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"Dirt", December 1, 2012

RULE CHANGES

THE REAL STANDOUT WAS THE EMOTION OF A FATHER WHEN HIS SON FINALLY WON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 11 YEARS OF TRYING.

with scott bishop

Every year most major sports go through the rule book and make changes they hope will be better for the sport, make it more attractive to the mainstream and hopefully keep the whole show moving ahead. Sure, we have that in motocross, but changing number fonts and banning moonshine for fuel isn’t really going to open up new markets for us.

But, never fear, I have a range of changes that should propel the sport forward and have the punters on the edge of their seats for the entire season.

MID-SEASON DRAFT

All football codes have a draft or recruitment system in place to try and keep the competition fair. Well, I propose a mid-season draft where the rider can nominate that they’re unhappy with their current team or setup and can swap teams in the five-week break between rounds five and six.

Imagine riders swapping teams halfway through the year. It might work for some, not work for others and keep everyone on their toes. A change is as good as a holiday for some and it keeps the series alive. Dylan Leary came alive in 2012 after his change of team.

SALARY CAP

What about introducing a salary cap for teams and riders? Each team has only a certain amount to spend on racing and put the result well in truly in the control of the rider. Now, I know controlling this would be a nightmare worse than the standard 50cc Div 1 class at the world champs, but that’s not my job. I’m an ideas man and just trying to keep a lid on the cost of racing.

ENDURANCE RACES

V8 Supercars has Bathurst and Sandown later in the year as their high-profile endurance races. Wouldn’t it be cool if our final round of MX was a three-hour team event on a motocross track that featured pit stops and tyre changes? Like a GNCC but with real riders — not you guys who ride bikes with headlights. Sorry, off-road guys. Just sayin.’

Now, back to my plan ... In the past two years, the final round has almost come down to two teams duking it out for the championship. In 2011 it was CDR for Monster Kawi; in 2012 it was CDR again, this time against Suzuki. Imagine Bopping and Cooper going at it for 20 minutes around Coolum before racing into pit lane and handing the bikes over to Coppins and Waters for the last sprint to the finish line to determine that championship?

Bike setups to suit both riders would be critical and the teams would have to come up with plans to suit both riders on the same bike. Now, this plan would also rid the universe of riders who slap their ’bars on the tank, run levers lower than Stephen Gall in the summer of 1977 and have the OH&S people ordering way more fluoro vests, as that seems to be their answer to every safety issue they are confronted with.

BETTING

Every other sport on the planet has some form of betting. Sure, every one of those sports is more corrupt than the Queensland Police in the 1980s, but who cares? At least someone is getting rich. Imagine all the shady, exotic bets that could be placed and the brown-paper-bag money on the start line changing hands. First rider to crash. First rider to write off a sub frame and exhaust. First rider to get a fork leg through the clutch cover. See, I’m trying to make my bets exotic enough to keep the corruption to a reduced level and keep the sport in check. But imagine the money that would be injected into the sport. Riders would be on the poverty line and not below it. They might even be able to afford to race at more events. But when they bring their own SP bookmaker and management team, I think we will need to introduce more rules to slow it down. Again, I’m just the ideas man.

JUNIOR NATIONALS

I’m not long out of another week of torture, commonly referred to as the Australian Junior Motocross Championships. Each year the event gets longer and longer, despite entries getting fewer and fewer. The fact that Coolum Beach was only just a little up the road and I was able to dunk my head in the Pacific Ocean each day was the only way I kept some sanity. That and the three cartons of Coronas, but that’s all for another Race Face.

But here and there through the week there were some incredible moments, most of them off the track. The final two days were in warm, sweaty, tropical Queensland weather and the speed required to devour a Mr Whippy double cone before it melted all over your hand, wrist and arm had to be seen to be believed. I thought one punter had done well to get it down with only half a scoop running down his sleeve, but when a nameless hero strolled up and inhaled the double cone with choc dip and a flake in three mouthfuls and not a drop melted — well, that was the ride of the week as far as I was concerned.

But the real standout was the emotion of a father when his son finally won a national championship after 11 years of trying. He shed a few tears of joy that all the hard yards and sacrifices he and his family had made were rewarded after such a long time. It was a cool moment on the final day that made racing all worthwhile. That is motocross.

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