2017 Red Bull Straight Line Rhythm: Sub Plot
On the surface you can say the 2017 RBSLR was a little lackluster with Red Bull Rider Marvin Musquin winning the event pretty uncontested. But after winning the million a few weeks ago in Vegas at the Monster Energy Cup, it was to be expected.
If the Red Bull event proved anything, it’s 250 two-strokes and four-strokes should be in the same class, electric is inching closer to racing a supercross if the rules ever permit, and motocross and supercross can be funny with more characters aboard.
The concept of the event is still kind of cool but in my opinion it needs to move a little faster, maybe more riders on the course at a given time or maybe Straight Line with a twist and two turns in the course so the spectators can watch more action.
Alta was back with their electric bike. Ronnie Mac was there on his old beater and they added a two-stroke class, which proved to be the most impressive, well kind of. Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, and Mac were talking a lot of smack before the event but in the end only Mac delivered the goods. Reed tweaked his foot the day before the event and RV was fast but was not fast enough to even make the finals. This was the kind of event where if you made one little mistake, your entire run was jacked. RV had a few little mistakes or maybe just rust in his veins while riding a decade-old KX250 smoker.
What was the most eye opening was Red Bull allowed 250 smokers to run with the four-strokes in the 250 class. It pretty much proved and backed up what a lot of people have been saying for years, there is no clear advantage riding a two-stroke over a four-stroke in the 250 class. Run after run they looked evenly matched in speed, jump gaps, and acceleration. AMA, take notice and someone change the rulebook. Unfortunately it’s not just about two-strokes vs four-strokes, it’s about the fact that only a handful of manufacturers still offer 250cc motocross bikes. If they changed the rules Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki would not be happy since it would take years to develop a new 250 smoker, and they don’t want to! If they changed the rules Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki could threaten to pull out of the class altogether and it would hurt the sport. It boils down to moto politics. The fans want it and it could be the change the class needs.
The other battle in the 250 class is pistons versus electrons. Alta once again showed the world they are getting very close or might already be there with a competitive all-electric motocross bike that is on the cusp of being ready for stadium supercross. And just last week KTM announced they plan on making a push in the electric sector as well. For now Alta owns the space with the most competitive machine, while KTM’s ride is more of a free ride woods machine and not a full racer—YET!!
All in all, Ronnie Mac was the highlight of the RBSLR. He did not win the two-stroke main but came very close and the crowd went wild, even when he took a digger. Is Ronnie played out? I guess not totally. Is RM good for the sport? That is hard to say. He’s kind of the WWF of motocross and if you don’t take him, or it, or whatever he is serious but as a joke, it’s kind of entertaining.