Sideburn Talks AMA GNC Listens?) that brought up some good points that I've already been discussing with friends. I'm going to give me view on them below. Pat's comment are bold, my replies are italicised... G
Pat wrote, Well I have to say that I agree with and am excited about the rules changes except for two notes:
1) I don't like the bit about 'production motorcycles' for GNC2 - I'd love to see single cylinder framers make a comeback as well. Perhaps 'production engines' would be better. Chris Carr has commented (in your mag if I recall) that jumping from dirt-bikes to framers is a big gap for up-and-coming riders starting out in GNC1.
By production motorcycles, they mean 450 MX bikes modified for dirt track - DTX bikes as the sport refers to them.
The move to DTX bikes, and away from framers (450 or older Rotax motors in custom dirt track chassis), made some kind of sense. We at Sideburn never hidden our love of framers or ambivalence to the appearance of DTX bikes, but saw the sense or trying to attract manufacturer support by running production bikes they could market. But the support never came. If you're trying to sell MX bikes, it's easier to put all your marketing into MX or supercross. It's big budget, spectacular, the riders are more famous, the races are better attended. Really, why the hell would Honda support flat track 450s in any significant way when they had the huge US MX industry as a battleground?
And if there's a transition from DTX bikes to framer twins of the Expert class, then so be it. For years, Grand Prix road riders had to jump from 250 two-strokes to 1000cc four-stoke MotoGP bikes and just got on with it. The talented thrived, the others fell by the wayside. That is racing.
Also, framers making a come back doesn't make sense. The GNC2 guys are on a real budget, and DTX makes sense for them. Also, they make sense for amateur club racers too. Be clear, we are NOT anti-DTX, they're good for the grassroots, but, I think, not for the elite.
2) 2016 is really soon. Especially for privateers, but even for well supported teams, that is a major reshuffling of the required bikes to solve by Daytona next year.
All of that said, it will be awesome to see how short track and TT races evolve the formula for pro-twins bikes. I just can't see launching an XR750 as the best way to go at Peoria.
The bigger budget teams are always going to cope with transition better than privateers. That's life, but perhaps this opens a door for a privateer to put all their effort into building a great Peoria twin, and making a name for themselves, at the expense of another area of their programme. It's no different to now. Shaun Baer (featured in Sideburn 20) is concentrating on the twins races this season and has been a regular top six qualifier, but isn't racing any single races this year. So what's changed? If anything, it'll be easier for him and other twins teams (Ducati Scrambler, Bonneville Performance, Latus Triumph, Rogers KTM) to tweak their bikes for short track and twins than buy a whole new machine and tune it to compete with the top singles.
I know the top teams have a half-mile bike and a mile bike, with the different engine tunes, but privateers don't. They change the gearing. They'll do the same for short tracks.
Peoria. Everyone is mentioning twins at Peoria. That makes me think a few things. First, people are DESPERATE to see how the twins go at Peoria. When was the last time this many people were desperate to see a CRF450 at Peoria? Never. Secondly, let's be blunt Peoria is just a shit motocross race. If I wanted to watch motocross I'd watch motocross. But I don't I want to want dirt track. TT is part of the championship, but it's mutated so much it has virtually no link left. People get excited about Peoria because of its history. If it launched as a new race now it wouldn't get a lot of interest. I'm not saying the racing isn't exciting, to those really in the know, and who have favourite racers, but the GNC has to offer more to grow.
Also, the 450s are flying so far they're missing the transition off the jump and landing on the flat. Won't the riders just back off, and land their jumps on the transition? Fans won't think, 'They're not jumping as far as a full alloy, lightweight 450, this sucks!' They'll think, 'They're jumping 'Harley XR750s? Those things must weigh a ton. Holy cow!'
The riders will suck it up and put on a spectacle. Perhaps Dirt Quake USA hero, The Rusty Butcher can give them a lesson on how to launch a really heavy Harley. who is telling me they'd rather watch a field of experts/GNC1 riders on DTX bikes or a field or riders on twins?
Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward. F1 has done it throughout history, and they're doing ok for sponsorship, last time I looked.
If you want to read more on this subject read the Ronnie Jones interview in Cycle News p58-70