Out of every sport in existence, motocross might just have the widest variety of fans around. A column by Paul Quesnel
Out of every sport in existence, motocross might just have the widest variety of fans around. A column by Paul Quesnel
By: Paul Quesnel
Lead Photo by: THE James Lissimore
As our numbers continue to grow, we proceed with our infiltration into every branch of American society. From the flashy suburbs of southern California to the isolated boondocks of the northeast, we are all bound together by one thing, our love for the sport. Rich or poor, black or white, young or old, it does not matter. As long as you’re a fan of motocross, you’re a friend to the motocross community. We are passionate, intense and enthusiastic. The average moto fan is a combination of some of the most down to earth people you can find mixed in with some of the most lewd and obscene people you will ever meet. In all, motocross has a special way of bringing different people together like no other sport and just like every other year, the start of a new supercross season is a time where fans all around the world renew their fascination with the boys and their flying machines. From the avid enthusiast that knows everything about the sport to the guy that just watches the races to drown out the noise of his nagging wife, we are a special type of people. A different breed if you will. If you go to a motocross race, you will see every extreme trait in the human character for better or worse. With the series now in full swing and the fans coming out in droves, let’s take a look at the different kinds of motocross followers and what they are bringing to the sport in 2012.
The hater fan is the all consuming pessimist of the sport. He is usually an avid two stroke fan and believes that if we could just bring back the smokers, everything would once again be right in the world. He is very knowledgeable about what’s going on when it comes to dirk bike racing but believes that if everyone would just listen to him, the sport would be ten times better. He has raced or has been around racing for a good part of his life but, for one reason or another, he has become jaded by the sport he loves so much. The reason for this is most likely because at one point in his life he had big dreams of becoming a pro rider. The realization of not being able to make it out of the B class soon destroyed his aspirations and as a result, he believes that everyone around him must be as miserable as he is. He spends most his nights on the message boards, taking out his frustrations on the keyboard and anyone that dares to disagree with him. He has one pro rider that he absolutely loves and comes up with imaginative excuses as to why he doesn’t win every weekend. To the other riders, especially the ones he doesn’t like, he’s shows nothing but a lack of respect and often insults them without good reason. He complains about the short lap times in supercross as well as Ralph Shaheen’s interpretation of what’s going on in the race. He always finds things to whine about when it comes to the TV broadcast but fails to realize that we are lucky to even have supercross on TV every weekend. The hater fan is the first to complain when something goes wrong but is last to give credit when credit is due. Although he does have some valid arguments, he needs to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around his wants and needs. He is very well versed pertaining to motocross and its history but should learn to use his knowledge towards something positive instead of just bellyaching all time and bashing people on the message boards
The Old School Guy
The old school fan is the guy that used to race way back in the 70’s and still talks about how he had to walk uphill to get to school every day. He usually doesn’t know too much about what’s going on in the sport except for what they play on TV and he absolutely hates all the corny stuff they use to appeal to a wider audience. He’s a longtime Windam fan and just like everyone else, he can’t emphasize enough about how he thinks he’s the most naturally talented rider in the field. He doesn’t know the names of many riders in the 250 class but often refers to them as the kids that need to pull up their pants. He can’t understand why riders today choose to look like disoriented rainbows and he still thinks that chest protectors are for cowards. He most likely has a son or grandson that raced at one time and thanks god they don’t anymore so he doesn’t have to buy them eight thousand dollar bikes every year. He doesn’t care where J-Law is and he thinks Vital MX is a place he can go to pick up some new Dunlop’s. He has never tried an energy drink and he often talks about how much better it would have been if all those hot chicks had been around in his day. He hates how nice all the riders are to each other and thinks that the sport would be much better if there were more take out moves. Although he doesn’t know all the gossip that goes around the pits and on the message boards, he does know about the core of the sport. He knows about how much it takes to succeed as a professional and he knows about how much of a struggle it is to race every week. For as much as he doesn’t like they glitzy stuff that takes place during the TV show, he knows it’s a part of show business and he respects every rider in the field for their skill and determination. A long time ago, he forged a strong relationship with the sport and he will most likely be a fan until the day he dies. He truly knows more about motocross then most people today because he has watched it grow and he has lived it for a good part of his life. He has a simple and unbiased view on the sport and he will often give you his opinion whether you want it or not.
