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Probably one of the most confusing and challenging things about your first race day is understanding motos. While I won't begin to try and explain how motos are created we do need to go over the basics of reading the moto sheets. It is not as confusing as it looks at first once you know what you are looking for and what some of these areas mean. So let's use the example sheet below and we'll get our rider ready for their first race. (You can click on the image to get a better view.)
Reading the Moto Sheets
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Okay items 2 and 4 are related and only pertain to national and other large races. Item 2 is the number of motos for that class and item 4 is the total number of riders in the class. These are important for figuring the number of qualifying rounds and for computing points for the riders. Usaually these are not something that you have to check at the local track.

Between those two is another important one Item 3 Qualifiers. This tells you how many riders will be qualifying for the next round or on to the main. In our example above it says TOTAL POINTS. That means there are only three riders and all of them will ride both qualifying rounds and in the main. If there are more than three riders you will see two numbers. (1-2 if there are four riders, 2-2 for five, 2-3 for six and so on.) So if our sheet says 2-2 it tells us the in the first round two riders (1st and 2nd place) will qualify to the main. Then of the remaining three riders two (1st and 2nd place) in the second moto. So two riders from each moto will qualify for the main and one rider will not.
Item 5 is probably one of the most important items on the sheet, the moto number. This is how you know when you need to be in the gate. All motos have a number and usually run sequentially. ALL RIDERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING THEIR MOTO NUMBER! If you miss your moto you will be scored in last place for that moto. If you ride in the wrong moto you will be disqualified and scored last in your moto. So this is very important.

Motos are generally run first in order by proficiency and then by age. The current structure is, Open, Cruiser, Girls Cruiser, Novice, Girls, Intermediate, and Expert. This order is changed occasionally but it will give you an idea of where you will be. So if you have 100 motos a 6 Novice will be closer to the front where a 6 Expert will be closer to the end.
There are two main sections to the moto sheet, the top which contains information about the moto itself and the bottom which contains the information for each rider. There are usually three motos printed on a sheet although that may not always be true. Depending on the software used at the track some of this information may be in slightly different locations, but after this you'll handle it like a pro.

So starting at the top the first area that I have noted (1) is the CLASS. Every rider is classified by age/age group and proficiency level. In the example above we have an 8 novice, a 6 novice and 5 novice in the moto. The class is created as 8 novice for the moto. Since we only had three riders and you must have at least three to have a class they were put together. This is a common occurance at local races.

Just a side note, there are many occasions you may have novice riders mixed with expert or intermediate riders. While this at times may seem to unfair to some newer or younger riders the software does the best to allow for fair and even competition. The only alternative would be to not allow riders to race until they could have a class of at least 3.
Item 6 covers a lot but most of it is pretty self-explanitory, rider information. There are boxes that list plate number, rider name (and nickname if they have one), age/proficiency level, sponsor/home location along with ID numbers. Make sure that all of your information is correct on every moto sheet, especially bike number. If you have a State or Gold Cup plate but your district number is listed you may not be scored, so make sure it is right.

The last item is the one that people have a hard time getting at first, Item 7 is the gate assignments for the moto. In the column that says 1st is the gate that you are assigned for your first qualifying moto. The 2nd is the gate assignment for the second qualifying moto, and Main is your gate assignment in the main moto. (There is a column marked 3rd but most tracks and events do not run 3 qualifying motos.)

Now is you will notice your gate position is the second moto is four more than the first moto. So if you were in gate 2 you will now be in gate 6. If you were is gate 7 you will now be in gate 3 since gate 8 is the outside of the track you then go to the inside. Now is you take your gate in the second round and add two that is your gate for the Main. So if you were is gate 6 now you will be in gate 8. If you were in gate 7 you will be in gate one. Simple, right?

So there you have it, now you know the basics of reading a moto sheet. Like I said, there may be some differences but you know what to look for. If not, it is always okay to ask.
Okay, so you are at the races and you check your moto sheet. No problems now that you know what you're looking at. But a long day of racing, especially at nationals, you can forget something.

Tip #1 - use your camera on your phone to take a picture of your moto sheet. That way you can check it without having to ride all the way back to the moto board

Tip #2 - Use a post it note or some blue painters tape on the back of your number plate. Write your moto number and gates down with a sharpie. Then your information is right there with you.