It used to mean something.
It used to mean something.
Lead Photo: James Lissimore
I remember when the term USGP really meant something. Maybe it had a little to do with being on the “Wide World of Sports” and the infrequency that moto was actually viewable on the Zenithron’s from my youth? Maybe it had a little to do with no internet, no social media and just in general none of the over-saturation we get from ANY of our niche’ interests in the new millennium?
I think for sure it has a bit to do with having nearly as much access as we want nowadays. Certainly, we can’t tag along with these guys in their day to day activities but there is almost nothing left from the voyeuristic days of old when we looked at not only our own National Series riders as mythical gods but also the top pro’s from the Motherland. More recently but still prior to much of what the internet has become today, even a name like Everts. It’s a modern era name but still has that aura of untouchability.
Here we find ourselves less than a week away from the USGP of Glen Helen and the Soprano’s— I mean Luongo’s have managed to run the GP series just greedily enough repel just about every National MX top pro from bothering to participate. You can also replace “bother” with “afford” quite justifiably. I come from a youth of being in many bands and playing shows. From 150 people all the way up to The Metro in downtown Chicago with an audience of over 2000 and even in those modestly attended events we had a common belief; “never pay to play”. I really that yes, even in the US Nationals, participants must indeed pay to play (yes, still ridiculous!!!) but Luongo has pulled the most amazing Jedi-Mind-trick I have ever heard of.
The fee’s associated with racing his series have long been cost-prohibitive, as evidenced by the echo’s heard just after the gate drops in recent years and you can bet your ass, when racer’s who reside on the continent where the series primarily competes are diminishing, they are being laughed at when the series comes to the U.S. Unless of course you’re on a team who has a vested interest in the series abroad, then you behave like a good sister-team and participate; lighter pocket book and all.
It’s a nuanced entry though. For example, The Factory KTM team has entered Dean Wilson who I have no doubt is going to give it his all. Dean came back to the Nationals and rode impressively. This is another opportunity for him to gain more intense seat time and confidence before the MEC and 2016 SX. The absence of Ryan Dungey in those decades past would indicate he was scared or injured. It was a no-brainer. EVERYONE raced the USGP, nowadays it just means the race is an aside or an afterthought to all but the racers who could really use some more seat time, with something to prove… usually to their current or could-be team manager.
There are definitely some things the GP series does right but making entry into the series cost-prohibitive is a non-starter and until that’s rectified, the rest is highly irrelevant.