While the first three quarters have mainly revolved around racing, the last quarter is one that's known as the “off season”. For the top echelon of the sport, October to the new year is the time to relax, take a few weeks off before then heading out to California and working on bike settings, before finally progressing into the full blown training regime.
However, before that could all take place, there was the small matter of the Monster Cup in Las Vegas to compete in. Now a lot of big names didn't ride this event, the timing wasn't great and despite the $1million prize on offer, many felt it was one race too many. The main benefactor of this was Ryan Villopoto though, who not only competed but ending up winning all three races on the hybrid supercross/motocross track and walking off with the big prize. This rounded off an amazing year for the #2 Kawasaki, winning practically everything in sight, and now walking away with $1m (or $50,000 spread over 20 years).
The Monster Cup was also the first race for Ryan Dungey aboard his new KTM. It was quite a coop for KTM to sign one of the very top premium riders and big things are expected of him. While he couldn't match RV, Dungey has been working hard this off season and we're sure he'll be ready when the gate drops at A1.
While not much has been taking place in America, race-wise. Both Europe and Australia have been running a number of supercross races. The Australian SuperX series has been going for a few years now, moving out from Chad Reed's influence to try and make it on its own. This year Jay Marmont won the Open class, while Jake Moss took the Lites class in this five round championship.
Meanwhile in France, there was the big Bercy International which quite a few Americans came over for. Probably the biggest name was Justin Barcia but he ended up becoming pretty unpopular following a run-in with crowd favorite Gregory Aranda. Barcia ended up having to leave the stadium early for safety reasons on the second night of three, but did return for the third night to see Kyle Chisholm crowned King of Bercy.
And then in Germany, there is the German ADAC Supercross series which is run over the winter period and attracts some American riders. People like Bobby Kiniry, Jason Thomas, Matt Goerke and even Mike Alessi come over for this series. In fact Goerke and Alessi put on a great show in Munich, with Goerke eventually coming out on top. The last round will be run on the same weekend of Anaheim 1 so some riders won't make the trip but it is still a widely supported competition and one that offers good prize money.
Probably the biggest news during the off season was James Stewart's announcement that he was sticking on Yamaha, but switching to the JGR team. He held a big press conference at JGR Headquarters in something that was more like a Nascar event that anything seen before in supercross, but he seemed happy with the choice, and was especially pleased with the chance to race four-wheels, once his time on two-wheels ends.
But thankfully, the off season is almost over and once again, the track will be the main focus of attention. Welcome to 2012...