News 29 Nov 2012

The Point: MX Nationals formats tackles the great debate, which format is best for our Australian motocross series?

Ever since Global Action Sports introduced out-of-the-box moto formats to their all-swingin’ new Super X show in 2008 opinions have been split as to whether people prefer the shorter, more intense races or the longer, traditional 30-minute-plus-two-lap motos.

Williams Event Management has incorporated some short-format races into the MX Nationals series during recent years. These have included the 15-minute back-to-back races, followed up by a 30-minute race at the end of the day this year, which you’d think would please both camps.

However, things will change back to the tradtional two 30-minute races in 2013, announced today via social networking by WEM.

Before the new structure was announced, tracked down some riders and industry types to see whether they prefer the back-to-back short racers or the traditional format.

The debate between which format should be used has been long standing. Image: Simon Makker/

Kevin Williams, MX Nationals promoter
I’ve always been a stronger advocate of the dynamic, shorter formats. Before we introduced it there was one guy winning races, but I believe the three-race format has increased both the quality of racing and the number of winners. Over the past two years both the Lites and Open championships have been decided at the final round. That’s been great for the sport, the sponsors and spectators and is a direct result of the three-moto format.

I can understand why people love the traditional format, but if progress had stopped with Henry Ford’s car, we’d still be driving around in the Model A Ford. We took a survey of the riders at Hervey Bay as to what format they preferred and 65 percent said they wanted the 30-minute motos, 20 percent said they’d turn up to race regardless and 15 percent were happy with the current format.

Cheyne Boyd, DPH Racing
I definitely prefer the 30-minute-plus-two-lap race format. I’ve never been a fan of the 15-minute back-to-back. Both the USA and Europe run two 30-minute races and I think motocross is a man’s sport and it’s not a circus act. These sprint races should be done at club days and fun days, not at a national level.

The thing I like about 30-minute motos is if you do go down in the first turn through no fault of your own, you still have time to come back through the pack. At the moment if you go down in the first race you write it off and focus on the second moto. I don’t think it’s the way forward for motocross in Australia; we should go back to what works and what’s good for the sport.

The traditional two-moto format is favoured by the majority of riders. Image: Simon Makker/

Dave Ellis, Monster Energy
We actually had a meeting with the race-team owners at the Horsham round of the MX Nationals in July regarding this issue. Going into the meeting I thought the 15-minute motos were better, simply because they add excitement and the fans are all about the starts.

By the end of the meeting I wasn’t so sure as a lot of good points got raised in favour of the traditional format, especially as far as race scheduling goes. With the 30-minute formet you can run won round of races in the morning, have lunch, get the crowds through the pits, then hold the second round of racing in the afternoon.

I think the calibre of our riders has grown a lot and believe we could now see some good racing in the 30-minute motos, but the tracks also have to lend themselves to good racing at the same time. It’s a tough one, but I’m leaning towards the traditional format.

Lawson Bopping, CDR Yamaha
I like the two 30-minute race format. It’s traditional and it’s easier to run the whole day off that format as the mechanics aren’t running around washing mud off bikes between races. If you bend your bike up in the first race you’ve got to rush to get it fixed on the line, you’re changing goggles and gloves and the whole thing is just a bit rushed.

This year my results were better in the 15-minute races and I struggled in the 30s, but motocross is about being out there for half an hour and working into the race. I don’t hate 15-minute motos by any means, but I prefer the 30-minute races.

Adam Bailey, AME Sports Management director
I definitely see the value in both formats. From an entertainment and sponsor perspective I believe in the 15-minute races. I think they’re more exciting to watch; the crowd likes to see the first turn without a doubt. Anyone I’ve brought to the races loves the starts and the dynamic nature of having two short races as anything can happen and turn a race meeting on its head.

From a rider’s perspective and to progress overseas I think the half-hour motos are beneficial, but I honestly think from a spectator’s point of view it’s boring as hell to watch. Nine times out of 10 you can predict a winner, whereas with the shorter formats, anyone has a chance to win and it gives underdog riders the chance to cause an upset.