HomeColumnsStarting LineThe Starting Line : Volume 1 - Issue 8

The Starting Line : Volume 1 – Issue 8

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 does “the race was won on the starting line” mean?

Ben Knight When you hear the expression “the race is won at the starting line”, that is basically referring to your reaction time. The racer that posts the better reaction time always holds an advantage over their competitor, whether it be a heads up or index/bracket race. The advantage can be small or considerable depending on the difference between the two competitors. If racer X has a .010 reaction time and racer Y has a .100 reaction time then racer X now holds a .090 advantage. So in a heads up race, racer X could run 7.08 and still beat racer Y who runs a quicker 7.00 due to the starting line advantage they had. That’s why having good reaction times is very important in drag racing.

Dustin Lee

In drag racing a reaction time is very important. In a heads up race a slower bike can beat a faster bike if the have a better reaction time. Example. If one bike runs 8.90 in super comp (8.90 index) and the racer has a .08 reaction time there opponent could have a perfect light and run 8.979 and win. So when you hear someone say that the race was won on the starting line it means that most likely a slower entry maybe running off there dial or off the index won a race bc they had a better reaction time than there opponent.
Hope this helps good luck be safe!

Jerry Turner

Reaction, reaction, reaction. Imagine if I have a .100 reaction and my opponent has a .010 reaction on the starting line. The difference is that my opponent already has nine hundreds of a second advantage and we just started the race. So unless my opponent is nearly a tenth of a second off their dial-in or index, I cannot make up the difference. For me to win, I would have to be nearly perfect and my opponent would have to run a tenth off their number. Reaction doesn’t always determine the race winner, but generally speaking, it does more times than being closest to the dial-in. Same for heads-up classes, the term “holeshot win” means the racer ran slower than his opponent, but won the race with a better reaction.

Janie Palm

Reaction time is everything in a bracket race, if you don’t react quickly to the light you are at a disadvantage. Bracket racing is all about the package you can put together, the package starts with your reaction time.

Bob Carlson
This means that one reaction time was better than the other reaction time, and the better reaction won the race. The only way the out come could have changed, is if the reaction times was the opposite.

Boo Brown
It means if you don’t get a good light it could be over at that point. There are two sides to racing, beginning and the end so it is not over at the starting line.

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?

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