Hare scramble start techniques

I dont know what it is called but in the local hare scramble series I plan to race in they do the start where you kickstart and take off. I have a CRF250 that is bone stock but I can never get it started easily. Especially in gear. It is a new 2013 CRF250r so it is fuel injected. I've never raced a hare scramble before, but I was hoping for some tips so I don't come in dead last. I've rode for 8 years, just never raced. I plan to race C class so It'll probably be crazy. Any tips on how to get it started better and get a good start? Start in nuetral and shift quick? Shift to first or second from nuetral?

Alex

You should just take some time and try every option until you figure out what you can do quickly and consistently. The best way to get a bike to start in gear is to shut it off with the bike in gear and the clutch in. Hold the clutch in and wait for the flag to wave. That way you have already broken loose the sticky clutch plates. If you end up starting In neutral, it might be quicker to shift up to second as you lift your foot (use the heel of your boot) than to lift your foot over and bang it down. The good thing about a HS is that the races are long enough that you can easily make up for a bad start.

4 stroke....I never have this problem with my ktm, or really 2 strokes. It would be faster to shift to first, then to second imo. but I always start in 1st(with my ktm) and 2nd with my rm250. the tranny ratio is so different thats how it has to be.

 

 I wonder if the crf250x starts easier, being a woods version. usually what I will do right at the 10 seconds, slowly kick it over, a couple times, and then get on the compression stroke, than kick it on the start.

I dont know what it is called but in the local hare scramble series I plan to race in they do the start where you kickstart and take off. I have a CRF250 that is bone stock but I can never get it started easily. Especially in gear. It is a new 2013 CRF250r so it is fuel injected. I've never raced a hare scramble before, but I was hoping for some tips so I don't come in dead last. I've rode for 8 years, just never raced. I plan to race C class so It'll probably be crazy. Any tips on how to get it started better and get a good start? Start in nuetral and shift quick? Shift to first or second from nuetral?

Alex

Alex,

I race HS races with a dead engine start too... I have tried starting my 450 in gear, the result is about a 50/50. You're better off just starting in neutral and either heel kicking it up to 2nd or mashing your foot down to 1st. I can tell you this... make sure your bike is right with valve clearance and I'd say jetting but you're FI. Then just practice finding top dead center and be able to get your bike to fire on one kick. Once you have all that in order... just remember to relax at the start... a holeshot is nice... but a HS is a long race. If you don't fire on the first kick... just find TDC and give her another kick. There is all kinds of time... don't freak out and blow yourself up in the first loop. If you give up even 10 seconds  on the start of a 2 hour race it's nothing compared to giving up minutes because you rode yourself to arm pump and crashes because you convinced yourself you lost the race in that first 10 seconds.

Put it in second and give it gas and release the clutch slowly and go.  Its really a reaction time plus perfect throttle/ clutch application game.

Alex,

I race HS races with a dead engine start too... I have tried starting my 450 in gear, the result is about a 50/50. You're better off just starting in neutral and either heel kicking it up to 2nd or mashing your foot down to 1st. I can tell you this... make sure your bike is right with valve clearance and I'd say jetting but you're FI. Then just practice finding top dead center and be able to get your bike to fire on one kick. Once you have all that in order... just remember to relax at the start... a holeshot is nice... but a HS is a long race. If you don't fire on the first kick... just find TDC and give her another kick. There is all kinds of time... don't freak out and blow yourself up in the first loop. If you give up even 10 seconds  on the start of a 2 hour race it's nothing compared to giving up minutes because you rode yourself to arm pump and crashes because you convinced yourself you lost the race in that first 10 seconds.

I hear the "harescramble is a long race take your time alot". My strategy is to get out front and pass as many guys as possible so you dont have to worry about making up tons of time when your tired.  I mean when your all together its easiest to make up time than if you guys start separating.

I'm a big believer in the "get as many guys between me and the pack as quickly as possible" at the start plan as well, so the start really does matter. I've got a FI kx250f that doesn't like to start in gear either. here's my method: get the bike to operating temp on the line while the first waves are going, if you're "C" class you're going to be towards the back of the field wave wise. I start my bike in neutral when there are 2 waves left in front of me and let it idle. when the wave in front of you goes, put the bike in second, pull in the clutch, rev it hard, you can bang the limiter if you want, and hit the kill switch but don't move the clutch. the motor should stop at tdc, (it usually does for me) pull the kicker out but don't put any pressure on it. boot it when the flag flies for your wave. it should start. you need your clutch adjusted so that there's zero drag on the plates when it's pulled in. I use my whole hand to pull the lever instead of the usual 2 fingers, just for the start. otherwise I start in neutral and go to first, its easier for me to press down than lift up when I shift my weight after the kick.

