Most of the people reading this will have never experienced watching Supercross live in a stadium before. Unless you live in the USA – and even if you do – cost puts it out of reach for many fans.
But we all have it on our list. You know, the one that we promise our younger self we’ll do, no matter what.
This is the Supercross adventure of Mitch Brooks as he sets out to fulfil one of the promises he made to himself years ago. Have a read – you’ll enjoy it. But a little warning before you do. It could hit you in your pocket.
So it’s 7.30am and I’m checking my phone for the third time to see if it’s close to the alarm going off yet. If you are anything like me the only time this happens is the weekend as Monday to Friday I am a serial snoozer.
Today is extra special. It’s my first time watching AMA Supercross in a stadium live!
We arrive at the MetLife Stadium at 10am on the dot – essentially as soon as they open the gates. My nose is still red from having it pressed against the car window all the way to the venue.
You can tell I’m a little excited. Like a kid waiting for their first dirt bike at Christmas kinda excited.
We had booked an Air BnB a few miles away and the Uber was dirt cheap which made it real easy to get there. To my delight, there are plenty of turnstiles which meant small queue’s getting in – bonus.
My first stop was to get a glimpse of the track, which honestly left me a little speechless.
I’m from a BMX racing background so I had this idea that I would take to Supercross pretty easy as they are very similar with the timing aspect of things.
Hell, I was instantly brought back down to Earth after seeing in person the size of the jumps, how short the run up to the jumps were and how technical the rhythm sections had been made.
Did I mention the mountains they call ‘Whoops’?
Television does this spectacle absolutely no justice at all. Honestly, the guys must have Space Hoppers for balls.
Sponsorship banners and Tuff blocks add the finishing touches to this amazing creation inside an absolutely huge stadium.
Picking my jaw up off the floor and swiftly wiping the dribble from my chops we head out to the ‘Party in the pits’ after handing in a can of Monster Energy each, the $15 dollar pit pass is waived and I’ve got even more of a spring in my step, winning!
The better half and I are greeted by the screeching tyres of an off-road truck doing doughnuts and jumps in front of a crowd of crazy fans with Freestyle MX riders throwing down, all in the same arena. Mental, but so, so cool.
The Monster Energy girls put my skills to the test. I actually think I managed to watch the show with one eye and the girls with the other, so the girlfriend was none the wiser [Ed: until now].
We got to catch up with a few of my favourite riders, which were awesome as I only ever usually see them on TV and social media.
They’re out and about between practice sessions and races signing autographs and chatting with the fans. Last month’s Dirt Bike Rider cover star, Dean Wilson, was as cool as ever and was stoked to hear that we had made the trek from Great Britain to cheer him on.
Monster Energy Kawasaki had a big crowd as the talk of the pits Eli Tomac made his way to first practice with everyone wanting to get a killer photo of the red plate. I then walked through a time tunnel of past Supercross bikes on display that would have any EVO enthusiast weak at the knees. At 25, it’s pretty crazy how far the sport has come even in my lifetime.
After an action packed morning and a Hotdog longer than my arm, we rushed to our seats as it was time for first practice/timed qualifying.
I was gobsmacked as the riders took to the track, casually hitting the triple jumps on the first lap – I started to wonder if these people were actually human or in fact robots. Within a few laps, they had started to up the pace and the smell of race fuel matching the sound of the tuned motors can only be described as art in its finest form.
Opening ceremonies were just unreal. All of the top riders come out and put on a show for the fans, throwing down big whips over the finish line and even walking up into the stand to give away their race gear.
Monster girls shooting free t-shirts into the crowd and a Suzuki RM-Z450 giveaway rounded off one hell of a celebration which amped the crowd going into the night show.
At this point, my girlfriend who is not exactly a fan of our sport was on the edge of her seat, she was officially converted.
Racing came thick and fast, heat races ran through and they brought the heat. Watching 22 riders hit the track first lap, the noise was incredible. I’d call it the eighth wonder of the world how they manage to make it around a track so technical with about six inches distance between each riders’ handlebars. The fans are absolutely crazy as the gladiators sort themselves into position – rooting for your rider is not half-hearted here.
In the 450 Semi 2, the crowd erupted as local rider Ronnie Stewart managed to sneak a place into the Main in the last turn with a handful of throttle as he absolutely launched the finish-line jump to flat after a tumble between two riders, who were already in transfer spots, gave him a glimpse of hope.
Main Events time.
Boy did they deliver. 2010 MX2 British champion Zach Osborne with the ride of the night in the 250 class to come from just inside the top 10 on Lap 1 to take the win and set the tone for Las Vegas in a big way.
The moment we had all been waiting for, the 450 Main Event had arrived.
Questions of who would be going to Vegas with the momentum and points lead would all be answered when the countdown clock had elapsed, the heads dropped and the crowd went crazy even before the gate dropped.
When the riders had rounded the first turn, Ryan Dungey was sitting in third being stalked by Eli Tomac in fourth. I have never had goosebumps like I did when Tomac put the pass on Dungey and made his way into the lead, but only to fall.
Barely being able to hear my own thoughts I watched on as he picked himself up to the cheers of the fans who want to see the battle go all the way.
When it was all said and done Dungey left the MetLife Stadium victorious. Tomac, much to the despair of many in the stadium had stumbled and let Dungey have the driving seat at the last round.
I made a new fan out of my girlfriend and ticked a massive box on my bucket list.
It just doesn’t get better than that. I highly recommend you try and experience it for yourself, at least once.