Arenacross brings a rock concert vibe to Motocross
The sporting spectacular sets out on its 2015 UK stadium tour
This article is from 2015.
’It’s a very unusual event,’ says Arenacross organiser Matt Bates of a sporting phenomenon that was founded three years ago and which has rapidly built to the scale that it can fill indoor arenas around the country. He describes it as a cross between sport and a rock concert, although he knows that’s a very reductive way of putting it.
‘It uses motorbikes in much the same way as a Motocross event,’ he explains. ‘We create what can best be described as a BMX track on steroids in the arena using 3,000-4,000 tons of dirt, then we put in the lighting rig you would see in a concert to create a very choreographed show.’
He says it’s all geared around entertainment, but there’s a competitiveness alongside the more spectacular. ‘There are three elements,’ he says. ‘The first sees some of the best youth riders in the country competing, then 24 of the fastest and best riders in the world will compete against one another, and finally we have the show part. This is freestyle Motocross involving trick riding, it’s pretty spectacular.’
Bates, a former Motocross rider himself, says that ‘like a lot of good ideas, it’s already been done in America and it’s very successful out there.’ With a background in arena events management, he started out with four venues around the UK and now has eight, and having signed a recent deal with Live Nation, his future plans include expanding each event to two nights and taking Arenacross to Europe. ‘We’ve had to work hard at getting big crowds, but we’ve made it,’ he says. ‘The atmosphere is edge-of-your-seat, very noisy, very lively. A comment we frequently hear is that our customers can’t believe what they’re seeing – often I can’t either, and I’ve been doing this for 30-odd years.’