AMA Supercross Championship
||It has been suggested that this article be split into a new article titled Supercross. (Discuss.) (January 2016)|
|Classes||450SX, 250SX East, 250SX West, KTM Junior|
|Constructors||Honda · Kawasaki · KTM · Suzuki · Yamaha • Husqvarna Motorcycles|
|Riders' champion||Ryan Dungey|
|Teams' champion||Red Bull KTM|
The AMA Supercross Championship is an American motorcycle racing series. The race series was founded and sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in 1974. Supercross is an offshoot of the sport of motocross which is held on natural terrain, closed courses. Supercross racing involves off-road motorcycles on an artificial, man-made dirt track consisting of steep jumps and obstacles. The AMA Supercross Championship is sponsored by Monster Energy and is held from January through early May in major league baseball and football stadiums. The easy accessibility and comfort of these stadium venues meant that by the late 1970s, Supercross had surpassed motocross as a spectator attraction in the United States.
The first motocross race held on an artificially created race track inside a stadium took place on August 28, 1948 at Buffalo Stadium in the Paris suburb of Montrouge. With the surge in popularity of motocross in the United States in the late 1960s, Bill France added a professional motocross race to the 1971 Daytona Beach Bike Week schedule. The 1972 race was held at Daytona International Speedway on an artificial track on the grass surface between the main grandstand and the pit lane.
The event that paved the way for artificial, stadium-based motocross events was the 1972 race held in the Los Angeles Coliseum and won by Marty Tripes at the age of 16. The event was promoted by Mike Goodwin and Terry Tiernan, President of the AMA at the time. It was billed as the "Super Bowl of Motocross" which eventually led to the coining of the term Supercross. The Superbowl of Motocross II held the following year was an even greater success and, eventually evolved into the AMA Supercross championship held in stadiums across the United States and Canada. While Motocross and Supercross are similar in many respects, they would become a distinctly different forms of racing, taking motocross to more people and broader audiences through the use of television. Supercross would evolve until it arguably became the most important motocross series in the world, displacing the Grand Prix world championship as the premier off-road motorcycle racing series.
Originally, each of the AMA Supercross races were promoted by different companies, most notably Mike Goodwin in the West, Pace Motorsports in the Midwest and Southwest, and Super Sports in the East. In the 1980s, Mickey Thompson (MTEG) partnered Goodwin, then took over the West region. In the 1990s, MTEG went bankrupt and Super Sports sold its business to SRO/Pace, which became the single AMA Supercross promoter. The company was bought by SFX Entertainment in 1998, and Clear Channel bought the latter in 2000. The events division of Clear Channel was split off as Live Nation in 2005, and the motorsports division was sold to Feld Entertainment in 2008, which currently promote the championship.
While growing consistently since the '70s, in the early part of the 21st Century Supercross' popularity really took off. In the United States, Supercross races today are the second most popular form of motorsport (behind NASCAR racing). The American Motorcyclist Association awards three Supercross Championship Champs each year. They are the 450cc (was known as 250cc two-stroke), and both an East and West division on the 250cc (was 125cc two-stroke). World Supercross Champions are named by other racing organizations around the world. Supercross racing classifications are governed by the displacement of the motorcycle's engine based on two-stroke engines until 2006, as four-stroke engines replaced two-stroke engines. Since then, the AMA has labeled the classes by four-stroke displacement. From 2007 until 2012, a formula nomenclature similar to INDYCAR was used, with the 450cc class known as Supercross and 250cc as Supercross Lites. Starting in 2013, the AMA and Feld Motor Sports returned to the traditional nomenclature, based on four-stroke engines—450cc (known as "MX1" in Europe), and 250cc displacement levels (also known as "MX2"). The 450cc Champion has always been generally considered to be the most prestigious.
The AMA series begins in early January and continues until mid-May. It consists of 17 rounds in the 450cc Class, and 8 rounds in 250cc West Class and 8 rounds in the 250cc East Class, which the final round has the East-West Shootout in May, and 14 major stadia and one permanent racing circuit (in a temporary stadium setup) all over North America.
