By Jon Row
On January 22nd, 2011 the AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series makes a new stop at Chavez Ravine to turn L.A.’s iconic baseball field into moto heaven.
Dodger Stadium, the favored ballpark of L.A.’s working class and Hollywood elite has hosted the Beatles and even the Pope. Now it steps outside the box adding Supercross to its list of historic events. Unlike the Coliseum and Rose Bowl, Dodger land has never allowed SX or any off road event on its hallowed ground in its 48-year existence. A tough economy however can create the potential for change. The good guys at Feld Entertainment and traditional Dodger Stadium (no corporate brand name here) reportedly eyed each other for several years.
For Dodger officials, protecting the legendary, laser graded, sand based, playing field was a primary concern. A Feld security deposit larger than your average public official’s pension no doubt helped the Dodgers confidence. Feld and track builder Dirt Wurx also plan plenty of plywood and plastic protection against the 500 truckloads of rock, dirt and crushed asphalt that will transform ball field to battlefield.
On a recent stadium tour, Bikeland spotted a few weeds and toadstools poking through the post-season turf. Perhaps a case of “Hey the carpets worn so lets throw a party?” Nope. Eric Hansen, Dodger Stadium’s head grounds keeper, explained that grass is expendable so long as knobbies don’t get to the subsoil or sand base. Just to be safe, Feld may end up using extra bales at the track edges, especially if Pastrana enters! Track construction details will ultimately depend on the local soil types available. The goal: A blend as good as Anaheim which reuses its same mix every year, storing it as their employee parking lot in the off-season.
Swapping one Anaheim round for a true L. A. based venue is good for the series. The slightly–too-long 17-race season has experienced sluggish results at Anaheim 3. Although recession-resistant Disneyland raised rates 4% again this year, O.C.’s white bread SX fans and 909 area code cowboys are apparently good for only so many nasty nachos, overpriced beers and $20 parking.
Dodger land offers 56,000 seats, 11,000 more than the “Big A”, delectable Dodger Dogs, $50 cheaper motor home parking, and Valley girl (or guy) cultural opportunities. Bakersfield, Ventura and Santa Barbara fans tired of driving past the Orange Curtain will be able to save 60 miles. Look for value seating at both venues and continuation of promotions like the free pit pass exchange for an empty Monster Energy can.
Slated as round #3 of the series, confidence for event success is high and Bikeland predicts it will be a good show. One telling sign… Feld and the Dodgers have inked a multi-year contract.