Well round 1 of the 2012 AX Tour has come and gone. Â Racers from all over the southeast gathered Saturday in Batesville for a action packed day of racing. Â 2012 (I know its not 2012 yet) brings about new ownership for the AX Tour as Jetwerx USA takes over the reigns. Â They opened the season open in Batesville, the tours largest venue, with a new track layout for this season. Â This year’s track offered the starting gates to the side of the track and featured some very technical lanes for racing.
The track seemed to lack the grip that it had last year, but the Pro Classes ripped it up. Â I do want to ask our readers to remember pro rider Curtis Sloan who was injured during practice on Saturday afternoon. Â From what I understand Curtis was released yesterday and is recovering, but I am sure he and his family would appreciate the thoughts and prayers.
I don’t know what the bike count was this year but it didn’t look like there was anywhere near the amount of riders at the event this year. Â But considering the economy and the fact that a lot of people are saving all they can for Christmas it was still a good turnout.
I was a little concerned about the start when I saw it online, and my concerns were correct. Â It made for a very tight first turn and several riders cut the first turn on the start (I don’t believe anyone was docked or black flagged for this, see the last video below). Â While the track offered some jumps for the Pro’s and super mini kids to grab some huge air it didn’t offer a lot for most of theÂ amateur riders. Â Just the spacing and jump faces/peaks kept a lot of the 50’s and 65’s from getting much air, and I know a lot of these kids love to air it out. Â It’s part of the show. Â Was the track safe? Â Depends on who you ask, I think it just limited the amateurs a little to much to be safe. Â I was also a little concerned with the number of flaggers and their responses to accidents on the track. Â If you have a kid down on the track get out there with the flag and protect him/her. Â Batesville needed at least two more flaggers for sure. Â I was a little surprised because Jetwerx has been doing the AX Tour tracks and this one was just so much different. Â Typically their tracks offered a lot for the kids, but not this year.
To me it was all about the Pro’s at round 1, and this series has always been about the kids as much as anybody. Â So that was a little disappointing. Â They added an extra announcer this year, but I don’t think it did anything to help the event. Â They didn’t even announce the riders names/hometowns before the second moto’s. Â I don’t even think the announcers told called out the race number or told what class was with a lot of the classes. Â Thats a big thumbs down in my book. Â People are spending a lot of money to make these races and have family and friends come out to watch at least give us some info during the event. Â Oh and try to learn the names of the pro riders before you do the interview.
I know there was some confusion with who was doing LCQ’s and double gates with a few classes. Â The staff in staging wasn’t sure what was going on. Â My advice come up with a policy and put it in place for the rest of the tour. Â If you have a 12 man gate and 17 riders we all know that is tight, heck 17 riders is tight on an arena cross track much less the gate and start. Â Take the top 6-8 straight to the main and let the rest have a 3 lap LCQ for the remaining spots. Â Just come up with a plan and put it in place. Â Make it clear at the riders meeting if you plan on making any changes.
Finally, I like the look of the new trophy/plaque but at least put the “Round/Event Info” on them. Â I am sure you saved a few dollars by leaving it off, but it would be a nice touch.
The great thing for the AX Tour is they have 10 more rounds to get it figured out. Â The AX Tour has built a solid reputation, and I am sure they will learn from the first weekend at Batesville and things will be much smoother at Canton next weekend. Â We’ll give it another shot in Starkville in January and give everybody an update on how it is going. Â Until then we will try to get back outside and ride or visit some more Alabama Arena Cross events. Â So you in Starkvegas!