Friday, November 2

Japan 4 - Needs More Cow Tongue

After Rodney and Charlie checked out the track yesterday on the DR-Z 125s, we then headed to lunch in downtown Sendai, which is the closest city to the Sugo track. On the way we saw a big billboard for this place, staring Stefan Everts (this is the same track that hosts the World MX GP in Japan each year).

Sendai is a nice town, amazingly clean and organized, feels very safe, but we ran into trouble at lunch when we stopped at a place that serves “only cow tongue.” Needless to say we moved on. Then at night back at the hotel, our crew was looking for relief from the Japanese food, so they ordered pizza. It came delivered to the hotel just like it would in the US, however, it completely sucked. We’ve now come to the conclusion that good Japanese food is better than bad American food. Well, at least that’s the way Rodney and Charlie’s crew sees it. Alisa and I will eat and like anything over here—hey even the cow tongue just looked like any other piece of beef.

Jason Raines finally showed up last night at about midnight. He left a day later so he could take his little girl trick or treating, and then he didn’t have a flight from Tokyo to Sendai. 2005 Japanese National MX Champion Takeshi Koikeda picked him up at the airport and they drove seven hours to Sendai. Takeshi is a cool guy—I met him when we both stayed at Jim Holley’s house a few winters ago. He’s racing this race and Jason may beat him. Who else would drive their comp seven hours to the track? Jason told me that Takeshi’s two-year-old baby also stayed quiet on the entire seven-hour drive. Japanese babies have discipline!

It was back to the track this morning so the riders can dial in their bikes and also teach a riding school, which should be a 99 out of 100 on the unintentional comedy scale (they have to teach through an interpretor, except he got into a car accident this morning and won’t get in until later this afternoon. The ridiculousness of this all is already beginning…). Jason had a shiny YZ250F waiting for him, and Charlie and Rodney had to draw straws on which of two Suzukis to ride—an RM 250 or an RM-Z250. Yes, this will be Charlie’s debut race on a yellow bike. Oddly, they decided to flip a coin on it and Charlie ended up with the four-stroke—the same bike Rodney had been racing all year, and yet Charlie will race the two-stroke next year. I think they should have switched it up, especially since Rodney hasn’t ridden an RM 250 in two years, anyway.

Each rider got numbers to put on their bike, and they threw on their handlebars and headed to the motocross track to make sure everything works. In fashion true to their character, Jason is taking things much more seriously, bolting on his own bars, looking for his Yamaha mechanic and shipping over tires and moose tubes for the race. Rodney and Charlie are just gonna’ run what they have—Charlie’s RM-Z 250 doesn’t even have hand guards!

I’ll be back to write about the riding school later. But first, I’ll post some photos here. Stay tuned.