On a scale of one to 10, with one being totally rubbish and 10 being the best thing ever, this year’s AX Tour must have ranked at around a bazillion!
In terms of action, audience, atmosphere and so on it delivered in droves.
And the fact that the Pro championship went right down to the wire was just the absolute icing on the cake.
After such a strong start to the season – let’s not forget that the Hawkstone International over delivered n’all – I’d be pretty nervous if I were British MX right now.
To continue performing at this awesomely high level is gonna be tough – even with all the great opportunities that lie ahead.
As things stand there are three confirmed national outdoor championships catering for Pro racers occurring in the UK this year – that’s the Maxxis British Championship, Michelin MX Nationals and Pirelli British Masters.
The Maxxis is obviously the championship that all riders want to win as it’s the British Championship while the MX Nationals and British Masters give the riders extra chances to win national titles and bolster their bank balances.
From a rider’s point of view they’re all a similar format with one morning qualifying session and two good length motos in the afternoon. Job done!
This consistency is great in terms of enabling the athletes to prepare for the task in hand but offers little to fans in terms of uniqueness. Motocross is motocross is motocross.
While I’m all for tradition I believe there’s a time and place for everything and if motocross is going to prosper as a spectator sport maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit and start catering to potential new fans as well as the hardcore masses.
As much as naysayers will tell you that Arenacross isn’t motocross I can absolutely guarantee you that every motocross race promoter in the UK would kill for AX levels of attendance (bar Steve Dixon who’d most likely be suicidal if ‘only’ 6,000 fans rocked up to Matterley Basin for the MXoN).
If you put the crowd from a Maxxis round inside any of the AX championship arenas then the place would look empty and most people would be slating the series saying it was ‘sh*t’ even if the racing/show was exactly the same as it is now.
It’s funny how some things are judged on attendance, eh?
Those same folk would no doubt argue that the AX experience with all its FMX and that razzamatazz has wider public appeal than traditional motocross
Maybe that’s true but on the flipside those bums perched on the edge of seats haven’t come cheap and the amount invested in marketing – and educating the masses with free freestyle shows and stuff – is huge.
You have to speculate to accumulate and all that…
And on that note I’d be willing to wager that a switched-on outdoor motocross promoter who was willing to shuffle a schedule, come up with something creative and then throw an absolute fortune at promoting said spectacle would reap the benefits of a larger audience.
And ultimately a larger audience is what the sport needs if it ever hopes to sustain professional athletes like it did in the good old days…