Posts Tagged ‘motocross’
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James Stewart is destined to bring our sport to new levels. Just as Jeremy McGrath introduced millions of new fans to the sport, Stewart will continue to help motocross grow. His young edginess combined with his flashy personality and strong fan base will take him far in life, both on and off the bike.
Stewart's latest step to grow his prescence and popularity both inside and outside of the motocross industry include two different web projects.
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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.
If you are a regular visitor here, or an active member of any online motocross communities, you probably have read about the outcry over the latest CPSC act which essentially outlaws youth motocross across the country.
As part of my fight against this legislation, I sent email correspondence to Connecticut’s Senator Christopher J. Dodd and Representative Joe Courtney. A few weeks after my emails were sent, I was somewhat surprised to receive a response from both politicians. I know many of you are actively fighting this yourself, so I decided to share their responses with the motocross community.
Senator Christopher J. Dodd
Dear Mr. Martin:
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act. I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.
The responsibilities of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are some of the most critical to our nation. The CPSC is charged with protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of serious injury associated with faulty consumer products. Created by Congress in 1976, the CPSC is responsible for examining more than 15,000 types of goods, and has contributed to a 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the last 30 years. However, public alarm about a series of product recalls, particularly of toys and other products used by children has focused attention on major reforms to the CPSC.
As Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, child safety issues are of the utmost importance to me. That is why I am proud to have supported the final passage of H.R. 4040. Signed into law on August 14, 2008, this critical overhaul of the CPSC contains key reforms that will help to protect American consumers.
This legislation requires that as of February 10, 2009, products intended for use by children may not be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) of lead, even if they were manufactured prior to that date. Other products may also not be sold after this date if they contain more than 0.1 percent of specific phthalates, which have been determined to cause reproductive development issues in children. You may be interested to know that on January 30, 2009, the CPSC voted to grant a one-year stay of testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products intended for children under 12 years of age. This decision will provide CPSC staff time to finalize and clarify the four proposed rules relating to lead testing. The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010. For further information relating to the stay of testing, the proposed rules, exempt materials, or other issues relating to the administration of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act, please visit the Commission's website at http://www.cpsc.gov. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor the implementation of this law closely, and will continue to support efforts to protect the health and safety of all children.
Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay in touch with me on this and other issues of importance, please visit my website at http://dodd.senate.gov and subscribe to receive my regular e-mail issue alerts. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance you in any way.
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD
United States Senator
After reading Dodd’s response, I was slightly disappointed. It is obvious that Dodd openly supported the recent bill. On the other hand, I can see where his point of view is from. The CPSC covers many other types of consumer goods besides motocross bikes and they are responsible for protecting children from lead in mass produced products.
However, I was surprised to see that he did not address the fact that this legislation was much farther reaching than initially anticipated and prevents children from riding motorcycles which contain lead that is never in contact with the child.
Dodd almost failed to defend the outlaw of youth motocross and instead just listed his support of the bill in general. I totally agree that many products imported into our country contain dangerous levels of lead and should be outlawed. Motocross bikes, are not one of these products and Dodd’s failure to address this oversight strikes me as an admittance that the CPSC has gone one step to far with this legislation.
Representative Joe Courtney
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is charged with regulating and enforcing consumer product safety standards, has proven ineffective in its duties. Our nation bore witness to these failings in recent years, with unprecedented numbers of unsafe consumer products being pulled from shelves in Connecticut and across the nation. The passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA, P.L. 110-314), which was signed into law on August 14, 2008, delivered promise of much needed change to the CPSC and consumer protection standards. Since passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the CPSC has been responsible for implementing commonsense applications of the law.
A major provision of the CPSIA established limits on lead content in children's products. Under current law, children's products cannot contain any component that exceeds a lead limit of 600 parts per million (ppm). In response to these
restrictions, many ATV manufactures have sent notifications to distributors regarding ATV parts that may exceed the allowable lead limit. This in turn has impacted ATV businesses as well the availability of children's ATV for purchase.
I understand concerns regarding the application of lead limits restrictions on parts that could, realistically, never cause lead exposure. Under the CPSIA, the CPSC has the authority and responsibility to establish exclusions of materials or product parts from lead content limits if they will not result in absorption of lead into the body. I would encourage the CPSC to closely examine ATV parts, including brake components, battery terminals, and other components that could be excluded from lead limits. I would also encourage the CPSC to use the flexibility granted to them in this legislation to establish commonsense applications of the law and to improve information for those affected by the new requirements.
