Dirt Wurx USA - Articles
home news news news news news

Monster Energy Supercross' track-building guru, DIRT WURX USA's Rich Winkler

They crawl around on big yellow pieces of heavy equipment, turning a pile of dirt into stadium motocross (‘supercross’) track … here’s a look at how it’s done

winkANAHEIM, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2012) – The dirt tracks on the stadium floors across the country on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, are a small miracle occurring 16 weekends during the first quarter. And the company behind them, DIRT WURX USA, has the process down to such an interesting science that we thought MonsterEnergy.com fans might get a kick reading about what goes down with the design, preparation, dirt move-in, construction and move-out of a Monster Energy Supercross track.

The principle of DIRT WURX USA is Rich Winkler. Winkler and his team have been building the Monster Energy Supercross tracks – the world’s premier stadium motocross series - as long as anybody can remember. A former employee of one of the guys who got the stadium dirt bike racing ball rolling, Mike Goodwin, Winkler is as knowledgeable on the sport of motocross as they come. New York-based with exclusive client SX/MX tracks built all over the world, Winkler gives us an ‘insider’s insider’ look at what goes in to building a Monster Energy Supercross track.

Question: How many years has DIRT WURX USA been building the Monster Energy Supercross tracks?

trackRich Winkler: Since 1991, so this is our 21st year.

Question: How’d you get your start?

Rich Winkler: I started out as a racer, had my pro license, packed up and move to California to see if I could make a career out of racing. Soon found out that being a fast guy at a local track in New York didn’t quite equate to racing the fastest guys in the world on dirt bikes. So I signed on with Stadium Motorsports, Mike Goodwin’s company, way back in the early 1980s. Then I got on board with PACE Management, which eventually became Feld Motor Sports – which is who we work with now. Back in the early days we used a number of different sources to build the tracks, and the quality of the tracks varied hugely from one city to the other. So I saw a niche there, where you could offer some kind of consistency on how the tracks would look and the quality of work involved, and that’s when I founded DIRT WURX USA.

Question: Talk a bit about your motocross racing background?

Rich Winkler: I got to be a local A rider, thought I was pretty hot stuff here in New York State. I got an AMA professional license in the late 1970s, had that for three years. But moving to California was an eye-opener, man. Going from racing local tracks to Nationals, I mean everyone there was fast. You could be in like 35th place and miss a shift – and you were back to 36th. The last place guy was just as fast as me. But it was a really cool experience, traveling around and get free equipment and ride with all my heroes and that. But I realized really soon that I wasn’t going to be able to make a living at it. So basically I started looking for something else to do that still had something to do with motorcycles.

Question: So do pretty much all the guys on the DIRT WURX USA crew have some sort of racing background? And does that play into Monster Energy Supercross track construction and design?

Rich Winkler: Definitely. Every guy on our crew rides recreationally, and we’ve got three guys that are A-rated riders. In fact one of our guys, Bob Childers, has done a great deal with the design process. The Anaheim 1 track, I had a little input on it, but basically it’s Bob’s design and I’m really stoked with it. So having a 20-something-year-old A-rider who’s in touch with the younger generation of MX racers is a huge plus.

Question: First off, how much dirt goes into building Anaheim? And instead of ‘yards’ of dirt, explain how many football fields that would cover.

Rich Winkler: Anaheim and Phoenix are the two biggest venues we go to. Both of them are more than 100,000 square feet, where a normal football field is only about 80,000 square feet. The amount of dirt we use in here is roughly 20-percent up from what we normally use, somewhere in the area of 12,000 tons of dirt – 500 to 600 dump truck loads. So if you just laid it flat it’d cover a football field five feet deep. (Or if you spread it out thin it would cover five football fields with one foot of dirt!)

Question: What’s your typical move-in/move-out schedule … how long does it take to construct the Anaheim track?

Rich Winkler: On a normal situation Monday is our travel day, so we start on a Tuesday and have things 99-percent done by Thursday so Friday’s just a fine tune day. Then we race Saturday and move out Saturday night right after the race and into Sunday evening. Tuesday through Friday are ten-plus hour days, so we’re at a 40-hour week before the race even starts. Then Saturday morning we’re at the stadium early, then some portion of our crew stays through to the end of the move out on Sunday night. So like an average week of supercross for us and Feld’s operation people is 80-plus hours, with no days off considering we travel again the following Monday. But it’s cool to see, people putting that much heart and soul into this sport.

