Supercross Futures has a year in the books and fans and riders have a better idea of how the new series, which generally hosts races on the Sunday following select Monster Energy AMA Supercross rounds, will go forward in its second year.
To understand the genius of Supercross Futures one must step into the recent past.
For years Arenacross, held in smaller venues and on smaller tracks than Supercross, was viewed as the path to the premier series. That was especially the case when Feld Motor Sports, the promoter of Supercross, formally got involved with the AMSOIL Arenacross Championship.
The problem with Arenacross was that the series developed into its own entity, largely with its own teams, riders and fans. The crossover to Supercross didn’t become a goal for many riders, who at the time, could make a better living as a top-tier Arenacross rider than they could by struggling to make main events in Supercross.
Many times, the Arenacross stars were actually older riders who were barely hanging on in Supercross but were able to find paid rides in the smaller arena series.
Feld was hoping to change that trend and foster up-and-coming riders in the Arenacross Championship and it added amateur events at select Arenacross rounds.
But the cost of running a separate championship in basketball and hockey arenas, where the potential fan base was limited by the smaller size of the venues, was a challenge. Not to mention the riding style demanded by super-tight tracks built on a basketball-sized floors required a different rider skillset than what it took to compete on the larger, faster, more flowing stadium tracks of Supercross.
All of this led to Feld putting out an announcement at the of 2018 Arenacross Series finale that read:
“As Monster Energy Supercross continues to celebrate major milestones, the unveiling of Supercross Futures, an AMA Amateur National Championship, will transition AMSOIL Arenacross into the new Supercross Futures amateur events as we continue to improve the overall quality of Supercross. Building upon the success of 2018’s four Supercross Amateur Racing events, which averaged over 700 entries, the groundbreaking Supercross Futures concept will introduce eight amateur racing events in 2019 and provide greater access to the sport’s largest stage to further hone their skills on full-size Supercross tracks, while also allowing top amateur athletes to earn Road to Supercross points toward their professional AMA Supercross license.”
This year, the Supercross Futures Series was comprised of eight events where top qualifiers earned their spot to compete in the national championship, held in conjunction with October’s Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
The series provided an exclusive opportunity for amateur racers to compete on a full-size Supercross track.
This experience is designed to produce a higher-quality, more competitive stadium racing landscape with an advanced path to Monster Energy Supercross. It’s potentially the start of an incredible career, pursuing and competing in a sport that is watched by millions of fans. And the experience is something young competitors will remember long into the future.
More than 6,100 entrants competed in the Supercross Futures Series this year across 26 competition classes, ranging from the 51cc Limited (ages 4-6) class to a 250cc class modeled after the 250SX pro division.
The Supercross Futures AMA National Championship is the official advancement platform for Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship.
Feld Motor Sports is the AMA’s promotional partner for Supercross Futures. Feld manages the promotional aspects of Supercross Futures, while the AMA develops the rules and recognizes class champions.
At the championship finale in Las Vegas on Oct. 21, the sun came up on the brisk Nevada morning as 336 competitors anxiously waited to compete for their respective titles during the inaugural Supercross Futures AMA National Championship.
Before the sun set, 10,220 laps were raced inside Sam Boyd Stadium, producing 24 Supercross Futures champions.
Husqvarna’s Kelana Humphrey, Suzuki’s Casey Cochran, Kawasaki’s Dylan Cunha, Yamaha’s Kaeden Kniffing and Kawasaki’s Michael Mercer raced multiple classes and were the only riders to win multiple national titles.
Factory Connection GEICO Honda’s Jett Lawrence won the 250 Futures Class and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Evan Ferry earned his first title by winning the Supermini Futures Class, both AMA National Championships.
“The Supercross Futures platform provides riders across the nation with an opportunity to gain experience racing on a Supercross track while working their way toward joining the ranks of pro Supercross riders,” Mike Pelletier, manager of AMA Supercross. “The pace and competitiveness that these riders demonstrated at this event makes AMA Supercross’ future look very bright. I offer my congratulations to the 21 riders who won championships at this year’s event and look forward to seeing this format continue in 2020.”
The 250 Futures and Supermini Futures classes feature the sport’s most talented up-and-coming riders and the Monster Energy Cup provided the perfect backdrop as the elite of the amateur ranks competed on the same track as their Supercross heroes.
The top-10 finishers in the 250 Futures class earned their Supercross licenses, allowing these competitors to potentially line up when the Supercross season opens Jan. 4 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Next year, Supercross Futures will take place in 10 cities with the national championship races set for October following the Monster Energy Cup. The date and location of the Monster Energy Cup will be announced later in the year.