The question for 2013 is, where to race? Where to invest? And which series will provide the best foundation for the future of our sport?
Back in 2009 it was a very clear picture on who was who and where the cream of the crop professional competitors were competing. The GNCC and WORCS series were the elite contests of the off-road racing world, but that was then and this is now. With fewer rides available and outside sponsorship tighting up, its led a lot of people to hang up their boots and get a real job… I could name a few, but I’d rather focus on the real point.. Why has the turnout, especially on the west coast been severely divided and thin? Just take a look at the WORCS series. A few years ago it was hands down the most stacked off-road professional circuit out there… YES GNCC’s may have had a bigger amateur and spectator turnout, but did they have 25 pros on the line? And 8 who could win? NO.
The WORCS series, which has produced an average of 10 pros per event this year, has lost its top tier prestige. Riders have scattered elsewhere and have participated in other racing series on the west coast, like, National H&H, District 36, Big 6, Webe and Endurocross. Although a few of these riders compete in each of these disciplines, they never all compete against one another in one series, or race for that matter..
Then there is the east coast. GNCC’s still reign supreme and there are still manufactures offering big money contracts for top-level riders. But how long is everyone going to enjoy the same blown out quad trails? Only time will tell.. (Quad weekend is usually before bike weekend.) My point is that if the money isn’t there, and your not getting a return on your investment, which applies to a few pro’s and most amateurs, then why are you there if it isn’t FUN? I think the lack of turnouts and weak entries is directly related to the fact that most series’ are stale and use the same course, at the same venue, over and over again! For example, take a look at the Big Sky XC race a few weekends ago.. Over 40+ plus pros on the front line! And 10-12 that could win! Now that is what the sport is about. Why the thick turnout? Could it be the new venue? I think so… There are three things in life that matter, Location. Location. Location.
Right now there are 6 series’ that matter in American Off Road, or should I say where a professional athlete (rider) could make a living. GNCC, Endurocross, National Enduro, WORCS, Hare and Hound and BAJA. I think that we need to mimic some format of the European World Enduro Series, also known as the WEC. We need to Merge 2, or 3 of these series together, bring a series from east to west and vice versa; this would allow the manufactures to invest their resources together into one and also provide ample opportunity for outside sponsors. Thus, Creating a beacon where all racers would strive to compete in, much like the Motocross National circuit. Think of 12 venues across the contenental US that feature a mix of each of these disciplines of racing… 2 or 3 day events; each venue supplying different terrain to apply to all riders and let the best man WIN.
This would provide an opportunity for the sport of off road racing to grow and allow an opening for future generations of the sport, because currently the future forecast of the next generation is bleak.