Industry Confidential | The Sport’s Shortcomings
Nothing is perfect, that is a fact of life. Everything and everyone stands to improve, our sport especially, and we all have opinions on what could help carry things to the next level. While in the pit area at the 2015 Oakland SX, we polled important people of various backgrounds (riders, mechanics, team members, brand representatives) for their take on what the powers at be should work on. To get the best answers, we promised each person anonymity. Better pay for racers was a standard reply, but we found many are displeased with the sound regulations and that they must “pay to play.”
"Sound testing is bullshit. I went to a Monster Jam a couple of weeks ago, and there is nothing in the world as loud as that. When they came out, I looked at my wife and said I couldn't believe how loud they were. We left five or ten minutes early, and it was just as loud in the parking lot as it was in the stadium. To me, there is no way our bikes are nearly that loud. They think the monster trucks are loud for a shorter period of time, but to me they are not. You can actually have a conversation while you watch a Supercross, but you can't hear the person next to you when a monster truck is going. When they do testing here (Oakland), it reverberates off a building behind them. This is one of the hardest places for some teams to pass sound every year, and I know guys on other teams were struggling to get through. Our bike were fine, but some just won't get through. Like I said, bikes aren't nearly as loud as monster trucks and it's ridiculous."
"The financial support should be more evenly balanced, to help everyone in the sport grow as a whole. Whether it's pro motocross, amateur motocross, or GNCC racing, it is so top heavy everywhere. The racing would be better if more resources were available to everybody and I think everyone would have a better ability to get to the races. And I'm not referring to just equipment, but money and everything. The top three guys get whatever they need, no matter what it is, and it's hard for everyone to compete. Whether it's getting to practice on a daily basis or having the equipment they need."
"I think obviously the prize money, because someone is making the money and even the good guys aren't getting what they deserve. At the base level, the privateers should be getting more to help out. The controlling body needs a big overhaul, because it is so old school. You have a series worth millions of dollars and it's run by a bunch of f–king rednecks."
"There should be a fairer system, in a lot of ways, for our sport. Whether it is the sound check or rider penalties or how they treat people. I think there is a lot of favoritism that goes on in our sport and I've been on both sides of the fence either benefitting from it or not. I feel like if they did things more fair, like this week they had us doing sound testing up against a wall in Oakland. We do all of this preseason testing and work, then come here and it's nothing like we were told it is nothing like it is supposed to be. In the rule book it said if any foreign objects are running they would be shut down. If you know the rules you can get them on it. But if you don't, they will run over you."
"If a guy runs in for a pass, I'd like to see the same penalty for every guy. I'm not playing favorites, but Chad Reed got the short end of the stick in Anaheim. Cooper Webb was going for the win, and there is a lot more allowed in that scenario? At the end of the day I feel like when Chad bumped Trey, there shouldn't be a penalty. Yeah, Trey was pulling a tearoff, but everything was the wrong place at the wrong time. Chad was mad, but that's racing and all of these guys are mad. They should have let the guy finish the race, then dock him five spots. Yeah, he might have been a hazard at that point, but it was nothing like intentionally hurting someone. He was racing, felt like he was done wrong, and ran it back in on the guy in the next turn."
"Riders should be getting paid, honestly. I look around and it blows my mind. My guy has an autograph line that is two hundred people long each weekend, which times forty bucks is a lot of money, but we are paying to put on the show? If they paid the riders better, it would trickle down for everyone in the program and we'd all deal with the bullshit of the sport better. And if they are not going to pay more, eliminate the fees for the teams. Me paying parking at Anaheim to go do my job? Me paying to have a credential to do my job? Make it all included in the team package, because it won't ever be free to race. Make it a three thousand dollar fee for the whole crew to get credentials and for the team to go racing. Right now it's five or six thousand dollars for a yearly package deal. Cut that in half."
"The mechanics areas are horrible. The riders can't read the pit board. I don't understand the concept of having a left-hand turn, but putting the mechanics on the right, because the riders are looking and turning left but need to look to the right to read the pit board."
"Sound testing is a joke. It's very inconsistent, because you can go through with one muffler and fail, put a different one on and pass, but go through five minutes later with the same one that failed and have it pass. I don't know if it's the location or the equipment that makes it inconsistent. In NASCAR they use restrictor plates and a standard size for everything. If Supercross wants to do something with the muffler, it would be easier and way more fair, even for the privateers, if the muffler had to be a certain length, certain diameter of the core, and a certain end cap. Then make a checklist of them all, because it would all be so simple for everybody."
"I wouldn't say the tracks are shitty, but they are basic to create better racing. I understand the concept, but at the same time it's making it difficult for the riders because everyone is going the same speed. There's not a lot to separate guys from other guys. I haven't seen anyone do a big quad that no one else will do like we have in the past. Maybe that's not a bad thing because of safety, but it would be nice to see tracks more technical in certain sections to separate people."
"How about outside of the industry sponsorship money? The industry itself is only so big and we are all pretty much tapped right now keeping this level up. They need to help pull money from outside the sport."
"Honestly, I just want to get paid more. I know that's what the other guys want. It is a little lopsided to see how much a guy like RV, who works his ass off and deserves all that he gets, makes from the AMA compared to the guy in fifth place."
"I think there should be a rider union, just by the thing that happened with Chad Reed. It's the most ridiculous thing I've seen in my life. I've seen thirty take outs that were forty times gnarlier than that, and they black flag him. It was all by chance that Trey had his hand off and went over.”
"There is a disproportional amount of money in this sport that doesn't trickle down to the riders. From my perspective, we don't have television money like the other sports but there is enough happening to make things better for the riders. One idea I had was to charge the fans that come through the pits and have all of the money broken into a pool that helps pay the finishes for the night. The riders have no ability to make other money here, which puts more pressure on their sponsors. The series needs to take care of the guys. "
"Better rider payout, regardless. They should be paying these guys better to make the show look better. We need less energy drink money and more outside money, and it's been getting better but we need more outside support."
"Riders should be able to sell their own merchandise so they can recoup the money spent to race. Every fan here wants to spend money, because they are coming after buying tickets, and they want to buy things other than Monster shirts. They want to buy from companies that support the sport and make things happen."