Monster Energy Supercross: Detroit, is it time for change in Supercross?
The 12th round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross concluded in Detroit leaving behind some hard to ignore layout deficiencies on the Ford Field. While the series progresses to St. Louis I find myself asking more questions about the overall structure of the series (as it continues to grow and become more mainstream) and less questions about who will or will not be crowned the champion. At the pinnacle of Supercross why was there not enough dirt to cover the stadium floor and how did the stadium floor start peeking through after only 2 laps in the first 250 heat? Is it time to look at different track building techniques? Here are some different ideas :
Another series challenge is the need of updated timed qualifiers. I would like to see the top 20 timed qualifiers split in the heats. Rewarding the top half of the field, top 10 in each heat get a 2 second advantage over the other half of the gate, prevents slower guys from becoming moving road blocks. The rest of qualifying should follow suit, if you don't qualify out of the heat or win your semi, during the Main event you take off in the second wave. Again, this will reward the top qualifiers. This will also give us the elite matchups in the front of the field, Dungey vs Tomac and the moving roadblocks like Alessi and Friese won't be in the way. Every other major form of racing rewards fast qualifying. This will also make the first turn far safer, and while it's cool seeing 22 of the worlds fastest 450’s funnel into a couple lines, the bikes are too fast and have outgrown the current starting procedure. This will help keep the stars healthy and on the track, but still maintain the entertainment factor.
The final issue in review is how quick the riders figure out the fast lines. With dartfish and overlapping video these teams have taken out the guesswork of finding the fastest line. If part of the track was not opened until the night program, riders may have more difficulty discovering the fasted line before the race has started. Give the guys a hot lap and then turn them loose! While this doesn’t seem to promote safety, it rewards riders who can learn new sections quickly, making the series more interesting as we will see different rider’s skills outside of dirt preference. Also, the much debated “chase” format has been discussed and in this era of short attention spans, smart phones, and instant gratification we have lost the appreciation for a season long war. If we want to attract a new generation of fans, we need to up the intensity and make sure the champion is not crowned halfway through the series (like Dungey in 2016), we can't count on Eli making it interesting every year.
These are just a couple things I feel need to be addressed for the future of Supercross, what do you think? Should we add a shark pit or have riders change a tire for starting position? Let me hear your ideas.