In motocross, the start often decides the race result to a large extent. Even the best riders usually find it very difficult to fight back for a podium after a bad start. Depending on the track, you can easily lose 10 or even 15 seconds per lap in the hustle of the first few laps!
So if you're racing, it's important to work on your starts regularly. It requires a lot of routine and you should know which technique works best for you.
The first phase is basically the reaction time. In addition to many practice starts, reaction exercises and activating the brain before a race start are very helpful tools. A tenth of a second faster out of the gate gives you not only a psychological advantage, but also the important space for a safe start and a good drive through the first corner.
This is the first movement after the gate drops. The primary aim here is to get out of the starting gate with as little wheelspin as possible. In addition to the right choice of tires and a well-prepared gate, the right technique is particularly important here - seating position, posture, foot position, RPM, etc.
The MX Buddy start analysis can help you figure out what works best for you.
As soon as you are out of the gate, it is important to master the rest of the starting straight with constant and maximum possible acceleration.
"So, just give it full throttle and that's it, right?"
Well, not quite. You can still do a lot in this phase. Choosing a starting line that is as straight and flat as possible with good grip, optimal shifting, constant pressure on the footpegs and leveling out uneven ground play a major role here.
The MX Buddy start analysis will also help you here.
Since the start is a matter of fractions of a second, high-precision measurement technology is required. The RaceBox Mini is perfectly suited with its very good position accuracy and its very high sampling rate.
Note that the RaceBox Mini requires a recording device. This means you have to carry your iPhone with you. However, this is not an issue for starts. The iPhone can be stored in a mobile phone holder on the bar pad, in a pocket, in a fanny pack, in/on the chest protector or even inside your boot.
Each recorded session is automatically searched for starts by MX Buddy. All starts found are displayed below the laps.
Here you can already see which start in which segment was faster or slower. The fastest segment time is highlighted in color.
Tap on 'Analysis' or one of the starts to open the in-depth view.
Here you can use the arrows at the top to switch between the individual starts.
The starts are divided into segments. Each segment shows you the time, the final speed and a chart with a color-coded speed curve and the average acceleration as gray bars.
If all bars are about the same height, your acceleration was constant throughout all segments. A lower value for one segment can indicate sub-optimal shifting or a temporary loss of traction.
The segments that MX Buddy analyzes at each start can be adjusted at any time in the settings. The default values are made for standard start analysis. However, if you want to focus more on the beginning of a start or if you want to analyse longer starts, just change the segments to fit your needs.
The same start can be evaluated again and again with different segment distances.
Motocross racer and coach Michael Kartenberg now gives you a few tips and tricks for practising starts and a good starting technique. (https://www.kartenberg-mx-school.com).
A holeshot device is a prerequisite for an optimal start. It is mounted around the fork tube and to the fork guard and helps you to keep your front wheel down while accelerating by shifting your weight forward. You can find more detailed information about it (e.g. setting the right height) in the manual of your holeshot device.
In order to get a feeling for different dirt, you should do several practice starts everytime you're out on the track. Tracks also change from day to day and so does the interplay of speed, feel for the clutch, pressure on the footpegs and body balance.
Once you're ready to start, find an even surface or a rut that points straight to the next corner. Then sit down on your seat as far forward as possible. Pull the clutch with two fingers (index finger and middle finger) and engage 2nd gear. Now put your left foot on the footpeg to lock yourself in your sitting position to avoid slipping back when accelerating. Keep your right foot in front of the footpeg and press your calf firmly to it. With your right foot on the ground you keep your balance while standing. This is the most difficult part for most riders at first, but after a few attempts you'll get hang of it.
Before the gate drops, hold your upper body slightly over the handlebars. Now engage 2nd gear and increase the RPM to about 60-70%. You can also start with a lower RPM and slowly increase it from attempt to attempt. With two fingers on the clutch you have enough power and at the same time enough sensitivity for a smooth release. Once you have found your balance after the first few meters, put your right foot on the footpeg, apply pressure to both footpegs and stand up slowly to weight the rear wheel and avoid wheelspin. You can move your upper body back and forth as needed to both gain traction and level out uneven ground.
As soon as you feel comfortable with the starting procedure, you can combine it with reaction training. Now you need a second person signaling you the remaining 15 and 5 seconds and then simulating the gate drop by simply dropping a stone or something similar.
Controlling the RPM and a feeling for optimal grip on the ground are not easy to implement and require frequent training. With our tips and the support of the MX Buddy App you will definitely improve your starts.
Your first holeshot is waiting for you! 🤙
Take your time and practice your starts!
It's the details that count. With MX Buddy and the RaceBox Mini you have the best tools to make them visible.