The Monster Energy Supercross in Glendale marked the first Triple Crown event of 2020. Leading up to the event I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which the race wasn’t able to deliver excitement. Unfortunately, the excitement and anticipation never reached fever pitch. Don’t get me wrong, the race was fun to watch but tweaking the format just a little could make it even better.
(Eli Tomac was , but couldn't match Ken Roczen's early race intensity)
I spoke with mechanics on every team and they unanimously dislike the format, saying the entire night was stressful. Not only do they have to prep a race bike, but they also have a backup motorcycle ready if needed. The time between races doesn’t leave room to fix any major motorcycle malfunctions. Unfortunately, this format has been embraced by the promoter and fans, so the mechanics are just going to have to deal with the extra workload…. Sorry, Guys!
(Ken Roczen was perfect at Glendale)
When I say a minor tweak, I truly mean minor. The riders in both classes are on track for almost double the time of a regular main event, but no extra incentive is offered. Would you want to do double the work for the same pay and incentives? Getting the promoter to cough up more purse money is less than likely so I will just leave it alone. If riders were given a few championship bonus points each moto for podium finishes it could add a significant amount of excitement. My suggestion is this; riders finishing first, second and third would receive 3, 2, and 1 bonus championship points. Had this been the scenario, all racers would have an incentive to battle to the end no matter the overall results. Additionally, it would offer a healthy reward for performances like Ken Roczen’s perfect night.
(Austin Forkner and his good starts have him doing well at triple crown events)
Using the current triple crown format, it’s incredibly difficult to win all three main events. This same format offers a million-dollar bonus at the Monster Energy Cup, if a rider can win all three races. The Monster Energy Cup only has about half the top contenders racing, but the promoters still know it’s unlikely anyone will win all three main events. What Ken Roczen did at Glendale was flat out amazing, this field is as talented as it’s ever been and seeing him win all three races and only gain three championship points on Eli Tomac doesn’t seem fair. Using the podium bonus points incentive Ken would have gained 7 points on Eli, still not a gigantic amount, but let’s not forget Eli lost the 2017 Supercross Championship by a mere 5 points. Every point counts.
(According to Cooper Webb's telemetry he was doing 75mph on the Glendale start)
The other little tweak I would add is to the start. At Glendale, Cooper Webb told Motoxaddicts.com that his telemetry had him doing 75mph down the start straight. Often riders like long starts as it allows the pack to separate and with this separation, we see less carnage. Unfortunately when twenty-two 450cc motorcycles are barreling toward the first turn at those speeds incidents become more severe. Last night we lost Justin Bogle in the second moto after he locked bars and was high sided. Justin landed right on his face and laid motionless for several scary minutes.
If it were up to me I would make two changes; first I would do my best not to have riders hitting 75mph inside a football stadium. This is simple, shorten the start straight. The second thing I would implement is a two-row start. This spreads the field and makes for a cleaner first turn. It’s almost impossible to have six main event starts in one evening without at least one catastrophic first turn incident. Using a two-row start would help alleviate traffic in turn one. It will also place a higher emphasis on qualifying. Right now timed qualifying is mostly for bragging rights, but if only the top 11 qualifiers were on the front row, it would add a new element of excitement. The final thing it does is it gives our contenders a clear track, we get to see the top 11 riders battle without any slower riders getting in the way.
How many races have we seen where one or two of the top riders is buried in 16th off the start? Nowadays the entire pack is so good it’s rare to see anyone carve up a field like we saw the stars in the past. This ensures we get the fan favorites at the front of the pack each race. I love the triple crown events, but they can always get better!
(That's a lot of guys going very fast into the first turn)