Last year, Red Bull and a few riders came up with the crazy idea to "unwind" a motocross track. That experiment served as a proof of concept, of sorts, and helped the powers that be determine whether it was feasible to create some sort of event around it. Recently, Red Bull announced that the new format would become reality this year.
The Straight Rhythm course is just as it sounds. It’s a half-mile-long sprint with jumps, whoops, and tables in a head-to-head, best-of-three bracket format. Races will take just under a minute, so it will be essential to manage each obstacle right. As James Stewart said, "One mistake, and it’s a wrap."
The idea is that this will force riders to focus on reading the terrain and to judge their speed for precise distance and control. On most tracks, this is built in by the natural speed scrubbed when braking for corners. On a straight track, riders will have to figure that out on their own.
I can’t decide if I’m excited or not for this new format. Part of me thinks it will be incredibly interesting to watch riders face a new kind of challenge, while the other part of me will miss watching racers choose different lines and swap positions around a race track. Part of the fun, at least for me, has been to watch guys like Stewart figure out he can quad something that everyone else has been tripling all race and use it to his advantage. Hopefully, guys will get enough practice runs in that we’ll see people choose to tackle some sections differently.
I also wonder how this will translate to the viewer. Fans will be forced to watch these battles more like they do a road race, choosing one section to watch in person and catching the rest on a big screen somewhere.
Either way, you can bet I’ll be there for the first race, which is set to take place on October 4, 2014 at the Pomona Fairplex in California.