Do we really want parity?

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7/17/2020 10:44 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2020 10:45 AM

I've been thinking about this for a while, but the new racerx article about unbreakable records made me revisit this. I'm really not convinced I'm right, I just wanted to throw this out there for discussion.

It seems like the common belief is that fans want lots of guys that can win and close racing. But is that really what we want? What are the actual ratings numbers for different eras in sports? It seems to me like everyone loved golf when Tiger was dominating. Everyone wanted to watch Michael Jordan. And everyone wanted to watch MC and RC dominate. Maybe they loved to root for them, or maybe it was the hope that someone would finally beat them.

The standard answer is that it's boring watching the same couple guys win all the time, but do the ratings support that? I honestly don't know. I think we like to see legends born and records broken. If I really think about it, I actually prefer watching 2-3 guys completely dominate the sport. When it was RV, Stewart, and Reed, we knew they could start anywhere and move through the pack quickly. I think people might like witnessing greatness over close racing by different riders every week.

Now I'm not trying to take away anything from the riders right now. These guys are all incredible. I think it's harder than ever to be dominant. Every generation gets more polished by then time they get to the pros, they all have trainers, and they all have access to professional practice facilities. I think the fact that Eli can somewhat dominate nowadays is maybe more amazing than we give him credit for.

That being said, I wish there was more separation between the top talents and then next tier down. Maybe it's the tracks, maybe it's 4 strokes, maybe it's both, maybe it's something else...but I for one wish we could get more races like the mud race in SLC. I want to have my jaw dropped to the floor for 20min at two guys lapping the field. I want to see someone fall in the first turn and win an outdoor national like Herlings did.

In reality we actually still have very few winners each season, but I think it's harder for the average fan to appreciate the greatness. I think when common sense says we need less separation, we might actually prefer more.

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7/17/2020 11:02 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2020 11:04 AM

I want challenging tracks, long races and let the best win. Think about it, they got rid of works bikes, they try 3 short races, 20 lap mains 20 minute mains joker lanes and somehow the best guys always win. Stop with trying to recreate the wheel just build a challenging track and let them race for 20+1. As for Out doors lets go 45 minute motos.

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7/17/2020 11:14 AM

Respectfully, I'll disagree. I came into this sport in the early 1980's, when parity was the norm. I think from 1979 to 1989 nobody went back-to-back as Supercross champion. Wardy and RJ did it twice in that decade, but never two in a row. I loved the fact that we didn't know who was going to win on any given weekend, maybe until Johnson started dominating in the late 80's.

David Bailey was my favorite rider from that era and he remains an icon and a legend. But his career numbers might look unimpressive compared to, say, Ryan Dungey or Chad Reed. That's okay, he was my guy and I rooted for him every race.

Was it really that exciting during the 90's if MC got the holeshot or took the lead on lap two? Not in my opinion. You knew how the rest of the race was going to play out. Carmichael outdoors? I always looked forward to watching to 250 class during those days because I didn't know what was going to happen.

I think I appreciate a dominant career much more after it is over. It's great to watch a legend like RV operate in his prime as an abstract, but I just prefer to watch a close, hard-fought, competitive race between these amazing athletes. Just my two cents, but good hard racing is the best thing about being a fan.

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7/17/2020 11:25 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2020 11:47 AM

TropicPilot wrote:

Respectfully, I'll disagree. I came into this sport in the early 1980's, when parity was the norm. I think from 1979 to 1989 nobody went back-to-back as Supercross champion. Wardy and RJ did it twice in that decade, but never two in a row. I loved the fact that we didn't know who was going to win on any given weekend, maybe until Johnson started dominating in the late 80's.

David Bailey was my favorite rider from that era and he remains an icon and a legend. But his career numbers might look unimpressive compared to, say, Ryan Dungey or Chad Reed. That's okay, he was my guy and I rooted for him every race.

Was it really that exciting during the 90's if MC got the holeshot or took the lead on lap two? Not in my opinion. You knew how the rest of the race was going to play out. Carmichael outdoors? I always looked forward to watching to 250 class during those days because I didn't know what was going to happen.

I think I appreciate a dominant career much more after it is over. It's great to watch a legend like RV operate in his prime as an abstract, but I just prefer to watch a close, hard-fought, competitive race between these amazing athletes. Just my two cents, but good hard racing is the best thing about being a fan.

I absolutely see where you are coming from. I think I more or less agreed with you for a long time too. I'm just now starting to second guess it. I think back to 96 when Damon Huffman challenged McGrath. It really meant something for Damon to battle with Jeremy, because Jeremy was a living legend. I think my argument is that I want the sport to do everything it can to separate the talent, and THEN I hope to see a group of guys all on the same top level. I don't like the idea of purposely making racing close for the sake of it being close.

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7/17/2020 11:44 AM

This might be one of the best threads on this site in a while. I will be following a long to see what everyone has to say.

I love that we have an "anyone can win" situation right now. I think the biggest reason why is because I don't have a "favorite rider" type of opinion towards the races each weekend. I just want to see good racing no matter who is doing it.

