If Chad Reed, Kevin Windham, James Stewart and any of the myriad of Supercross riders who suffered injury this past season had all come up short on a 110-foot triple jump, the fix would be easy. The triples would get built closer together and the problem would be gone. Dilemma solved. Let’s go racing.
Unfortunately, the fix isn’t that easy because there wasn’t just one thing that led to all the injuries. It’s a lot more complex than that. If you look at the crashes, for the most part, they are all different: Some were spectacular (Reed’s shunt while chasing down Ryan Villopoto, Windham’s get-off while running down Stewart and, of course, the horrific mid-air collision that ruined the seasons of Trey Canard and Ryan Morais at Dodger Stadium come to mind), but others were far less so. The prime example is the one that knocked Villopoto out of the series (and the outdoors) after he had already clinched the title: He blew out his knee after catching his foot wrong in a corner at the Seattle Supercross. It was an incident replicated every weekend at Any Track USA by the rest of us.
So what is it? Bad luck? Did someone at Feld Motorsports walk under a ladder while carrying a black cat?
After interviewing a cross section of the pits at the season finale in Las Vegas, the answer is that there really is no answer. But the responses seem always point back to a few things: The big 450cc four-strokes are faster, the tracks are difficult (in fairness to Dirt Wurx, the company contracted to Feld to build the tracks, they get most of their criticism from riders when they build the tracks that are deemed “too easy”) and the level of competition has pushed the intensity of the racing so high that everyone is riding on the ragged edge and the margin of error has shrunk to the size of a gnat’s pecker. And one other thing… Villopoto, the guy they are all trying to beat, is one gnarly dude.
No clear-cut answer means there’s plenty to talk about and talk they will, according to Feld Motorsports’ direct of Supercross, Dave Prater. Prater says there will be plenty of dialogue between all invested parties between now and the 2013 season opener in Anaheim as they try and figure out what did go wrong and how it can be prevented.
In the meantime, we got a little dialogue going in advance. Here’s what some of the players in the series had to say about the 2012 season.
To read what they had to say, click here.