HomeColumnsStarting LineThe Starting Line : Deep Staging verse Shallow Staging

The Starting Line : Deep Staging verse Shallow Staging

Motorcycle Drag racing Sportsman

The Starting Line is a biweekly column for our Sportsman drag racers brought to you by Schnitz Racing. Every other week we will feature a frequently asked question and have it answered by a panel of experienced sportsman racers, led by Ben Knight. Having questions answered by multiple racers will give our new racers several perspectives on the information they want. If you have a sportsman related question, submit it to editor@dragbike.com.

What’s the difference between deep staging and shallow staging and the advantages of each?

Janie Palm

Staging consists of two sets of lights, pre-stage and stage. There is a roll-out distance between the sensor for the pre-state and staging lights. You normally light the pre-stage lights first then roll through your roll-out to light the stage lights. The act of deep staging is to roll forward even further out of the pre-stage beams so they go out. You are hence closer to the finish line, now you have less roll out and your reaction times will be quicker but you are now closer to red lighting.
On the flip side shallow staging is the act of lighting the pre-stage then rolling through your roll-out just enough to light the staging beams. If you stop as soon as you light those staging bulbs you will be shallow staged. The advantage of this is it will give you a little more time to react, actually increasing your reaction time, if you have been red-lighting this might help you stop the red lights. Again this is going to take some practice to figure out what is best for you and your motorcycle. I always try to shallow stage since it works for me.

Brad Gott

How you stage in the lights has an effect on your reaction time as well as your ET. In ET classes with a sportsman tree. (.500) I will roll up slowly and stop just as soon as I light up the stage bulb. This is staging shallow. This helps me with being more consistent with my reaction time, plus keeps me from RED lighting as often. On a Pro tree (.400) I will deep stage, roll in a little deeper after the stage bulb is lit to help cut a better light on the faster tree. You don’t get the run at the beam you would if you were shallow staging so your ET will fall off slightly.

Jerry Turner

Shallow staging is simply stopping your bike when you turn on the second stage bulb. Deep staging is continuing forward up to and including the point when you turn off the top stage bulb. Shallow staging will have a slower reaction, but will have a quicker ET due to those few inches that your bike is moving before it breaks the beam. Deep staging will produce a quicker reaction but slower ET. For .500 full tree bracket racing, I typically try to set my bike up to consistently leave with a good light when I shallow stage (plus a small nudge). For .400 pro tree classes, I will have to push the same bike in farther to have a decent reaction and must account for the lost ET if it’s an index class. One final thought, be careful of “very” deep or “very” shallow staging. I’ve seen racers red light because the bike backed up or moved forward ¼ inch. Even turning the handle bars a slight amount when twisting the throttle could cause a red light.

Dustin Lee

Deep staging is rolling into the beams more so you get out of them beams quicker. The advantage of this is may be to help your reaction time, but be careful, this will also slow down your ET’s. Your bike doesn’t get that small head start before you break the beams and believe me it makes a difference!

Shallow staging will slow your reaction times because the bike has to move further to get out of beams and for that same reason it will pick up your ET’s because you get that little bit of a jump on the timing system!

Deep staging is usually used on pro tree and shallow is usually used on full tree.

Hope this helps, be safe!

We’ll see you in two weeks for another addition of the Starting Line, in the meantime check out our column sponsor Schnitz Racing.


Volume 1 – Issue 1 : What is the best advice for someone going down the track for the very first time?

Volume 1 – Issue 2 : How do I decide what class to enter? Most tracks have a street class and pro bike class but I sometimes see streetbikes racing in the pro bike class with the bar bikes.

Volume 1 – Issue 3 : What is the difference between a bracket class and an index class?

Volume 1 – Issue 4 : What is the difference between a pro tree and sportsman tree? And what is the best technique for cutting a light?

Volume 1 – Issue 5 : What is rollout and how does it affect my ET??

Volume 1 – Issue 6 : Does a practice tree really help with your reaction time and do you have any tips to how to use it?

Volume 1 – Issue 7 : What is courtesy staging?

Volume 1 – Issue 8 : What does “the race was won on the starting line” mean?

Volume 1 – Issue 9 : How are bye runs determined? If I get the bye, should I make the pass?

Volume 1 – Issue 10 : What is the best technique for a burn out?

Volume 1 – Issue 11 : What is cross over / cross talk?

Volume 1 – Issue 12 : Some racers do a quick launch after the burnout, why is that?

Volume 1 – Issue 13 : Do you have any advice on methods for consistency?

Volume 1 – Issue 14 : Do you recommend changing visors for daytime and night racing?

Drag Racing Tshirts

Dragbike.com Partners

Support the companies that support motorcycle drag racing by shopping with the companies below.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular