In just over a week all the eyes in our sport will be on Houston Texas as the gate will be dropping on the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series. It’s been half a year since we watched Eli Tomac hoist the trophy from his first-ever Supercross Championship back in Salt Lake City, and one of the most interesting questions heading into Houston is will Tomac be able to successfully defend his 2020 title? With Tomac’s lackluster performance in this past summer’s Lucas Oil Motocross Championship, we think showed everyone just how much the SX title meant to him, and also how much it took out of him. More than one rider over the years has said that winning an SX Championship is the hardest title to win in our sport. This statement comes as no surprise when you factor in the risk, the travel, the competition, as well as the grueling schedule. The chance of error is great, but the margin for error is oh so small.
After a normal start to the SX Series last year, after the Daytona round the sporting world grind to a sudden halt with Covid-19, and the remaining races were put on hold until late May. Looking back, it was a miracle that the 2020 Series was able to be completed. As we remember it meant racing the final rounds in SLC with no fans. But this is a new year and for the first time since the mid-1990s, the Supercross Series will not be starting on the West Coast. In fact, there will not be any rounds of SX on the West Coast this series as the furthest West the series will travel in 2021 is SLC to conclude the series once again in May. So no Anaheim, no San Diego, no Glendale, no Seattle, and no Las Vegas for 2021. The Series will kick-off in one of the OG’s of the sport, Houston, TX. From there, the Series will travel to Indianapolis and then Orlando for multiple rounds, all in cities and states that will allow a certain number of fans to attend each event. Unlike mainstream sports like basketball and baseball, where massive television revenues pay a lot of the bills, the sport of SX cannot survive on having events with zero fans. So thankfully for now at least, a set number of excited SX fans will be in attendance and cheering on their favourite riders. For everyone else who isn’t able to attend any of the rounds, you can purchase the Supercross Video Pass right here: www.supercrosslive.tv/viewplans
So we have new venues for the opening rounds of the series, as well as a new television host as sadly Fox Sports has replaced Ralph Sheheen for the upcoming season. Ralph has been involved with SX for 14 years so it seems a little strange that Fox Sports would choose to go in a different direction at this time. But perhaps with all of the other changes going on they thought that now was a good time. It will be interesting to see who they bring in to replace an iconic voice like Ralph? With so many things new for 2021, one of the items that will remain the same is the exciting action on the race track. With experienced 450 riders like Tomac, Roczen, Anderson, and Webb taking on young and fast riders like Sexton, Cianciarulo, and Ferrandis, this could be a season where we see multiple main event winners. And let us not forget about Justin Barcia, who looks extremely good on his new Factory TLD GasGas. One rider who sadly won’t be on the starting line in 2021 is Chad Reed who said thank-you and goodbye at the final round last year in SLC. There was some talk that Reed might race a few events in 2021 as long as there were fans allowed, but there hasn’t been any talk of that recently. We think it’s safe to say that Reed is done and his departure from the starting line represents the end of an incredible era of SX racing. Finally, Canadian fans will have someone to cheer for in the opening rounds as Jess Pettis will be lining up in the 250SX East Series. As you know, Pettis has been training at the Baker’s Factory for the past two months so he should be ready to challenge for main event podiums and perhaps even a podium finish once he feels comfortable. We think his speed will be very good and with the type of preparation that he’s been doing, his results will reflect that. It will be exciting to have a Canadian rider to cheer for at each round of the 250SX East Series. Go Jess Pettis!
As we said at the beginning, we’re now just over a week away from the opening round of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series. It’s been a long off-season so everyone is ready to see the series begin. With the opening three races taking place in Houston on Saturday, Tuesday, and again on the following Saturday, there will be plenty of racing to watch over the next few weeks. So, grab some popcorn and your favourite beverage, and let’s ready for some Supercross! It all starts at 6:00 pm next Saturday.