If you took all Ryan Villopoto’s interviews regarding track conditions and watched them in a row, you would quickly figure out that his favorite word is “slippery”. When you are the fastest racer in the world and you ride a 450 with a ton of power, traction is in limited supply. With that said, the biggest gripe of 2013 Supercross has been track design, for two main reasons.
The first problem has been the difficulty (or lack there) of obstacles such as triples, whoops, and man-made sections of the track. Tracks have been scaled back as a reaction to the staggering number of injuries in 2012. While this makes the racing safer, it doesn’t make it better, as alternate lines are seldom used for passing, and if a rider starts in first, he is much likelier to finish in first.
The second problem has been the dirt, itself. These tracks are built on top of grass fields, with concrete sections at the edges of the stadium. Many times the ruts become very deep during the course of the day and by the main events, they are down to the stadium floor where a rider will lose all traction, once his rear tire stops hitting dirt.
To avoid riders whiskey-throttling over the sides of tall berms, Dirt Wurx has eliminated them on the outside corners of the stadium, and replaced them with flat turns. The problem with this, as we saw with Villopoto last weekend, is that riders can not huck the triple and then carry that much speed into a flat corner with no berm to push against. Again, with the power of the bikes, these guys are struggling with traction as it is.
After the final west coast round in San Diego, the riders were unanimously excited about getting to the east coast for better dirt and traction. Well, they were really disappointed! The 2nd east coast round took place in Atlanta with its famous “Georgia Red Clay” but the slippery factor was worse than ever last weekend and even Villopoto said “I’m riding as fast as the track will let me.”
Scaling the obstacles down has reduced the number of injuries, but the racing has suffered this year due to track design and the overall quality of the dirt. Bring back the high berms, get some tacky mud and lets step it up for the rest of 2013. Oh and by the way, Davi Millsaps doesn’t seem to mind.