Jason Anderson looked exhausted.
A red plate, combined with a new format of three motos plus a couple of bad starts had clearly taken it’s toll one the supercross points leader, as he sat drained, mentally and physically, in the press conference after Anaheim two.
It all left him questioning the possibility of doing an entire season with the new format.
“It’s way too hectic for 18 rounds of that – no way! It’s kind of cary honestly!” Surmised Anderson of the new three main event format being trialled for three rounds in the 2018 supercross series. “Doing three starts with everyone is pretty crazy. If you aren’t one or two ( out of the gate), you don’t know if you are going to hit the triple of double it, it’s pretty scary. It’s probably more action for the fans but for us it is hectic.”
And he wasn’t the only one. It was a feeling supported by the winner at Anaheim two, Eli Tomac. “I think the field would struggle to make it throughout the season!” Opined Eli. “When you add the two extra starts and that much pressure and everyone on the line, there is a quite a bit more risk involved.”
So despite the perceived success from an on-track racing entertainment perspective, the leading 450 riders, the stars of the show, were not overly impressed. But change is never easy.
After pretty much 30 years of the same format an extra race had left the 450 riders somewhat shell-shocked at the extra intensity and the even more emphasis on a good start, but in contrast the show for the fans and TV audience offered better value.
Cole Seely perhaps put the juxtaposition best when the said: “It’s an exciting night for sure but it’s very unforgiving.”
And then to add more intrigue, the 250 podium riders appeared to be more enthusiastic about the format with Shane McElrath the most positive, exclaiming, “I thought it was fun to have three different races. It is tough because consistency is key but we are still racing everybody out there every single time. it’s quick sprints but I thought it was a good trial run.”
It all leaves Feld in a difficult position, the racing entertainment was better but the riders feel it is too risky to do that every round and fans complained of too much downtime between events.
Balancing all the positives with the negatives will be an interesting behind-the-scenes storyline this season with two more, “triple-crown”, events to come, will there be more changes, whose opinion will be most listened to, the fans, the riders, the teams, the media or the TV ratings?
There are as many questions to be answered now as there were before the event but the positive is the instensity of the racing is improved with three mains per class and the basic principle of providing more entertainment with more unpredictability has been achieved, but getting everyone on board appears to still be a challenge for the promoters.