Guys and gals, fans of racing and sport in general, WE HAVE NEWS (and it’s NOT “That’s old news, right?”– <–if you don’t get that reference, you need to brush up on your PulpMX Show history)… you know that guy who has been slowly getting kicked out of the paddock for the last 12 years or so? The guy who all the riders hate, because he just “talks shit on riders”? Steve Matthes, yes that guy… in his ever-evolving quest to seek truth and information in the state of the sport and the stories revolving around it, he uncovered a plan first theorized and then put into motion for Supercross to take a bold step.
I hate to sound like a hopeless optimist here because I pride myself on being a hardline pragmatist based in common sense and efficiency; but it does appear that we are working toward a return to— not normalcy but definitely stepping away from the pinnacle of fear and doomsday expectations that crept in with all that uncertainty at the onset. Aside from the conspiracy theorists, fear mongers and victim-mentality crowd, things are looking up and maybe it’s less looking up and more just, settling into the realization that we just need to ride it out while they learn more about the virus and fine tune their own plan of action with an eye on that return to normalcy.
It’s nuts looking back at the beginning of this deal going sideways, it really started with the NBA announcing that they were suspending play. Never before was it more apparent how key sports are to our way of life, our touchstone of commonality in this Nation, than when the following days, one by one sports were suspending schedules. Soon, all sports were halted with only guesses as to when they could return. Even now, we’re still guessing. Next, the television sports programming was populated with rebroadcasts of games, races and matchplay from the past as well as video-game racing highlighting actual racers setup in multi-thousand dollar in-home simulators… IS THIS THE FUCKING MATRIX?!
Initially Supercross’ plan, and when I say initially, I’m talking a week and a half ago; just like EVERYTHING during Covid19, things are perpetually evolving at a blinding pace and everything is fluid. Down is up and day is night. Nothing is normal and that is why we are all striving to grasp a sense of normalcy. Just like when the sports ebb’d away one at a time, we are on pins and needles, begging for news of a sport to return because we expect as one plan comes into focus, the others will fall in line. There has been talk of golf returning first with no fans and also baseball, again with no fans. It’s the pinnacle of irony, the fans are what MAKE sport. Without fans there is no fanaticism, no excitement, no payoff and the endorphin rush that occurs in front of a surging crowd cannot be replicated with empty seats or vacant fairways. BUT, we are willing to take what we can get if it gets sports back on the flat screen tvs, because THAT is progress toward normalcy.
I digressed. So less than two weeks ago we had a tentative Supercross plan to return following the Motocross series and knock out the remaining races in “RAPID FIRE” succession. It would appear that was a failsafe plan. Steve Matthes’ drive to find the story is only matched by Feld’s aggressive desire to avoid catastrophic losses due to Covid19. You can’t blame them. For all the crap Feld has taken over the years for various failings in the eyes of fans and racers, one thing they are not is complacent. As Steve dug, he found rumblings of a more aggressive plan. One that would get the SX series wrapped up not after MX but before with a an aggressive schedule based on efficient logistics, safety and completion in mind. It sounds pretty awesome in my opinion. 7 races held in Glendale Arizona. Not on Saturday nights but Fridays and Monday with no fans, just points. Glendale has quickly become known as one of the best rounds on the circuit, it has a vast floor-space which offers lots of options for track variations and the dirt has never been a source of complaint.
There’s definitely some issues that nee to be figured out. How does the between-races personnel management look? Is there testing available to maintain confidence of health over the duration of the races? Are results for said testing available quickly or are they delayed and essentially useless under such an aggressive schedule?
Tentatively scheduled to occur in May, there is time to nail down the answers to these issues at hand and who knows, there could still be a silver bullet uncovered with all the Covid19 testing and research going on right now; so I’m a measured-optimist at the moment.