Destry Abbott EnduroCross Riding Tip—Starts

How to choose the right gate and get better starts

This view of Cody Webb and Ty Tremaine lined up for a bracket race provides a slightly better look at the short start straight and right-hand first turn. Gate two (counting from the inside or far right) or even three provides a straighter shot at the first turn, meaning less distance to travel. Sure it’s minimally less, but why not give yourself every advantage?Mark Kariya

While victory in an AMA EnduroCross (EX) race might not depend absolutely on a great start (given how the radical obstacles that litter each course make it impossible to have a mistake-free race), being up front in the first turn never hurts.

But optimizing your start begins before you even line up, as off-road legend and EX Veteran-class champion Destry Abbott points out. Notice little things like if there’s a hole right after the gate or if the direct line to the first turn isn’t from the inside gate. Once you get that handled, then you can concentrate on the rest of the starting procedure, which is similar to how you would do it in a motocross race, except you’ll likely be in second gear the entire time.

Now it’s Destry’s (8) turn. As you can see, he chose the number three gate. “Gate two had a little bit of a pothole in front of it. I was kind of gambling on [whether to go with two or three],” he admits. “It was one of those really tough [choices].”Mark Kariya
About halfway down the straight and while Destry was slightly slower out of the gate, he was doing everything else perfectly and fairly secure in second. “Looking back at it, I probably should’ve gone with [gate] two, but that’s the way it works,” he reflects. “The inside is going to control it, but the downfall [here] is you can see him kind of coming to his left. I was going straight into the corner because [from gate three] it was straight to that first log where he had to actually come over on me.” That being the case, Destry gave way to the rider in front, preferring to play it safe, settle for second into the corner, and wait for Cameron Welsh (752) to make a mistake, which he eventually did.Mark Kariya