As the CPSC moves forward with implementing provisions of this law, I will continue to monitor the balance of regulation for both practicality and the goal of consumer protection. Should you have any additional comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future. For more information on my views on other issues or to see what I have been working on in Congress, please feel free to visit my official website at www.house.gov/courtney and sign up for my e-newsletter.
Member of Congress
Joe Courtney’s response, on the other hand, was much more reassuring. He addresses the fact that the CPSC has to outlaw unsafe products, but does not fail to mention that motocross bikes and ATV’s are not unsafe and their lead would never realistically come into contact with their youth riders.
I was extremely pleased to read that Joe Courtney has the safety, yet also enjoyment of youths across the country in mind and that he totally understands the impact of this ban.
Joe Courtney's reviews almost exactly reflect mine on this issue: The CPSC must continue to ban unsafe products, but they crucially need to exclude motocross bikes and ATVs in order to preserve the sport we love and the economic ecosystem which is the motocross community.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that not all politicians think alike. Obviously, if they did our democratic system would just not work. As a result, the lead politicians of Connecticut, and undoubtedly other states across the nation have different views on this issue.
For me, Joe Courtney sympathizes with my views while Christopher Dodd apparently does not. Because of this, I will continue to support Joe Courtney in his political ventures. If certain politicians from your state are supporting the review and modification of this latest CPSC act, then you should return the favor and support them in return. This will ensure that they see results from their actions and continue supporting pro motocross legislation.
What Can You Do
Even if your politicians agree that HR 4040 is incredibly far reaching and needs to be reviewed, then cannot accomplish the goal of fixing this act alone. They need your help! There are a number of things you can do to help this effort, check them out below!
- Spread the Word: Do you have a podcast or blog? Are you active on social networks? Leverage this communities to your advantage. Spread the word of this atrociety and make sure that all of your friends are aware of the ban and are helping in the fight.
- Submit a Letter: The following letter has been prepared by the MIC to be sent to the CPSC in support of the petition and ultimately in support of the removal of this ban. Download CPSC Letter here
- Sign the Petition: visit http://www.tomself.com/, submit your info and sign the petition.
- Write to your Congressmen and Senators: Let them know the far reaching affects of this law and the many benefits provided to families by the small powers ports industry.**Thanks to Commenter Joe Roth, I have been made aware of an automatic system to submit a letter to your congressmen and senators which has been set up by the AMA. Check out the AMA’s Rapid Response System right away.**
- Watch and Spread the Video: Matt Wozney of MXPTV has produced an awesome video regarding the ban. Watch it, spread the link, and embed it on your site. The more people aware of this issue the better.
For months there have been rumors that MX Sports would allow 250 two-strokes in the Motocross Lites class for 2009. This effectively put both “strokes” on a level playing field, with no CC advantage.
However, it looks as though this is not going to happen. Due to the CPSC Ban on Youth Motocross, Davey Coombs and the MX Sports grew have decided that it is probably not in the sports best interest to concentrate their efforts on this issue.
However, I feel that this major rule change could have had a very large positive impact on the motocross community and delaying it will ultimately cause a negative effect on the development of the sport. While the far reaching affects of this act are impossible to summarize in one article, here are some of the major areas where I believe a 250 two stoke in the Lites class could have significantly benefitted the sport.
More Defined Class Names
Class names may seem like a trivial aspect of the motocross community, but to a newcomer to the motocross community, the current class names are extremely confusing.
While the AMA tried to change the class names from “250” and “125” to “Motocross” and “Lites,” this effort has all but failed. The new names are arguably worse than the old and tell newcomers to the sport absolutely nothing about each class.
As a result, many people have stuck with the traditional numerical denominations. But, that has led to further confusion. For newcomers it can be an extremely hard concept to grasp why a “250” four stroke would race in the “125” class. Unless you truly understand the stark difference between the two engine configurations, the placement of four strokes makes almost no sense.
The confusion continues with the experienced members of the motosphere. While most motocross riders know that “250” four strokes ride in the “125” class, when discussing events in the class, conversations can get very confusing.
Imagine if your friend said “Hey man, did you see the crash at the start of the 250 moto?” Because so many riders are now on four strokes, some people have begun calling the “125” class the “250” class and the “250” class the “450” class, so when people actually use the common number, “250,” it is unclear which class they mean.
On the other hand, if the AMA went ahead and allowed 250 two-strokes in the “Lites” class, this issue would be all but cleared up. The “Lites” class, whether officially or unofficially, could be talked about as the “250” class and the “Motocross” class could be reffered to as the “450” class. This would clear up confusion both for newcomers and seasoned vets of the sport and would ultimately help the sport in its current branding crisis.
