Wednesday, October 31

Tokyo Calling

Just doesn't have the same ring as London, does it? Anyway real quick update here as we hop on the plane out of Chicago, to get on another in San Francisco, to land in Tokyo and then get on another plane to Sendai, which is closer to where they are holding the race. Yes, apparently they really have woods and stuff in Japan!

If I can get on the internet out there this will be the best week of blogging ever. If not, well, we can then say the USA has Japan beat on technology!

Monday, October 29

What a Champion

Big news: Tomorrow night (Tuesday) I'm leaving to go to Japan (yes, JAPAN!) to cover this weekend's final round of the JNCC Series (that's Japan National Cross Country). Charlie Mullins, Rodney Smith and Jason Raines have been invited to race, and yours truly will be there with a lap top and a camera to cover it all. It's kind of old-school to me, not having to do any announcing and instead just being a reporter, but lucky for me I don't speak the language. So I get to enjoy this.

So I'm rushing around getting ready today, and I get an IM that I didn't have time to answer regarding David Knight. The big man is now the GNCC Champion. What we have learned here in the never-ending Knight versus Juha battle is that they're both able to win the GNCC title, so there's just more of a dead heat there. But this year has really shown everyone the difference between the two men, and I'm sure the fans, KTM and the competition sees that.

Who is better. I have no idea. I've said again that Knight is more of the Stewart and Juha more the Carmichael, with Knight perhaps possessing more total jaw-dropping skills and Juha having a more robotic absolutely no nonsense unstoppable sense like Carmichael. On his best day, Stewart may beat RC and Knight might beat Juha, but for a whole season it seems like the consistency of the other would win out (it has for RC. For Juha, we'll never know).

Anyway, another key difference came out in the IM session. Knight has had troubles this year with his mechanic that led to some issues with his bike. He's not kept that secret and has no worries, mate, about telling people about it. He hasn't trashed the old mechanic or the team, but he hasn't kept the dirty laundry behind closed doors (I just paired up two awesome cliches there).

So does that make Knight cool or is he a jerk? Should he reward KTM by saying "everything is awesome I love these guys?" or should he have spoken his mind, and instead said "listen if you don't give me a mechanic up to my standards I'm going to let the public know, so give me what I want!"

Which is the better way to do it? Like Knight versus Juha, we'll never know.

Shaken not Stirred

I'm one tired and dirty reporter/announcer after this weekend's big GNCC finale. Once we get back into Morgantown this afternoon I'll post about it--but for now sell your stock in the Panera Bread chain of restaurants because we've stolen their free internet twice in the last 12 hours (in two different states, no less) just to write stuff like this.

And check out if you want more GNCC scoop.

Thursday, October 25

Say It Ain't Not There

I was afraid of this. I was so scared of it. Over a month ago the AMA/Toyota Motocross Championships wrapped up at Glen Helen. It was an awesome race and event that capped an awesome season. A week after the race took place, it aired on Speed. By then, I was knee deep in GNCC stuff, so I never fired up the DVR to watch the TV coverage. I had watched the previous 11 rounds faithfully, exchanging barbs with this summer's roomate, GNCC and Loretta Lynn's Scoring Master Mind Tim Boryk, which was kept a nice run going from last season, when Andy Bowyer was living here at the Weege house.

Late in the season a format change was made on the TV shows. The first motos were showed as highlights and the second moto was shown in its entirety, as if it was a main event. I will just, um, not say anything about that, because we all know the second moto is not a main event and the first moto counts the same so if you show it any other way it would really just be more confusing for those that don't know that. But this, we already know.

Glen Helen threw a bigger curve ball. At Glen Helen, the whole season was decided in the first moto. The whole darned season. Everything. It was all on the line right there, and the first moto of the Motocross Class essentially gave everyone a chance to win the title at certain moments, but when it counted Grant Langston stepped up and found something no one else could match. It was such good drama, such excitement, such potential for riveting TV.

Langston was in sixth at one point, and it looked like the moto and the title could be anyone's: Ferry, Short, Alessi.... but then Langston got going. Got around Ferry when Timmy tipped over. Got around Windham when he fell. Made an unreal pass on Short which essentially sapped the fight right from Andrew--just ruined him like a guy getting burned bad on a huge pass play. Scratch Ferry and Short from the title chase. Then Langston ran down Alessi in a gutty, gritty effort that essentially won the title for him. Those moments--pressuring Ferry into a crash, passing Short and passing Alessi--won the championship for Langston. And how did Speed cover this once-in-a-decade dramatic battle for the AMA Motocross Championship? They showed the highlights real quick, showed Langston passing Short without even replaying it, (and no one explained how big that move was, no one mentioned that if Short had won the moto while Langston was floundering in the back he would have taken the points lead, but instead Langston turned it all around). Ferry was never seen at all. And on it went, missing one dramatic moment after another. But the boring second moto, when Langston already had the title and the overall pretty much sewn up and nothing was on the line, that was shown in its entirety.

