The new WSC promoter deal for the FIM Sidecar Motocross World Championship between APO Multimedia and the FIM will provide a “new look” framework and structure for the sport, as well as giving unprecedented exposure and coverage to the great spectacle which is WSC.
Whilst the sport of sidecar-cross has thrived across Europe for sixty years or more, the formal FIM World Championship as we know it, celebrated its its fortieth anniversary last season, and now is poised to leap into the fifth decade. It has hitherto survived courtesy of a relatively small band of enthusiastic organisers and circuit owners, who along with the FIM, have their roots in this sport, and in many cases, strong family links going back many years. It is the uniqueness, and niche quality of sidecar-cross which generates this almost fanatical support.
There is a special quality in two people with a shared passion, pitting their wits and bodies against extremely hostile terrain, on a powerful, yet incredibly agile three-wheeled vehicle. No other form of motor sport calls for the degree of physical ability, stamina and powers of endurance demonstrated by sidecar motocross crews. This unparalleled set of conditions, and the relationship between driver and passenger, all contribute to a sport which, until now, has only really been understood and appreciated by the minority and those on the inside.
Martin Bena and his APO Multimedia organisation recognised this some three seasons ago, whilst at the same time becoming acutely aware of just what a fantastic spectacle the sport of sidecar-cross is. The sport has been crying out to move to the next level, with its young rider profile, glamorous and colourful appearance, spectacular and sometimes fearsome track action, but above all, its universal appeal as “something completely different”, and a sport hitherto unseen by the majority of TV viewers.
The new promoter agreement will give the sport the lift it needs, bringing benefits to the teams in terms of promotional and publicity opportunities, greater sponsorship leverage, a far wider appreciation of their efforts, and ultimately global fame and recognition. The road to this point in time has not been an easy one however. There is an inbuilt resistance to change in most of us, and radical changes are even more fiercely opposed.
Old habits and traditions are hard to shake off, but change does not always mean that things were not well done before. It is a simple fact that we all need to move forward to keep in line with trends in technology, changing attitudes, modern communications, and the ever-increasingly competitive world of TV sport.
Long, and sometimes difficult meetings with organisers, always under the watchful eye of the FIM, have finally resulted in a ten or eleven -round championship visiting a combination of tried and tested tracks in seven countries across Europe, with one or two exciting new venues thrown in for good measure. Slovenia for example, will be hosting its first ever Sidecar Cross GP.
Much attention has been paid to the travel distance for crews, and where possible, consecutive races are geographically sequenced, in order to prevent the criss-crossing of Europe such as we have seen in the past.