In recent years, some fans have longed for changes to be made to the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. It is not that the current format is bad; it is just that some believe that it has become stale. Honestly, you cannot really argue with that; after all, there has not been any major changes made to the series for quite some time.
It turns out that some of the guys at FELD Motorsports feel the same, as they have looked at changing the stereotypical SX format. In fact, most think that the MEC (Monster Energy Cup) is the perfect place for them to experiment with different formats, track features etc. Before we get to that, lets take a look at the changes that will definitely be implemented during the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series.
At the Monster Energy Cup, FELD Motorsports announced that the semis would be returning to the 450SX class in Monster Energy AMA Supercross next year. It has seemed like the night show has gotten a bit shorter in recent years – the smaller tracks have contributed to this, in my opinion. Now that the semis will return, there will be two more races in the night show; I am sure that this will please fans as well as sponsors, as their logos could potentially be seen on-track more than in recent years. I am certain that some of the top riders are happy to see the semis back in the program, as it is less likely that they won’t qualify for the main event in a fluke incident (like RV did in Jacksonville back in 2011).
It is also good news for riders like Broc Tickle, and Andrew Short. It is quite unlikely that they are going to win a heat race, or main event, next year. However, it is quite realistic to expect guys like them to win semis frequently, which will ultimately give their sponsors more exposure, and also make them more attractive to other teams and companies. It really looks like there are no negatives to bringing back the semis. So why did they get scrapped in the first place?
Well, when FELD Motorsports decided to axe the semis in 2007, it was to fit the whole of the night program into a live TV show. In 2007, the decision was understandable, as it was a way of helping the sport to grow in the USA. However, Monster Energy AMA Supercross seems to be established enough now, where they can look at making some big changes. In 250SX, the format will stay the same, with two heat races and an LCQ. But, the number of riders in both the 450SX and 250SX main events will go up to twenty-two starting at Anaheim 1, which can only be positive.
Although the twenty (and fifteen) lap main events will be around for quite a while, there is a chance that features like the ‘Joker Lane’ and the three ten lap main events could find a way into Monster Energy AMA Supercross in the future. Now, some desperately do not want to see things like this become a staple in the sport. But, personally, I think it would be pretty cool to see some of this stuff at the odd event.
In Australian Supercross a few years ago, the promoters made changes to the format each week, which seemed to go down quite well. Obviously, the AMA Supercross series is the biggest series in the world. So, they have different things to consider when trying to make these changes. But, if FELD were to mark out the rounds that would have the ‘Joker Lane’ on the calendar, I think that it would be well received. However, I don’t think this feature should be introduced if it is going to take something away from the track design. It should only be used at the bigger stadiums, where there is plenty of floor space.
After all, if it does not go down well, you can just scrap the idea! Introducing these things is a great way to keep the series tight, make the action closer and create more interest! Just look at the type of racing we have seen at the MEC in the last two years; it has been incredible, as everyone considered the racing at the 2013 edition to be the best we have seen all year.
At this point, it seems as though these format changes will not be implemented to the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. However, do not be surprised if they find their way into the stadium at some one-off rounds, as change could be on the horizon.
Words by Lewis Phillips