Answered! 32 Questions About The Return of Supercross 7

We're headed to Utah! How will the seven races in Salt Lake City work? Here are some more details on what will happen, and how we got here.

Answered! 32 Questions About The Return of Supercross

With the announcement of the return of Supercross racing, and seven races to finish up the season in Salt Lake City, there were still plenty of questions to be answered. Fortunately, the MX/SX press got a chance  to check in with the Feld Entertainment Senior Director of Two-Wheel Operations, Dave Prater. He and his crew have been busily trying to figure out the myriad challenges of potential locations, frequently-changing local rules and regulations, while also dealing with the concerns of teams and riders.

Do you have specific questions you're looking for the answer to? Click play to hear Dave's responses.

Dave Prater, back in the day when the Feld Motorsports offices were still based outside of Chicago.

Dave's Opening Statement...

"First and foremost, we want to do this for the fans... Secondly, as stewards of the sport, we felt like it was important to get the industry back to work."

1. With seven rounds, will we do different track designs on Sunday and Wednesday?

" may not see as different a track as you would going from Indy to Salt Lake..."

2. Explain how the riders and teams will operate. Will they be staying in Utah? Can they leave and test and train between races?

"...the challenge is going to be, that if you leave the state of Utah, you will have to be retested for Covid-19..."

3. Will testing be done before arrival? Or on-site?

The climate in SLC should be good...or at least more palatable than some of the other potential options that were being considered. We'll also likely avoid the snow and sleet we'd experienced there in the past. We are curious how team managers will socially distance in the manager's tower.

4. What if there's a positive test?

5. What clinched us going to Salt Lake City over anywhere else?

"Honestly, it came down to the green light, and who would give us the green light first..."

Rice-Eccles Stadium will look a lot like this...but with even fewer fans when the Monster Energy Supercross series reconvenes in a couple of weeks.

6. Is there a "doomsday" scenario where if we don't get these seven races in, will the champions be decided on existing points? Or will you somehow try to push this into the fall to finish it?

"...I don't want to use the term "doomsday, but if we don't get these seven races in, we'll call it..."

7. How will you track athletes?

8. Is there a limit  to how many people you can have in the stadium?

"We were approved for 900, and that's the hard perimeter..."

9. What's the situation for accommodations for riders and crews?

10. How will practice and qualifying work? 

"...the initial input from the teams was, we want abbreviated qualifying sessions, abbreviated we've gotten closer, it's gone the other way..."

The last time we were at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the surface was pretty gravelly, and really dusty.

11. Do you anticipate 40 riders in each class?

12. Will there be an opportunity for alternates?

13. How difficult has it been for you guys to make this happen with no fans, behind closed doors?

"It's been extremely difficult to make this happen...I think it goes without saying that we're doing these seven races without fans. For Feld Motorsports, that is our main source of revenue..."

14. Supercross will be the second major sports league to hold events in the post-Covid era. How important was it for Supercross to show that it was an industry leader in the sports world?

"...hearing you say that NASCAR is going to be first, irritates me a little bit. We were pushing hard, but we're happy to get the May 31st date."

It seems like an awfully long time since things got shut down in Indy.

15. Was there every any pushback that this would happen with or without specific teams or riders?

"No, it never got to that point."

16. Have you had contact with other major sports organizations to share plans or insight on how you're going to do this?

"It's really pulled everyone together within in the industry. Not only the motorcycling industry, but just the sports industry in general." 

17. Everyone's always looking for an advantage. How have the teams been to work with?

"We've been on with the teams, bi-weekly."

18. Can you talk about the changes in purse structure?

"...something we did not want to do...we rely heavily on fans as our revenue stream, and without fans, it really was just essential..."

19. Can you talk about the importance to the series of having a partner like NBC and the slot that you have, and did that determine the Sunday/Wednesday date selections?

"We started with that Sunday, May 31st, and that was just the cadence we had to follow to allow for all those things."

The last time everyone had been on the track together? Back on March 7th in Daytona.

20. Is there anything extra that you're excited to do with this prime placement as one of the only live sports going on now?

"...we're really going to be, on those Wednesdays and Sundays, one of, if not the only live sport on television. We're hoping that we can gain a few new fans."

21. Was the plan always for seven races?

22. What are you most concerned about as a guy who has been doing this for 20 years?

"My biggest concern is the health and safety of everyone involved."

23. Can we expect a difference in podium presentations, etc?

"Obviously, there will be not be any podium celebrations with massive groups..."

24. Will riders be able to bring parents, girlfriends, wives, etc? Do they have a set number of people they can bring?

"There's a set number for each team, and each rider..."

We can't wait to see Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac resume their season-long battle for supremacy. There may be a bit more urgency, with riders racing like every race could be the last.

25. Why did the teams also express that they wanted to get 17 races in? Can you explain what their line of thinking was?

"I think they understand for the overall health of the sport, as well as the fans...they signed up for 17 rounds, and that's our goal..."

26. Was there some concern with teams of sending people on planes, or some of their staff had been furloughed. Were there some of those obstacles?

"...that was the beauty of those calls. We could share ideas and understand which organizations were having challenges..." 

27. Can you talk about some of the potential drawbacks of trying to have raced in September and October and why this might be better?

"...obviously MX Sports needs to get the number of races that they need in, and if that got pushed back even further, our window was going to tighten..."

28. Can you talk about your excitement, anticipation and what you expect to see? And how this is going to be different from a historical standpoint for the sport of Supercross as we try to decide these three championships?

"I can't wait to get to Utah."

29. What's the plan going forward into the future? What if the spectator turnout is much smaller in the future?

"The plan is to continue as-is."

30. Can you share anything from any of these stadiums as far as their ideas?

31. On the Covid-19 tests, it sounds like you'll need to administer 900 to 1000 tests? Who bears the cost of testing?

32. There have been other sports that have said they're just going to do health screenings and not Covid-19 tests because they don't want to take away from available supply. I presume Supercross' stance is that you feel like this wouldn't detract from public testing for you guys to do this?

"That was our intent. We did not want to detract from public testing."

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