Posts Tagged ‘2009’
The Motocross Nationals have had a tough struggle in recent years. Between mismanaged promotion, loss and lack of title sponsors, the dominance of Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart, and being overshadowed by Supercross, It is incredible that the sport of professional outdoor motocross has survived at all.
Thankfully, it has survived, and for 2009, the landscape of Professional Motocross is looking extremely prosperous. New management, new television packages, great competition and celebrity involvement in the sport are all helping to boost the popularity and exposure of Professional Motocross, and because of this, I believe that 2009 will be the year that the Motocross Nationals make it big.
For years, the Motocross Nationals have been struggling under the joint leadership of the NPG and the AMA. This relationship has just not worked out for the sport. While they didn’t necessarily do a bad job, they didn’t do a great job either, and as a result, the Nationals floundered when compared to the rapid growth seen by Supercross.
Thankfully, for 2009, MX Sports, has taken the reigns of the nationals, and I am excited to see the same team who runs the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals work their magic on the professional nationals.
Some have expressed criticism or doubt at MX Sports’ ability to run a Professional race, as up to this point they have only had experience running amateur nationals. However, I am faithful in the fact that they will be able to bring their skill and professionality into the Professional Motocross Nationals.
Update: In the writing of this post, it slipped my mind that the same people who run MX Sports, are also responsible for running the Steel City and High Point pro nationals for a number of years under the name Racer Productions. My mistake, hope you'll forgive me.
In fact, their expertise has already helped the Nationals. They have secured a new title sponsor (Lucas Oils), and an incredible domestic and international TV package (more on that later). I am really looking forward to seeing MX Sports bring the Pro Nationals into the mainstream and showing the world how incredible of a sport motocross is. For years, our sport has been in dire need of a good leadership team to steer the sport in the right direction, and I believe we have finally found it in MX Sports.
Domestic Television Package
For many years, one of the major aspects which set Supercross apart from Motocross has been the television packages. Supercross has almost always had better packages with more live races and more races aired on major networks. In the meantime, Motocross has been stuck on sub-prime stations stuck in terrible time slots and simply not reaching the audience it should be.
All that has changed for 2009.
Motocross will have an incredible Domestic TV package for 2009, and I believe that it may be just what the sport needs to make it big. We’ve yet to see exactly how well produced the individual races will be, however, one thing we know for sure is that they will have an incredible air time schedule.
Here’s how the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship TV schedule will look:
- 3 Live Coverage events on NBC
- 3 Live Coverage events on Speed
- Remaining races have same-day coverage on Speed (450s) and Tuesday coverage (250fs)
- First motos shown on the web
This package should help get the nationals out to more people, in a more timely fashion, and with a more professional presentation. As a heavy internet user, I am very excited for the first moto web coverage, and look for them to expand this avenue more in the future.
However, this setup is far from perfect. I believe that in order for Motocross to truly benefit from the change, there needs to be more live events, more events on NBC, same day coverage for both the 450s and the 250s.
In addition, there needs to be internet coverage of both motos. I understand that in the current format, the promoters are trying to leverage the first moto internet coverage to increase TV viewers, especially for the second moto. But, in order to truly take advantage of the many benefits internet content distribution can yield, the promoters need to fully embrace it by putting both motos on the internet.
International TV Package
In addition to the surprisingly good domestic TV Package, MX Sports has also secured, for the first time in the history of AMA motocross, an international TV package.
There are an incredible number of reasons why this is good for the sport. It increases the visibility of the sport as a whole throughout the world, increases the potential market for sponsors of the series, and exposes more children to the sport, ultimately increasing the number of motocross riders working, training and practicing to make it as a professional Motocross racer in the United States.
According to Nick McCabe, head of Commercial Development for MX Sports:
Making our series accessible to our international fans was a priority for MX Sports. We want motocross enthusiasts all over the world to have access to our programming and racing action.
This will ultimately make the AMA Motocross Nationals a more recognizable brand throughout the world and will build its popularity both here and abroad.
The full details of all the international television packages are not known at this time, but here are the few details we do know.
- Broadcasted on the Motors TV, Nuvolari, Fox Australia, ESPN Brazil, and Greenlight TV networks
- 430 homes throughout the world will be reached via the various broadcast networks
- This deal will reach people in the European union, Russia, the Orient, Brazil, Australia, and more
Hopefully the international coverage of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships continues to grow and bring the great competition to the rest of the world.
The big talk throughout the Supercross season has been James Stewart and Chad Reed’s decisions to not race the Motocross Nationals this year. While Chad’s choice is nothing new, James’ was slightly surprisingly.
Regardless, the fact of the matter is that the two fastest motocross riders in the world will not be riding the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships.
And yet I still believe that this year will hold some of the best competition we have seen in many years. With the dominating riders taking the summer off, they are leaving the series wide open to the other riders to battle it out for the win. In recent years, we have seen Stewart and Carmichael take off for the win while the remaining riders battle for 2nd and 3rd. While these battles have been great, they have been under publicized due to the fact that they were for the runner up, and not for the winning position.
However, for 2009 these same riders will be battling for the win each weekend making the season one of the most exciting in years. Ryan Villopoto, MIke Alessi, Davi Millsaps, Andrew Short, Broc Hepler, Josh Grant, and many more riders will be duking it out all summer long for the National Championship. There is no clear leader in this pack, and I can’t wait to see who will come out as a winner.
