First, I would like to say how refreshing the emotion that Justin Brayton has shown the last few weeks has been. It's hard not to root for a guy like that. My question is, do you think that supercross is in bad need of a superstar (or few) again? Watching golf this weekend, it was amazing to see the gallery following Tiger Woods around the course and the general excitement people seem to have now that he has returned and is competitive. I feel like since James Stewart disappeared, we are in bad need of someone like this in our sport. I'm 37 years old, so I was part of the Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham, and Stewart eras. I honestly just don't see a guy like any of them in today's world of supercross.
I completely respect the guys of today and their skill on a motorcycle, but I just do not think a Jason Anderson or Marvin Musquin has the same star power as a McGrath or Pastrana. I believe that if Chad Reed were to be in contention for wins and podiums, he could be that guy that everybody subconsciously roots for. Anaheim went ape shit for him a few years back when he won Anaheim 2 and 3. Is this simply the new version of supercross, where the riders just want to ride and not be stars? Is there something that has changed in the last seven or eight years, whether it is training facilities or mindset? Will there ever be a star like McGrath, someone so determined to win as RC, or someone as unbelievably talented as Stewart for us to root for again? I guess time will tell. Until then, I will be rooting for Justin Brayton.
I think the entire motocross world was happy to see Brayton get that win. Just like Andrew Short when he got his one supercross victory, it’s easy to cheer for good guys. We are definitely in a transition period when it comes to star power in the sport. Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen are the two obvious choices to be the next superstars, but between injuries and random crashes, that hasn’t happened. That leaves us with Jason Anderson, who is a great guy but hasn’t really let his personality come through. Marvin Musquin is another rider who could fill the void, but a soft-spoken, cat-loving Frenchman isn’t exactly what U.S. racing fans are looking for. I’ve mentioned before that Plessinger, Cianciarulo, and McElrath are the three guys I’d love to see step up to the 450 class and shine because they are good guys with great personalities. As far as a replacement for RC, MC, and Stewart, that could be a while. We were fortunate enough to have had three of the greatest racers of all time come through the sport in a very short period of time, and those three set the bar higher than a Colorado college freshman at a Snoop Dogg concert. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t hold your breath for their replacement… it could be a while.
It is always interesting to me to hear riders say in the middle of the season, “I am going to practice my starts this week.” Don’t these guys practice the most important part of the race all the time? I would be practicing starts as much or more than almost any other skill in my moto tool bag. Get a good start, have the cameras on you for a bit, do some Vince Friese-esque holdups on the guys faster than you, and your sponsors are happy for the TV time. Am I missing something, or isn’t the start probably the most important part of the whole race?
You’re absolutely right. The popular routine includes hundreds of hours of riding laps at the practice track every day, followed by five or ten starts at the end of the day. When you consider the importance of the start, you’d think they would spend most of their day, and particularly the early part when they are fresh, rocketing off the start pad. The team manager of a top race team shared the number of hours his team riders put on practice bikes last year and it was astonishing. Maybe the focus should shift to quality over quantity a little bit with an added focus on starts and technique? Or maybe just wait until you get another bad start to commit to working on the biggest part of any race. That seems like waiting until after you get destroyed at the season opener before you start working on your physical conditioning. Or like waiting until the IRS sends you a delinquent notice before you do your taxes. Good luck with that… don’t drop the soap in jail.
I have an observation and thought I’d like to pass on. We all saw the results of the 250 class at the Triple Crown in Atlanta. Somehow I just don’t think that Austin Forkner beat Zach Osborne at that event. The final event finishing order as a tie-breaker makes sense and has worked for a very long time in two-event motocross, but it doesn’t make as much sense in the three main event format. My thought is that the first tie-breaker should be best finish in one of the mains and the last moto finish as the second tie breaker. Having someone walk away with first place in an event where he never won a main event over some that did win a main event and is tied on points just seems wrong. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
I was scratching my head after that race as well. It makes sense to me to have the riders’ best main event finish be the tie-breaker, with the final tie-breaker being the finish in the third main event. Consistency is always a key to success, but you have to reward the ability to win with extra credit. I’m hoping that is something that gets changed going forward with this Triple Crown format. First, we need to address the names of the races themselves. You can’t have three main events. The name main event implies that it is the one and final race of the night; three main events in one night is an oxymoron. I’m open to suggestions because final, finale, and main event don’t work. I’d suggest reverting back to calling them motos, but I know Feld hates to even reference traditional motocross in their broadcast, so that could be a challenge. Anybody have anything better?
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