TEN THINGS ABOUT THE AMA’S 250 SUPERCROSS POINTING-OUT RULE

Jeremy Martin 2020 SALT LAKE CITY ROUND 12 qualifying-8921Jeremy Martin was the latest rider to avoid pointing out of the 250 East/West Supercross series. There is no pointing out rule in the AMA Nationals.

(1) Purpose. The 250 Supercross advancement rule was written to ensure that top-tier riders wouldn’t stay in the 250 ranks, which was instituted as a development class. The AMA wanted to move the fastest 250 riders to the premier 450 class, where they could compete at the highest level. The AMA wants to keep the 250 class as a stepping stone.

(2) Math. In the 250 class, riders surpassing the Championship point threshold in a total of any four seasons of 250 Supercross competition will be ineligible for the class; however, this rule doesn’t apply to the AMA Nationals. The Supercross Championship point threshold is 135 points in a nine-race season, 120 points in an eight-race season, or 105 points in a seven-race season.

(3) Odd number of events. If the number of events in the 250 Supercross-class region is different from what it was originally slated to be in 2020 (before the Coronavirus pandemic hit), the number of events used for the point threshold would be based on the shorter series to keep it fair. If the 2020 season had completed its original schedule, the mid-season 250 East/West shootout in Denver would have given the 250 West Coast riders an extra round of racing. 

(4) Support. The AMA’s 250 Supercross advancement rule would be easier to cope with if 450 factory rides were more abundant, but they aren’t. Unless you are a consistent top-10 rider in the 450 class and you have a factory ride, it is difficult to make a living. Top riders on a 250 factory team can earn respectable money from their salary and bonuses. But, if they are forced into the 450 class, they often have to settle for less money and race against stiffer competition. Many successful 250 riders struggle to earn solid 450 rides. Malcolm Stewart is one example; he won the 2016 250 East Coast title but couldn’t secure a 450 ride for the 2017 season. Luckily for him, a fill-in ride opened with JGR Suzuki after the season had already begun, and he was able to use that experience to move to the MCR 450 team.

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Martin had no offers to move to the 450 class, so midway through the Salt Lake City Supercross rounds, he went home and quit racing to avoid pointing out of the 250 East/West class for 2021. Geico Honda was okay with it, but unfortunately Geico folded before th 2021 season. Jeremy moved to Star Yamaha.

(5) Playing the system. Jeremy Martin came into the 2020 Supercross season after missing the entire 2019 season due to injury. With a guaranteed, high-paying factory ride aboard a Geico Honda in the 250 class and no clear opportunities in the 450 class for 2021, Jeremy quit the 2020 Supercross season with three rounds to go to stay below the points threshold, which gave him another year in the 250 Supercross class. Unlike other riders who have faked injuries or taken dives to avoid pointing out, Martin was open and honest about his decision and his team supported it. 

Martin Davalos took a lot of criticism for staying in the  250 class his whole career, but no kudos for refusing to stay in the 250 East/West class when he could have in 2019.

(6) Martin Davalos. At 32 years old, Davalos finally pointed out of the 250 Supercross class in 2019. He was in a position similar to that of Jeremy Martin. He went into the last race of the 2019 Supercross season one point short of pointing out. If he raced the 2019 Las Vegas final, he would have to move to the 450 class. If he didn’t race, and thus didn’t earn the one point, he had a high-paying contract on the Pro Circuit Kawasaki 250 team for 2020. To Davalos’ credit, he raced Vegas and pointed out. Davalos decided to finish out his 250 career. Martin didn’t earn a factory ride in the 450 class for 2020, but he did get support from the smaller Tedder Racing team for 2020. 

(7) Extra year. During the 2017 Supercross season, the rule stated that riders would point out if they earned the points threshold in any three seasons. That meant that Joey Savatgy, Martin Davalos, Justin Hill and Zach Osborne would have to move to the 450 class in 2018; however, with three rounds to go, the AMA changed the rule from three seasons to four seasons. Three of the four were forced up to the 450s a year later in 2019, while Martin Davalos was able to stay down for another year because he was injured and didn’t break the point threshold in 2018. 

(8) Champions. A rider who wins a 250SX Championship is eligible to participate in the 250SX class for a maximum of four years total, even if he doesn’t score above the point threshold for all four seasons.

(9) Dropping down. It’s not a very popular thing for a top rider to do, but 450 privateers are allowed to move back down to the 250 class in Supercross if they haven’t finished inside the top 15 in 450 Supercross-class points in either of the two prior seasons. 

(10) MXGP rules. In Europe, the 250 class is governed by even stricter rules. Riders as young as 15 can race the GPs (that is one year younger than in the AMA), but, once a 250 Grand Prix rider turns 23 years old, he has to move to the 450 class.

 

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