The wanna-be fan is the alpha bro in the sea of motocross followers. He has raced once or twice throughout his entire life but believes the little experience he does have around motorcycles gives him the entitlement to throw in his two cents whenever the sport is brought up. He often exaggerates when talking to his friends about how injuries took him out of the sport when really the truth is that he was just sick of getting beat in his local novice class. He is the guy you see at the track partying and staying up late when everyone else is trying to get a good night sleep because they know they have motos in the morning. He doesn’t know much pertaining to the pro scene but he usually just roots for whoever is doing good at the time so theres a good chance he will look smart when they win. Instead of being a fan of the actual racing, he is just a fan of the whole motocross scene. If you look in his mailbox, you won’t see a racer-x, a transworld or even an mxa. He truly doesn’t care about anything going on in the sport. He thinks Jeremy McGrath is the first person to throw a leg over a dirt bike and he has never even heard of Bob Hannah or Damon Bradshaw. All he ever drinks is monster and red-bull and although he thinks Ken Roczen is sick bro, he has never even heard of the GP’s. He regularly wears his fox riding jersey to school in order to impress the chicks and more often than not, plasters the back window of his F-150 with stickers that he pretends our his longtime sponsors. He has no idea how an engine works and most of the time, he doesn’t even know the right way to clean his air filter. His outlook on the sport is obscured by partying, hanging out with his bro’s and hot chicks. Although he is a fan of motocross, he just doesn’t possess the same type of values that most followers of the sport have. He doesn’t have the same appreciation for it as the rest of us do and if motocross was wiped off the face of the earth tomorrow, he wouldn’t really care.
The newbie fan is like the friend by association, usually a girlfriend or a father that is forced to either watch or go to the races with the zealous young rider. They don’t know much about motocross except for what they see on TV but they usually learn quickly and often find themselves engrossed in the sport like the rest of us. When watching the races on TV, they wonder why everyone is sponsored by energy drinks and why some people are so much faster than others. In the beginning, they have a hard time understanding the difference between motocross and freestyle and are constantly waiting for Travis Pastrana to jump out of the shadows and bust out a double back-flip while his bike is on fire. After watching a few rounds and getting accustomed to how things work, they start asking questions like what the hell is the GOAT and why does James Stewart crash so much. They think every person on the starting gate is making a killing and don’t understand the difference between a factory rider and a privateer but once explained to them, they don’t like how the privateers can be professional dirt bike riders just like Ryan Villopoto or Chad Reed and only make a fraction of their salary. They love when the riders take each other out as well as a good underdog story. They commonly form a connection with one pro rider for no other reason than they like his number or they like the color of his goggles and whenever the sport is brought up, they routinely bring up his name at least ten times. It takes them awhile to truly appreciate just how tough motocross is and the struggles the riders have to go through to get to the top, but when they do begin to understand they gain even more admiration for the sport. Unlike the rest of us regulars, they actually like all the corny stuff they do on the broadcast to educate people and they appreciate the commentators breaking everything down in laymen terms so they can understand. Although they might not know as much as the rest of us, what the newbie fan does bring to the sport is an honest and unblemished view. They do not pretend to know everything and their motive for being involved is not corrupted by anything other than their own interests.
The die-hard fan is the fan that loves motocross down to the core and is a true student of the sport. He has raced or has been involved with racing for a good part of his life and has a good understanding as to what it takes to be competitive week in and week out. He watches every race that’s on TV at least twice and more often than not, finds himself correcting the commentators when they make a mistake. He has one pro rider that he has liked since he was a kid but tries to give full respect to every person on the starting gate because he knows how talented everyone one of them are. He doesn’t like all the stupid and stereotypical stuff they play on the broadcast but understands that it’s all part of the show and he’s just thankful to live in a time where they have motocross on TV regularly. He reads racer-x, transworld, mxa, dirk bike, those lame ama magazines and he is an avid listener of every internet show and podcast he can get his hands on. He learned to use a computer just so he can follow all the pros on twitter, look at the lap times of the previous race and occasionally go on vital mx to see if there is any good gossip going around although he rarely posts anything due to the fact that most threads just eventually turn into a shit show. He appreciates and is well educated on the history of motocross even though he wasn’t alive while most of it was taking place and he is a fan of the World Championships and looks at them as just another awesome series he gets to watch and follow up on. He frequently finds himself wanting to talk about racing so much that he starts bench racing with people that have no idea what he’s talking about and instead of going on vocation in the Bahamas are someplace nice like that, he chooses to go to a supercross race or a national much to the displeasure of the rest of his family. He tries to get his friends and other people involved in the sport and when at a local track, he will out of his way to help one of his fellow enthusiasts. For the most part, the die-hard is the best type of motocross fan. He knows what’s going on and he appreciates the whole industry for doing a great job at getting the sport to where it is today. He loves motocross for what it is and doesn’t let other peoples view affects his outlook on the sport.