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The World Supercross Ship has just Entered Treacherous Waters

Before this year's World Supercross Championship kicked off, I had made mention of just how viable this series would be long term. I didn't think that would be put to the test this quickly, but here we are all the same. Some time ago, the French round was replaced by an Arenacross round (in all but name) in Abu Dhabi. Now, Michael Lindsay has gotten word that all three of Singapore, Germany, and Canada could be removed from the schedule. In addition or subtraction, in this case, their primary investment source, Mubadala Capital Sovereign Wealth Fund in the UAE, has been rumored to back out of the series. Just how dire are things for the SX Global group, and what's their next course of action?

Something Yet Nothing

With most of the substance covered making the rounds online over the last 24-48 hours, the SX Global group/Adam Bailey gave this statement to Lindsay and Vital MX in the early hours of Thursday.

"We’re aware of rumors circulating over the past 24 hours regarding the FIM World Supercross Championship and its 2023 rounds. While we can’t provide specific information today, we will be sharing significant news soon regarding the 2023 racing schedule, together with positive future developments that support the championship series.
We have been in consistent communication with teams and owners, who have been highly supportive. We look forward to the 2023 Championship rounds finishing strongly, with hotly contested racing determining who will be crowned the 2023 FIM World Supercross Champions this November in Melbourne."

Outside of not disclosing any financial backing news, which would make sense if they're still in negotiations, this should be classified as substanceless. What we do know based on some social media posts from some riders, namely Mike Alessi on an Instagram story, is that round cancelations are for sure coming, seeing as he states, "I'm available for all of September." So, it's hard to say that these reports have no merit when active riders go public with that level of information. With that said, it sounds like the Abu Dhabi and Australian rounds are still good, for sure.

The Issues Facing World Supercross

Outside of the financial backing issues, at face value, WSX seems to be working on it if you take them at their word. Outside of that, however, there are a few pressing issues facing WSX. Whether or not they can correct these is TBD, but this is the biggest issue they currently face. They lack star power at the top of the order. They don't necessarily need every top guy to come aboard, but only having Ken Roczen out of the superstar pool of riders (Him, Eli Tomac, Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence, Jason Anderson, etc.) certainly hurts a bit.

On top of that, two other issues explain the lack of star power. Going head-to-head with the AMA Pro Motocross series and MXGP significantly reduces the pool of riders you can acquire. Not to mention, with the way teams are structured with no factory outlets, I have a hard time envisioning U.S.-based factory teams signing off on letting guys run WSX for other organizations. Maybe Tomac at this point if he's all set on Motocross but feels good enough to be an SX-only guy for a few more years, but that's it.

Having at least two or three marque names would probably help out on the ticket sale and TV rights negotiations front in a big way. Even if that means WSX adjusts their 'wild-card' rule so U.S. Factory riders could run a round or two that aren't in conflict with anything stateside. They fix that, not having a schedule that isn't as far spread apart (try to string some European rounds in three or four consecutive weekends, for example), and fix some event formatting stuff (I'd dump the 'each class does three straight races' thing after watching the British GP), and hopefully that helps out. Again, if you are a fan of the Motocross industry in any capacity, you want this series to succeed, but admittedly, this has been a rough way to open up shop.

Main Image via WSX Global


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