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Help with dirt versus concrete start.

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Hey all,

I will have some races coming up this year with dirt and concrete starts. Can you please fill me in in the biggest differences with these two starts, and the best way to tackle them. I'd appreciate all the help I can get for a newer racer.

Thanks,

Simons

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There is one major difference between dirt and concrete, your rear tire grips great on dirt, it doesn't on concrete. So the goal with a concrete start is to be very smooth on the throttle open, try to get the rear tire to grip instead of slip all over the place. This requires a completely different set of skills from dirt starts. The biggest skill is being able to keep the rear wheel from spinning up by using the clutch more on the start. You also don't want to use the front brake like you would on a dirt start because that has a tendency to unload the rear and make it that much more difficult to lay down traction. So the clutch plays an even larger role as said above. Another thing with concrete starts is warming up the tire briefly before the start. There are a lot of different techniques/philosophies behind this one. Some people get the tire smokin' hot right as the 30 second board is up and then don't move during those 30 seconds. This actually allows the tire to rest for a moment before taking off but it also keeps the knobs in contact with the concrete pad a little bit more traction for that initial burst. Remember though, with a concrete start, you will need a broom to make sure your starting position is clear of any dirt.

Dirt starts are more logical. Hold down the front brake, give it some gas, slip the clutch until the rear is about to start moving and then when the gate drops, release the front brake, open up that throttle, let go of the clutch and away you go! So yea, practice the concrete starts first, you'll find the dirt starts to be pretty easy. :smirk:

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On concrete start in 2nd and just go easy when you let the clutch out. Do not dump it. Light and easy until you hit dirt. Your ass will spin and you will go sideways or nowhere if you don't tiptoe off the concrete. Get Pingrees 101. He has it nice on that DVD

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Hey guys thanks a ton for the replies. I doubt i will have a chance to practice a start on concrete before the race so I will listen and try to apply on race day. It will be a D class start so I am nervous about people going all over the place. Thoughts??

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Hey guys thanks a ton for the replies. I doubt i will have a chance to practice a start on concrete before the race so I will listen and try to apply on race day. It will be a D class start so I am nervous about people going all over the place. Thoughts??

Meh, thats racing. I ride with people all over the place every time I ride, so its no big deal. I try to put myself in that position on a regular basis so I get more comfortable with it. The only difference is, you'll have people wanting to pass you all the time, so line choice and being smart is critical.

Edited by tye1138

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You should be able to sneak a practice start or two at the track on race day. When you go out for practice go strait to the gate and lay one down before anybody has a chance to stop you. (or you could ask to see if you are allowd) That will allow you to get a feel for it and put your text book knowledge to work and see where you stand before the race.

You could also try to launch on any concrete surface, such as a side walk, dirve way, or garage. Any smooth concrete surface will work and remember you only need to perfect the first 10 feet, after 10 feet it will be dirt and then the rules change.

For me the concrete starts are a major obstacle because we are racing and the concrete takes a different mentality than hurry up and race or go... go... go... The concrete will require you to be more meticulous with your control. On concrete every little mistake turns into a very large one and they will slow you down much more than on dirt. If you approach as if you were trying to take off on ice with plain knobby tires, you will get it quickly.

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In order to save on maintaining the starting area, a lot of motocross tracks use cement starts. Cement starts are slippery, so the same adjustments to the techniques for slippery starts are used on cement starts. If it is very slippery you sit a little farther back on the seat and keep your upper body leaning towards the back more. You straighten your arms more and make the bike pull you out of the start instead of pushing you out. In these slippery conditions you deliver less power to the rear wheel in an even smoother fashion. So don’t open the throttle too much and make sure to slip the clutch very smoothly. You don’t want to spin the rear wheel too much or you’ll loose a lot of valuable time right out of the gate. And there are a few other things to know about cement starts in order to get the rubber to hook up better. Dirt, dust and especially moisture will make that cement even more slippery. So have a broom to clean it off as well as possible. Then there is the burning of the rubber. It seems ashamed to burn a perfectly good tire but that hot super clean rubber will hook up a lot better then cold rubber. Timing is important so the tire is still warm when you start. So about one minute before the start, hold the front brake and take your weight off the bike. Spin the rear tire for at least five seconds, a little longer if you have a surplus of tires.

When you’re practicing this procedure make sure you prepare all the conditions the same as you would in the race. Clean the cement each time and warm the tire up. You want to get to know the feeling of the hookup. If you fail to prepare each practice start properly you would not be used to the hookup when it really counts, in the race.

In order to save on maintaining the starting area, a lot of motocross tracks use cement starts. Cement starts are slippery, so the same adjustments to the techniques for slippery starts are used on cement starts. If it is very slippery you sit a little farther back on the seat and keep your upper body leaning towards the back more. You straighten your arms more and make the bike pull you out of the start instead of pushing you out. In these slippery conditions you deliver less power to the rear wheel in an even smoother fashion. So don’t open the throttle too much and make sure to slip the clutch very smoothly. You don’t want to spin the rear wheel too much or you’ll loose a lot of valuable time right out of the gate. And there are a few other things to know about cement starts in order to get the rubber to hook up better. Dirt, dust and especially moisture will make that cement even more slippery. So have a broom to clean it off as well as possible. Then there is the burning of the rubber. It seems ashamed to burn a perfectly good tire but that hot super clean rubber will hook up a lot better then cold rubber. Timing is important so the tire is still warm when you start. So about one minute before the start, hold the front brake and take your weight off the bike. Spin the rear tire for at least five seconds, a little longer if you have a surplus of tires.

When you’re practicing this procedure make sure you prepare all the conditions the same as you would in the race. Clean the cement each time and warm the tire up. You want to get to know the feeling of the hookup. If you fail to prepare each practice start properly you would not be used to the hookup when it really counts, in the race.

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