The FIM Motocross World Championship has endured a tough year; the series has run into a number of different problems that have been clear for everyone to see. It was obvious that something had to be done, hence why the FIM and Youthstream have announced a few changes that will be implemented from the beginning of the 2014 season. In this piece, I will be looking at these changes specifically.
Giuseppe Luongo has been vocal when stating that his primary focus is to make sure that the MX1 class has all of the attention; I would argue that it already has most of it, but still. So, by renaming it the ‘MXGP class’ it will translate the message that Luongo desires to outsiders; it will seem that the class is the entire series. But, where does this leave the MX2 riders? I’m of the opinion that MX2 is just as important as MX1. Sure it may have lost some credibility now that the age restriction rule is in full affect; however all of the riders out there are extremely talented. Why deprive them of recognition?
In my opinion, it is much better for the growth of the series if you present both the MX1 and the MX2 classes with the same amount of importance; it will increase the focus on all of the riders and teams. Whereas now, all fans that are relatively new to the sport are going to presume that the MX2 class is just something to pass the time, which isn’t good. It isn’t a major change though, and it is not one that really won’t be too recognisable. I mean, all of the riders will continue to call it MX1 – I’m willing to bet on that.
When the FIM announced the new rules, there was one that left me scratching my head; the newly named ‘MXGP class’ (now MX1) will be restricted to thirty riders from 2014 onwards. I am sure that everyone has his or her own views on why this has been decided, as we haven’t been provided with an actual reason. Presumably it is a way to cover up the lack of entries; it seems logical. But instead of fixing that massive problem all they are doing is covering it up, I really cannot see another reason behind it. Is there really going to be an advantage to having ten less guys on the gates? If it is beneficial then why is the MX2 class allowed forty-riders on track still? Exactly.
In a way, that is a bit infuriating to see that an effort has not been made to boost entries. I’m certain that this is what we all wanted to be fixed when the FIM had their annual meeting. In hindsight, nothing has been done for this specific issue; all of the changes are quite minor. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing though; the foundation of MXGP will stay the same, which is great, when you consider the changes Giuseppe Luongo wanted to make.
I was also very surprised to see that the MX3 series has been abolished. Perhaps some of the riders from that series will head over to ‘MXGP’ next year, to fill the thirty-man gate? If it can fill the gate in the main series, then I will be happy. Honestly, I believe that no one is going to notice that it has gone next year, aside from the people that are involved with it. I mean how many people know who is leading the series at the moment? I’m willing to bet that not a lot of people know. I’m certain that most were quite pleased when they heard what the series would be replaced with.
In 2014 another ‘European Motocross’ series will be introduced, as all of the riders will be on a bike anywhere from “200cc to 300cc two-stroke.” Obviously, there is a long list of fans that have longed for the return of the two-stroke and they are one step closer to seeing that happen with this series. I am certain that the series will be an undoubted success; fans will support it, and it will be more cost efficient for the privateers. The two ‘EMX’ series have not suffered in the tough economic times. So, it makes sense to introduce a third one, surely? This new “300cc” series will take place at six or seven rounds of the 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship, so there is really going to be a jam-packed schedule with no breaks next year. I guess that the fans won’t be able to claim that they are not getting their monies worth now!
The 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship provisional calendar was announced, not long ago, as they have to have the first edition out by the start of July. Obviously the calendar will change before the start of next year; in fact it will change drastically I’m sure. However there are a few notable changes already, such as the fact that Agueda is not on there. This was not too surprising, as the writing has been on the wall for quite a while. However the Portuguese GP is one of my personal favourites, so it is unfortunate to see it go. Although from what I’ve heard it could be hosting a GP on alternate years.
The Spanish GP looks set to return at the historic circuit of Talavera, which is most definitely a positive for the series, as they are passionate about their motocross over in Spain. A GP of Hungary will also be introduced, which we will be interesting I’m sure – although a track has not yet been confirmed for that round. Aside from that, there isn’t really much change, as a lot of the facilities that have become staples on the MXGP schedule will continue on with their current contracts.
In my opinion, the next twelve months are going to be pivotal for the FIM Motocross World Championship, as all of these changes will be put into place. Although none of them are too major (as mentioned previously), there are bound to be a couple of disapproving fans. I just hope that 2014 will be more successful for the series then this year; some of the issues that have been evident this year have not exactly been a positive representation of MXGP and motocross in general.
Words by Lewis Phillips