Supercross will be reopening its pits to fans at select times during the 2021 season

Supercross fans pits 2021
Feld Entertainment, Inc.

The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series is expecting to welcome back fans — and to the pits — when the 2021 season begins Jan. 16 in Houston, Texas – the first time in 25 years that Supercross will open outside California.

In unveiling a 17-race schedule Tuesday (with details for four race still to be announced), Feld Entertainment senior director of two-wheel operations Dave Prater said the series’ six confirmed stadiums are approved for crowds currently at 20 to 25 percent capacity (with the potential for increasing).

Though the series still is working with epidemiologists on safety protocols for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, masks would be mandatory for fans, who also would be cordoned off from the “bubble” environment in which riders and teams would operate.

“Our intent is to open the pits and (sponsor) activation area to fans,” Prater said. “Obviously, that would be a modified experience. We want to keep the bubble we’re working in separate, but we will allow fans into the pits during the 12-6 p.m. timeframe.”

Prater said Supercross still is working through how to test riders and teams for COVID-19 after mandating testing on initial entry to its Salt Lake City, Utah, bubble for the final seven races this year (which concluded June 19 with Eli Tomac’s first championship).

“There will be (COVID-19) testing, we’re just still working on what works given the venues and cities we’re racing and the timeframe we’ll be there,” he said.

After ending the 2020 season with seven consecutive events at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Supercross will carry over several concepts – such as midweek races and multiple consecutive rounds in one city — to its 2021 schedule, which will open with three races in eight days at NRG Stadium.

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, all would play host to Saturday-Tuesday race combinations, building off the Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday schedule that was well-received in Salt Lake City last year.

The series also will make its annual visit to Daytona International Speedway on March 6.

The last five rounds, including the Round 17 season finale at Rice-Eccles Stadium, will happen after Easter (April 4) but haven’t been assigned dates. Prater said it’s possible that Rounds 13 through 16 also could be run in Salt Lake City.

“I think things will start to get better and at the very least, we’ll have multiple stadiums after Easter,” Prater said. “I don’t know how many yet. If there are stadiums where the capacity opens up enough to make it viable.”

Ken Roczen (Feld Entertainment, Inc.)

For a single Supercross event, a stadium would need to be at 50 to 60 percent capacity because of costs, said Prater, who noted the series is “definitely going to be taking a hit financially” again next year after the pandemic forced a reduction in purse money last year.

Prater said Supercross chose its first four venues because they also have NFL teams that have been working toward having limited crowds.

That’s been a major snag for its California venues, which are used primarily for baseball.

“Obviously we love Anaheim, and Angel Stadium has been a great partner,” Prater said. “They were disappointed, but they understand completely. Anaheim, Petco Park (in San Diego), Oakland are all baseball stadiums. Major League Baseball basically was taking the stance that up until the postseason, they weren’t going to entertain having fans at all.

“Up until recently, Angel Stadium, Petco and Oakland couldn’t really talk to us about what was going to happen because they didn’t know. I’m optimistic, but who knows. California could slide into April if it opens up, but that remains to be seen.”

Other notable items from Prater’s 45-minute news conference Tuesday:

–Because the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is slated to start in the third week of May, the Supercross season finale will happen no later than May 8.

–No times were announced for any of the events, and it’s likely the preponderance of Tuesday races could mean more daytime starts. Prater said at least two of the first 12 rounds are “a little earlier” on preliminary schedules as Supercross works with NBC Sports Group to firm up a broadcast lineup.

–Tracks will alter layouts between events with “some aggressive changes,” Prater said. “From what we learned in Salt Lake City (which used seven layouts), we’re comfortable with that. Fans can be rest assured if they come to Saturday’s race and then come to Tuesday, it’ll be a completely different track, even more so than Salt Lake City.”

–Supercross is owned by Feld Entertainment, which held its first Monster Jam event with fans since the pandemic last weekend. Prater said a crowd of roughly 30,000 attended over the two-day show in Arlington, Texas.

“We’ve done a few surveys, and over 80 percent were eager to get back to Supercross and Monster Jam,” he said. “They obviously want safety protocols in place, and we’re continuing to work through that plan.”

Supercross 2021 schedule

–Saturday, Jan. 16: Houston, Texas

–Tuesday, Jan. 19: Houston, Texas

–Saturday, Jan. 23: Houston, Texas

–Saturday, Jan. 30: Indianapolis, Indiana

–Tuesday, Feb. 2: Indianapolis, Indiana

–Saturday, Feb. 20: Glendale, Arizona

–Tuesday, Feb. 23: Glendale Arizona

–Saturday, Feb. 27: Glendale, Arizona

–Saturday, March 6: Daytona Beach, Florida

–Saturday, March 20: Arlington, Texas

–Tuesday, March 23: Arlington, Texas

–Saturday, March 27: Arlington, Texas

–Round 13: TBA

–Round 14: TBA

–Round 15: TBA

–Round 16: TBA

Date TBD: Salt Lake City, Utah,

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury