if you don’t know how to do it. You learn how to use a clutch, you learn how to shift a motorcycle, and then you learn how to do the Bubba Scrub.


Step One

“Whatever side I’m going to scrub on, I want to cut almost the opposite way, so if I want to lean it down right I’m going to cut over to the left and vice versa. You’ve got to have an angle going off the jump in order to do it; you can’t do it going straight up and down.”

Step Two

“When I’m going off the face of the jump, I start leaning the bike – almost like you’re turning, but you have a lot of speed, so the bike won’t fall over. When you do that at speed, both wheels start slipping. You want the back wheel to slide the most. The key to the Bubba Scrub is to get the wheels to slide off the face of the jump – you have to make sure you have the angle right and then get both wheels to slip off of it, because if they’re stuck to the ground, you won’t be able to do it.”

Step Three

“When you take off the jump, the handlebars have to be pointed down – once you’re in the air and starting to descend, then you start straightening the handlebars back up. Pretty much wherever your handlebars go is where your body goes, and once your handlebars go straight, your body starts leaning back up, which pulls the bike back up so you can land it.”

Step Four

“Hold on for the landing! On Bubba Scrubs, you always land a little bit sideways, but make sure when you land you give it gas because it’ll straighten you back out. It’s like if you jump on a bicycle and you land on the brakes, the thing’s going to stop and fling you off. But if you land and keep momentum going, it straightens itself back out.”

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