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The 2022 Supercross Season with Sean Brennan, PR Manager for Feld Entertainment
Sean Brennen, PR Manager- Motorsports for Feld Entertainment, discusses the Supercross season so far, how Feld Entertainment has dealt with Covid protocols for the race season and their other tours, and the Supercross Futures Program. We also discuss the KTM Junior Race Program, Ryan Dungey’s involvement, and how electric bikes are changing the game!
MotoAmerica is the OFFICIAL Sponsor of Pit Pass Moto!
MotoAmerica, home of AMA Superbike and North America’s premier motorcycle road racing series, is thrilled to announce that it will partner with Daytona International Speedway to host one of the world’s most prestigious races – the DAYTONA 200 – during the weekend of March 10-12, 2022, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The DAYTONA 200 will not be included as part of the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship, leaving the opportunity open for the best riders from around the world to compete for the minimum $175,000 in purse and contingency that will be offered.
In addition to the DAYTONA 200, the MotoAmerica weekend at Daytona International Speedway will be the opening round of the 2022 MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship, marking the first time Baggers will race on the high banks of a Superspeedway with speeds expected to exceed 160 mph, and also the first round of the Twins Cup Championship. Joining the Baggers and Twins Cup will be the ever-popular Roland Sands Super Hooligan national championship. All three classes will run two races during the Daytona 200 weekend.
This transcription is AI generated and may contain inaccuracies.
[00:00:15.470] - Dave Sulecki
Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm Dave Sulecki.
[00:00:24.470] - Dale Spangler
And I'm Dale Spangler. And this week we have Sean Brennan, public relations manager for Feld Motorsports, promoters of Monster Energy. Supercross Moto America is the official sponsor of Pit Pass Moto. Moto America, home of AMA Superbike and North America's Premier motorcycle road racing series, is thrilled to announce that it will partner with Daytona International Speedway to host one of the world's most prestigious races, the Daytona 200, during the weekend of March 10 to 12th, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Daytona 200 will not be included as part of the Moto America Super Sports Championship, leaving the opportunity open best riders from around the world to compete for the minimum $175,000 in purse and contingency that would be offered.
[00:01:15.100] - Dave Sulecki
In addition to the Daytona 200, the Moto America weekend at Daytona International Speedway will be the opening round for the 2022 Moto America King of the Beggars Championship, marking the first time the Baggers will race at the high banks of the Super Speedway, with speeds expecting to exceed 160 mph and also the first round of the Twins Cup Championship. Joining the Baggers and Twins Cup will be the ever popular Roland Sand Super Hooligan National Championship, and all three classes will run two races during the Daytona 200 weekend. Tickets are on sale now at www. Dot. Daytona Internationalspeedway.com or by calling 1800 Pip Shop. This week's race recap is the AMA Supercross round three of 17 at the San Diego, California Petco Park in 250 action. We had one barn burner race in that final 250 race. Big crash in the first turn. Points leader Christian Craig goes down and he started dead last and make his way through the pack and ended up on the podium. It was quite a charge. It was pretty inspiring to watch. Kind of took some of the noise away from Michael Moseman who took his first win in the year.
[00:02:28.140] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, it was definitely action packed. Very impressive to see Christian Craig pick himself up off the ground in the first turn and work his way through the pack to grab a podium position. Barely even lost. I think he lost a couple of points in the Championship series, so it was very impressive ride for Craig. But as you said, Dave, Michael Moseman, given the Gas Gas Factory team its first win and his 1st 250 Supercross win, definitely was cool to see. And a quiet ride from Hunter Lawrence in second place between the three title contenders, Christian Craig, Hunter Lawrence and Michael Moseman. Not many points separate the two, so it's going to be a pretty interesting series as the series continues into round four.
