This past weekend the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series kicked off at Loretta Lynn's Ranch. This year is like no other in our history, and I don't see how this season doesn't have an asterisk? Fortunately, the asterisk in 2020 isn't typical; usually, an asterisk somehow demeans an accomplishment, but anything accomplished in 2020 means it was extra difficult. This year has posed unprecedented challenges for everyone, and the racers who end up on top deserve an asterisk, one that reminds everyone of the extra challenges they overcame.
(Riders who have decided to battle in 2020 are some of the toughest in the sports history)
It takes a special kind of mental strength to compete in a series where racing rules and venues can change on a moment's notice. Racers are strange creatures; they draw power from preparation and routines, and the strange happenings in 2020 have completely destroyed their "normal" routines. Races are being held much later in the calendar year than in years past. This presents new surroundings and unique challenges. The riders that win in 2020 might not be winners in a usual season, but don't let that diminish the accomplishment. It might end up a more significant achievement than any other year in history.
(Say what you want about "team Fried" but Anderson showed a toughness at the opening round)
Sporting events around the world are struggling with logistical issues and doing whatever they can to bring sports back to life. We are finding out which athletes have the most mental fortitude. No professional athlete makes it to the highest level without being mentally tough, so don't take my criticism as "soft" or mentally weak as a comparison to average humans. Even the softest or the most mentally fragile professional athletes are stronger than mere mortals, but comparing them to their peers can make them look weak. Unfortunately, that's how I see Ken Roczen in 2020.
(Tomac has cemented his legacy in 2020)
The asterisk that defines 2020 should say: overcame every obstacle and fought through a pandemic to earn an extra unique championship. Rather than comparing the season to a "normal" year and making excuses, I look at the struggles as defining moments in the sport. 2020 is a season where both Feld Motorsports and MX Sports have risked financial well-being and put the sport first. I am uber critical of the promoting bodies and do not often agree with their philosophies, but I cannot help but respect their efforts in 2020. The sport can always improve, but in 2020 it's about survival and supporting the efforts.
2020 is a year when beautiful strength is being displayed, while horrible disasters plague our society. When someone asks if 2020 deserves an asterisk, I say hell yea! It will go down as the year we found out who is the toughest of the tough. Eli Tomac's performance to close out the Supercross series should cement his legacy, and we should never doubt his mental toughness again. The same goes for Cooper Webb, Zach Osborne, and all riders who have risen to the occasion and battled through crazy circumstances. With that said, racing is a "what have you done lately" society, so at any moment, we could all question them again, but any argument should be ended when it's pointed out how they performed in the asterisk season of 2020.
(You can say a lot about Osborne, but don't ever call him soft)
Stay strong, and don't let the negative vortex of 2020 suck you down!
Photos: Align Media