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Holeshot in an ATV ice race

The holeshot is a term used in motocross to describe or reference the first racer to get through the apex of the first turn. Getting the holeshot gives the rider a huge competitive advantage and some level of control in the race. In most cases, the rider who gets the holeshot also wins the race.[1][2]

Motorcycle, off-road, bicycle, powerboat racing[edit]

The term is used in motorcycle racing,[3] off-road racing (but also motorsport racing in general) for the rider who is the first one through the first turn. In some cases a holeshot award[4] is given, which is a prize separate from winning the race.

Many motorcycle racers consider the start to be the most important part of a race, and it is particularly important in those forms of the sport where the tracks are very small, tight and difficult to pass on. This is particularly relevant in motocross where racers line up alongside each other rather than behind each other in tarmac-based sports. The term had also found its way into bicycle motocross racing (BMX) by the early 1970s because BMX is a bicycle derivative of motorcycle motocross and has inherited many terms from that sport. In BMX the holeshot is even more important since BMX races are single lap 25 to 45 second races with only a few opportunities to pass in that time period. Achieving the holeshot in BMX will earn the rider a victory the majority of the time.

The holeshot of a sidecarcross race

This term can also be used to describe the starting performance of a vehicle. A vehicle that is fast off the line (though not necessarily fast overall) is said to have a good "holeshot".[2]

A holeshot maneuver in off-road bicycle racing (mountain biking or cyclocross) is when a racer moves from the relatively flat, open area of the start to the narrower confines of the single track ahead of the other racers. A successful holeshot affords the first racer some control over the tempo of the race, as passing on the narrow single track can break the passing racer's rhythm.

Holeshot win[edit]

In drag racing, a "holeshot win" refers to a victory in which a driver runs a slower elapsed time (E.T.), but wins the race due to a faster reaction time at the start.[2]


  1. ^ "AMA Glossary". American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "NHRA Glossary". National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Motocross: Cairoli and Paulin take pole at St. Jean d'Angely". Fullnoise.com.au. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  4. ^ "MXStore Holeshot Award". About: MX Nationals 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2016.