Of all the controversial topics in modern motocross, there is one issue thatremains undisputed: without a good start, it’s tough to win. As trite as thismay sound, starting is such an important and difficult concept to grasp thatseveral top pros are held back from victory weekly because of poor starts(just ask Mike LaRocco!).
[IMAGE 1]Although there are several reasons why you may be getting bad starts atyour local track, there are no excuses more valid than the age-oldexoneration of not knowing the right way to practice them. Granted, it istough¿there are so many variables to think about while running throughstart drills that it can become almost overwhelming. For one, every track hasdifferent dirt characteristics, and to make that pill even harder to swallow,you have to throw in weather conditions. You can be at the same track thathas the same decomposed granite terra one week and ace the start, butnext week, when the championship is at stake, you’re sitting at the gatewaiting for the water crew to finish saturating the track with 16,000 gallons ofwater.
As if these situations aren’t bad enough, don’t forget about the current trendof cement starting gates. Promoters love to put in cement starting gates forone major reason: it makes their life easier. Instead of having to re-groomthe dirt behind the gate every couple of weeks, these promoters would muchrather have a permanent, fixed concrete starting pad that requires zilch inthe maintenance department. So what does this mean to you, you ask?
What it means is that until you learn how to deal with these concretemonsters, you are going to be left at the gate spinning your rear wheel whilethe rest of the pack is rounding the first corner unless you consciously thinkabout what you are doing on the slab, and learn the proper technique tolaunch off of it correctly.
We were lucky enough to bump into Yamaha of Troy team manager ErikKehoe at a recent practice session at the Hungry Valley MX track in SouthernCalifornia. Kehoe was more than willing to share some concrete-startpointers with us, and promptly busted out a near-perfect start on the firstattempt. Before all of you kids out there start saying “Yeah, but what doessome team manager know about motoing?” let us refresh your memory withKehoe’s credentials. Erik was a former factory rider with seven 125cc Nationalwins to his credit between the years of 1985-’88, and after his successfulprofessional career he went on to win a White Brothers Vet WorldChampionship before taking his post at Yamaha of Troy.Here are some of the pointers that we walked away with after watching Kehoerip through a couple of starts.