250 Words: Pointing Out

250 Words Pointing Out

December 6, 2011 10:30am
There seems to be a lot of confusion these days regarding the AMA’s system for bumping riders out of the Supercross Lites class. In fact, even Mitch Payton and the boys over at Pro Circuit didn’t immediately realize that Broc Tickle’s 2011 Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship title would prevent him from returning to the class in 2012. So, for this edition of 250 Words, we thought we’d explain the rules and clear this issue up.

Since the Lites class is meant to be a stepping-stone in AMA Supercross, the rules are written in such a way that it's meant to bump riders who excel without promoting riders that are not ready to make the jump. For example, bumping a rider who is only earning 40 or 50 points a year would not make sense. For this reason, only riders that exceed a set number of points in a season are eligible for promotion. Here is the passage from the AMA/FIM Supercross rulebook that addresses the issue:

Effective with the 2007 season points, riders earning at least 135 Supercross Lites Championship points in a nine-race season, 120 Supercross Lites Championship points in an eight-race season, or 105 Supercross Lites Championship points in a seven-race season, in three seasons of Supercross Lites competition will be ineligible for the Supercross Lites class.

Tickle's West Region Lites title triggered the third year rule, meaning Tickle has to move to the Supercross Class for 2012.
Photo: Simon Cudby

Confused? Here’s another way of looking at it. Since 2010 consisted of eight Lites class races per division, the 120-point threshold applies to that year. But 2011 had nine Lites races per division, meaning a 135-point minimum is in affect. Once a rider exceeds the points threshold in three separate seasons, he is no longer eligible to race AMA Supercross in the Lites class. (There is no advancement rule for outdoor motocross, as each division is considered a national championship class.) SX points earned in seasons prior to 2007 are not counted, which is why guys like Josh Hansen have been able to compete in the Lites class in recent years.

Winning a championship will also have a bearing on Lites eligibility. A rider who wins a Lites title is not allowed to spend more than three years in the class. In other words, if supercross rookie Eli Tomac had won the title in 2011, he would have a maximum of two more years left as an SX Lites racer. This policy is retroactive, which means that even if a rider wins the title in his third year, he is promoted. This is exactly what happened to Broc Tickle. The exception to this rule is back-to-back titles, which will earn a rider an immediate promotion.

Hopefully this has clarified some of the questions out there. For a complete look at the AMA Supercross rulebook, go HERE: