January 23, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly: 2011 Los Angeles Supercross

Trey Canard (41) chasing Austin Stroupe (74) and Chad Reed (22) during their 450 heat race.  I'll let you decide who's good and who's bad, but Trey definitely gets the ugly for the horrendous get-off he suffered.  Fortunately, Canard wasn't seriously injured and went on to win the LCQ and finish a strong 4th in the main.  Photo by GuyB.
One word that decribes last night's Monster Energy Supercross Series (MESS) at Dodger stadium in Los Angeles?  Exciting!  Of course, there was much more to it than that, so more words are needed.

What was good about the Dodger stadium supercross? 
  • THE RACING.  It was off the chain in both classes.  These riders are all on it.  They are putting on a heckuva show, giving it their all, blood sweat and tears, the whole nine.  GuyB has the story at Vital MX.
  • THE PEOPLE.  The stadium staff were all pretty cool, despite the fact that they were actually in a bit over their heads (see "the bad"); the fans were cool if a little irreverent; the place was packed major and minor moto-celebrities, and even more hot chicks than A1.  Nice vibe, considering...
  • THE VENUE.  Maybe it's not as nice as some of the newer ballparks, but Dodger stadium has enough charm of its own, if you take the time to look around.  The view of L.A. from the parking lot is downright amazing.
The bad?  Oh man...

  • THE PARKING.  Yes, it's a funky parking lot, but it doesn't have to be as bad as it was on Saturday night.  It took 15 minutes just to get in the lot, and we arrived fairly early between 3:30-4pm.  The parking gate personnel were pleasant enough, but they only took cash (what year is this again?), and were just slow dealing with the traffic.  Getting out was complete bedlam, and I didn't see a single police officer directing traffic.  At Anaheim, the police actively direct departing traffic (and it's still crazy, I must admit).
  • THE PUNKS.  No, not the MX hooligans; at least they showed up.  But the SoCal motocross fans that chose not to go the the L.A. supercross for whatever reason they dreamed up.  Sure, SX is expensive and stadium races are usually a pain in the ass to attend, but c'mon now... THIS season you do NOT want to miss.    Donn Maeda at Transworld Motocross reports that 41,107 people attended the race; with a capacity of 56,000 that means 14,893 supposed California motocross fans punked out and missed an awesome race.
  • THE PRESS.  Because the television coverage was delayed until Sunday morning, the motocross press seemed to follow the lead of the traditional press and "hold" race reports until the race was broadcast on CBS.  The only real-time stream of information permitted to leave Dodger stadium during the race was the AMA lap timer.  The promoters completely shut down the news.  A travesty.

And the ugly...

  • THE MASSIVE LINES.   For EVERYTHING.  To get in, to buy food, to get out, to get back in, to even get in the rest rooms.  Everything had a long line  For such a big stadium, it has a really congested flow, made even worse by closing off sections, locking doors that have signs that say "door must be unlocked", not opening all available snack bars and more.  I give credit to the stadium management conducting what seemed to be an incident-free event, but they really failed on the traffic management aspect.   Some of their decisions on routing fans from the stadium to the "pit party" resulted in a massive jam of people squeezing into a narrow row of escalators.  It was fortunate no one was hurt in the crush.  Some people gave up and never made it to the pits, which is a shame because there is so much to see and do there. 
  • (The way some fans treated) THE POLICE.  Unfortunately, there was some booing when the LAPD motorcyclists made there way onto the stadium floor early in the opening ceremonies, and it's unusual because the Air Force and the LA Sheriffs department both had displays and personnel in the pits and were as well received as they are at other stadiums.  I'm not saying the LAPD is perfect, but doing that to those motorcycle officers was definitely uncalled for.   Of course, it didn't help when a couple of the officers got stuck in the deep dirt on the start straight and struggled to get their motorcycles off the track.
All of that to say... overall, it was AWESOME because the racing was so great.   All of the good far outweighed the bad and the ugly, no question about it.  The MESS went to Dodger stadium and motocross fans all over southern California came out the winner.

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