Supercross is easy, right? Okay, clearly it isn’t. To shake things up, the series added another challenge, the “Triple Crown.” For three rounds—Anaheim II, Atlanta, and Minneapolis—the format will change from traditional heats, an LCQ, and a main event to three shorter races with the overall winner based on Olympic-style scoring, i.e. the lowest score wins.
Although it is similar to that used for the Monster Energy Cup held annually in Las Vegas, the format will be new territory because it’s more than a cash prize; it pays championship points. This time the supercross title is on the line. So how does the Triple Crown change pre-race preparation from the perspective of the riders?
“We’re already ready for the heat races, so I’m not going to switch it up too much,” replied Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing). “The starts are crazy enough and the first laps are crazy, so having three of them is going to be insane. You have a shorter moto at the beginning when the track’s fresh. It’s going to be hard to keep your cool.”
The change in format is all about the fan experience. Three sprints (6-, 10-, and 12-minute main events in the 250cc class; 8-, 12-, and 15-minute mains in the 450cc class) will pit top riders against each other three times instead of splitting them up in heat races. The entertainment value is not lost on the riders.
“It’s going to be interesting for sure and a little bit nerve-racking,” said Justin Barcia (Monster Energy/Knich/Yamaha Factory Racing). “It’s one thing to do a good heat race start and a good main event start, but then you’ve got to add a couple more of those. So you definitely have to be on your game all night and stay focused.”
Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) agrees the tone of the event will be at a fever pitch, but he prefers a traditional format. “Having three motos… It’s just not long enough,” he said. “We train to be super fit and we’re doing 20 [minutes] plus one [lap], and that really separates the riders. Having a stacked field and three races, for sure, everybody’s going to send it.”