While there is no obvious favorite heading into the series, I believe that Ryan Villopoto will transfer his speed and success from the MX Lites class into the Motocross class and once again have a phenomenal National season.
For years, celebrity interest and involvement in motocross has risen steadily. This trend has continued for 2009. The most recent development in this trend was Brad Pitt’s partnership with Carey Hart’s Hart & Huntington/Rockstar Energy team for the 2009 New Orleans Supercross. In an attempt to raise money and awareness of the devastation still present in New Orleans,
Pitt’s Pink Project helped support Hart’s team. The Pink Project is a subset of the Make it Right Foundation and the goal is to help rebuild New Orleans Lower 9th Ward. I find it incredibly inspiring that Brad Pitt chose the motocross community as an avenue to raise awareness of this project, and I believe that it is a sign of things to come and a representation of the power within the motocross community.
2009 is Going to Be Big
2009 is going to be a very big year for the Motocross Nationals. There are a number of growing factors which are all going to help boost the popularity of the Nationals to a whole new level. The competition will be fierce, the television packages superb and the promotion incredible. I am very excited to see how it will all play out, and I cannot wait for the upward spiral of our sport to continue.
The new year means a lot of things. Everyone is one year older, motocross bikes one year more advanced, and tracks one year more technical. In addition, for riders it is a chance to start over. A chance to forget what happened last year and start on a new season with fresh points and a new bike. One rider who needed this almost more than anyone heading into 2009 was Jason Lawrence.
In years past, Jason has always been fast. Blistering fast at times. However, his attitude and immaturity have cost him many race and championship wins.
Granted, he was the defending champion leading into the 2009 Supercross series, but it is undeniable that he would have achieved much greater success in past years had it not been for his attitude.
However, that is all about to change in 2009. I predict that for the remainder of this season, and seasons in the future, the motocross world will see a much more focused, harder working, and faster Jason Lawrence.
Now or Never
-Photo by GuyB.
Jason's career is hinging on the 2009 Season. This year is his chance to show the motocross community and the world as a whole that he is no joke.
He needs to prove that he is serious about motocross as a career and is ready to put his head down and ride hard, ride fast, and get results.
If he fails to prove this, his career could be in for a tough future. Sure, he will continue to ride, and will probably get some good results, but for the most part, I believe that if he doesn't impress this year, he will be looked over by the major teams in future years as a trouble-maker and a has been.
Motocross is a fair weather sport, and unfortunately, this limits it to a little more than half the year for us northerners. Most riders take the off-season off, but I strongly believe that the offseason is a great time to improve your performance for the upcoming year. I've posted before on what I plan to do this winter, but this is meant to be a guide more specific improving your motocross performance over the off-season.
Train, Train, and Train Some More
-Photo by mrflip on Flickr.
Fitness is extremely important to your performance in motocross. Both strength and aerobic training off the track can be the difference between a stellar and a subpar season on the track. Contrary to popular belief, the off-season is not a good time to make huge gains in your physical fitness. Rather, the off-season is your chance to lay down a solid physical base for which you can build upon during pre-season training. During race season, most riders focus on riding and recovering based on motocross, forcing them to neglect their training. this is one of the reasons why off-season training is so important. Unfortunately, according to Aldon Baker, most riders underestimate the benefits of off-season training.
Unfortunately, many MX athletes short change their off-season training by jumping ahead and making it sort of a mini-Pre Season period by doing anaerobic intervals and generally race-type workouts. What a shame.
I totally agree with Aldon on this subject. The off-season is an incredibly crucial time of the season, and training correctly during this time period can have huge benefits come race time.
The 2009 motocross bikes are here, and they look great! The “Big 5″ have made a lot of changes to make this years bikes the best ever. However, 5 innovations within the industry have struck me as the coolest and most interesting.
Electronic Fuel Injection
-Photo from DirtRider.com.
Obviously, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFi) is one of the biggest new features of 2009. This has been in testing for a few years, but 2009 is the first in which the majority of motocross 450s will be EFI based. Form my point of view, EFI is almost entirely a step in the right direction. Not only does it produce soother, more consistent power in various weather conditions and locations in the power-band, but it also eliminates the troublesome and sometimes even dangerous low end bog that four strokes experiences sometimes. The one downside is that EFI adds some foreign technological complexity that mechanics experienced with carburetors may be confused by. Hopefully, however, the EFI systems should work good out of the box and not need a lot of after market tuning. Overall, I believe that EFI is a great transition for the sport of motocross and will provide us with better performing bikes for years to come. The auto industry has not looked back since switching to EFI and I doubt motocross will.
Note: This post is the first in a series following me as I prepare for 2009. Check back often or subscribe to the RSS Feed so you don't miss any of the following posts in the series.
-Photo by Swisscan.
The 2008 motocross season is over, as is summer, and it is time to start planning for 2009 as winter sets in.
Why Cross Train?
The winter off season provides the perfect time to cross train for motocross. A lot of riders ignore cross training as part of their motocross program, and I believe this is a mistake. Nothing can replace riding motocross in order to perfect your skills, however, being in good physical shape can do wonders for your riding. The winter off season is the perfect time to get this done because of the break from racing. The winter break gives riders time to take a needed mental break from riding in order to improve their physical condition. Come springtime, it is much easier to get back into the swing of motocross if you are in top physical condition as opposed to a lazy, out of shape lump after doing nothing all winter. This winter will be one of my first where I stick to a rigorous training schedule, and I am hoping that I will definitely notice a difference come February when I begin riding again.