Thursday, May 8

The One Moto

I don't even know where it came from, because it's been a long time since I've heard it discussed in our office, but last night on DMXS rumors surfaced again of a one-moto format for the Nationals in 2009. Currently, as far as I know, this isn't a deal that's going to happen. But hey, it seems to come up every few years so I will weigh in.

One 30 minute moto would suck. I think anyone and everyone in the sport will agree with that. It's not just a weaker test of the best, but it's a whole lot less of a show for the fans. Nationals are cool because they take all day, just like the other big Sunday sports. We need more racing than that. You can't compare it to Supercross, because a night thing is supposed to take less time than a day thing. The nationals are all about hanging out all weekend, relaxing with your buddies, bench racing, camping, road tripping and living it. Supercross is get in, get pumped, get out. You know the difference. You spend Saturday night as a quick one-night stand. You spend the weekend with your girlfriend. It's obvious which one is supposed to last longer.

So if 30 minutes sucks, how long do you make the moto? I say we have to find the breaking point between sheer fitness and the point where strategy comes into play. A super-trained super-fast rider might be able to do 45 minutes all out, or he might build up such a big lead that no one could catch him even if he backed it down a little at the end. But what about an hour? Would that be long enough to where riders would have to pace themselves? Once you get to that point, I think the racing gets better.

The model I follow comes from the GNCCs. Scratch what's happening there right now, because Juha Salminen and David Knight are Ricky Carmichael-like riders, and they would win no matter how long or short the race is. Take them out of the equation. For everyone else, the three-hour format leads to great racing. You simply can't charge for three hours, and before those Euro guys came along, riders used to purposely hang back early and choose not to lead. Can you imagine that happening at a motocross race anymore? In GNCC, the last lap was the most important. In motocross, it's the first lap. Which style do you think is more exciting to watch?

So if you could ramp the moto up to the point where the riders have to use strategy, have to maybe let someone go and then charge later, you would have a bigger mix up of race strategy than "the fast guy keeps pulling away all day long."

Then you can throw in pit stops. I hate to say it, almost never does pit strategy effect/affect the results of the GNCCs. But there's always the chance, at least, that it will. And that chance leads a little extra to guess about during a boring moto.

And as a final advantage, those big team haulers would actually be seen on TV as part of the race, which means more chances to get sponsor logos across.

Would a rider have to cruise early, work methodically from fifth, use pit strategy and then pour it on in the last five minutes to win? If so, I'm all for it.

12 Comments:

drew said...

weege, please don't ever seriously suggest that pit stops become a part of motocross. Motocross is about the riders racing each other on the track. so simple that it's beautiful. The AMA, or whoever is in charge now, shouldn't complicate things. As far as sponsors are concerned, I think the color of James Stewart's bike is enough to let people know that he rides for Kawasaki.

MIKE D said...

If a one moto format ever comes into place I will NEVER attend a National again! Whoever introduces this to the sport is trying to kill it! Reading this my blood pressure went through the roof.......now Im pissed off. Whoever throughs this idea around has not spent very much time watching or racing Motocross. STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID!

Crush said...

What about the fans!!!! At a SX race you might see your fav rider for about 25 mins... Heat and main... Not exactly great value for money! If we do the same at a Nats then what?
And you can't just make it an hour long moto at the nats, cause as it is there is usually a gap of about a minute between each rider... it'll be a snooze fest at that long, plus, you want the riders to turn around and say screw outdoors, well there is your answer!!!

Make SX Mains 25 (450) and 20 (250) mins and the outdoors stay as it is...

There are other ways to get TV on board than changing the race format... WSBK gets live coverage and they do 3 races! Same with Rally...

Common... Make the sport prettier, better facilities, make the tracks look better, set themselves up to do live tv on the spot and add value through more stories on the riders etc...

One moto will further pussify the sport, and it didn't work in Europe, so why waste a season going backwards to try it in the Nats???

Anonymous said...

I think it would be crazy to change it. If it was only one moto then it would have to be called something else. Motocross is two motos. I know they haven't always been thirty minutes but there always has been two motos run in the outdoors. Thats gotta be the stupidist thing I have heard of. I dont even think that Youthstream would do that and they dont even pay their guys to race. If it happens it will be sad. -868

Jason Weigandt said...

