SEPT. 17–WHO’S TO BLAME FOR THE MXDN DISASTER
BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE MXDN
Will it be held or won’t it. Who’s to blame. Read on.
There is plenty of blame to go around. At the moment, most people want to blame the Indian tribe that controls the land, but they are farther down the totem pole.
WHO IS THE MAJOR CULPRIT?
The major culprit in the MXDN fiasco is Dorna. Dorna is a European promotion company that owns the right to the World Motocross Championships and the Motocross Des Nations (MXDN). The 2002 MXDN was originally scheduled to be held at Spa in Belgium (with Georges Jobe as the promoter). When Spa elected not to hold the race, Dorna failed to find any other takers. The best, and perhaps only, offer that Dorna had was from a local SoCal race track (in the sleepy little town of San Jacinto).
Dorna and the FIM leapfrogged over the AMA, probably because they were thinking that this was a way to get even with the AMA for wrecking the World Supercross Championships that the FIM had put together with Clear Channel. No matter, Dorna reportedly did not offer the MXDN to any other American tracks (and it is unlikely that any American track would have been willing to pay the $600,000 sanction fee that Dorna was reportedly asking for the MXDN). So, Dorna elected to bypass the AMA and deal directly with the local SoCal track–Competition Park.
WHY WAS COMPETITION PARK A PROBLEM?
There was one problem with San Jacinto’s Competition Park. It did not exist. The old Competition Park, located about five miles from the new one, closed down in June of 2002. But Dorna pressed on, and agreed to hold the MXDN at the new Competition Park. Even though, it didnt exist yet. They sent a delegation over to look at a flat field about 60 miles East of Los Angeles–and approved the non-existing track as being FIM worthy.
ARE YOU STILL WITH US?
A quick recap is in order. Here are the ten chess moves that have brought the MXDN to the brink.
(1) The 2002 MXDN was supposed to be held at Spa, Belgium.
(2) Spa turned it down.
(3) Nobody else in Europe wanted it.
(4) The FIM did not actively seek out Mt. Morris, Budds Creek, Glen Helen or any other AMA race track.
(5) Competition Park inquired about the possibility of holding the race at their track.
(6) In what can only be seen as a desperation move, Dorna accepted Competition Parks offer (which did not include Competition Park paying Dorna the reported $600,000 it was asking–but something closer to $125,000 — with a promise to go into a partnership, IOU or lend-lease agreement for more money after the event was held.
(7) Competition Park did not exist when Dorna accepted their offer.
(8) Competition Park (nor its promoters) had ever held a major AMA race, International event, Trans-AMA or Grand Prix. AND, They are not affiliated with the AMA–which is the FIMs recognized federation for the United States.
(9) The new Competition Park was built on Luiseno Indian land, next to the Soboba Casino. Although the MXDN track is not ready for the MXDN–the promoter thinks they will have it ready by September 29. The Park has been open for practice since late summer.
(10) Two weeks ago a rider was killed while practicing at Competition Park . This unfortunate incident was made all the much more serious because the rider was a member of the very small Luiseno band of Indians. The death of one of their own, plus reported complaints about dust, noise and sanitation led the Tribal Council to meet and order the track shut down. The Indian tribe knows nothing about motocross–and even less about the MXDN. They were reacting to a death on their tribal land and Indian complaints. Since the Luisano Indians are recognized by the Federal Government, their land is considered a sovereign nation (in essence, they aren’t bound by state laws and have tremendous leeway in what they can do).
THE WHO’S WHY’S AND WHAT’S
So, who is to blame for the 2002 MXDN fiasco? The FIM and Dorna. They violated every rule in the book when they handed the event to a non-existent track in the middle of nowhere. The FIM should take the heat if the Indian tribe succeeds in closing the track down. The race should never have been given to a track that didn’t exist and was not affiliated with the FIM or its host countries federation.
As for the Competition Park promoters, you can’t blame them for trying. They gambled that hosting a major event would put their new track on the map. It has–even if most of the things said about it are disparaging.
LETS GET REAL FOR A SECOND
Lets not get too weepy about the MXDN. Its not the most important race in the world any more. It was at one time, but with constant rule changes, lack of interest by American stars and a changing international atmosphere, it is just an oddity now. The best riders in the world race in the USA–not on the GP circuit. The MXDN is old school.
Will the 2002 MXDN be held at Competition Park in less than two weeks? It’s lucky that the track is next to a casino because the odds are running about 50-50. Could it be moved to another track at the last second? Yes, but each passing day makes that a more difficult proposition. Which tracks would be willing to take it? None are chomping at the bit–but there are lots of tracks in SoCal that are better than Competition Park (or no worse).
What about Glen Helen Raceway, after all, it has held AMA Nationals and Grands Prix. It is both FIM and AMA approved? If push came to shove–Glen Helen would allow the MXDN to move to their track–but the logistics of spectator fencing, concessions, porta-cans and personnel will be untenable as each day passes.
NOW YOU KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW
Now you know everything there is to know about the MXDN. The FIM looks stupid, Dorna looks greedy, the AMA looks inept, the Indians look like the bad guys and the MXDN looks irrelevant.