Las Vegan Danny Cooper has raced motorcycles in several varieties of outdoor competitions.
"I grew up around supercross and motocross, and also offroad racing in the desert," says Cooper, 38.
But, on Friday, Cooper and motorcyclists from all over the country will take their skills indoors for the Geico EnduroCross at Orleans Arena.
The event will be the first in the current season’s roster of EnduroCross events and will have competitors running what essentially is an off-road race held entirely indoors.
Friday’s EnduroCross will kick off a weekend of motorcycle racing that concludes with Sunday’s Geico MiniMotoSX event, also at Orleans Arena. It also marks a sort of homecoming for EnduroCross, which was created in 2004 as a one-off event at Orleans Arena.
In EnduroCross, competitors race on a dirt track laden with such obstacles as rocky patches, boulders, sand, jumps and pools of water.
Cooper, one of this weekend’s local competitors, says he’s been racing "pretty much my whole life."
EnduroCross is "really intense," he says. "It takes a lot out of you. You definitely need to be in physical shape.
"It’s so fast-paced. Because it’s on a small course, the whole time you’re just constantly going, going, going."
Then, Cooper says, "you just have so many different obstacles compared with a groomed track such as a supercross track or a motocross track. So anything can happen."
Mike Karsting, vice president of events for Source Interlink Media, the event’s producer, says EnduroCross has "been gaining fans every year, as you can tell from the growth of the series. We started with one event in 2004 and now we’re up to eight."
In addition, he says, "EnduroCross was included in the X Games last year and, of course, we’ll be in the X Games this year."
Karsting says the growing popularity of EnduroCross stems in part from its relatability.
First, "it’s a visual thing," he says. "You can’t believe these guys racing over obstacles and the talent level these guys possess.
"But in the real world of motorcycle riding, this is more apropos to what the normal guy does. If you and I go out to ride on a Saturday, not necessarily are we going to go to some crazy motorcycle park where we’re doing 90-foot triple jumps. We’re probably riding in the desert over some rocks and across some streams. This is more in tune to what every offroad guy really does."
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Geico MiniMoto SX event – which begins at 5 p.m. at Orleans Arena – is billed as the largest minibike race in the world.
MiniMoto riders ride "a smaller bike – a pit bike is the slang term for the smaller bike – and race on scaled-down supercross track," Karsting says.
EnduroCross tickets start at $37, while MiniMoto tickets begin at $20. However, Karsting says ticket packages are available for fans who wish to attend both events.
Contact reporter John Przybys at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0280.Preview
What: Geico EnduroCross
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Orleans Arena, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave.
Tickets: $37-$47 (284-7777 or orleansarena.com)