At the sixth round of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross series in Minneapolis, Feld personnel pulled a small select group of media aside into a meeting room to discuss and be transparent about the aftermath of what the lime did to the riders bikes, their bodies and why it happened. It was a very casual meeting. No podium, no microphone, just a discussion between people that love Supercross.
To represent Feld was Todd Jendro (Vice President Operations), Dave Prater (Director of Operations) and Steve Garros (Senior Vice President of Global public relations). Most of the media have known both Todd and Dave for many years on a personal basis. Dave started off the conversation stating that it was a mistake that he personally takes credit for. Of course it was an honest mistake and not in any way malicious.
Dave started off the conversation with, “We have been using lime on Supercross tracks for 20 plus years to help dry out race tracks to ensure it is safe and able to have an event.” He then went over the San Diego track building schedule and process with us to give us an idea of what was going on. “The plan was, we knew we were going to have weather in San Diego. We went in and built the track Monday, Tuesday, and had it finished by mid day Wednesday then covered the track. Then it poured on Thursday, did pretty good on Friday and then again we were expecting rain 10am on Saturday (race day). Saturday morning we looked at the radar and we decided lets back up practice to do one qualifying session because it looked like the rain was going to start at 10am and was going to go all the way through. You guys (talking to us media) were all there and obviously it didn’t start at 10am. The rain actually started coming down at 3:22pm. We started pulling the plastic (off the track) at 2:05pm and were done at about 2:45pm.”
WHAT LIME DOES FELD USE IN THE DIRT?
It is actually pellet lime that is added to sand. Feld has been using this type of lime since around 2009, but they have used some sort of lime for more than 20 years. The good thing about the pellet lime is that is doesn’t have as much dust. Dave told us that they use lime in the same way that it is used in agriculture to firm up soil to soil solidify it.
WHEN WAS THE LIME USED ON THE SAN DIEGO TRACK?
It was around 2:45pm when they started to spread the lime on the track and just as they laid it on the start straight at 3:20pm the rain started to come down hard and fast.
FELD’S THEORY ON WHY RIDERS HAD BURNS ON THIER SKIN AND BIKES GOT DESTROYED
This is just Feld own theory. They are bringing in experts to make an official conclusion. Since all that water came down so hard and fast, the lime didn’t have a chance to activate with the moisture in the dirt and a lot of it got washed into that huge puddle off the start straight and that is what caused the lime to have a higher concentration than it typically does. It seems that the lime didn’t really percolate into the dirt at all.
WERE FELD OFFICIALS AWARE OF THE LIME PROBLEM ON RACE DAY?
No. They thought it was business as usual. They weren’t aware that the lime took any negative effects to the bikes or riders until Sunday when Ken Roczen posted and voiced his chemical burns on Social Media. On Monday morning Feld met internally about the situation and then started calling riders to talk to them about what happened and find out how bad the damage was to the bikes and their bodies.
IS FELD HELPING OUT THE RIDERS FINANCIALLY?
Yes. Feld offered every privateer rider a $5000 check with no strings attached. They didn’t have to sign a release or anything. Most riders took the money, while a few denied the money saying that it wasn’t enough to cover the damage. A few riders even said they have to talk to their attorney first. It has been rumored that Ken Roczen has gotten a lawyer to go up against Feld. But it is nothing more than a rumor and there is no weight behind it. The factory riders and teams don’t want the money and are taking the hit. They know mud races are hard on bikes and they feel it is not much different.
HOW IS FELD GOING TO HANDLE LIME GOING FORWARD?
They have suspended it from being used in the dirt and moving forward, for now. This is worrisome as some of the dirt they use for tracks like Detroit are known to be very moist or even frozen. Wet dirt results in slop and you can’t build a track with that.