25 Start Tips Of December - Day 5

Mechanics Of The Start

Photo by Shan Moore

One of the keys to success is in supercross and motocross is 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 #5:

Justin Barcia:

The Mechanics Of The Start

I’ve always felt like I sit more straight up and down than most riders. I sit on the bike with my head over the handlebars and both feet on the ground; just relaxed with elbows up. I know some guys put one leg up and do different things, but I try to keep my feet down as long as possible and try to keep them in a straight line. I start in second and grab third gear pretty quick and that’s pretty much when my feet come up onto the pegs.

For the most part you want to keep your body and your butt on the front of the bike right up near to the gas tank, but remember that you can control a lot of wheel spin or traction by just moving your upper body back a little. If it’s softer dirt you want to be more forward because you’re going to get a lot of traction, but if it’s slicker and harder you kind of want to lean your body back a little. In our sport there’s just so many variables and there’s so many different things you can do to mess up your start, getting a good start comes down to practice and experience. At a race, you also want to feel out the dirt in front of the starting gate during practice so you can get an idea of how it’s going to be during the race.