[00:03:08.950] - Dave Sulecki
I thought Moseman definitely did a great job. Showed a lot of poise for a young rider in that final charge to the finish. So hats off to him and Gas Gas on their win in the 450 class. We had another new winner. This is our third winter in three rounds, so this was amazing to see. Chase Sexton was one of the fastest guys in the track, was on fire all night, just looked solid. He pulled the whole shot and was gone. It was great to see him take that home for Team Honda, man.
[00:03:36.220] - Dale Spangler
Chase Sexton just looked silky smooth the entire night. Grabbing that wind by I want to say over 7 seconds at the finish, Eli Tomato slotted into second place and took over the points lead and the red plate while Dylan Ferrandis took the final podium spot in third. And things were looking up for Ken Roxon and Jason Anderson as they charged toward the front before a crash from Roxanne and a smoking KX 450 relocated the two title contenders to 7th and 8th place in the main event.
[00:04:08.060] - Dave Sulecki
Yeah, for sure. I think Anderson kind of helped Tomato get on the box Saturday night, but I'll tell you what, he was definitely one of the fastest guys on the race track at most points up until he had those bike troubles. But some other action on the track. We had Justin Barsa who was the points leader going into that round. He was docked one position for getting into some aggressive riding with Justin Bogle and out of that also, Bogle got dequeued and placed in last place 22nd on the day. So some drama to go with some groundbreaking wins on the weekend then.
[00:04:42.970] - Dale Spangler
Definitely some tempers were flirting a little bit in the main event and some other notable finishes I saw Cooper Web definitely always sneaky was in there in the top five and keeps himself in the running. The biggest thing I noticed though, five points separate the top five. I just can't even believe this series is going to be so good going forward. 14 points separate the top ten, so this is definitely one of the closest series we've seen in quite some time.
[00:05:07.460] - Dave Sulecki
2022 is shaping up to be a great season. Three rounds in so I can't wait till the next round.
[00:05:24.430] - Dale Spangler
This week's Industry Spotlight focuses on the 2022 Aim Expo, which took place January 19 to the 21st in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was there at this once a year industry trade show that focuses on the business side of power sports after the show took a two year hiatus due to the Pandemic. Although brand and dealer attendance may not have been back to prepanddemic levels, the consensus seems to be that it was great to be back together once again as an industry. The educational seminars were valuable, face to face interaction productive, and the networking opportunities numerous. One of my biggest observations electric motorcycles, scooters and ebikes dominated the show floor and it will be interesting to see just how the show evolves in the future. And speaking of the future, Amexpo has already announced the show will return in 2023, with dates February 15 through the 17th confirmed at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
[00:06:39.590] - Dave Sulecki
This week's moment in Moto history. We want to talk about Super Cross, round three winners and the impact on the final race series standings. Historically, the third round of Supercross established the watermark for the eventual series winner. In the last six seasons, five times, the winner of the third round went on to win the Championship. That's 83% of the time in the last ten seasons. The trend kind of flattened a little bit, six out of ten, but still a majority trend.
[00:07:08.810] - Dale Spangler
Some of the interesting ones that I thought you came up with is round three winners, Cooper Webb twice. Now he's won the third round and got on to win the Championship. So what I'm curious to see is our round three winner, Chase Sexton, will he be the champion at the end of the 2022 season? That's going to be the big question.
[00:07:29.070] - Dave Sulecki
So far this season, we have seen three winners and three rounds, and that's something that hasn't happened very often in Supercross. Add to the mix for several top riders switch teams for the new season. Eli Tomac joining the Star Racing Monster Energy Yamaha squad, and Jason Anderson, winner of round two, taking towmax spot on the Kawasaki factory bike. Will 2022 follow this statistical trend? We will all know in May in Salt Lake City.
[00:08:04.830] - Dale Spangler
Sean Brennan, welcome to Pit Pass, Moto. How are you today? You guys have to be super pumped about how the season has gone. Here we are, three rounds into the 2022 Supercross Series. We have three different winners. Five points separate the top five, and only 14 points separate the top ten. You guys just had to be ecstatic with how the series started out this year.
