Thursday, November 22

It didn't stay in Vegas (Part 17 in a Series)

Friday’s Vegas banquet was as good as we could make it. After the writer’s strike, I did my best as a scab/scumbag to put together a script that could entertain even though we were honoring about 356,782,928 champions—and all in different sports. You think the amateur road race guys care that much about the Enduro guys? Trials and ice racing? So you’re working an uphill battle here and it took 10,000 words and 48 pages to get it done. Easily the longest paper I’ve ever written since the Graduate School PR Thesis I never finished. Luckily, AMA Racing Vice President Doug Neubeaur is a great guy to work with and work for. Doug used to be in charge of just the AMA amateur, but now that the AMA is purging and merging racing staff, he’s in charge of everything, and it’s the kind of positive move the AMA needs. Doug is one of the sharpest, funniest and most down-to-earth guys I know in this business. The new AMA, whatever it turns out to be, will be better at the very least because he’s in charge.

The highlight of the evening? The annual coronation of the AMA Sidecar Motocross champions. This year it’s a husband and wife team doing the winning, the husband rides and the wife hangs on as the “monkey.” In his speech, he said “I’m the only one here allowed to say I spank my monkey every weekend.” Then the wife/monkey challenged me to a race. I’m telling you, that would be epic fun right there.

Congrats out to Walker Fowler, a GNCC prodigy on both bikes and ATVs. Walker’s the next Barry Hawk in both ways. He dominated the Youth ATV ranks for the last three years, and also won his class in Youth bikes year after year, and then won the Overall Youth Bike Title this season. Right now Walker is the fastest 14-year-old in the GNCC Series on both bikes and ATVs, and he’s the first rider to ever win the Youth Rider of the Year Award from the AMA on both bikes and ATVs. Remember Walker, Ohio Ranger!

Also on Friday I got to catch up with guys I haven’t seen in awhile, like AMA Enduro Ace Mike Lafferty, who is one of the coolest dudes ever. Good riding this season, Junior.

After the banquet on Friday, it was on. We headed up to the 51st floor of the Rio to their Voo Doo Club and I busted the Weege dance out. One of the boys in the group was sweet on one of the ladies at the banquet, and she seemed good on him, too. A few of us even put some Vegas odds on his chances. But our man Cernic decided it shall not come to pass, and blocked like Manute Bol. Game over—and unless you’re Special Greg, you don’t mess with Cernic.

Onto the EnduroCross. Too much to explain here, but the Saturday night drama involving the Knighter was a huge bonus. Before the race he told me he was actually really nervous with that $50,000 staring him in the face. For an off-roader, that’s a lot of coin. And remember, he was pretty steamed when he had to fly from EX round 1 in Denver to GNCC in North Carolina in the same weekend. This was supposed to be the pay off—if he could get it.

Well, he didn’t. KTM brought in one of the wildest personalities I’ve ever seen, Polish kid “Taddy” Blazusiak, and he had the stuff on this night. Knight was hoping the KTM peeps would just tell Taddy to lay off, but that’s probably a tough call when you really new to racing, you’re a Polish kid in front of a sold out crowd in Vegas, and you get $10,000 to win the race. He didn’t back off and Knight apparently wasn’t happy. He even ghost rode his bike over a 10-foot section of tires, but Knight told me that’s a traditional “end of the season victory celebration” and not an attempt to take out his frustration.

Anyway, it seemed like the whole industry was bracing themselves for Knight to flip the KTM rig on its side and just Hulk out on little Taddy, but I guess it never happened. Taddy was out front signing autographs and talking to reporters the whole time, and Knight didn’t appear until hours later. And even then they were in the same place and I didn’t see any friction. You know what the funniest part of the whole deal was? Chad Reed was there watching the race, and he came up to Knight and said “Hey, $50,000? I lost $250,000 in the first turn last month!”

Again, Chad is just a dynamo right now and I kind of like it.

It’s Thanksgiving so I gotta’ go. Have a good Holiday. I’m already pumped, because I rolled into small town Ohio with the girlfriend last night, and we immediately got drafted into a turkey calling competition at this local hang out. I just copied her home town grown turkey calling skills and we both made the finals, and got free t-shirts. That’s something to be thankful for!


harescrambled said...

Hey Weege,

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Anonymous said...

So if I understand correctly, you will have a "sidecars-only" race against the monkey, and try to be the first turkey to spank that monkey.