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Point of Debate: MXGP, Part One

It is no secret that the FIM Motocross World Championship has been criticised by many thus far this year, as the series has run into quite a few issues such as a lack of entries etc. In fact, there have been so many problems that the FIM have had to announce a long list of changes that will be implemented in 2014, which will hopefully get the MXGP series on-track. We will go over those in part two; for now, I would like to analyse some aspects of the 2013 series.

Intriguingly, a couple of changes have been made to the infrastructure of the FIM Motocross World Championship this year; I believe that all of them have good intentions behind them. I was actually quite pleased to see that a holeshot award had been implemented at round one back in March. But it could definitely be improved on; it is portrayed as something that really is not that important to the riders. I think that they are doing it right over in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series, as the large structure that shadows the first corner ensures that the award is noticeable to those watching the event on television. Whereas in the MXGP series, there is a small banner that is not really obvious to viewers.

At the end of a moto, a cheque for €250 is presented to the rider that grabbed the holeshot, however the presentation isn’t a grand spectacle. Usually the rider doesn’t even realise that they have to go and collect the reward, as they are hushed over and given the award whilst awkwardly trying to get their helmet off with one hand. Honestly, ‘awkward’ sums up the whole thing; it needs to be redone, and presented on a larger scale. I do believe the way that it is shown at the moment seems meaningless, why not put all the money together into one pot and have the person that has the most holeshots over the course of the year take it home, like they do in the USA? It makes it seem much more prestigious, I believe; it seems a lot more professional to outsiders also (having one large reward).

It does seem as though Youthstream are trying to implement some of the ideas used over in the United States; the Monster Energy bridge that the riders ride over before heading out on their sighting lap is similar to the structure that is used during the opening ceremonies in the AMA Supercross series. But, this does not seem to serve any purpose also. Sure, a handful of riders stop and acknowledge the situation that they are in. However, a very large percentage of the guys elect to keep their head down and speed over it as quickly as possible.

So, here is my solution. Why not use the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series as a model? Prior to the two points paying MX1, and MX2 motos on the Sunday, call the top five riders in each class out onto the start straight, whilst the announcer bellows information about them, and then present them to the public with an interview. In my mind, this would benefit a load of people. It would help the top riders with their publicity, and it would teach those fans that are not fanatics a little about who they want to support. It would give everyone a back-story, prior to the main event.

Earlier, I mentioned that there has been a lot of new infrastructure introduced this year; the most notable piece (in my opinion) is the Skybox. I am a really big fan of this, as it does seem much more professional, which is ultimately what the MXGP championship needs to be. The Skybox offers VIP guests a place to watch the race from and it is just an impressive feature. I particularly like how the riders are beneath it prior to a race with a model holding a flag that has the riders name and number on stood right in front of them – it has the same sort of feel that Formula 1 offers. Overall, the Skybox has been a cool inclusion, most definitely.

What about the TV coverage? Honestly, I am a fan of the coverage. I think that it is great that we have live coverage of every round, with few interruptions. But, surely the content and coverage could be improved? I believe we should take a few ideas from the USA, as in their pre-race footage they focus on: “the one to watch” and the “main storylines heading into the weekend”. Giuseppe Luongo has often stated that he would like to make it so that the TV coverage entices outsiders. Surely this would do just that? If you were flicking through the channels, and saw that Jeremy van Horebeek was the one to watch, because he has been posting good results in his rookie MX1 season, you would have a reason to follow him in that particular race.

It is just an added feature that could be beneficial to the sport and the rider’s sponsors. After all, the sponsors are the reason the series can exist – added exposure cannot be negative. I’m of the opinion that the MXGP series only needs a few tweaks to be great again. Although the crew behind the championship seem set on making huge changes, I honestly don’t think that they are necessary. Obviously they have already announced some rule changes for 2014 and we will look at those in more detail, next week, in part two.

Words by Lewis Phillips

MX Vice Editor || 25

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