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Getting a Great Race Start

How to Make Sure You Always Get a Great Start in Karting

by Terence Dove

As a driver coach I get asked more about making great starts than any other subject. It seems that there are loads of drivers who can put together quick laps and make passing moves no problem, but they get such bad starts that the race is already ruined before the end of the first lap.

So, here is how I help some of the UKís best drivers get great starts:

Step 1.

The key to getting a good start is confidence and self-assurance. The biggest problem for drivers at the start of a race is that they get a sensory overload. There is just way too much going on around them to be able to make the right move at the right time.

Normally to get over being overloaded I would suggest get out and practice, but there is a limited supply of race startsÖ.you donít get to practice starts enough. So use the next best thing. Visualisation.

Sounds like psychological rubbish I know, but frankly it works wonders with my drivers and will make your starts go much better if you take it seriously. Hereís what you need to do.

1. Take time out before your race and sit down somewhere relatively quiet. Take a look at where you are starting, who is beside you and who is in front.

2. Now make a plan of exactly how you want your start to go. Lets imagine you are starting in 8th place with a grid of 20. You need to make a plan about how your perfect start will go. Imagine that you are going to fly across the line. Pass the guy inside you going over the line and then stuff it up the inside of the 6th place kart into the first corner.

3. You need to make this plan seem real! So say to yourself exactly whatís going to happen. Make decisions about every move you are going to make.

4. Then sit there and imagine exactly how the whole of the first lap will go. And you have to imagine the best first lap ever. Passing a kart every opportunity.

Ok, so now you have a mental plan of the start, if you take it seriously you will feel a sense of confidence and power on your way to the grid. Hereís the next step...

Sit in your kart on the dummy grid. Go through the plan you made earlier and visualise that perfect first lap again. Now, the next thing is to prepare yourself to take control of the other drivers around you. Chances are they are not nearly as prepared as you are right now. So you have the advantage over them and you are the most confident driver there!

The rolling lap: This is the time to really think over how your planned start is going to happen. Focus on the kart ahead of you and stick to the rear of that kart like glue. Donít worry if you give it a few bumps here and thereÖyou really need to stay close.

The start: Here is the most important practical piece of advice I can give you. Whatever happens you have to go first. You have to accelerate before the driver ahead of you. Now, you might say that itís too risky to do that because you will hit himÖ..But, you wonít hit him if you stick to his bumper so close that there is never any space between you! So if you push him gently over the line thatís fine, at least he didnít get away. So, if you are always so close to the driver in front that you are touching, then you will be able to hit the gas before him without the worry that you will whack him up the arse and crash!

And once you get over the line you are into your plan. Make the moves, make that perfect first lap happen.

Terence Dove
For more tips check out the EvenFlow Karting website
and Karting1 for advanced karting techniques

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