[00:08:27.440] - Sean Brennan
You certainly do not need to manufacture drama when you have this kind of racing, which is amazing. First of all, hey, thank you for having me on today and talking about this year's season. As you mentioned. Wow, we are off to a fantastic start. Three rounds in already. Obviously, we have a long way to go, but boy, the storyline so far, the racing, the parody, the closeness and points, we couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2022 season for sure.
[00:09:01.850] - Dale Spangler
Event promotion has not been easy the last few years, but for the fellow team, you guys really seem to step up and continue to make things happen with the series, starting with the residencies in places like Salt Lake City and Atlanta, of course, having to create covered race protocols. How difficult was it to keep the series going strong in the last few years?
[00:09:21.830] - Sean Brennan
Well, it has not been easy. You're absolutely right. And if we really Peel it back and we go all the way back to March of 2020 when this really all started, it's amazing to think that we're now entering our third year of having to deal with COVID in March of 2020. We felt entertainment actually at 26 different tours touring the world at that point. And we started really focusing in on COVID in China. We had two Disney on Ice tours that were actually in the country at that time. And we had tours in Europe all over the world. And obviously we had to start following things then, but we really didn't think that it was going to affect the super cross season. And in round ten in Daytona, it was Ken Roxan and his agency at that point that really made the call that they were going to stop doing autographs in person. And they did that because a lot of their soccer players that they represented over in Europe and other parts of the world had decided to do that as well. So that was really the first that we saw a company kind of take a proactive approach to limit engagement and contact and things like that.
[00:10:46.280] - Sean Brennan
And that's really where Seattle at that point, which was still a few weeks away, we really had to start taking a look at and we're following that venue very close. And then the following week, round eleven, we were in Indianapolis and I drove home from Daytona. I prep my normal week. I flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday. On Thursday morning at 07:00 A.m., we were still promoting. The tickets were on sale. I had local athletes in studio. We're promoting by 09:00. We had to start changing the messaging a little bit, saying that the governor was going to be making an announcement in the afternoon. But so far we're still on track and looking good, happy to be here. And then I had another stop in studio at 12:00. And by that point, you already started hearing language like limited fans, no fans, groups of 2500. By the time they made the final announcement, I think that was indoor crowds of no more than $250. So we actually had to cancel that last stop at noon. And we are all flying home on Friday to really kind of see how, like the rest of the world, how this was all going to move forward.
[00:12:11.040] - Sean Brennan
So, yeah, we're fortunate enough we are actually one of the very first sports to be able to complete our 2020 Championship. You know, everybody knows the bubble term now, but it was really us and NASCAR. We were talking with several sports at that point back in 2020 about how to move forward. And NASCAR and us, obviously, we're in our seasons, the NFL, the NBA, none of them were well, the NBA was currently playing as well, but it was really NASCAR and Supercross. It really put that bubble together. We were able to go back like you were mentioning the Salt Lake City, seven races, the residency and complete our Championship. And a lot of the things that we learned back in 2020, we obviously rolled into 2021. We had limited fans in attendance. So we're really following what major League stadiums were doing at the time. With the NFL and Major League Baseball 2021, some neat things came to be with the weekday racing and residencies and things like that. But most stadiums, I think we were only able to sell 15% was the largest capacity that we were able to sell. So certainly bummed that we weren't able to engage with our fans as we normally would.
[00:13:33.620] - Sean Brennan
But again, we were able to keep our athletes safe, and most importantly, we're able to keep racing, keep the industry moving, and complete our Championship season. So everything that we have learned, we keep building on and we move forward with it. And we have taken all of those same protocols and approaches into the 2022 season. The only thing that we're doing differently is that we are introducing full capacity into Stadium. So we're thrilled to have all of our fans back at full capacity for both fan Fest as well as the races. But what might be interesting to folks is that from the back side of the house, with all of our teams and our athletes, they are still in a bubble. So we are still using some of our initial strategies to keep them safe throughout the season. But there are a lot of things like contactless shopping that are all normal now. But back in early 2020, these were progressive concepts, but so far so good. Everything that we have been doing is working, and we're looking to finish out this season and obviously get to the finish line, which we're three rounds in, and we still have a long way to go.
