Unique Supercross Championship Tracks, Dirt Makes Preparation Key

It took three days and dump trucks filled with dirt 400 times, but the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship track at State Farm Stadium went from a simple surface with mounds of dirt to a complicated track with obstacles and obstacles. jumps. (Photos by Andrew Kurland/Cronkite News)

GLENDALE — Four days before State Farm Stadium hosted the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship for the first time in two years, dirt was still being brought to the stadium floor.

Three days and 400 dump trucks of dirt covering 6,500 cubic meters later, a unique masterpiece has been completed and displayed.

Saturday’s track was unlike any layout seen at previous events at Glendale. The track featured a split tee gate, which gave way to a 510-foot straight leading to the hole.

Supercross, an indoor motocross racing sport that evolved from motocross, takes place on specially constructed indoor dirt tracks and involves jumps and obstacles. Each round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship is designed to feature unique layouts, even across multiple rounds at the same stadium.

Drivers are used to having to prepare quickly for different routes. This year’s series is in the middle of a season-opening streak of 12 straight Saturdays. The visit to Glendale marked the fifth Saturday of this race. The event lands in Anaheim, California this weekend.

At least the drivers don’t enter a stadium completely in the dark.

Chris Blose, a veteran 250SX class rider from Phoenix, said track maps for an entire season are made available about a month before the start of the season.

Experience can help preparations.

“You kind of have an idea of ​​how the dirt breaks down if you’ve ever been to the stadium, so you have a rough idea of ​​what the rhythm section will be like and stuff like that,” Blose said.

When the runners go to a particular place, they know that it is urgent to gather all possible information on the route presented to them.

“We have to learn the track right away and that’s kind of what we do,” said Cooper Webb, the reigning 450SX class Supercross champion.

At Glendale, that preparation started the day before any race. Some riders were able to walk part of the track during media day activities the day before the race.

Only then could the pilots see the track maps come to life.

“When you walk into the stadium, you finally see how steep the actual design of the tracks is,” Webb’s teammate Marvin Musquin said.

Related story

One of the areas that received a lot of attention was the split start gate.

“It’s something different that we don’t normally see,” Webb said. “They have a big tunnel, which is pretty cool.”

Many pilots took the opportunity to ride different sections of the track. In some motorsports, this may seem tedious. However, Supercross presents a much different challenge.

Seven different obstacles make up each Supercross track, not including the starting grid. They range from a triple jump that runners can take with plenty of air time to sand sections designed to slow runners down.

There is one hurdle in particular that Webb says is critical in determining how a driver wants to run a particular race.

“Usually we call it the rhythm sections with all the jumps, trying to figure out what combination we’re going to do through those,” Webb said.

Obstacles alone, however, aren’t the only factor in how a track will perform. Dirt itself can also play a role. Similar to the various configurations executed in the series, the surface of each tower is also unique.

Every Supercross city has its own dirt, said AMA Supercross tour manager Bill Heras. Dirt is stored in a stockpile near a particular stadium until the series is ready to come race.

Blose said the type of dirt used makes a big difference in familiarity with a particular track.

“It’s like I grew up riding, so obviously I’m very comfortable on it,” Blose said of Glendale’s clay surface. “Then when I go back east to Georgia it’s like I’m a fish out of water because it takes me a little bit of getting used to.”

Once riders are familiar with a track surface, all types of adjustments can be made.

“With the settings, sometimes we have to adapt,” Musquin said. “Sometimes they calculate what we have, but sometimes we have to adjust the settings and all the tyres. Different types of tires or tire pressures, for example, and obviously suspensions and maybe some engine settings.

When it’s time to race, drivers are given a sighting lap, providing one last chance to get a feel for the track. Riders look for favorite lines to run in that turn, especially in corners where the lines are grooved.

For riders who take top honors, like Eli Tomac and Hunter Lawrence did on Saturday in the 450SX and 250SX classes, respectively, all the preparation on the track layout and dirt surface is worth the effort.

Comments are closed.