Two Strokes are More Economical for Privateers
While Factory riders may not care about the economic difference between two strokes and four strokes, for privateers it can make a huge difference. In the current economic trouble our country is in, struggling privateers need all the help they can get. Riding a two strokes, especially a 250cc two stroke in the “Lites” class, can be just this economic relief.
To begin with, Two Strokes are cheaper to purchase. However, the savings do not stop there. Two Strokes are easier to maintain and easier to workout, saving privateers money on mechanic fees. These small savings could have a huge effect on the lives of privateer motocross racers in the current times of economic turmoil.
Furthermore, a 250cc two stroke is competitive out of the box with 250 four strokes. In the Lites class where power is everything, not having to pay for expensive modifications can save a privateer thousands of dollars a year.
By lowering the costs to privateers, allowing 250cc two strokes to race in the Lites class will once again put privateers on a relatively level playing field which is a bonus for the sport as a whole as it will allow more riders to make the tough transition from local pro to national pro.
More Variety In the Pro Pack
This may be a matter of personal taste, but I love seeing some personality and some variety in the pro pack. The same cookie cutter personalities and standard bike setups may be easy to market for the factories backing the major teams, but for me it makes motocross something it should never be, boring.
I love seeing variety and personality on the pro motocross track. Whether this is in the riders or their bikes, it makes the nationals more exciting as a spectator. In the same sense that buy cialis
“Why We Will See a new Jason Lawrence in 2009″>Jason Lawrence lights up the entire motocross community each time he opens his mouth, two strokes help to make races more exciting.
Maybe its just the sound of a freshly tuned premix bike, or maybe it is because two strokes are advantageous in certain sections of the track and four strokes in others, but something about having a heterogeneous field greatly increases the excitement of any pro moto and helps to shake up the results a bit. This is ultimately a bonus for the sport as it shakes up the results and prevents the same two or three riders from winning every week.
As the two strokes will help to enhance the variety within the pro pack, it will also help to further inspire privateers and local pros to go up against the factory riders. If they know that they are automatically on a more level playing field with the 250 four strokes of the factory riders, then they will be much more inspired to go out to the national week in and week out to compete against the factory riders.
This will benefit the sport by adding variety to the field, helping to diversify the pack between factory and privateer riders. This will allow more riders to make it big time in the pro ranks and deepen the depth of talent within the pro ranks.
Promotes the Popularity of Two Strokes Among General Public
Alright, there may be some convoluted reasoning in this point, but it makes sense, believe me. If Mx Sports had gone through with their original plan of allowing 250cc two strokes in the “Lites” class, they would instantly make these bikes more popular among the pro riders. Penny pinching privateers as well as vets looking to have a good time would almost undoubtedly choose 250cc two strokes over the easier to ride, yet less fun and more expensive 250cc four strokes.
Because the two strokes would once again regain popularity among some of the pros, they would also begin to gain popularity among the general public. There is no denying that as a sport we follow the pros, and if some pros switched back tot two strokes, I believe that certain local riders would also make this switch. Once otherpeople began to see the fun which can be had on a two stroke, the transition would spread throughout the motocross community.
I'm not saying that two strokes would ever return to the dominance they had a few years ago, however, they will gain a strong cult following and be able to sustain themselves as a viable alternative to the four stroke motocross bike.
Who Doesn’t Love the Two Strokes?
Let’s face it, anyway who has ridden motocross for any number of years loves the sound of a two-stroke. Nothing beats hearing a 250cc two stroke rip through a deep loam berm. For this same reason, any motocross enthusiast wants to see two-strokes brought back to professional motocross just for the sake of it.
It may seem like a trivial concern, but something about an all four stroke pro moto just seems booring to me. I would love to be able to hear another pro moto with two strokes at the front of the pack. Something about it would just add some variety and originality back to the pro motocross community and return something to pro motos which has been missing since the demise of the two stroke.
Want to read more about the failed attempt by MX Sports to allow the 250cc two stroke to race in the “Lites” class? Check out the resources below.
- TwoStrokeMotocross.com – The AMA National Class that Could Have Been
- RacerXOnline.com – MX Sports Statement Regarding 250 Class
- TransworldMotocross.com – What Could Have Been: A “True” 250cc Class
What do you think of this news? Were you looking forward to seeing 250cc two strokes on the same level as 250cc four strokes? Or do you think concentrating our efforts on the Lead fiasco is more beneficial to the development of the sport?