News 25 Aug 2023

SX Global and the FIM address future of WSX championship

Multiple events expected to be removed from the 2023 calendar.

Image: Supplied.

A joint statement released by World Supercross Championship (WSX) organiser SX Global and the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme) has addressed the immediate future of the series, with widespread rumours indicating that WSX is facing multiple event cancellations in the 2023 season.

Round one took place on 1 July at Birmingham with the WSX British Grand Prix, won by defending champions Ken Roczen and Shane McElrath, however, the second round originally also scheduled within July in France was quietly removed from the schedule.

That left a three-month gap in the series between the opener and round two, which then became Singapore on 30 September, but throughout that period there has been ongoing speculation that the series had struck trouble once more. It surfaced this week that Singapore and Germany are next in line to be dropped from the calendar, with Canada also appearing to be up in the air as tickets are yet to be released.

While today’s statement from WSX management doesn’t specify any pending cancellations, it does confirm that ‘significant news’ in regards to the 2023 schedule will be released ‘soon’ and that we can expect ‘positive future developments’ to also come to light at that point. It’s understood that teams participating in the series have been informed of multiple mid-season cancellations, amidst what could potentially see a restructure of operations.

“We’re aware of rumours circulating over the past 24 hours regarding the FIM World Supercross Championship and its 2023 rounds,” the statement read. “While we can’t provide specific information today, we will be sharing significant news soon regarding the 2023 racing schedule, together with positive future developments that support the championship series.

“We have been in consistent communication with teams and owners, who have been highly supportive. We look forward to the 2023 championship rounds finishing strongly, with hotly-contested racing determining who will be crowned the 2023 FIM World Supercross champions this November in Melbourne.”

What those developments are isn’t clear, but informed sources suggest that Mubadala Capital – the strategic investment partner of SX Global – is formally exiting behind the scenes. The series was largely being funded through its start-up phase by the sovereign investor with over $240-billion in assets under its management, effectively making WSX a reality after SX Global landed a 10-year agreement to operate the series under FIM sanctioning.

According to details released by SX Global upon the series launch in 2022, in advance of $50-million had been designated toward the 10 exclusively-licensed teams over the first five years of WSX, which was inclusive of seed funding, event appearance fees, as well as logistics and freight support. In addition, each round has a mammoth $250,000 committed in prize money across the WSX (450) and SX2 (250) categories, and only in May it was revealed that WSX number one Roczen had made a lucrative three-year commitment to the series through 2025.

If Mubadala Capital has in fact split with SX Global, it leaves WSX in search of a new backer led by CEO Adam Bailey, facing a race against time to stabilise its future. There has been no indication that the recently-added Abu Dhabi or Australian rounds in November – both of which do already have tickets on sale – won’t be going ahead as intended, benefiting from instrumental government support in those regions.

SX Global’s once high-profile executive team has fractured apart in the background this year, underlined by the departure of the polarising founding president Tony Cochrane before Bailey was elevated to the position of CEO, in addition to Ryan Sanderson, who had been Bailey’s business partner for the past decade. Their independent success had previously included forming the AUS-X Open and New Zealand-based S-X Open events, as well as promoting the Australian Supercross Championship, among other endeavours.