Supercross starts often decisive

first_imgANAHEIM – It’s the most exciting part of a supercross race. The engines rev, the gates drop and there’s mayhem to be the first to Turn 1. “A good start is 70 percent of the race,” Yamaha Troy 125cc series team manager Dave Osterman said. “It’s a rush, the ultimate rush.” A motorcycle race start easily is unlike any other in motor racing. The riders line up in a single row behind a gate that is about wheel high. Someone, usually a card girl, holds up signs signifying the amount of seconds before the gates fall. When they do, it’s a mad dash of 20 motorcyclists for one usually very narrow turn. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded cardIt’s unlike car racing in which the fastest qualifiers get the front spot and, typically, one of the fastest cars in qualifying will emerge in the lead. In supercross, any one of the riders could have the lead in the first turn or be on the ground because of a crash 30 seconds behind the leaders. “It sounds funny, but it’s pretty hard,” said Brett Metcalfe, who rides for Osterman’s team. “You have to stay consistent and focused.” The 21-year-old Murrieta resident by way of Australia was the most successful at it last weekend in Phoenix. He said it was his first holeshot “in a long time.” Metcalf again will be going for the holeshot in Saturday night’s Amp’d Mobile AMA series Lites race at Angel Stadium. Racing is scheduled to start at 7. “I’ve been working on it and it paid off,” Metcalfe said. How important can it be? In last weekend’s 250cc class race, series points leader James “Bubba” Stewart crashed on the start. By the time he got back on his bike, he was 30 seconds behind the leaders. He did, however, rally to finish third. center_img Metcalfe and his teammates say they practice their starts 20-30 times two or three days a week. By the time they are finished, the clutch needs to be replaced. Teammate Branden Jesseman called start practices necessary and boring. “You have to make sure you get your shifting down right.” he said. “You need to make sure your revs are right. You have to have enough traction in the rear wheel and have a good reaction time. The more you do it, when it’s time for racing, it’s more natural. You don’t have to think much about it. It just happens.” For the most part, it can be the make or break that a rider needs. “These guys are on very fast motorcycles,” Osterman said. “They’re all bumping into each other. They are all physically fit. No one wants to crash and get hurt. Everyone is going into Turn 1 and wants to be first. All of these guys have the same goal going into here. It’s pretty intense. It’s exciting. Bumping is not intentional, but it does happen. They funnel in there so fast.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, ext. 2272 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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