AMA Supercross Blog: One helluva night in Vegas
Just an insane night in Las Vegas for the 250SX East/West Shootout. The format was changed a couple of years ago to get rid of the Shootout as a non-points paying event and it went to separate East/West mains and a Shootout. That didn’t work well either so now we’re back to just a shootout combing both classes into one and points being paid out. It certainly thrusts the entire series into chaos and made for an exciting night…perhaps one of the best main events this reporter has ever seen.
The 250SX West was already won. Monster Pro Circuit’s Justin Hill had his first title wrapped up and there was no pressure on him. The East coast guys though had TLD’s KTM’s Jordon Smith holding the lead with Rockstar Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne and Hill’s teammate Joey Savatgy one point behind.
We all know what happened, Osborne went down in the first turn and got up dead last by a big amount. Smith had it and crashed out hard. Savatgy had everything looking great on his end and whatever it was, pressure or nerves (or maybe pressure and nerves?) he melted down on the track in front of us and dropped back far enough that Osborne, from dead last, made an aggressive pass with one turn to go to take the title. It was an amazing race that anything-and-everything a fan could possibly want.
In this day and age of changing TV habits, cord cutting, people wanting their information in 15 second video and 140 characters, all sports – including small niche ones that we all love like supercross/motocross – have to realize that they’re in the entertainment business as well as the sports business. What the founding fathers did in the sport needs to be minded but not adhered to. The race in Las Vegas that left many teams’ VIPs furious was exactly what was needed.
Changing the format to ensure drama like we saw was a great idea, in fact I’d do it one or two more times in 2018 at the centrally located races like Dallas and Houston. I heard plenty of crying about the format for the riders in the title hunt from the teams and how a west coast rider could “sacrifice” themselves for their eastern teammate and that would ruin the race, etc, etc. To that I say: boo hoo.
We’ve got to sell the sport, we’ve got to get eyeballs on it however we can. We don’t want to turn into wrestling and rig things but there can be formats made that ensure a chance at seeing high drama and great racing every weekend. What the teams think about things is almost, I say ‘almost’, secondary. I’ve seen it time and time again: they’re mostly unable to look past their own interests and the past. Why is that? Well because their jobs depend on riders performing and any change that hurts is bad and also because many of the people in charge of teams have been in the sport for so long, they’re unable to wrap their heads around anything that might dilute the purity.
The racing in Las Vegas this weekend wasn’t something that you can duplicate every time out but it was in many ways and one of the biggest reasons was because the format allowed for it.
Let’s all remember, this is supposed to be fun and exciting. We need to work on making sure it stays like that.
To catch the latest (epic) Podcast from PulpMX with Steve chatting with the two Jasons – Weigandt and Thomas – click HERE
Photos by Cudby/Shepherd