Features 11 Nov 2014

Trackside: 2014 ASX Rd5 Brisbane

Indoor supercross witnessed from the stands with the fans.

The return of supercross indoors was met with mixed reaction on Saturday evening, as riders readjusted to the tightest circuit you’ll see on the national calendar, while appreciating the closeness of the sell-out crowd on hand.

For a series that has experienced so many highs and lows over almost a decade, returning to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre delivered a dose of nostalgia for many, and an all-new experience for the more youthful competitors of the sport.

From where I was sitting – a unique dugout in the centre of the stadium seating with nobody but a member of the film crew nearby – it was a really interesting evening to spectate and cover via social media and, of course, this site itself. I wasn’t in the crowd as such, but pretty well close enough to witness the event as the paying fans did.

The show wasn’t as polished as memory serves (nor should it be expected to considering the experience of Spokes Promotions in the arenas and the lack of budget in the series right now), but the racing was as intense as ever. And the crowd seemed to appreciate that, because let’s remember, this wasn’t the Nitro Circus performing a staged act. This was a true Australian championship competition.

Image: Marc Jones.

Image: Marc Jones.

As usual, there were plenty of cheers as the incidents unfolded, but also a huge amount of respect show to those that got up. Or, in Brenden Harrison’s unfortunate case, when he was carted off by RACESAFE. However aside from that, people simply admired what these guys were doing on their dirt bikes.

It’s no secret that supercross in this country has been, and still is to an extent, on shaky ground, but the riders bought into the whole show on Saturday night and did a fantastic job of ‘selling’ the sport to the fans. After all, they are the ones people see as the stars of the sport.

Matt Moss was all class as the champ; Adam Monea made for the perfect chief opponent; Josh Cachia did a fine job of expressing his desire to battle his way to the front in a way only he can; Jay Marmont was shown the respect he deserves as an outgoing legend; Gavin Faith featured as an all-star American taking an Aussie title back home with him; and the emotion of first-time winner Taylor Potter was as raw as it gets – right there for the fans to witness first-hand.

There are many more storylines that have emerged of course, but the point is that in terms of our current crop engaging with the fans, there’s nowhere better they can do so than indoors. In contrast, at Bathurst I couldn’t hear what they were saying, let alone see them up-close.

The entertainment centres effectively take the sport to the people, much like in V8 Supercars where street circuits are tighter than true road courses, but the perspective of the fans is magnified in the heart of the city. It could just be exactly what SX in Australia needs to be revived once and for all.

Image: Marc Jones.

Image: Marc Jones.

Full Throttle Sports (FTS) staff had a massive amount of pressure on their shoulders to make this work, because more so than anywhere else, this event required entertainment to match the on-track action. And it did, with a quality FMX display, loud Monster Truck, giveaways and the ever-popular promo girls doing their thing.

Like I said, it wasn’t executed perfectly and improvements will be made, but as Mossy mentioned on the SX1 ‘podium’, it was a welcome sight to see the crowd stick around and enjoy the show. Queensland is the perfect state to showcase the sport in this manner, with plenty of diehard moto followers and riders turning out.

So where to from here? Motorcycling Australia has released a provisional calendar that we’re hearing is far from concrete, but as far as I’m concerned, the sustainable schedule we saw in 2014 was more than suitable. Do we need more events? Probably. But at the same time, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here because there is a 10-round motocross series to tackle as well.

I was excited about the return of an indoor event and am glad we put our resources into covering it the best we could. FTS deserves the support and coverage, so hopefully with the promising result of Saturday night (and the entire series to go with it) they can go on to do more in 2015.