Bench Racing Ammo:  Pointing Out

Bench Racing Ammo Pointing Out

April 5, 2012 5:30pm

Poor Broc Tickle. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki man could be shining up a number-one plate right now in attempts to defend his 2011 SX Lites West title, but instead, he’s mired in the SX class, trying to find his footing against the fastest riders in the world. Against the now injury-decimated 450 division, Tickle just logged a season-best seventh in Houston. But it’s not the results that bother Tickle as much as the way he’s riding—he’s said over and over that he’s just not riding the way he knows he can.

But he’s stuck in the big class because of the Lites “pointing out” rules. What are those rules? Who is on the verge of getting “the bump” for 2013? Let’s check it out for this week’s Bench Racing Ammo:

In the AMA/FIM SX Rulebook, Rule E2 section d. reads:

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

Wharton still has two years of eligibility left in the Lites class.
Simon Cudby photo

This is the classic “pointing out” rule, which has been tweaked a bit through the years. In the old days, a rider had to score a certain amount of points in consecutive years, but now three years of the correct number of points, even non-consecutively, knocks you out of the class.

But the points totals are generous. We did some research and found out even some of the fastest riders in the Lites class missed the 120-point threshold (in eight races) a few times, and thus still have some eligibility left.

Blake Wharton came in just under the 120 point mark in 2009 and 2010, with 118 pts in 2009, and 116 pts in 2010. So Blake gets at least two more seasons in Lites.

Dean Wilson scored just 105 points in 2010, because of getting stuck in Canada and missing some races. Technically, he won’t be forced out of the class this year based on points, but there’s another rule that might bump him out. More on that later.

Blake Baggett scored 118 points in 2010. Like Wharton, he just missed the 120-point mark, and that will save him from getting forced to the 450s for 2013.

Now, another rule (this is the one that caught Tickle):

E2, Section E, Rule 2.

A rider that wins a Supercross Lites Championship will be eligible to participate in the Supercross Lites class for a maximum of three years total regardless of what year he/she won the title. (i.e. if a rider wins the Championship in their third year of Supercross Lites competition, they will be ineligible for the Supercross Lites class regardless of points and therefore not eligible to defend their Supercross Lites Championship title).

Did you catch that? The rule says if you’ve raced Lites for three (or more) years, you’re out as soon as you win a championship. That’s what happened to Tickle. Interestingly, this rule is part of a revision that allowed Trey Canard to stay in the Lites class for three years. Canard won the 2008 East Lites Championship in his rookie season, and the old rules stated that a rider only gets one year to defend (2009 for Canard) before being forced into the 450s. This new “you get to be in the class for three years total regardless of when you win the title” rule kept Canard in the Lites class for 2010.

It also knocked Tickle out for 2012.

By rule, Barcia has to move up to the 450 class next season.
Simon Cudby photo

This rule could be a factor in this year’s West Region Championship. This is year three in the class for Wilson, so if he wins that title, he’s out like Tickle. Same for Cole Seely, who still has an outside shot at the championship. We hear Wilson is actively shopping for a 450 ride next year, anyway, so he probably doesn’t care if he gets bumped. Seely has a two-year deal with Lucas Oils/Troy Lee Honda, though, so it could get complicated (like it did for Tickle) if he were bumped up.

Eli Tomac is safe because this is only his second year in the class, he can defend next year if he wins the West. But had he won the title last year, (he was close) and repeated again this year, he would have been forced to the 450s. A rider can only win two SX Lites titles, total, and that rule trumps all others. Justin Barcia is on the verge of kicking that rule into play in the East. Even if Barcia somehow doesn’t win the title, he’s out anyway, because he has scored enough points in his three seasons to point out, and he won one title, and remember, if you win one title you can only race in the class for three years.

One more interesting note: Josh Hansen has still not pointed out of the Lites class. Note the first rule above states “effective with the 2007 season” so Hanny’s first foray into the 125/Lites class doesn’t count. He was then only back in the class for 2010 and 2011, so he would still be eligible to ride another season. Credit to Hanny to volunteering to move up on his own.