Moto Tip | Ace The Start With Technique & Gate Choice
Welcome to the new Answer Racing Moto Tips feature! Answer Racing has been producing the highest-quality motocross and off-road gear since 1976, and this month launched its new line of 2020 apparel. With riders like Alex Martin, Ryan Villopoto, Nick Wey, and Mike Sleeter flying the Answer flag, there is a wealth of knowledge and know-how when it comes to riding a dirt bike efficiently and effectively in the Answer camp. Each week, Answer will bring you some riding tips to help you become better at the sport you love! Have a specific skill you’d like to improve? Comment below and we will cover it in a future post!
It cannot be overstated enough: if you are a serious racer, then you need to perfect your starts. You can be the fastest rider on the track during your motos, but bad gate picks and terrible technique will put you at a disadvantage as soon as the race begins. We asked Nick Wey for some simple words of advice and the former pro racer had plenty of tips and tricks that will help you get the holeshot.
The first thing you want to do when at the starting line is to look at the position of the gate. That is very important because you want to get the gate with the closest and straightest line to the first turn as possible, but sometimes people overlook the importance of the conditions of the track around there. How shallow or deep are the ruts behind and in front of the gate? How straight is the rut on the other side of the gate? Those things will be just as important as your technique.
The start hook/holeshot device has definitely “dummied down” the technique of a start. The height of the hook on your fork will determine how low the front-end goes and how much traction the bike gets under acceleration.
The condition of the dirt at the start will be a factor in your technique. You will be able to maintain control of the bike by gripping tightly with your knees and locking your legs in front of the pegs, which acts as a leverage point to keep your body weight forward.
When you accelerate, your body will want to slide back from the power of the bike, so you can control the way the bike reacts by positioning your upper body over the front-end. That will give you more control in case the bike starts to pull a wheelie from the traction.
A wheelie is the most common mistake at the start and that’s all from too much acceleration, so it’s important to be smooth on the throttle. You have three options to remedy a wheelie at the start. The first is to chop the throttle totally, the second is to slip the clutch so that the bike slows a little, and the third is to stay pinned but risk a loop-out.
If you have to let off the gas or slip the clutch, you will lose at least a bike length on your competition at the very start of the race, which you’ll have to fight to gain back. That’s why it’s so important to perfect your technique and use your upper body in case you need to make corrections.