Good tracks, good racing, multiple guys who can win. I don't know how it can get any better than that but I also don't know which matters to the ratings or perception of the sport.

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7/17/2020 11:47 AM

TropicPilot wrote:

Respectfully, I'll disagree. I came into this sport in the early 1980's, when parity was the norm. I think from 1979 to 1989 nobody went back-to-back as Supercross champion. Wardy and RJ did it twice in that decade, but never two in a row. I loved the fact that we didn't know who was going to win on any given weekend, maybe until Johnson started dominating in the late 80's.

David Bailey was my favorite rider from that era and he remains an icon and a legend. But his career numbers might look unimpressive compared to, say, Ryan Dungey or Chad Reed. That's okay, he was my guy and I rooted for him every race.

Was it really that exciting during the 90's if MC got the holeshot or took the lead on lap two? Not in my opinion. You knew how the rest of the race was going to play out. Carmichael outdoors? I always looked forward to watching to 250 class during those days because I didn't know what was going to happen.

I think I appreciate a dominant career much more after it is over. It's great to watch a legend like RV operate in his prime as an abstract, but I just prefer to watch a close, hard-fought, competitive race between these amazing athletes. Just my two cents, but good hard racing is the best thing about being a fan.

chadder44 wrote:

I absolutely see where you are coming from. I think I more or less agreed with you for a long time too. I'm just now starting to second guess it. I think back to 96 when Damon Huffman challenged McGrath. It really meant something for Damon to battle with Jeremy, because Jeremy was a living legend. I think my argument is that I want the sport to do everything it can to separate the talent, and THEN I hope to see a group of guys all on the same top level. I don't like the idea of purposely making racing close for the sake of it being close.

Now, I can get on board with that argument. I think of, for example, Toronto 2014 and James Stewart's incredible charge through the pack. If they had dumbed-down that track he might have finished around 5th and nobody would have ever remembered it. But he found a combo through that long rhythm section, went 3-3 before the finish line and separated himself from the pack. One of the best races ever.

Then again, if he had gotten the holeshot, we'd probably never remember that race either because he would have checked out. Lol, I don't know. It's hard to catch lightning in a bottle. I wish every year could be 2011.

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7/17/2020 11:48 AM

My point is no matter what you do you can not change the fact that the best will win. Mc put Supercross on the map by dominating. His domination got the attention of NASCAR, F1, Moto GP, drag racing. NASCAR tried everything under the sun to make more drivers win and it has hurt the attendance and guess what Johnson dominated anyway. Let them race.

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7/17/2020 11:58 AM

When's the last time any of these top guys had fun riding? McGrath's dominance worked in the 90s into 2000 because he had all that flair and "coolness" to go with it. Not to mention the Terrafirma and Steel Roots free ride videos.

The last thing I want to see is one of today's super serious vanilla pros go out and dominate multiple years. No thanks. Exciting close racing is the only thing that will keep my attention.

Jett Lawrence might be the exception. I want to see him get on a roll.

Tracks need more dirt.

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James

7/17/2020 12:01 PM

Show me a job that pays millions that is fun! This is professional racing, fun comes at the end of your career.

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7/17/2020 12:10 PM

Mit12 wrote:

Show me a job that pays millions that is fun! This is professional racing, fun comes at the end of your career.

The point I was trying to make was more that the sport evolved to where it needs parity to remain exciting. Think about the personalities in the 80s and 90s... A lot of guys were BIG characters. There's very little of that now.

There's nothing wrong with it... It's just different!

Also, for fun... How many of the top 20 are millionaires? I feel like money in the sport peaked in the mid to late 00s, but I could be wrong. Who is flying on private jets these days?

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James

7/17/2020 12:12 PM

I don't think its parity or dominance by a single rider fans want. They just don't want to be bored.

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7/17/2020 12:15 PM

Mit12 wrote:

Show me a job that pays millions that is fun! This is professional racing, fun comes at the end of your career.

Hugh Hefner’s job seemed fun

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Alright Lunger, Let's Do It

7/17/2020 12:20 PM

Parity can not be manufactured, lord knows different race series have tried it and they can’t do it. The problem is us American fans want everything. F1 is the most watched racing sport in the world and only 3 drivers and 2 teams are competitive. Which makes me miss works bikes more! Lol

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7/17/2020 12:31 PM

I love close racing. So exciting watching the battles. Having said that, I've never been bored or disappointed when someone gapped or lapped the field. When that happens you know you're witnessing something special. RV and James knew how to put on a clinic but that damn Carmichael was the best at running away with a motocross race. The Euros have had some dominators as well..Everts, Cairoli, and Herlings. Close or a runaway...it's all good. Can't wait for the abbreviated season to get the Hell started.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

7/17/2020 12:36 PM

The funny thing is there is always great battles during every race, they may not be for the win but they are there.

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7/17/2020 1:00 PM

I wasn't trying to say that I don't want close racing. I absolutely do! I just want it to happen organically, and not because the powers that be try and manufacture it.

