Red Bull, now iconic for its off-the-wall yet undeniably cool one-of-a-kind events, revealed its latest creation on Nov. 6 with Red Bull Straight Rhythm. A longstanding personal sponsor of two-time AMA Supercross champion James Stewart and current title sponsor of the Red Bull KTM racing team, this marked the first time the brand’s dream-to-reality trademark was applied to world of motocross racing.
Red Bull recently hosted Give Me Five in Spain, which featured a more condensed, excitement-driven take on the traditional racing format with five riders battling for five laps. However, Straight Rhythm is unlike anything seen before. Considered what Red Bull calls the “evolution of supercross,” Straight Rhythm is an “unwound” version of a supercross track, featuring the traditional obstacles that challenge riders on any given weekend during the AMA Supercross season but in a half-mile straight line.
From an undisclosed location in Southern California, Red Bull invited some of its team riders – James Stewart, Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin of Red Bull KTM, Jessy Nelson, Cole Seely, and Malcolm Stewart of Troy Lee Honda – as well as Justin Bogle to tackle this impressive sprawling layout full of whoops, rollers, massive air-inducing doubles, and walls. The format and concept was simple – two riders, side-by-side, go as fast as they can down the lane all in the name of fun. No pressure, no competitive element, just a dream ride session on a track straight out of Excitebike.
The end result was one of the coolest events ever for a sport driven so much by the competitive spirit and the desire to be the best in the world. Very rarely does an opportunity arise to see the likes of Ryan Dungey and James Stewart let loose on a bike, but based on the photos and compelling video, it looked as though everyone took advantage of this very rare, very special opportunity.
From a big picture standpoint, Red Bull Straight Rhythm brings an intriguing concept to the competitive racing world. While there has been no mention of taking this beyond its current existence, one can’t help but wonder what kind of excitement and potential mainstream interest an event like this could generate. It’s unique, exciting, and death-defying – all hallmarks of captivating an audience – and it’s also quick, which caters to the short attention spans of the general consumer these days. It would also be nothing short of amazing to see the world’s best riders pushing it to the limit on a course designed solely for speed and technique. No racing tactics here.
With it being a straight line, the setup is straightforward and could theoretically be duplicated on a drag strip or even in metropolitan areas. The possibilities for growth are huge. However, there is a lot more that goes into this than meets the eye and given the incredibly busy schedule of the sport with AMA Supercross, AMA Motocross, the Motocross of Nations, and Monster Energy Cup, there are 31 races in a calendar year, each of which demands a rider’s utmost commitment. Simply finding the time and space for this proves daunting, and getting riders outside the Red Bull circle to participate could be even more challenging given the politics that would surely arise.
Red Bull Straight Rhythm could very well be a one-and-done event. If so, give thanks to the company for spawning such a refreshing and visually stimulating concept while it lasts. Sit back and enjoy as Red Bull has once again given the world something that only it can.