For those of you unfamiliar with Monster Energy AMA Supercross, we break down everything so you’re primed and ready on race day for DAYTONA Supercross By Honda.
What is Monster Energy AMA Supercross?
Supercross is a form of dirt bike racing, with its premier series, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, holding a 17-race season from January through early May. The series primarily takes place in open-air or domed stadiums across the United States. Riders race off-road motorcycles on an artificially-made dirt track, which contains steep jumps and obstacles. Unlike the traditionally long and winding motocross courses in natural environments, Supercross entails taking an outdoor motocross track and condensing it within a football or baseball stadium by man-made means. The course condensing creates bigger jumps and sharper turns, allowing spectators to effortlessly view the one-of-a-kind showcase of talent, fitness and fearlessness.
Race History & Riders
Mike Goodwin is credited for bringing Supercross to United States stadiums after attending a race held inside Daytona International Speedway that used a more traditional motocross track.
The combination of state-of-the-art stadiums, man-made courses and souped-up off-road motorcycles put Supercross in the history books as one of the first extreme motorsports.
DAYTONA Supercross by Honda has been running at the World Center of Racing since 1971, with 2017 serving as the 26th year that Honda has sponsored the event. Gunnar Lindstrom, aboard a Husqvarna, won the inaugural race, while Colorado-native Eli Tomac is the defending race champion.
To date, 29 different riders have become race champions, with 5-time champion Ricky Carmichael leading all riders. Eight riders (Pierre Karsmakers, Darrell Schultz, Jeff Stanton, Mike Kiedrowski, Jeremy McGrath, Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed and Carmichael) have won the event in back-to-back years, with just three riders (Stanton, Kiedrowski and Carmichael) collecting three consecutive wins. In fact, Stanton and Carmichael both won an unprecedented four-straight from 1989-92 and 2000-03, respectively.
Additionally, Honda has more victories (18) than any other manufacturer as greats like Carmichael, Stanton, Bob Hannah and McGrath all won at DAYTONA on a Honda.
Bikes and Classes
There are two main classes that race in Monster Energy AMA Supercross that the American Motorcyclist Association awards a championship title to each year.
They are the 450SX and the 250SX, with the latter being divided into West and East divisions and a champion being crowned for each. The 450SX class is the premier racing division with all of the top riders, while the 250SX class or “Lites” are intended for less experienced riders. Riders in the 450SX class almost exclusively ride 450cc four-stroke bikes, while riders in both 250SX classes almost entirely race with slightly less powerful 250cc four-stroke bikes.
The 450cc boasts roughly a 10 to 15 horsepower advantage over its 250cc counterpart, while tipping the scales at an additional 10 to 15 pounds. Though the 450s have a clear power advantage, the lighter 250s are nimble and quick-turning, better able to handle tight, rough track conditions.
How the Course is Made
Immediately following the DAYTONA 500, the 500 man-hours of construction begins in the tri-oval area between pit road and the start/finish line to create the demanding and challenging course for the DAYTONA Supercross By Honda.
For the 10th straight year, Supercross legend Ricky Carmichael returns to lend his signature style as the course designer and Bomber Built, owned by three-time AMA 125cc National Motocross Champion Mark Barnett, is building the Supercross course.
The first step is putting down a layer of plastic to protect the surface that the track will be designed on before putting down thousands of sheets of plywood. Once the plywood is in place, a layer of a road-based material is put down to support the dump truck that will be hauling the actual dirt for the course. The dirt is roughly 70 percent clay and 30 percent sand. The sand serves to keep the moisture in the clay, so the track doesn’t dry out and becomes dusty. Overall, two crawlers, two front loaders, two bulldozers and two skid steers are used to move the dirt during construction.
2017 DAYTONA Supercross By Honda
Monster Energy AMA Supercross’ long and proud history at Daytona International Speedway continues with the DAYTONA Supercross By Honda on Saturday night, March 11.
Florida’s only Monster Energy AMA Supercross event in 2017 features high-flying, side-by-side racing action as the best riders in the world battle on the demanding course, and no other venue on the AMA Supercross schedule gets fans closer to the action. Marquee names like Ryan Dungey, Cole Seely, Eli Tomac and Chad Reed will bang bars from the gate drop to the finish line on a quest to become the next DAYTONA champion on the circuit’s toughest course.
Get your tickets today by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting online. General admission tickets for DAYTONA Supercross By Honda start at $45 and youth tickets (ages 6-12) start at $15; kids five and under are free in general admission stadium seating.