So in the boringness, Sheheen was left to do nothing but repeat 17 times "and with this kind of momentum, Langston could really be a contender for the supercross title next season against James Stewart." Hey, you know what, that's a nice story for next year, but this is THIS YEAR and this was one of the best championship chases ever, so why would you not mention that drama and celebrate it? Oh wait, that's right. It's because the good stuff happened in the first moto and it wasn't shown.

What's a better point to have to repeat to fans? How we could have something cool happen in a few months, or that we have something really cool happening RIGHT NOW?

I know there are probably a million things going on behind the scenes that make these decisions become reality. Perhaps someone at Speed who knows nothing of the individual situation of the race instructed the producers to show it that way. And poor Jeff Emig. The man tries so hard each week to put the show up on his shoulders and add some drama when the footage does not. I'm sure there are reasons for what we are seeing. But it's too bad because what we didn't see was so much better.

Wednesday, October 24

Grove City

In olden days, I used to drive up to Grove City Pennsylvania once a week to do the announcing for the GNCC TV shows. Grove City is home of Gear Racewear, Mototees and the Gear Media and Marketing, which produces the shows. After making the 120 mile drive each week for the last two years, this season we set up a recording studio at the Racer office in Morgantown so I can voice the shows there. It saves tons of time for me--I download the show, do the voice work and then FTP the audio file back over. Much better.

There are a few big projects that require me to come up here, though. Today, for example, myself and Rodney Tomblin are announcing the Loretta Lynn's DVD, so we have to be here since it's a two-man show. And you know what today is? Wednesday.

Every Wednesday here in Grove City they hold a bible study session. I guess it's something some of the employees decided to do, they keep the faith burning with some talks during their Wednesday lunch hour. That's all well and good, except it seems like whenever I do have to come up here to do TV, it happens to be on a Wednesday afternoon. And the scenario, as was repeated once again today, goes like this:

Bible Study Group is out in the conference room listening to some enlightening, inspiring CD. I'm in the room next to them, screaming my lungs out about another GNCC battle-"And now Borich is back in front of Ballance!!!! David Knight has taken over the leeeeeeeeaaaaad!!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE COME FROM BEHIND EFFORT FROM BARRY HAWK!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And out in the conference room, while trying to listen to "peace on earth and good will to men" they are just bombarded with "Oh my GOD WHAT A BATTLE BETWEEN THESE TWO!!!!! THIS IS ALL OUT WAR!!!!!"

While listening to "do unto others as you would do unto yourself" they're also hearing "KNIGHT DOES NOT CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS HE IS OUT THERE TO TAKE THIS CHAMPIONSHIP AWAY FROM MULLINS!!!!!"

Then when it's all over I come back over into the conference room and eat some of the pizza the study group ordered.

Tuesday, October 23

It didn't stay in Vegas

Because the blog melted down in Vegas, I now have to recap what happened out there a week or so later. Don't complain-- Vegas stories aren't supposed to be told at any time ever (have you seen the commercials) so this is still way ahead of those standards.

Anyway, Friday night's race was one of the boringest of all time, as Chad Reed showed that whether he has been working/training or couching/gaining weight (choose whichever you want to believe) he is still that man out of any supercross field that doesn't include the names Stewart or Carmichael (let's just ignore that little X Games glitch).

He got the holeshot in the main and pulled away slowly from Langston, and I'm sure that was the test everyone was looking for: could GL hang with the big dogs indoors. He was close, but Reed had him covered and basically it looked like yawner time for the rest of the weekend. Unless you count heading to the circle bar at the MGM on Friday night, when Matthes and Billy Ursic conned me into actually gambling and playing blackjack (by conned, I mean asking "hey you want to play blackjack?" and then I said yes). I promptly lost $40 and my mind because I hate spending money on anything let alone nothing, which I had just done. I was very angry at myself and promptly called the girlfriend back home (it was about 6 am back there) and apologized for spending he kids' college fund on gambling. However, I will not apologize if the spending involved cigarettes, alcohol or loose women....

Oh boy.

