ASK THE MXPERTS: WHY DON’T ALL THE BRANDS RACE SUPERCROSS?

Sherco is one of several European brands who make bikes that could be reconfigured as motocross bikes, but sticks to off-road racing.WHY DON’T ALL THE BRANDS RACE SUPERCROSS?

Dear MXperts,

I currently own a Yamaha, but I am a big fan of brands like TM, Sherco, SWM, Rieju and APC. My question is, why don’t I ever see any of these bikes racing the AMA Supercross series? It seems to me that those brands would benefit from the exposure, and the fans would enjoy seeing bikes that they rarely get to see outside of enduro and cross-country racing.

Not just any motorcycle can race an AMA Supercross or National. Only motorcycles that are homologated by the AMA may be used in competition. Homologation is just a fancy way of making sure that no rider or team shows up at the races with a special one-off machine that isn’t available in its basic form to every other rider in the race. In order for a bike to be considered a legal production bike, the manufacturer must produce and sell at least 400 units. And, the manufacturer must make those units available to the public all the way up until August 1st of the racing season that the bike was homologated for (unless the manufacturer can prove that all of the available models were sold out before that date). Strangely, only 200 bikes must be in the showrooms by March 1st and the remaining number by June 1st. Only the manufacturer of record can submit a machine for homologation—not a rider or team. There is a $5,000 fee to get a bike on the approved list. On a side note, no motorcycle over five years old may be raced.

These homologation rules effectively make bikes from TM, Sherco, APC, SWM and Rieju ineligible to be raced in Supercross or motocross, unless they can import more than 400 units of the given motocross model they plan to race in that calendar year.

Here are the homologation rules:

(1) Once a motorcycle has been homologated, it may be used until such time that the homologated motorcycle no longer complies with the technical rules or a maximum of five years.

(2)  Compliance with homologation requirements will not guarantee an AMA homologation. The homologation may be withheld or withdrawn for a just cause that the AMA deems in the best interest of the sport.

(3) To be a legally homologated motorcycle, at least 400 units have to be made available to the public. A minimum of 200 units must be in U.S. dealer showrooms by March 1.

(4) The remaining 200 units must be available to the public by June 1st of the current season.

(5) After June 1st, the manufacturers must maintain availability of homologated models to any AMA pro-licensed motocross competitor until August 1 of the current season. This applies unless the manufacturer can supply documented proof that all the units imported to the U.S were sold to North American customers before June 1 of the current season.

(6) Factory team motorcycles are counted as part of the required 400, but the team cannot not count more than 8 units. The AMA does not want the teams to hoard 100 motorcycle to reach the required homologation number. The object of homologation is to ensure that the bikes are available to every AMA privateer who may want one.

(7) Any motorcycle model that was homologated in the previous year is not bound by the 400 unit rules, deadlines or limits for the current year.

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