Wow, Roger Decoster sounds really frustrated at Pastrana. He's going to have to make a career decision very soon - choose one sport and stick with it. i'd say he'd be better to stick with motocross and give up the freestyle.
I feel the opposite. I think that he needs to choose racing or freestyle. It is not fair to screw Suzuki. They have a great rider to have under contract. Contract, an agreement that you will do something (usually a job of some kind), in exchange for something else (usually money). Travis gets the money, but doesn't show up for work. Yes, I know he has a clause in his contract, but they pay him big money for no results. Remember the bottom line, Suzuki races to help their product line sell. From a financial stand point, Pastrana is turning into a liability. I also wonder if all this time away is starting to slow his learning curve.
Remember that Travis is doing FMX on a S-U-Z-U-K-I. There are kids out there who want a dirt bike to cut up on in the back woods who will never run in an actual race. I've been selling Kawasakis for 4 years and I can say with confidence that 80% to 90% of the KXs we sell never come close to seeing a race track. These kids don't know James Stewart or Ricky Carmichael from a hole in the wall but they know Travis Pastrana from X-Games type televised competitions. Isn't there a movie out right now about extreme sports that features a whole heckuva lot of FMX? I've seen the commercials on ESPN. I've still got to "search local listings" (actually the web) to find out when the races will be aired. Where's the freakin' movie about MX racing? On Any Sunday? Is Steve McQueen still alive? Suzuki gets more exposure from Travis the Freestyler than from Travis the motocrosser by a long shot.
The movie you are talking about is called "Extreme X" or somesuch. I saw it, and it was really, REALLY cool. It was about the X-games and extreme sports in general, and was incredibly entertaining, even though I'm not really into that stuff. I had never heard of Travis Pastrana until then.
When you see the street luge part of the movie in Philly, you will want to go ride that road. I did.
Who are we to tell this young man where his priorities should be. How would you like it if your boss asked you not ride on the weekends because you might get hurt? I wouldn't even know who Pastrana is if it were not for the X-Games. I think this guy can figure out for himself what he needs to be competing in. For that matter I've seen far more injuries on the race track the in FMX. If Suzuki thinks they are not getting their money's worth they can stop paying him.
as a former motocross racer in the 70s, it's sad for me to see what i consider the continued deterioration of a sport i once loved.
once upon a time, motocross was a cross-country race over natural terrain and obstacles. there were jumps and berms and whoops, but they were pretty much part of country that was already there. hills. drop-aways. good tracks might have creek crossings. man, riding those tracks were a blast. load the truck with premix and gatoraid and head for the hills. your buddies would all be there.
then supercross came along and tracks are purpose-built with the goal of launching riders through space. the higher, the further, the better. worse, jumps are designed such that if you are forced to choose between clearing an intermediary jump, or slowing down. they call it a "triple" or even a "quad." this has led to lots of serious injuries, i'm sure.
now even that isn't enough. the "gravity games," a new form of competition tests riders' ability to risk life and limb with aerobatic stunts that have no bearing or relation to motocross' roots. i won't even watch this competition, because i'm convinced we're on the cusp of a stunt one-upmanship that will soon get someone killed. flipping over backwards? why not twice? why not without hands? and the crowd just eats it up. they want to see big air and big crashes. sort of like the roman gladiator days. morbid fascination run amock. lost in the carnage is any apparent sense of sportsmanship or contest of speed.
younger riders reading this will no doubt think me a relic. that's cool. i've been called a lot worse. but i remember the old days, see, when there were tracks everywhere, where speed and sportsmanship were the games, and where you didn't have to kill yourself to prove your skill.
bottom line: i think the gravity games suck, and when riders start getting paralyzed and killed, they will be shut down. i say: "good rittance." as a society we should have moved beyond the roman gladiator days.
Have you guys ever been to Southern California. Well, there are lots of tracks and lots of bike on those tracks. I agree that There is exposer through Freesyle, but a lot of that market doesn't even ride. I would guess race fans are a better target market than kids on skateboards.
To make money and pay professionals you need to package a sport for the media. That's possible for moto-cross, because permanent venues, outdoor and indoor, with provision for media resources, rider safety control and spectators are relatively inexpensive. Since they're races, comparison of times across months and years of competition is possible.
Gravity games are demonstrations of skill, like diving and figure skating, but much more dangerous. A death or two on live television wil probably kill the sport, so they need to control themselves.