[00:14:55.160] - Dave Sulecki
Hats off to you and the team. It fell for, I guess, normalizing and writing the script or the playbook for how to do event promotion. It's been great to watch, and it's interesting to hear how you've adapted all along the way and continue to adapt. So that's great news. One thing I wanted to kind of shift gears a little bit. I think Feld? S been one of the vehicles to present that KTM Junior Racing program to the world and kind of get the average spectator to kind of understand at a young age what the sport is about. Does Feld expect to kind of evolve that program or continue that program? What are your thoughts there?
[00:15:32.450] - Sean Brennan
Yes, the KTM Junior program. Two years ago, they brought on Wells Fargo, which has been a fantastic partner in that program and really just shows you the reach of that program, even with a Main Street audience, if you will. But this is our 18th or 19th season of partnering with KTM, so absolutely, this is something that we all love. There are great partners in that we'll continue to invest in. We don't see that changing anytime in the future. Oh, my goodness. At one point I had an account, and I think at one point there was like nine active racers, pro athletes who were still competing. They have all gone through the KTM Junior program, none more famous than Ryan Dungey, as you guys know. But he actually started going through that program. Obviously, he was doing other things. He started riding at age three, but by the time he was seven or eight, his hometown in Minneapolis, he was able to join the ranks of the KTM juniors. And he still talks about that and is still heavily invested in that program. And we're doing some things that we'll be announcing in the coming weeks when we get to the Minneapolis round with Ryan Dungey and his foundation, the Ryan Dungeon Foundation, that will obviously include the KTM Junior kids as well.
[00:17:07.040] - Sean Brennan
So my goodness, it is amazing when you are at Super Cross and the KTM kids are out there, the cheers they get, people do not go and look for food or the bathrooms. When it is time for those kids to go racing, it is a goosebump moment for sure. And there are only a couple of other points in the night that the fans cheer louder for. Those kids in that program are now racing on electric motorcycles, which is new to the program starting back in 2021. Ktm, in addition to all of their additional technology and innovations, with normal motorcycles continuing to develop engines, they are way ahead of everybody else as far as electric technology. And potentially we could obviously see an entire generation of kids that will end up growing up on electric motorcycles. So it's really interesting to see that technology continue to develop as well as the continued investment from KTM.
[00:18:15.820] - Dale Spangler
The junior challenge is always a super popular one every time I've ever been to a Supercross. Now, Sean, another thing I noticed for this year that you guys introduced is the Supercross Futures, which looks to me like it's kind of upcoming a feeder class, if you will tell us a little bit about that and what the intent of that program is.
[00:18:34.510] - Sean Brennan
Supercross Futures program is really our developmental, as you mentioned, theater, but it really is designed to develop the next generation of talent. We started this program back in 2019, the original year we had six different markets where on Sunday following the Super Cross race, we host an entire day of racing. So 27 different classes. And it was really designed to give the everyday rider the experience of racing inside a Stadium on a real super cross track. So the first year, of course, you had your up and comers that were racing as part of that series as well as we had a points and developmental program as part of that to get your points, to actually get your Supercross license, as well as being able to give these kids everybody typically starts outdoors. Not everybody has a super cross track in their backyard, although there are so many different training facilities now cropping up around the country that it is more normal now. But if you don't have access to those training facilities, there is not a local Supercross track. So at the end of the day, Supercross Futures is really designed to start giving the next generation of talent the opportunity to actually raise super cross tracks.