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7/17/2020 1:20 PM

depends on how "into it" you are. if youre way into it, you know the names of every rider and know who they are and want to see different winners. if youre not that familiar with it, you DONT want to see people you never heard of win. wheres that bubba guy?

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7/17/2020 1:28 PM

motoarmageddon wrote:

depends on how "into it" you are. if youre way into it, you know the names of every rider and know who they are and want to see different winners. if youre not that familiar with it, you DONT want to see people you never heard of win. wheres that bubba guy?

I disagree. I want someone to beat beat bubba but I don't want it to be because everyone ran the same lap times on an easy track.

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7/17/2020 1:48 PM

Mit12 wrote:

Show me a job that pays millions that is fun! This is professional racing, fun comes at the end of your career.

Johnny Ringo wrote:

Hugh Hefner’s job seemed fun

Watch the documentary, it wasn't that much fun for him, lots of stress, he couldn't trust anyone, problems with the law. Good watch.

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7/17/2020 2:18 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2020 2:19 PM

Luckily, our privateers can still purchase a competitive machine off the showroom floor to go race with. As long as we can justify it's mostly the rider's talent and endurance why he wins, I will be happy with the current norm.



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7/17/2020 2:27 PM

Short Answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssss.

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7/17/2020 2:30 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2020 2:36 PM

With parity comes less star power. That being said, Eli through the pack is good racing.
Some riders just have “it” on and off the track. IMO, no current racer fits superstar status.
Don’t want to see a 7 year run like Mc’s again though. Tough for most hardcore fans.

Personally I’ll take the close racing. I also agree with poster about seeing greatness.

Win win.

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In my 60’s and still loving dirt scoots up here in the frozen north.

2021 Husky 501s

7/17/2020 2:45 PM

I want all rider stop be able to display their skill. If that means 1 rider dominates, fine, if that means 6 riders swapping wins every week, fine. As long as we aren't handicapping riders to make things artificially close, I'm happy.

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7/17/2020 4:21 PM

Mit12 wrote:

Show me a job that pays millions that is fun! This is professional racing, fun comes at the end of your career.

Larry Flynt ! 😂😂😂😂😂😂

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7/17/2020 4:45 PM

I really want to party

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7/17/2020 5:29 PM

Mit12 wrote:

I want challenging tracks, long races and let the best win. Think about it, they got rid of works bikes, they try 3 short races, 20 lap mains 20 minute mains joker lanes and somehow the best guys always win. Stop with trying to recreate the wheel just build a challenging track and let them race for 20+1. As for Out doors lets go 45 minute motos.

What I would like is to See everyone on more equal equipment. Maybe the same horsepower.
Or some other way. But when a factory guy falls and is back to 3rd 3 laps later. It really make me question the integrity of the race. And wonder would that privateer that just had a career best 10th place finish be battling for the podium if they all had more equal bikes.

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7/17/2020 5:46 PM

Parity is being achieved by standardization, thus making it more difficult than ever to achieve greatness. Same radius/banked turns, same standard angle lips, same gap rhythms, Lit Pro device literally telling a rider what line works best, holeshot devices, bikes with more than enough power to hit the biggest lines from the tightest line in the corner. A bike and rider can only go from point A to point B so fast, and with so much data on hand now, many more riders are utilizing the same data set and powerful bikes to achieve that. (Referring to SX here).

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7/17/2020 6:17 PM

Tarz483 wrote:

What I would like is to See everyone on more equal equipment. Maybe the same horsepower.
Or some other way. But when a factory guy falls and is back to 3rd 3 laps later. It really make me question the integrity of the race. And wonder would that privateer that just had a career best 10th place finish be battling for the podium if they all had more equal bikes.

Tomac could Tomac (ie. crash and return to 3rd) on a privateer bike too. The production rule really levels the field, apart from some shiny Ti and magnesium bits Tyler Bowers' KX450 is not so much different from Eli Tomac's. The beauty of motocross is that the rider makes the difference. It's not like F1 or MotoGP where the machinery can and often is the difference.

The factory guys are the factory guys because they are that good. The privateers are the privateers because the results bear it out.

A great example is Justin Brayton. Factory Honda this year, but his results were pretty much the same as they were in 2017-2019 when he was on MotoConcepts. He's a great rider, he has a main event win, but he's not in the elite echelon IMO.

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Old MXer turned Superfan.

7/17/2020 9:37 PM

Sounds like a Colin Cowherd take. Lol

The standard accessible technology is helping equalize the playing field. Much of it is coming down to fitness, health, and budget.

Its obvious factory riders have more access to top trainers, coaches, and dietitians etc.; the sub-factory teams often trying to manage the budget and simply ride tracks near their headquarters. True privateers are just trying to make it to races, make the main or motos, and earn points.

The disproportion of resources will either create parity or not.

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7/17/2020 9:46 PM

I want 1980s type "parity" when you had a cluster of star riders competing with each other. I really disliked it when McGrath and RC dominated.

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