Drew,
We all know he's on a Kawi, but the outside sponsors don't get nearly as much logo placement on a bike as they do a race car. We would all like them to spend there money here. In this scenario, you would take the rig that already exists, which is right now seen by a few thousand at the track, and suddenly expose it to a million watching at home. That's a lot more eyeballs on a lot more logos.

Mike D,
Yeah I'm not sure where the rumor has come from either. But I also don't think it's as dumb as you think.

Crush,
I agree, if you have any less racing than you have now you're screwing the fans. I love the current format for sure, but while you can hold up WSBK as an example of a multiple race format working, I'll hold up the immensely more successful MotoGP and its one-race format as an example of what really works. Not to mention F1. Or NASCAR. Basically every motorsport (including Supercross) has one race and one winner. Make it a long moto so the win is in doubt throughout the day (and not decided in the first minute) and we may have a big boost.

Hoop said...

It's all about TV, and a 2 moto format makes for bad TV—especially live coverage. Add that to the fact that the two moto format (2-1 moto score beats a 1-2, etc.) makes things confusing for the casual fan.

It might piss off a lot of "hardcore" fans or the old school guys, but a one moto format might be what it takes to get onto ESPN.

rocky said...

GNCCs are very long and on seriously difficult terrain. That ain't Motocross. A one moto format just sounds stupid. Don't fix what isn't broken. A National moto lasts for essentially a tank of gas, which is perfect. If a bike breaks, then they can have a pit stop. But there's no need to force pit stops into the program. Are the numbers down in attendance? What's the obsession with changing the Nationals? This year they're moving in the right direction by tightening up the schedule. But other than making the facilities a little nicer (which isn't THAT big a deal), I don't see where the problem is.

Colorado is going to be held under the lights. Why? It's still on Sunday, so it just means it's going to take people even longer to get home from the races. I assume the program will just start later, but it's still going to be an all day event.

If anything needs a revamp, it's Supercross. The laser show was neat 20 years ago, the announcers suck, there isn't enough racing, there aren't enough riders in the gates, and unless you're lucky enough to see a race where they have room and the weather is nice enough, you don't even get to check out the pits.

rocky said...

Chiming in again...

So the deal is that we're trying to make the Nationals more appealing to the sponsors and TV people? How about showing more racing?! Instead of interviewing the same guys every week and wasting half the show rehashing what happend the week before, they show more footage of the actual racing. Crazy, I know, but it worked well on ESPN for years and years. They trimmed a lap here and there and managed to comfortably fit the majority of both motos and post race interviews into a one hour show just fine. Ah, the days of Eckman and Bailey.

drew said...

weege, pitstops in car racing are not about sponsor exposure, they're about necessity. cars need gas, tires, and...probably other stuff. forcing motocross riders to make a pitstop in a race when they could otherwise keep going is absolutely lame. i do understand your point of growing the sponsorship pool...not to beat a dead horse, but the only two sponsors that would get any exposure on tv if Kawi's big rig was shown are Kawasaki and Monster Energy. Could Speed TV put those computer-generated banners around tracks like you see if you watch (doubtful) soccer matches? they could place them wherever there is room; open fields, along the fences, on the start straight. Speed TV could do this free of charge, ha, and the next thing you know everyone will want to invest in MX. everyone wins, riders, sponsors, tv, you.

Matthes said...

Well, its official. Weege has lost his mind. Pit stops in MX.

Somebody call the cops.

Clash said...

Make no mistake about it. There will be serious concessions in MX over the next few years to guarantee its viability for the future. We might even need Jimmy Carter to sit in on these talks.

I consider myself an old-school fan, but nothing should be off the table at this point if MX is going to take any steps forward.

You can hold on to the past and have the nationals broadcast on the Oxygen channel six weeks after the race if you want, but I would rather explore option for the future.

Anonymous said...

i dont understand why the sport would pull itself away from the roots of itself any more than it already does. supercross is cool and all, but most people that are involved in the sport have never ridden a SX track. MX is as grass roots as it gets. its what i can associate with. i cant associate with football field length whoops sections and 70 foot triples that come right out and end in a corner. if they wanna change anyhting, bring back the 125 class ( and call it MX1) then have the 250f class (call this one MX2) and have the 450 class (of course call this one MX3)
that would be cool....just like the old 125, 250, and open class. DUH.