[00:20:10.130] - Sean Brennan
But in 2019, that first year, we were six different markets, and then 2020, we're actually expanding to ten. And again, those events were on Sunday afternoon and certainly featured the rider De Francesco and that generation of fast up and comers. But again, was designed for the everyday person to come and enjoy that racing as well. Unfortunately, the pandemic, as it did with most things, not only did it interfere with our Supercross season, but it obviously interfered with Supercross Futures as well. So we weren't able to. That was one thing that we weren't able to figure out for the final seven races of 2020. And then in 2021, with all of the limitations that we did have with the ongoing pandemic, we weren't able to do anything with Supercross Futures last season. So this year, we wanted to get back to it, most importantly, as a developmental stage for the next generation. The A class 250 riders to be able to get their points and get their Supercross license. So we were able to get it back up and running with some fantastic regional track partners across the country. So this season, we have six different regional qualifiers that feed into the actual super cross Premier event that will take place on race day.
[00:21:39.740] - Sean Brennan
So that's a neat way for us to continue to give these kids the spotlight. So this season, all six different rounds will be racing as part of the day program, and then there will be a Championship at the end. So again, this is designed we keep trying to innovate and create new ways to not only develop the next generation of talent, but to also keep the fans engaged with these young racers throughout their career. So 2023, we looked to be back to what we were doing prepanddemic and having Sunday as being an all day Super Cross Futures day. Again, we'll continue with that 250 A class and continuing that to be a developmental class to get their points and their license. But we hope to be back where everybody can be part of racing inside their favorite Stadium on Sundays as well next year.
[00:22:39.770] - Dave Sulecki
Yeah, that's awesome news. And definitely we love to see it because Supercross future is bright and young riders coming into the sport certainly helps all of us, and we love to see it. So I'm kind of curious about yourself, Sean. I know you've done some work in your past in the music industry promotion. I kind of want to know how much of that can you take from your past? How much of that is similar to what you do now as far as interfacing with the industry?
[00:23:06.420] - Sean Brennan
I grew up in Pittsburgh with two passions music and dirt bikes. Fortunately for my career and my career path, I've been able to work professionally with both, which is a little bit unique. I continue to tell people how similar the music business is to our business. Every musician across the country, it doesn't matter where you are and where you start. You start local, you playing clubs, you write songs, you continue to Hone your craft. You're looking for the next opportunity to be in front of people, to be in front of the right people. And eventually, if you keep developing, you're looking for that big break. So I'm looking for La, New York or Nashville. I need to be in front of the right talent Scouts to get signed to a record deal, if you will. And it's the same if you talk to any Supercross racer, it's absolutely the same trajectory, if you will. They start young. There's local and regional, and everything that they do is to improve, to get better, to learn more, but then to get the industry and most importantly, the factories to take notice. So if you're an artist, you're trying to get signed to a record deal.
[00:24:25.780] - Sean Brennan
If you're a super cross athlete, you are trying to get signed to a factory ride. If you're playing clubs in the music business, you want to end up playing stadiums under the lights. And if you start out racing a dirt bike on Saturdays out in the middle of the field, you're hoping to eventually be under the lights in a Stadium on Saturday night. So I continue to find there's so many similarities between the two industries and the two businesses. But yeah, you're absolutely right. There are so many different things from marketing, from promotion that apply to the music business that also apply to what we are doing with Supercross as well.
[00:25:10.790] - Dale Spangler
Well, I couldn't agree more, Sean, about the music and motorcycles, the similarities there. I think music is one of those things that probably one of the closest things that resembles riding motorcycles. So couldn't agree more. We really appreciate your time today, Sean. It's got to feel great for you and the rest of the fellow team to be back into filled stadiums. Where can people go to find the latest and greatest about monster energy?
[00:25:36.650] - Sean Brennan
Supercross fans can visit email@example.com. All of our social channels are Supercross Live and the website is SupercrossLIVE.com.
[00:26:02.110] - Dave Sulecki
Thanks again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you can never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review us. We really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pitpassmoto.com where you can check out our blog and our brand new store where you can get your Pit pass. Swag.
[00:26:26.680] - Dale Spangler
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, producer Leah Longbrake and audio engineer Eric Koltnow. I'm Dave Sulecki and I'm Dale Spangler. See you next week on Pitpass Moto.