Anyway that was Friday. Saturday was a strange day because we had already completed all of our pre show work for Supercross Live! the day before so I actually got to roam the pits and be a real human being to the riders, instead of "the guy who walks around with the microphone all the time." It was an easy day until controversy broke out at the GNCC taking place way back in Ohio, as Chris Borich won the ATV overall but was later accused of turning off the race track as a short cut. So I was running damage control and trying to get to the bottom of the whole issue right up until showtime in Vegas--in fact, Carrie Coombs called me several times while I was on the air, so I really couldn't take the call. On the third call, I actually picked up the phone, held it to my mouth and said, "Yes folks we are on the air live here in Las Vegas for the US Open!!!" so she would stop calling.

So it was a bit more exciting way to begin the show, but then it got so much better in the main event when Reed--trying to get $250,000 by winning the holeshot and the main--drove so hard into turn one that he basically dove into it without his bike. I wonder if the holeshot counts if you slide over it with your body and not your bike? Either way he was down way before they even got to the holeshot line and all of the top dogs went down with him, and suddenly Jake Weimer was going to win the race and Josh Demuth had a shot at the overall, which was about the coolest thing ever.

By now you already know all of this, so I'll skip to the end and say that Tim Ferry tried to fight Reed to basically give Reed "the cycle," as in he had pissed off just about everyone in the building for the weekend. The only bad part is he did this on the same weekend in which Live Nation hung a boxing ring from the ceiling of the place, and it never parlayed into an actual match up there. Still, I'm all for Reed calling people out because it's exciting. Everyone is always complaining that these guys aren't talking junk or giving exciting interviews, well, Reed's bringing some heat with him everywhere he goes so love it (or hate it) just like we've been asking for.

After the race I had to write a whole bunch of stuff about the GNCC back in Ohio, which meant working while everyone else was partying. I wasn't happy about it, but at the same time you don't need a good start out here: the nights are long and there's always time for a come-from-behind effort. I did just that when I found a great line through the pack. SX PR guru Denny Hartwig got Ursic and I into this club called Tabu, and I got to do the Weege dance on these marble dance tables that are basically just a lawsuit waiting to happen. How can you have girls dancing in heels on a marble table that's only about three feet wide, which is probably soaked in liquid, and if they fall off they're crashing down onto the hard floor or the drink cart? And even if the drink cart did break the fall, imagine how pissed people would be if you crashed into their $900 bottle of vodka.

After all that dancing and such, it was back to the circle bar to see who was circling. Matthes was there with Racer X Canada's Danny Brault, who I used to know as the "guy who crashed DC's bike really bad at Steel City a few years ago" but will now be known as "the guy who rips the sleeves off of shirts." Honestly I had been looking to experience the tao of Brault, so when he asked if he could rip the sleeves off of the free US Open shirt I was wearing, I have him an obvious yes. Unfortunately he went way too far and started ripping off the whole damned shirt. It was at this point that Matthes suddenly was no longer with Danny and just happened to be in the same bar as him at the same time.

Then Danny tried pulling the same act with Kawasaki team manager Mike Fisher and Fish didn't like it, so Danny had to go around looking for a shirt to replace Fish's, and he paid some guy like $10 for a worn white undershirt (awesome deal for the guy who sold the shirt. Even in Vegas I can't imagine the undershirts the people wear are worth very much). Luckily Fisher was cool once he got the used undershirt on (surprisingly---would you want to just throw on some dude's shirt?) so everything was kosher. I started talking to Fish and KTM's Sel Narayana about training, bikes, basically solving the world's problems until an MGM security guy came over and said "sir you have to leave, your shirt is ripped." By then I had been, um, hanging in the bar for quite some time and feeling pretty talkative, so I said back to him "well if it's really a problem why have you let me stand here in this bar for the last three hours." Not surprisingly he didn't like that and said "Sir, your breasts are showing."

Again I said "well, if that's a problem, why didn't you tell me this earlier?"

He then said "Sir, if you don't leave I will call the police because you're trespassing (honestly, does that even make sense????)" but I figured at that point I had better just get out before he put me in jail. I wouldn't want the inmates staring at my exposed breasts.

So that was it--I had to leave the conversation with Fisher and Sel because my shirt was ripped. Only in Vegas...

Don't tell anyone.

Friday, October 19

More Comebacks than Demuth, more shots than Ferry took at Reed

Okay cue the recording: I'm back baby!

