25 Start Tips Of December - Day 3

Prepping Your Rut

Photo by Shan Moore

When it comes to doing well in Supercross (or motocross), one of the keys to success is about getting a good start. Some insiders will even go so far as to say it’s 90-95% of the game. Of course, you have to be fast too, but putting yourself at or near the front of the pack after the start of the race certainly increases your chances of getting on the podium.

Dirt Rider recently spent a day with Justin Barcia at his practice compound in Greenville, Florida, working on an upcoming story for the April issue of Dirt Rider magazine called "The Art of the Start". We also spent a day with off-road star Charlie Mullins at his place in Hickory, North Carolina. Barcia was the king of the holeshot in 2015, grabbing 11 Motosport.com Holeshot Awards during this year's Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series, while Mullins is a former GNCC and national enduro champ who gives us his tips on getting a good dead-engine start.

DR contributor Shan Moore picked the brains of these two powerhouse riders to find out the secrets behind their impressive start techniques. After collecting all the data, we decided we couldn't just sit on this treasure trove of information until release date, so Dirt Rider is leaking part of the info on the web for you to implement into your own start routine.

Here’s tip #3:

Justin Barcia:

Prepping Your Rut

Sometimes it’s not about gate position, it’s about picking the best rut. In Supercross it’s hard to prep your gate because anymore the dirt behind the gate is like concrete. There’s usually nothing to work with. In that case you’ve got to pick the best rut. That makes a big difference. If the dirt’s soft and I have some room to work with it I fill in the rut with fresh dirt behind the gate a little to try to get the wheel to spin and I also pack the rut in tight to get a nice, flat start area.

You also want to make sure the rut isn’t veering off in the wrong direction. Usually it either gets a big hole at the end of the gate or the rut gets squirrelly and is crooked. You just look for the straightest, most perfect line. In a perfect world you would get a good gate pick with a good rut, but in racing there’s no perfect world so usually you have to deal with some issue here or there; either the gate pick is not great or the rut isn’t exactly perfect, so you have to know how to deal with it.