Rick Doughty, of Vintage Iron fame has announced the new, national VMX series — the U.S. Vintage Motocross Series.
This has been in the works for a while. It’s the first vintage national MX series (to my knowledge) not promoted by the American Historic Motorcycle Racing Association (AHRMA). The off-road portion of AHRMA in general, and the MX group in particular, has suffered quite a few issues over the past couple of years. Many of the local and regional clubs upon which AHRMA was based began to chafe under the organization’s rules, politics, and restrictions.
Even my own Southeast region group defected and went off on their own in 2007 after months of internal discussion and debate. A couple of others across the nation did the same thing — establishing their own series and point structures. Add this to the existing base of non-AHRMA groups and you have a fairly large collection of riders who wanted to a national series outside of the AHRMA umbrella. At least, that’s how it seems to me.
I have mixed feelings about this. The sport of Vintage MX has grown and matured and it’s a natural consequence of growth that people will have differing desires and objectives. In this sense, the USVMX series is a sign that the sport is growing and the market is evolving to serve it.
Competition also serves to send a message to incumbent players that things may need to change. If there is enough momentum to support this new series, AHRMA will be forced to re-examine it’s policies and procedures in light of dwindling membership and attendance at their own races.
Make no mistake — it’s far from assured that USVMX will survive. There is always risk when a startup takes on the challenge of a well-established competitor. And that’s where I’m concerned. While VMX has grown, it’s not clear that it’s grown enough to support two national series. With the economic slow down it’s possible that one or the other will not survive.
If USVMX ultimately survives the consequences for a financially strapped AHRMA could be serious. The organization is already in severe financial trouble after a lengthy and controversial law suit. I don’t know what percentage of the AHRMA membership is just in it for VMX, but I suspect it’s not inconsequential. I would hate to see AHRMA seriously damaged.
I wish Rick and the entire USVMX team well. In the end, the market will win. What economist Joseph Schumpeter termed “creative destruction” will ultimately reshape the VMX landscape to what the market wants. It may be a bumpy ride, and we may not end up where we thought. But that’s the way it is these days.