HomeColumnsThe Starting Line : How is a Bracket Determined? 

The Starting Line : How is a Bracket Determined? 

Motorcycle Drag racing Sportsman

The Starting Line is a biweekly column for our Sportsman drag racers. 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.

How is a Bracket Determined?

Janie Palm

Brackets can be determined in different ways, really depends on what type of class you are running and the rules. Generally speaking; if you are in an all out heads up class, there are qualifying sessions that will determine rank, who the fastest it and then the ranks are paired depending on the size of the bracket.  For example a 16 bike qualified field will be paired as follows; 1 and 16, 2 and 15, 3 and 14, 4 and 13, etc until all are paired.  Then you have index classes that are trying to hit an index such as 9.50, these are ranked as well but by who is closest to the index.  Same concept in pairing with an index class; 1 and 16, 2 and 15, etc.  Then some tracks pair ET classes and those are normally ranked on reaction time as all will run a different time, best reaction time in the class would be #1 then rankings would fall in line.  Keep in mind if there is an uneven field the highest qualified bike will get a bye run.


Jerry Turner

First, you have to know what is used to determine the ranking of the bracket.  It can be lowest ET, closest to the index (but not faster than index), closest to the dial-in (but not under) or even best reaction.  Then there’s a couple common ways that brackets are created.  Assuming a 16 bike qualifying field, a pro bracket is best vs worst and will have #1 vs #16, #2 vs #15… #8 vs #9.  A sportsman bracket on the other hand essentially takes the bottom half of the field and moves it up to race the top half of the field.  #1 vs #9, #2 vs #10… #8 vs #16.  If in doubt, ask the race operator what’s being used to determine the bracket and whether it’s a pro or sportsman bracket.

Bob Carlson

Every track/sanction/class does it different.  Some are done by reaction time (my favorite), ET, draw of chips, draw of cards, and whoever you lined up next to (my least favorite).  You should ask a track official to see what’s up.  Last thing you want to do is line up next to your traveling partners, makes for a long drive home.  Every track/sanction should really have some kind of luck of the draw (chips or cards) every round and a ladder no latter than 16 bikes left (hint hint).

Greg Mallett


Based on qualifying, #1 qualifier would race #16 qualifier, #2 races #15 and so forth until all are paired. If there’s an odd number the #1 qualifier gets a first round bye-run.




We’ll see you in two weeks for another edition of the Starting Line.

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