Thanks for all the tips. I understand guys saying simply start it in second with the clutch in, like I did on my supermini 150 but this 250 just doesn't like being started in gear at all and that's not really an option. I am planning to try a few methods you have suggested today after the glue on my grips are dry. (I put my hand guards on and cut the ends off of old grips so I wasn't trashing new grips if I take the handguards off.) Anyone use the cycra or acerbics plastic skid plates? Will it break easy?

Thanks for all the tips. I understand guys saying simply start it in second with the clutch in, like I did on my supermini 150 but this 250 just doesn't like being started in gear at all and that's not really an option. I am planning to try a few methods you have suggested today after the glue on my grips are dry. (I put my hand guards on and cut the ends off of old grips so I wasn't trashing new grips if I take the handguards off.) Anyone use the cycra or acerbics plastic skid plates? Will it break easy?

I'll try to give you a few tips as this has been my first complete season as a C harescramble rider...

as far as the starting goes, give the rev it hard and hold the kill switch method a try, you might be surprised.

the skidplate will probably be fine, anything breaks if you smash it hard enough.

get some of that dual density acoustic foam and pack that in between the motor and the plate, it helps keep the mud out.

I'm a big advocate of barkbusters, they've saved my bars and levers God knows how many times.

do everything you can to stay cool. minimalist is the best plan here, a really well vented shirt, pants and helmet make a huge difference. no tshirt underneath, nothing that you don't need. once you over heat, and when you fall for the 20th time you're going to be tired and hot, it's gets really tough to keep going.

camelback, pack it with ice, then Gatorade, then fill the actual backpack with ice so it melts on your back through the ride. sometimes I wear my chest protector, sometimes I don't, depends on how hot the weather is and how fast the track is.

get radiator braces, trust me on this...

get the bike valved for the woods. if you're slow, MX suspension is awful for lugging through the woods. for example, my bike came with a .96 spring up front, I'm at a .84 now and a 5.0 out back and it's awesome. i'm 170 without gear. the racetech spring calculator is pretty good at suggesting a very close spring. MX springs and valving don't soak up roots and rocks in the woods in 2nd gear, it's really tiring.

get the bike comfortable, try different bar positions, etc.

stand as much as you can. it took me a long time to get used to this, but it's so much less tiring.

don't follow into bottlenecks, look for a way around all the time.

get a coolant overflow bottle (motionpro makes a nice one for about $30).

a steering damper makes a world of difference...

I have a Rekluse EXP (the cheapest one), it took a little getting used to but it's saved me stalling a million times.

keep moving, if you stop you and the bike both roast. momentum is a huge thing in the woods, try to keep some movement.

gas - I stop after 2 laps and I've usually used a gallon, so about 20 miles. a normal race for my speed would be 4 laps in 2 hrs.

go until you see the flag making you stop. get used to riding the 2 hours.

getting passed - let the fast guys by, they're there and gone before you know it. don't just stop in some spot that you're going to screw yourself in to allow a pass, find a safe place and ease over.

don't push a fallen bike up a hill, lay it down, grab the front tire, drag the front end around so it points downhill, ride it down carefully and try the hill again.

 

you can watch me pollute various tracks here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK54SgQu_TFZdkz285a_eEw

 

hope this helps, good luck and have a blast!

I'll try to give you a few tips as this has been my first complete season as a C harescramble rider...

as far as the starting goes, give the rev it hard and hold the kill switch method a try, you might be surprised.

the skidplate will probably be fine, anything breaks if you smash it hard enough.

get some of that dual density acoustic foam and pack that in between the motor and the plate, it helps keep the mud out.

I'm a big advocate of barkbusters, they've saved my bars and levers God knows how many times.

do everything you can to stay cool. minimalist is the best plan here, a really well vented shirt, pants and helmet make a huge difference. no tshirt underneath, nothing that you don't need. once you over heat, and when you fall for the 20th time you're going to be tired and hot, it's gets really tough to keep going.

camelback, pack it with ice, then Gatorade, then fill the actual backpack with ice so it melts on your back through the ride. sometimes I wear my chest protector, sometimes I don't, depends on how hot the weather is and how fast the track is.

get radiator braces, trust me on this...

get the bike valved for the woods. if you're slow, MX suspension is awful for lugging through the woods. for example, my bike came with a .96 spring up front, I'm at a .84 now and a 5.0 out back and it's awesome. i'm 170 without gear. the racetech spring calculator is pretty good at suggesting a very close spring. MX springs and valving don't soak up roots and rocks in the woods in 2nd gear, it's really tiring.

get the bike comfortable, try different bar positions, etc.

stand as much as you can. it took me a long time to get used to this, but it's so much less tiring.

don't follow into bottlenecks, look for a way around all the time.

get a coolant overflow bottle (motionpro makes a nice one for about $30).

a steering damper makes a world of difference...

