Boy, it is a real struggle to get excited about professional US-based [Motocross](http://usmotocross.com) or [Supercross](http://www.sxgp.com). There are two basic fundamental problems that must be addressed immediately, or there opportunity for wider-acceptance as a valid motorsport will be missed. First, is the lack of competition. Second, and probably more important in the grand scheme of things is the mis-marketing the sport gets.
For as long as I can remember there has been a competition problem is the sports premier class (Supercross, Motocross – big bikes). There has always been a dominant figure from a championship perspective. Yes, many riders have won races – but, in the end there have only been a very few different champions over the last 10+ years. This wasn’t always a bad thing. The rise to where the sport is today is solely due to the marketability of Jeremy McGrath in the 90’s (and to a lesser extend Travis Pastrana). The problem now is with the current champion (Ricky Carmichael) on his way out – to race cars, the next generation’s growth is dependent on James Stewart. The argument over James Stewart is left for a different post. But, the reality is that James will make the championship interesting simply because he isn’t not very smart, and apparently mismanaged by his race team (Kawasaki). The battle for second and third will definitely get more interesting, but without anyone with the speed/endurance to push Stewart it is going to be real boring. Yes, some purest will say that you should just watch the real racing (mid-pack). But, introduce problem number two.
People want to watch a race for the win. I mean, that’s what it is all about – who cares who finished in fifth. Ok, so maybe there is a compromise here to be had. Maybe fifth place needs to be more important – and thus the race and championship points should reflect that. Maybe points for the holeshot. There’s a whole lot that can be done with tightening up the points.
The “underling” class Lites is slightly better, simply because there’s more guys willing to “hang it out” for the win. Though recently it has come down to Ryan Villipoto and Ben Townley – and, who can stay healthy. The recent SX Lites season was good on both coasts, though Villipoto didn’t get much pressure after the opening rounds. But, the fact remains that the racing is more exciting because there is a chance for an upset win.
As much as I despise NASCAR, they have done a tremendous job with humanizing the drivers and letting some drama flow. I’m not sure it is even possible to translate the same sort of marketeering to MX – simply because the riders are generally younger and less mature. Even Ricky Carmichael who appears very professional is not an easy sell outside the world of those who ride and can understand what he has done. I’m not saying that the sport needs to be “flashed” during prime time – but, there is very little marketing done outside of confines of the MX arena to entice general motorsports fans.
Travis Pastrana is somewhat the exception. But, Travis doesn’t race anymore – and that in itself is more likely a negative influence on the MX-side – say over freestyle. X-Games, being the X-Games will still pull a draw…and it would help greatly if they could introduce SX into the events and dump the SuperMoto thing. I’m now rambling from my original intent, but X-Games is highly visible, and a golden opportunity to get casual fans more interested in the core MX racing scene.
Lastly, I’m not sure why the Lites riders don’t get the same press as everyone else. Save for the occasional phenom, or self-serving advertising and marketing they don’t get equal promo time. I suppose this is simple the governing bodies attempting to maintain the premier class, as the premier class. But, go to a race and see what kind of stuff is for sale in the marketing booths. It is very weak.
Alright, this is getting long enough…
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