Ronnie Mac has emerged as a star during the 2017 off-season. Next stop for Uncle Ron: AUS-X Open. Photo by: Chris Tedesco
The offseason is officially in full swing and stirring up anticipation for January’s A1 by cementing the favorites and changing the dynamics of the rules. The same rules that produced one of the most exciting MX/SX seasons of all time ended in Indiana on August 26th. If you’ve missed out on what’s happening now, don’t be discouraged. There are still a few significant races left in this calendar year.
The offseason began at the USGP in Florida where Jeffrey Herlings proved his 1-1 in Indiana was no fluke. At the Motocross of Nations, USA was defeated, again. Marvin Musquin dominated the Red Bull Straight Rhythm in Pomona, CA taking first place, and we are only three weeks removed from the Monster Energy Cup where he won all three events to claim his million dollar prize. With only two relevant offseason races left (AUSX-Open and The Bercy Supercross), here are my takeaways so far.
The changes announced to the Supercross series of 2018 are actually real changes compared to last year’s timed format change which ended up being hardly significant. I am excited to see how the 3 Triple Crown events will work. Three main events in one night will allow for longer races and increase the battling we all enjoy, and unlike Monster Energy Cup, if a rider has a bad first race, they won’t call it a night as the other two races still count toward an overall points paying position.
The other change announced is the addition of four rounds of Amateur Racing. While our sport is healthy at the Pro level, I have been telling anyone who will listen that our amateur system is not! I am not a fan of kids living at training facilities year round only to race 3-4 times a year. While this program may produce talented riders, more often than not, their social development is severely impacted. We want stars to have personalities, but the system never allows them time to attend public school or participate in events where they learn the coping skills required later in life. While a few will turn out like Adam Cianciarulo far more will end up like Jason Lawrence, Nico Izzi or Austin Stroupe. Click here to read the full SX changes announced.
Ronnie Mac reminded us at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm that while racing is all about being the fastest rider. It doesn’t hurt to demonstrate some showmanship too. Uncle Ron may have ruffled the feathers of motocross traditionalists as his interviews tend to be R-rated. His riding ability made him great, but if he came out and got his ass kicked, he wouldn’t be the folk hero he has transitioned into. In addition to his character, he provoked Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto and Stank Dawg [Garred Steinke] to get in on the trash talking action. Let us not forget that racing on the highest level is still just riding a dirt bike, and we do it for fun!
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Trey Canard and his new venture. Trey announced his retirement back in July, and he is currently pitching Feld about becoming a safety advisor. This is a position that is desperately needed in Supercross. A perfect example of this need was at this year’s Monster Energy Cup. Why put a rhythm section at the end of Monster Alley? Riders come back into the stadium at speeds of 60-70mph. Rhythm sections are one of the most dangerous and technical features on a Supercross track and are usually placed right out of a turn. The reason for this is with such dangerous obstacles speeds need to be kept to a minimum, also rhythm sections right out of a turns reward riders with high corner speed. When a rider carries more speed this allows them to jump more obstacles than a rider with less corner speed. Tracks can be technical or high speed, but not both, or riders start dropping like flies.
Right now there is no voice to protect the riders from dangerous conditions. This reason is twofold. First, no rider wants to admit a section scared them as it might signal weakness to a competitor. Second, even if a rider thinks something is dangerous, who is going to listen to him? Hopefully Trey has solutions that can keep the sport from unnecessary risks as there are plenty of necessary risks with basic Supercross Racing. That is it for the first half of the offseason and now the boot camps and countdown to A1 starts. Enjoy the holidays because A1 will be here in no time.