Jason Weigandt (the “Weege” – the guy who makes the SPEED commentators sound like total amateurs by comparison) just posted a disturbing rumor – that the nationals will go to a one-moto format for 2009. Man, if true that sucks and completes the emasculation of arguably the toughest sport on the planet. Weege says he got the rumor from the crew at DMXS Radio. Despite the fact that those guys take a perverse pride in sounding like total dufuses, they do know the business of Pro MX.
No doubt such a change would be seen as “TV-friendly” and more understandable to a “mainstream” (i.e. moto-ignorant) audience. After all, it is a lot to ask an American audience to understand a sport that has two starts and two finishes in a day. The two-moto format has survived for more than 50 years because it works – even if we have shortened them a bit over here on the west side of the Atlantic. But it may not work if the goal is to try and make outdoor MX a TV competitor to NASCAR or American football or any of the other sports that saturate our TV screens every weekend.
Personally I hope this never happens. Getting mainstreamed is not the panacea that many seem to think it is. But that’s just my opinion. What if the one-moto format was an hour+2? Would that work? I don’t know. Weege points out some of the obvious pros and cons of such an arrangement. I don’t think such an arrangement could be moved to the amateur ranks, though. The fitness level of most amateurs is just not high enough to handle that, and people are almost certain to balk at paying a high gate and entry fee for one, single, short race a day as an amateur participant.
On the upside, having just one longer race per day would eliminate a lot of time spent having to gate 37 motos at an amateur event. But I don’t know. It just seems unnatural to me. We’ll have to see if the rumors persist throughout the 2008 season.