Last nite was a big event in the world of professional motocross. The NPG, RacerX Illustrated, and SPEED TV are really stepping it up. David Clabaugh, owner of Thunder Valley MX, and the NPG put on the first-ever night-time AMA MX National. The lighting was tough on some of the riders, and it wasn’t perfect. But it was workable, and it was a hell of a first-time effort for lighting an entire, national-caliber, outdoor MX track.

Just like they did last year on a couple of occasions, RacerX and picked up the SPEED TV raw feed for the first motos and pushed it over the web. But then the real surprise started. SPEED TV started their tape-delayed broadcast of the 450/MX1 class approximately 15 minutes after the gate dropped on Moto 2! Yep, I was watching “almost live” coverage of the event – even as I listened to the RacerX audio show on my laptop. SPEED even had Leigh Diffey back as the main commentator. Hooray!

According to the Weege and Kevin Kelly the crowd was “at least twice as big” as last year, the atmosphere was like a festival or carnival and, — aside from teething problems with the lights — the whole thing was way cool.

I spend a lot of energy carping about the state of the motocross industry, because there are some things that are wrong. But among those things you will not find the NPG, RacerX, or any of the amazing racers who put their butts on the line to give us the best MX on the planet. We are so lucky to have a group like NPG driving the sport. It’s amazing to me what they have done in less than 1 year now that they are out from under the AMA’s misguided interference and mismanagement. No, they don’t have a signed deal with DMG yet, and things could still go wrong. But thank God we’re not in the same shape as the road racers.

The whole road race community is in civil war over the changes being made by DMG. That’s partly because the road race guys were relatively happy with the way things were and now it’s all gone. But MX sucked under the AMA. They were awful at it. Most of us out here in fan-land thought they were, really and truly, trying to kill the entire sport. But the NPG loves the sport. They live it and breathe it. They own tracks. They go to each other’s races. They love it.

People who own road race tracks don’t live and breathe motorcycle road racing. They like it. They might like it a lot. But it’s a business. If the motorcycles go away they can still race cars. That’s what their tracks were built for in the first place. Motorcycles will always be second-class citizens in the bigger world of road racing.

But not MX. If you own an MX track it’s because you love it. Your facility may host other off road motorcycle or ATV events, but your bread and butter is MX racing. If you have the rights to promote an MX national you’re probably a fanatic.

Let’s hope DMG knows what an asset it has in the NPG and leaves the sport in their capable hands. If what I saw last night was any indication, these guys will take care of us just fine.

Racer X added Erin Normoyle to the broadcast team this year and already she has distinguished herself as a darn good interviewer. She doesn’t ask nearly as many redundant, pointless questions as SPEED TV’s female pit reporter, she doesn’t mis-state the obvious, and she doesn’t always sound like she’s struggling to read cue cards written by a gammatically challened 9th-grader. I know SPEED’s team covers a lot of different events, and motocross is just one of them. But still, after a couple of years you expect them to get better. Maybe it’s just the difference in audience – SPEED trying to cater to a lowest-common-denominator TV audience, and Racer X having the luxury of catering to a knowledgeable enthusiast audience. Whatever. It seems to me that the standard Racer X sets would benefit everyone.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not easy to be a good reporter/analyst/color person on TV (or radio.) And it’s not like there is a huge pool of experienced talent to pick from for MX/SX. I’m sure Erin Bates and Ralph Shaheen are nice folks, but SPEED can do better. They’ve already put Leigh Diffey on the roster in place of Shaheen. Now let’s get someone else in the pits and let Bates work in another area.