With the way things are today, dirt bike competition has become a year-round affair. There’s AMA Pro Motocross Championship in the summer, AMA Supercross during the winter and, of course, the X Games typically during the warmer months. Well, the folks at Red Bull have taken components of each of the three and blended it into one of the biggest moto events of the season.
Aptly titled Red Bull Straight Rhythm, the Oct. 4 event is the next progressive step of supercross evolution, where the track is “unwound” in a unique format. There are no turns, instead just a half-mile long straight rhythm section with riders competing head-to-head. Straight Rhythm was inspired by the Nintendo Entertainment System classic Excitebike and has plenty to get fans excited.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the 32 riders participating in the single-elimination event – but it was a recent rider announcement that created a huge buzz in the moto world.
Earlier this month, Red Bull announced that X Games legend and stuntman extraordinaire Travis Pastrana will try his luck at the Straight Rhythm course. Pastrana, 30, hasn’t competed on his dirt bike in over four years, thanks to an experiment with NASCAR and the explosion of his MTV show Nitro Circus. Pastrana, an eight-time X Games gold medalist, will have little time to prepare given his busy schedule and will join some of moto’s biggest stars. Other headliners in the Open Class include Josh Hansen, Josh Hill, Brett Metcalfe, Cole Seely, Dean Wilson, James Stewart and Ryan Dungey.
And for most of the riders, the excitement level is off the charts.
“This is something that is unique, that has never been done before, at least not with motocross and dirt bikes and stuff like that,” Dungey, a motocross and supercross champion, admitted. “For [the riders], we’re so used to riding with so many other guys that just one-on-one is pretty cool.”
Each run might last just a little over a minute but there’s plenty for the riders to prepare for, given the various whoops – the double, the triple and more. Plus, given that there aren’t any other courses like the one at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., getting set for Straight Rhythm might be somewhat of a challenge for these dirt bike masterminds.
“Well, this is something that would cost a lot of money to build just for fun,” Dungey added. I’ll get some time on a supercross track, which will be fine. Once you get your timing right and get more consistent, the hardest point on a supercross track is the turns. For this event not to be any turns is fun – it’s tough but it eliminates a big factor.”
Dungey, who had a chance to test a similar course last year, believes Straight Rhythm is the next wave of motocross competition and also believes it could take off – but not only for athletes in their prime.
“I’d be really curious, as the years go on, to see it, as I believe it’s going to turn into something great, or another sport,” Dungey said. “At the same time, you could have a guy that’s been retired for the last five years and is in somewhat good shape, who could potentially come and compete in Straight Rhythm. If you’re doing a 20-lap supercross race, you better be physically in shape and have endurance and all that. With this event, you have to know what you’re doing and be good [on the bike], but it’s not like it’s a 20 minute run – it’s only like a minute. You can push through that.”
Only time will tell if Red Bull Straight Rhythm is the next big motocross event, however one thing is for certain, the energy drink company has definitely set up this first-ever event the right way.
Be sure to tune into the Red Bull Signature Series event on Dec. 20 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool