We are getting more and more e-mail from people asking whether Supercross has become too dangerous. It’s not a coincidence that more prominent riders have been injured in the last few months than we can ever remember occuring before.
Last week’s Anaheim AMA Supercross race included a massive quadruple jump — the largest jump I have personally ever seen at a Supercross race (and I have been attending several a year for many years). The depth of the whoops was also amazing, and dangerous! Phil Lawrence got planted in the whoop section badly during the 250cc last chance qualifier. He narrowly escaped very serious injury when he was thrown over the bars, landed face first into the next whoop, and then had his bike land on him.
The big jumps have always made Supercross exciting and sold tickets. I have to admit that the quad jump at Anaheim II was spectacular. Nevertheless, where do we draw the line? If the most skilled pros in the world are being frequently injured, have the tracks become too difficult? Or, do we simply accept that the more difficult tracks separate the “men from the boys” as Jeremy McGrath frequently implies.
At some point, does our beloved sport of Supercross turn into something akin to the gladiators? You know, people love to watch crashes — apparently lots of “Worst Crashes” style videos are sold (there are plenty of commercials selling them).
I think the more knowledgeable fans enjoy watching tight racing, and slick lines through technical (but not necessarily dangerous) sections of the track. Less dedicated fans may sit and stare at the triple jump or the quadruple jump all night, but the best racing action is definitely elsewhere on the track.
I guess I don’t know the answer to the question I posed tonight, but it’s something we all need to think about as the frequency of serious injuries increases. Why don’t you e-mail me with your thoughts on this one.