I have a Rekluse EXP (the cheapest one), it took a little getting used to but it's saved me stalling a million times.

keep moving, if you stop you and the bike both roast. momentum is a huge thing in the woods, try to keep some movement.

gas - I stop after 2 laps and I've usually used a gallon, so about 20 miles. a normal race for my speed would be 4 laps in 2 hrs.

go until you see the flag making you stop. get used to riding the 2 hours.

getting passed - let the fast guys by, they're there and gone before you know it. don't just stop in some spot that you're going to screw yourself in to allow a pass, find a safe place and ease over.

don't push a fallen bike up a hill, lay it down, grab the front tire, drag the front end around so it points downhill, ride it down carefully and try the hill again.

 

you can watch me pollute various tracks here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK54SgQu_TFZdkz285a_eEw

 

hope this helps, good luck and have a blast!

I have moose hand guards now (the kind that go around and into the end of the bars), and other than that it's stock. I hear the hare scramble I plan to do my first race at is super flat. They mix it with a mx track with the tires and firewood stuff along with a few mud pits that should be no problem since I have a friend with a full size mx track with a seperate endurocross track with tires and mud and all that at a relatives house I ride at a lot. My dad Co-owns a small auto repair shop locally so I can get all the free tires I want and I have a 6 acre backyard to tear up.

 

When being passed, How do you know if the guy is in your class or not? I'm usually pretty defensive in my riding. If a faster guy comes up on me when my friends all meet at the MX track I go to (not a legit race) I block them and run them off the track (unless they let off) and that.

 

I don't have a skid plate now, so I was thinking about either the Cycra plastic one or the Works connection full coverage aluminum one. The Cycra is 80 and the Works is 140....I'm leaning towards cycra....If it breaks I could have had two for the price of 1 works....But will the plastic get too hot and melt?

 

I have a buddy that raced a hare scramble once but couldn't finish and didn't like it at all. (Probably since he's a little overweight and not too fit.) He told me for pit stops for fuel, the guy next to him filled a milk carton with his mixed gas for his 125 and instead of pouring it slowly through a 5 gallon gas container, they crushed it to get it out and filled up way faster. Any thoughts on that technique?

 

I thought about ditching my chest protector and knee guards and just using my jersey, neck brace, helmet, pants, and boots. Are long socks a must for this long of race? I bought a few pairs of Thor socks on sale and use them for riding, but they are super hot. Will your legs get raw if I wear ankle socks? Are camel backs a must have as well? How do you know what one to buy and how do you drink out of it when riding? Wouldn't it be annoying?

 

I don't think I'll probably have the time to mess with suspension too much besides setting the sag and clickers on the forks before the 15th. As far as the bars, I've used the same bend for a long time (CR high) and I think If I switched it at this point, it'd hurt more than help. Since my hand guards stick out another inch total I was thinking about cutting the bars down half an inch to compensate. Bad Idea? Too much? Do you all run the recommended tire pressure? I have stock MX51's which I believe are intermediate's. 

Will I be fine with just hand guards and a skid plate for the first time out at least? I don't want to drop 600 bucks if I end up not liking it. 

Also should I buy a different sprocket with a different number of teeth? I was thinking maybe just front instead of rear since it's cheaper.

I race both enduro and hare scramble. if you don't have a electric start bike, figure out why your bike doesn't want to start easily. when it's warm it should start easily, otherwise you are screwed if you stall it on the course and you have to spend a bunch of time kick starting it. it takes time and wears you out. on carburated bike this usually means the idle mixture (and or pilot)  is wrong for your altitude. not sure on a FI bike, since it's supposed to figure that out for you. it could be that you don't have enough body weight to kick over a 250 or 450 four stroke, since it generally takes more weight to get it spinning fast enough to make it catch than a 2 stroke or smaller bike, especially if you have it in gear already. finding and starting slightly past TDC is habit.  other than that, all the tips are really great, especially the handlebar guards. it's easy to crash on HS or Enduros and part of the success is in how fast you can get back on the bike and start it. having a broken brake or clutch lever, kind of ends the race.