This is the 174,000th time Blogandt has started and stalled and returned since we started it back in October '05, (and be We, I mean me, since surely I alienate all of my readers with these drop outs--I've had more of them than James Stewart and Sean Hamblin combined during the 2005 AMA Nationals).

Back then Bubba and Hambone were racing on KX250s, antiquated equipment by 2005. Well, I was apparently competing on a 2005 in 2007, as the Word Press software I've been using for the last year just isn't cutting it anymore. I started this blog on The Racing Paper website, got booted once I left the helm of that paper to Billy Ursic, and the jumped onto Word Press. Then my server melted down in August, I got placed on the Racer X server a few weeks later, and then Word Press got hijacked last Friday. I believe it got hijacked by Chad Reed, because the last post I was able to make regarded him, and then I couldn't post another thing after that. Also, the customized look of the blog got stripped away by the hjackers. And the comment function went away. And then I couldn't log in to my own blog.

But that's okay. For the past few months the Racer X gang has been developing a blog section of the Racer X site. Managing editor Bryan Stealey had a blog going, Steve Bruhn has his Weekend Window, and we're about to add Sarah Whitmore to the blogger list. There are more to come, too, because we're going to build a blog community at Racer X and blogandt will be the centerpiece.

(I made up the part about this being the centerpiece)

Anyway that's the deal. Blogandt is back and my all-time dream for this blog, that it would become work related, and hence work required to I would have NO CHOICE but to update it is almost here.

I also have about 50,000 words worth of stuff from the US Open but that's so last weekend (look for it next week right here anyway. Enjoy your weekend folks (and Matthes)).

Friday, October 12

US Open

Okay, the press conference wasn’t quite as big this year as last year. Let’s see. Last year we had Ricky Carmichael making a huge announcement about going car racing. Ricky’s “big secret” which had not been announced at all at the time is obviously going to draw some people.

A year later, Bobby Ginn and his money is all gone, Ricky is really, really done racing motorcycles but should hang on to the car deal through DEI, and James Stewart is your defending AMA SX Champ but also a late entry into the event. Stewart wasn’t here today, though, so it was up to Reed to bring some fireworks, and damn if he did.

Reed A) made sure that he DID NOT praise the 2008 YZ450F like Grant Langston had this summer. “Grant is good at his job, which is to sell motorcycles.”"

B) took the criticism for not riding the nationals head on, which is awesome really because most people probably wouldn’t have gone there. But Reed usually doesn’t duck the issues, and I give him credit for that. In fact, I thought he had more to give on that one so I kept going back to the same question about the nationals, and finally when I asked “does people bad mouthing you about not racing nationals give you motivation?” he said it did, because “people think I am a pussy and I’m afraid to work hard. Well I’m not afraid of it.”

I think that’s about as good of an answer as I have ever gotten out of a press conference, too bad there just weren’t many people left here to hear it.

I was so impressed that I actually went up to Chad after it to say thanks. He smiled big and said “hey man nice job on the nationals this year on line, I was listening to them at home.” I said “Oh yeah? Hey thanks.” And he said “Yeah I heard you talking shit on me for not racing” and then he walked away.

Now I don’t know if he’s joking or if he was really pissed, but hey, here I am writing about it freely because I know he’s not going to read this, so I can’t really act like I’m Mr. Tough Guy. Plus, although I don’t really remember taking any shots at him this summer, I guarantee that if I did 10 5-hour long webcasts, I must have said something at some point. So again, at least he was up front about it. Hey, I’m sure I made fun of him, but I never did say he was a pussy.

Thursday, October 11

Scratch that: he didn't scratch

Shows what I know. Now James Stewart is IN for the race this weekend, which which either means A) all bets are off or perhaps even more accurately B) all bets are on.

You bet!

Wednesday, October 10

And We're Back

Tonight I’m on a plane to Vegas to get back into the Supercross swing. Yes, supercross!!! Is anyone really ready for the U.S. Open? We know now that RC isn’t, and James isn’t, and “fat sitting on the couch” Chad Reed will be there but I don’t know if he’s ready–although he’ll end up riding well enough anyway. Is Langston racing? Alessi is on his new Suzook–can he possibly be prepared for this? What about the 250F guys racing against 450s?
This is going to be interesting and going to be good. The Rockstar Energy Drink US Open is here. We’ll be blogging all weekend, and also, we have a press conference tomorrow at noon (I think that’s noon Pacific but knowing me I will just show up three hours late) and of course a webcast starring myself and long time broadcast colleague Jim Holley on both Friday and Saturday night.
Wish you were there, but if you can’t be, tune us in!