The exit in motocross

The Motocross (MX) start is key, one of the most critical and exciting moments of motocross racing. Although it sounds exaggerated, it means 50% of your chances of winning, or getting a good result. Depending on the circuit, even more.

Let’s explain how a starting grid is formed in the MXGP World Championship. From the pure and hard procedure, how the riders are placed, to the moment of passing the first corner…

The format of the motocross grid is linear. In other words, all riders start in line at the same height. Already in itself is a peculiarity and makes a difference to other motor sports, such as MotoGP or F1. In these disciplines the grids are formed with three riders in line at different heights (MotoGP), or two cars (F1), and are filled lines back in the starting formation.

Another big difference is given by the configuration of the same. In order to form the starting order in MX, the pilots first carry out some timed workouts. Based on these results, the fastest driver chooses his place on the fence, and so on until the last recorded time.

They choose the place for the qualifying series, that is, the one that decides the final order of departure to the race tasks. The qualifying is a test of shorter duration than the final sleeves, and simply serves to choose that so privileged better site. It does not count for the final result. It does not add points, but that yes, the honor of winning and the blow of attention in your rivals remains there.

The moment of truth comes. The pilot and a mechanic approach the pre-strain, the back of the start. There they wait for the previous category to finish. Once the commissaires authorise, the mechanics move the bikes off to the front area and get into the garages, just below the podium.

It is a spectacular moment to see the previous moments, the nerves, the concentration, everybody with a tense calm. It is the period in which the pilot chooses where he is going to start. In the past, each pilot prepared by stepping on his starting area to gain traction in the rear wheel. Since this year a kind of metal carpet has been installed on the ground, so that the bikes do not dig and there is more equality.

The commissioner gives the order, the first classified of the qualifying is placed in the place he believes best. Everyone else follows. This is a world and there is nothing written or guaranteed. Each one is placed where he anticipates that he will start better, that he will arrive earlier at the first corner.

Normally they usually opt for the shortest line, that is to say, for the inside of the curve, but they are not mathematics, and although it gives you an advantage over the one on the outside, it is not definitive. In fact there are many riders who change their position from the 1st to the 2nd task. Much more decisive is the reaction time, concentration, determination, calculating just when the fence goes down.

Let’s go! All set, drivers ready, mechanics and other staff out. Just the man and the machine one more time. The bikes started and prepared all in line with the starting system arranged in the suspensions (you lower the fork almost to the top to compress the bike and avoid lifting the front wheel when opening the throttle).

The pilots giving blows of gas, in the two times so that they do not stop, to clean the carburetor and that they do not drown at the moment of leaving. In the four times simply to clean, and in all cases to maintain mental activation.

You put on your glasses, look at the marshal and the stewardesses at the end of the line to see how much time is left. You reposition your glasses, another blow of gas, the pulsations above 160 reaching the red zone, 15 seconds, not even the pointer moves on the circuit.

The noise is celestial music. Banner of 5 seconds… the cards are laid, there is no turning back. The contained breath, 3, 2, 1 your eyes glued in the fence, the pulsations above 200, to the cut of ignition, the fist of the gas to half regime and 0 low the fence! Now yes, you release the clutch and open the gas thoroughly, as if there were no tomorrow.

You raise your eyes, press your feet tightly against the stirrups, keep yourself in the forward position, on top of the handlebars. You put irons in the gearbox and gradually let yourself slide back in the seat, to give traction to the wheel, gain speed and aerodynamics. A single obsession… arrive first at the end of the straight, enter the curve without touching anyone and get the holeshot, the glory of the start.

50% is done. If you go ahead, your chances of winning or a good result are very great. If you make a mistake at the start, my friend, your career will be very different. Only the chosen ones are capable of winning badly, and there are very few.