 

get in good shape, if not already. you should be able to pick up your bike, and start it without wasting too much energy. one of my training regiments, is to coast it down the driveway (mine is steep), jump off, lay it down, then pick it up, and push it up the hill, then turn it and jump on it as it starts rolling back down. alternate side each time. you should do it in full gear a few times, to find all the pinch/rub points.

 

 

Thanks for the good advice! I'll try pushing it up the driveway thing..(mine is steep also) 

I know there is no way to ensure safety in a Hare Scramble, but my parents are a little hesitant on wanting me to race on the 15th. Any idea for what I could tell them? My uncles raced and one got hurt really bad so they are a little down on the racing idea. (That was motocross though) How do they compare for safety?

I have moose hand guards now (the kind that go around and into the end of the bars), and other than that it's stock. I hear the hare scramble I plan to do my first race at is super flat. They mix it with a mx track with the tires and firewood stuff along with a few mud pits that should be no problem since I have a friend with a full size mx track with a seperate endurocross track with tires and mud and all that at a relatives house I ride at a lot. My dad Co-owns a small auto repair shop locally so I can get all the free tires I want and I have a 6 acre backyard to tear up.

 

When being passed, How do you know if the guy is in your class or not? I'm usually pretty defensive in my riding. If a faster guy comes up on me when my friends all meet at the MX track I go to (not a legit race) I block them and run them off the track (unless they let off) and that.

 

I don't have a skid plate now, so I was thinking about either the Cycra plastic one or the Works connection full coverage aluminum one. The Cycra is 80 and the Works is 140....I'm leaning towards cycra....If it breaks I could have had two for the price of 1 works....But will the plastic get too hot and melt?

 

I have a buddy that raced a hare scramble once but couldn't finish and didn't like it at all. (Probably since he's a little overweight and not too fit.) He told me for pit stops for fuel, the guy next to him filled a milk carton with his mixed gas for his 125 and instead of pouring it slowly through a 5 gallon gas container, they crushed it to get it out and filled up way faster. Any thoughts on that technique?

 

I thought about ditching my chest protector and knee guards and just using my jersey, neck brace, helmet, pants, and boots. Are long socks a must for this long of race? I bought a few pairs of Thor socks on sale and use them for riding, but they are super hot. Will your legs get raw if I wear ankle socks? Are camel backs a must have as well? How do you know what one to buy and how do you drink out of it when riding? Wouldn't it be annoying?

 

I don't think I'll probably have the time to mess with suspension too much besides setting the sag and clickers on the forks before the 15th. As far as the bars, I've used the same bend for a long time (CR high) and I think If I switched it at this point, it'd hurt more than help. Since my hand guards stick out another inch total I was thinking about cutting the bars down half an inch to compensate. Bad Idea? Too much? Do you all run the recommended tire pressure? I have stock MX51's which I believe are intermediate's. 

Will I be fine with just hand guards and a skid plate for the first time out at least? I don't want to drop 600 bucks if I end up not liking it. 

for the gas I use a 2.5 gallon quick dump from western powersports. it's a normal can with a red top that vents internally and shuts off when the fuel hits the filler. I think it's called a red ripper cap.

I wear plain white knee socks, mx socks were too hot. I wear knee and elbow guards.

I like RM low bars, but that's only because the steering damper made my bars rise an inch and those put the bars back to stock.

my camelback is Moose, as are my barkbusters and aluminum skidplate. you can get a cheap starter camelback at walmart or any outdoor store for 20 bucks.

start with a regular gas can, you'll probably appreciate the break.

I cut my bars to 29.5 inches + the barkbusters, so just over 30".

you can tell class typically because the faster guys just yell until you move or you can judge the sound on the bike catching you. someone that's going to blow past you sounds different than someone that's racing you. sounds weird, but you'll understand once it happens. you can also look at the number as they go by. typically numbers on the bike and the same on the helmet in 2 places. your class will probably have a prefix or a color, like my number is 2337, 23 is the class and 37 is my number, so I race against anyone else with a 23, other people get a free pass. if you start running people off the track you're going to get hit, protested, run into a tree by someone that knows how to do it or just plain uninvited to the next race.

