Reaction: Another big-name injury in 450 AMA MX/SX – schedule changes needed?

In the last six weeks, Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb and Chase Sexton have all lost a shot at a title due to injury, Sexton was the benefactor in supercross, Tomac lost both and Webb is hanging in there in MX after his concussion in supercross, with Sexton now suffering a concussion in motocross!

Sexton said of the setback: “Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend… As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

It leaves Jett on another level outdoors with former champ Ferrandis not yet ready to challenge him, having just recovered from his own concussion in supercross and still finding his feet with the new Yamaha and only three weeks on the bike.

In truth, with Plessinger, Webb, Ferrandis and Cianciarulo struggling with his hand injury, Jett is the only factory rider fully healthy and prepared going into the 450 motocross. He has less competition that he would have in the 250 class and he would have a much bigger challenge if he was racing MXGP in Latvia this weekend against Herlings, Febvre and Prado that he would have at Hangtown, and that’s with Gajser, Renaux and Jonass to name just three currently out injured in MXGP!

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The depth in 450 US motocross is not good right now, with some doing WSX this year like Nichols, Roczen, Hill, Wilson etc combined with the injuries. Jose Butron was top ten at Pala and he has retired from MXGP, Lorenzo Lucurcio was also in the top ten and he was generally a 15-20 guy in MXGP on his good days. Maybe Cairoli should have chosen this year to race AMA – he would be a podium guy and a title contender! Last year was unusually deep and the racing was excellent but this year it’s an all-round disaster for promotors, teams and fans.

With SMX races still to come and ten more outdoors, maybe there is a question of too many races in row in America? Does there need to be so many outdoor races if SMX is to continue? Should there be a month off between AMA supercross and Motocross and an 8-10 round outdoor series then the 3 SMX to give the riders a chance to reboot physically and mentally?

Something might need to be done. The 450 MX class is supposed to be the premier class outdoors in America, but it isn’t, outdoors the 250 class is the premier class in the States now and globally MXGP is the premier outdoor series. MX2 GP’s also has more competition this year.

We saw how good the 450 outdoors were last year and could have been this year, so it’s not just the promotors that suffer with so many top guys injured, it is the fans at the races and behind the computer/TV screens, who don’t get to see a deeper field battling tooth and nail for every position in at least the top ten. Thankfully, Barcia, Anderson and Craig are expected back soon with Sexton hopefully getting into the mix but even then those guys won’t have much on the line and SMX and supercross will be the main focus.

This might be a wake-up call to create an AMA schedule that helps the riders and doesn’t drain them mentally and physically until the product suffers. With how things currently are, it may push more to do the Roczen schedule of AMA SX and WSX, at least then there is more time off and only one discipline to focus on, helping longevity.

Now all eyes will be on Latvia, the open fight for both MX2 and MXGP world titles and the 250 class at Hangtown which is an enthralling spectacle with Hunter and Cooper expected to go fot the title, the wild riding and high speed of Hampshire, world champ Vialle taking on the US tracks for the first time, Deegan showing his skills at 17 and a plethora of riders capable of getting in the mix all on factory machines. In contrast, the 450 class is expected to be a Jett runaway unless Webb/Plessinger/Ferrandis can find their National title winning speed quickly. The intrigue is nearly gone already.

Can America make 450 US MX great again? They need to!

Words: Jonathan McCready

Images: Align