Question: How do you protect the stadium’s playing surface?

img img

Rich Winkler: We cover the whole floor with a double layer of plywood, more or less like we’re building a stage deck for a concert. Six to seven thousand sheets of plywood on average. Anaheim’s a bit different because the dirt, between supercross (two) and Monster Jam®, will be here for more than a month – so we don’t even bother with the plywood. We put plastic down to keep the dirt from getting ground into the grass, which will be re-sodded anyway for the start of the baseball season.

Question: Where do you mine the dirt, and what do you look for in optimal supercross dirt?

Rich Winkler: In California, because most of the dirt is so high in clay content, we had to look around quite a bit to find dirt with more loam in it. And even then, when we first got it, it was pretty stiff. But it’s the same dirt we’ve used now for five or six years and each year we keep mixing more and more sand into it. The consistency of it is pretty nice now. Still has enough clay in it where it keeps its shape, doesn’t rut up too bad on the jump faces and that, just as long as we keep it broken up and add water to it.

Question: What region of the country has the best dirt and why? What makes SoCal dirt different than say Midwest or southeastern U.S. dirt?

Rich Winkler: I like St. Louis and Indy, both have a real traditional east coast top soil-type dirt – similar to what you might find at RedBud (Mich.). Atlanta has that beautiful red clay/sand mix that’s what you might see at Ricky Carmichael’s training facility. Those would have to be my favorites.

Question: How many guys on the DIRT WURX CREW? And how many pieces of heavy equipment do you use?

Rich Winkler: DIRT WURX USA has seven guys here at Anaheim and up to 12 guys I can bring in in case of an emergency (heavy rains). Sometimes we’re at the supercross at the same time we’re doing a test track or a monster truck show, so I have to have more people than I need just for one event. As for equipment we’ve got about 15 pieces of Caterpillar equipment here at Anaheim, more than we usually have because we’re loading the dirt here at the stockpile as well as building the track. Quinn Caterpillar here in southern California really takes care of use. Everything we’re running out here is in beautiful shape and they’re quick to respond if we need anything.

Question: Is it cool having Monster Energy product flowing freely when you’re pulling an all-nighter building or moving out an SX track?

Rich Winkler: Having Monster Energy product around is really handy on the event weekend, that’s for sure! Monster’s been great. They’ve super involved with the series and with Feld. And even though DIRT WURX USA’s really not the glamorous end of the sport by any means, the guys at Monster still take care of us – the Monster Fairy (laughter) leaves a stack of cases next to our truck and we’ve always got stock in the motorhome. That Saturday and Sunday, when we pull the all-nighter on the move out, it’s nice to go out to the truck and take a break, have a Monster and rejuvenate yourself.

Question: Right on. Well thanks for your time, Rich, and best of luck through the remainder of the Monster Energy Supercross season. Hope the weather holds out for you guys!

Rich Winkler: My pleasure. Monster’s a big part a sport many of us are highly passionate about, very loyal to the cause, and we’re pumped to do whatever we can to help promote the Monster brand.

img img


Dirt Wurx USA - the premier SX/MX track design and construction company in the world – is the exclusive supercross race track design and construction firm for Feld Motor Sports and the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. With more than 19 years of global experience in the field, Dirt Wurx USA’s highly talented crew of designers and heavy equipment specialists not only build the world’s most visible tracks, but are also accessible for affordable track design and construction at the local level. For more information, please visit www . dirtwurx . com .

High Profile Public Relations, LLC is a multi-faceted communications agency specializing in strategic media relations – both industry and mainstream – for the powersports and action sports communities. Dialed in with all forms of power and action sports, its participants, manufacturers and live event promoters, HPPR’s Pat Schutte can be reached at (734) 369-2170 and pat@highprofilepr.com. For more information, please visit www.highprofilepr.com.




Support the People Who Support the Sport.

Thanks to our sponsors and other true believers. This is the Core of Motocross!








Parts Unlimited



Dirt Wurx Logo Usage

© 2010 Dirt Wurx USA