Thanks for the good advice! I'll try pushing it up the driveway thing..(mine is steep also) 

I know there is no way to ensure safety in a Hare Scramble, but my parents are a little hesitant on wanting me to race on the 15th. Any idea for what I could tell them? My uncles raced and one got hurt really bad so they are a little down on the racing idea. (That was motocross though) How do they compare for safety?

harescrambles are typically much slower average speeds. if you can go 15 or 18 mph average in the north east series I run you're usually doing well. we don't have much for mx in our courses except Unadilla (this weekend!!) which is good because I suck at that too.

as for tires - personal preference for each person, 12psi is pretty standard for me, oh and my gearing is still stock.

harescrambles are typically much slower average speeds. if you can go 15 or 18 mph average in the north east series I run you're usually doing well. we don't have much for mx in our courses except Unadilla (this weekend!!) which is good because I suck at that too.

as for tires - personal preference for each person, 12psi is pretty standard for me, oh and my gearing is still stock.

Are you talking about the KX previously mentioned or a different bike? I don't think at my level of riding the tread pattern and compound would matter a ton as long as it's the stock intermediates. Can't plan ahead for weather too easily and if I do, it's be my luck they'd water the heck out of the track or something. :)

Edited by A13

Are you talking about the KX previously mentioned or a different bike? I don't think at my level of riding the tread pattern and compound would matter a ton as long as it's the stock intermediates. Can't plan ahead for weather too easily and if I do, it's be my luck they'd water the heck out of the track or something. :)

I had 51's on the kx from the dealer, I hated the front, the rear was ok. I have a Michelin s12 xc on the front now with a Pirelli mt16 rear. I laced an 18" wheel to the stock hub in the back, the 18" tires have a lot more sidewall and tend to pinch flat less. most of the guys that run dunlops out here use a 51 rear with a 31 front, but we don't get much sand and rock. we've only had one dry race all year, it's been muddy in the northeast all summer. the combination I have now seems to be working pretty well. check out the youtube link I put in the earlier post, you can see if you're on similar conditions. the Pirelli scorpion pro front is a really good tire too. I use the mt16 rear on almost anything and they just work.

I had 51's on the kx from the dealer, I hated the front, the rear was ok. I have a Michelin s12 xc on the front now with a Pirelli mt16 rear. I laced an 18" wheel to the stock hub in the back, the 18" tires have a lot more sidewall and tend to pinch flat less. most of the guys that run dunlops out here use a 51 rear with a 31 front, but we don't get much sand and rock. we've only had one dry race all year, it's been muddy in the northeast all summer. the combination I have now seems to be working pretty well. check out the youtube link I put in the earlier post, you can see if you're on similar conditions. the Pirelli scorpion pro front is a really good tire too. I use the mt16 rear on almost anything and they just work.

 

I had 51's on the kx from the dealer, I hated the front, the rear was ok. I have a Michelin s12 xc on the front now with a Pirelli mt16 rear. I laced an 18" wheel to the stock hub in the back, the 18" tires have a lot more sidewall and tend to pinch flat less. most of the guys that run dunlops out here use a 51 rear with a 31 front, but we don't get much sand and rock. we've only had one dry race all year, it's been muddy in the northeast all summer. the combination I have now seems to be working pretty well. check out the youtube link I put in the earlier post, you can see if you're on similar conditions. the Pirelli scorpion pro front is a really good tire too. I use the mt16 rear on almost anything and they just work.

Yea I watched a few of your videos. It'll be at New Hartford in Iowa (so it's a decent drive) But it looks to be a fun track. The part of this video at 5:30-8:00 I think will be my fastest and favorite part....the enduro part of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGQBdKBryD8 I just got in from a little hour long ride. I felt good in my wooded area. After 45 minutes I was low on gas, but not out. I think I can make 2 laps possibly without fuel. 

Edited by A13

I dont know what it is called but in the local hare scramble series I plan to race in they do the start where you kickstart and take off. I have a CRF250 that is bone stock but I can never get it started easily. Especially in gear. It is a new 2013 CRF250r so it is fuel injected. I've never raced a hare scramble before, but I was hoping for some tips so I don't come in dead last. I've rode for 8 years, just never raced. I plan to race C class so It'll probably be crazy. Any tips on how to get it started better and get a good start? Start in nuetral and shift quick? Shift to first or second from nuetral?

Alex

I did my first hare scramble this year.  Biggest lesson for me was to know my pace.  I can ride pretty fast for 20 minutes but after that I get tired.  Best to ride a pace that you can handle for 2 hours.  Don't fall down, it's the biggest waste of time and energy.  If you notice you can't keep your keep your line slow down. 

I get tense and hold my breath, bad idea, remember to breath.

Its your first race.  Some of these guys have been racing every weekend for many years, so unless you are incredibly athletic, your not going to win or even place.  Have fun.  Don't get hurt because your not going to want to miss the next race.

that looks like a pretty straightforward course. you'll be fine. go ride your race and have a great time, there's nothing like the feeling you have just before that flag flies.

good luck!

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