The perfect race start.
"The fastest rider doesn't always win". Crashes, consistency and creating work for yourself are all factors that can compromise results, so let's start at the beginning... The start gate! Getting your starts right is 80% of the job done, and it's a balance between set up, control, strength, reaction time and fearlessness. Each element is as important as each other but useless without the next. The start gate consists of 40 gates all at front wheel height, controlled by one person in the centre of the system, once the controller releases the gates, they will all fall in sync. (Without talking about gate position, it can have a great advantage to be in a specific area dependant on track grip levels and distance to the first corner) You have 15 seconds to get yourself together, hyped up and ready so that when the gate hits the floor, you are moving towards the first corner as quickly as possible. The jump The jump is the initial point in which the gate is dropped and you start to move. Getting the jump right is very much about having quick reaction times and allowing the clutch to release at the optimal point to enable forward propulsion of the bike. It seems easy, but when the sound of 40 bikes revving next to you and elbows leaning on you from both sides gets on top of you, it can be a true test for the nervous rider. If you want a good jump, you need to hold your nerve and get brave.
One foot up or both feet down? Starting position is a personal preference among riders based on their comforts and what they are used to, but is there any advantages for one method over another? One foot up pro's: (specifically left foot up) Having one foot under the gear lever is a strategy many use so that they can hook the next gear as soon as they're out of the gate, this is a good method to use if you're 'vertically challenged' and are unable to put both feet on the floor! One foot up con's: The trouble with this strategy is that with one foot down, you're starting off-balance and are likely to to lean to one side once momentum begins unless you have the strength to hold yourself up. Both feet down pro's: The benefits of having both feet down is that you can grip the bike tight with both legs, start moving forward in a balanced way and can fend off riders leaning on you behind the gate without falling. Both feet down con's: You're not able to hook the next gear up as immediately as having one foot up to start with. It can be difficult unless you're taller or using a holeshot device. Keeping the front wheel down As previously mentioned, holeshot devices can be extremely helpful in keeping the front wheel down, so you can focus on getting the power on, rather than needing to back off to try and stay on the bike. The old school and equally effective method is sitting far forward on the seat with your upper body over the handlebars with the elbows up high. This way, the front of the bike will be less likely to wheelie out of control, which means you can focus on laying the power down thick and fast. Once you're away As soon as you're away and on the power, the most important thing is to hook the next gear as cleanly as possible. A clean gear shift could mean a bike length advantage on the competition
Exercises to improve your reaction time The drills in the video are a good introduction into reaction time training and will force you to start moving in response to an action that you can't control, so when performed in combination with many other reaction time drills, this will improve your instinct reactions when the gate drops.