Posts Tagged ‘supercross’
James Stewart revolutionized motocross in ways he never imagined – Photo by Steve Cox
You may not have noticed it, but our sport is changing. In the past few years motocross has gone through incredibly significant changes. Yes, the four stroke has become the dominant motocross technology and yes Leatt Braces are now prevalent in almost any motocross event across the country. However, what I'm talking about it something different.
Ever since James Stewart turned pro, his riding style has pushed the limits of what is possible on a motocross bike. It was shocking watching him hit bigger jumps than anyone else (on a KX125, no less) and scrub speed on every double, triple and table top. James Stewart's riding style was truly evolutionary.
James Stewart took the win in Salt Lake City. Photo by Brendan Lutes of TWMX.
James Stewart is a superstar of the motocross industry. He rides with incredible flow and style and is constantly raising the sport to a new level. In addition, he is the most well known motocross rider, outside of the industry.
After writing an article on Stewart's new website and Twitter account, I recently got a chance to interview the motocross sensation. Below is the interview in both audio and text format. Enjoy!
Photo by GuyB.
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.
March 2nd, 2009 • Comments My Thoughts
Tags: Austin Stroupe, bikes, Chad Reed, Chris Blose, Davi Millsaps, Factor Connection, Honda, James Stewart, Jason Lawrence, Kawasaki, Pro Circuit, Ryan Villopoto, supercross, Suzuki, Trey Canard, Troy Lee Designs, Yamaha
Everyone loves looking at professional Motocross and Supercross bikes. They are the trickest and most advanced bikes in the world, and it is inspiring as a rider to look at the incredible bikes ridden by my favorite pro racers.
It is easy to miss the number of incredible bike set ups in the midst of Supercross races, controversies and penalties. That’s why I have rounded up the 8 most inspiring Professional Supercross Bike Setups, enjoy!
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