Each meet is structured similarly to Short track motor racing with two heat races and a consolation race in each class. In both classes, each heat race is six laps. Each heat features 20 riders (one may have 21 riders depending on qualifying results), with the top nine advancing to the feature. The other 22-23 riders are relegated to the consolation race, known as the Last Chance Qualifier, which is four laps, with the top four advancing to the feature. In 2014, the number of riders taken from each heat in the 450cc class was reduced to four, with a pair of five lap, sixteen rider semis being added from which five additional riders would transfer and the remaining riders going from there to the consolation race.
In the 450cc class, the highest placed competitor in points, provided he is in the top ten in national points, and has yet to qualify after either heat race or consolation race, will receive a provisional for the feature race. The feature race is 15 laps in the 250cc class, and 20 laps for the 450cc class, with 25 championship points for the race win.
Officials may shorten the feature race in inclement weather conditions to 10 and 15 laps, respectively, depending on the class if necessary.
For the season-ending East-West Shootout at Las Vegas for the 250cc class starting in May 2011, each region's top 20 will race in the non-championship event for a 15-lap heat race. Standard rules apply, with the feature race being 10 laps. In 2016, the East-West Shootout became a points-paying round where both regions' champions would be decided in the same feature.
Starting with the 2017 Season, Supercross races will be transitioned to timed races, much like the Motocross outdoor series. In the Heat Races, the race will be 5 minutes plus one lap. In the 450cc Semi, it will be 4 minutes plus one lap, and in the LCQ, it will be 3 minutes plus one lap. The feature race will be 15 minutes plus one lap in the 250cc class, and 20 minutes plus one lap in the 450cc class.
Starting with the 2012 Season, riders who are in first place in the Series' Points Lead will use the red plate to race in the Series.
If at any point during the Heat Races, LCQs or the Feature Races, that the race is red-flagged within less than 3 laps, the race will be a complete restart. However, if the race is red-flagged with more than 3 laps completed but less than 90% of the total race distance and after a minimum of a 10-minute delay, the race will be a staggered restart with riders lined up from the previous lap they went.
Among the obstacles, riders must navigate through every lap. The track takes a combination of obstacles such as whoop sections (where riders skim along the tops of multiple bumps), rhythm sections (irregular series of jumps with a variety of combination options), and triple jumps (three jumps in a row that riders normally clear in a single leap of 70 feet or more). Many of the turns have banked berms, but some are flat. It takes roughly five hundred truckloads of dirt to make up a supercross track. Soil conditions can be hard-packed, soft, muddy, sandy, rutted, or any combination thereof.
AX stands for 'Arenacross", which consists essentially of Supercross-style courses that are downsized even further and placed into smaller venues such as ice hockey and basketball stadiums. The popularity of Arenacross is growing however, since smaller cities that do not have a large football or baseball stadium can host Arenacross races.
The AMA is using AMA Amsoil Arenacross series as a way for riders to transition from amateur racing to Supercross. Many Supercross privateers race Arenacross. Some of the top racers of Arenacross include:
- Gavin Faith (Kaw)
- Chris Blose (Kaw)
- Jacob Hayes (Kaw)
- Travis Sewell (KTM)
- Jace Owen (Hon)
- Ben LaMay (Hon)
- Kyle Regal (Hus)
- Gared Steinke (Hus)
- Cody VanBuskirk (KTM)
World Supercross Championship winners by year
|2009||James Stewart, Jr.|
|2007||James Stewart, Jr.|
|2006||James Stewart, Jr.|
AMA Supercross Championship winners by year
Riders with most wins
- 450 SX
|James Stewart Jr.||50|
- List of Grand Prix motocross world champions
- List of AMA motocross national champions
- List of Trans-AMA motocross champions
- Outline of motorcycles and motorcycling
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- 2015 AMA Supercross media guide
- The Vault - Racer X Online