Thursday, August 28

Do you remember that?

Oh big deal, Brett Favre now plays for the New Jersey-based New York Jets. Oh big deal, Bon Jovi was going to play tonight in Denver as part of Barack Obama's acceptance speech (although now, apparently, it won't happen). I got to meet the real Garden State legend. Check out this edition of The Bottom Line Show from Southwick. Click here.

Tuesday, August 26

Southwick 2

Well I got lit up pretty good on my de Reuver comments from the other morning, and you folks are probably right. The guy was really fun and cool, and man was he fast when he was on the gas in the first moto. He was totally on target with what he thought, speed wise. He may or may not have been able to beat Short but otherwise, he had every American in the class besides Stewart covered.

However, I still feel like he set a high standard for himself. If he said "I don't know where I was going to finish" and did what he did, it would have been amazing. Instead, he set a target that he fell short of. He didn't fall short because he sucks or anything like that, he fell short because there were all kinds of different conditions he couldn't have been ready for--different bumps, different strategy, different weather. Those types of changes are hard to predict and plan for, so when he dropped his podium goal last week, I thought "uh oh."

But the most interesting part of this whole process is that I didn't see the fans light up against the guy. This sport has come a long way in accepting riders from other countries, to the point where I don't think people even consider riders like Langston, Reed, Metty or whoever a rider from another country. They're just riders, just like everyone else. I saw nothing but respect for De Reuver from the fans. It wasn't that way for poor JMB back in the day. Even the dynamic around the Motocross des Nations has changed. When I was a kid at Unadilla back in the day, it was a total USA versus the World battle, you would have thought Communism was headed to the White House if the Yanks lost that race. In the end, the US was battling Belgium and Holland--not exactly enemies there. Plus, most importantly, it was just a motocross race.

Anyway, we've come a long way. I'm sure fans are still going to be pumped on the des Nations this fall, just like when Everts passed Stewart in '06 and the world nearly exploded, or when RC passed Everts in '02 and the world nearly exploded. But, it's cool to see how far we've come to accepting riders for simply being good riders, regardless of where they're from. If I had this blog 20 years ago, I would have gotten nothing but giant thumbs ups from everyone who read it.

Monday, August 25


WHY WHY WHY does a guy like "Calimero" Marc de Reuver say things like “Hopefully I can make the podium in Southwick. Or is that aiming too high, I’m not really sure? At least I get the impression that apart from ‘Superman’ James Stewart I can beat any American in the sand."

Okay, the odds of doing that are ridiculous. First, de Reuver did poorly the last time he was here. Second, if you're basing your expectations on watching the race on tape or looking at photos, you're way off again because Southwick doesn't ride like it looks. Is it a sand track? Yes. Is it like the sand that de Reuver races on in Holland? No. Plus, there are a million different elements that video tape can't explain, like getting jet lag (which got the best of him when he tried this race in 2001) or dealing with heat and humidity (which got him this time).

It wasn't nearly as hot and humid as it was expected to be at Southwick in August, and yet the heat and the pace and the intensity got to de Reuver. For four laps in the first moto, the guy was insane fast, and he well and truly blew the doors off of Tim Ferry coming through the pack. But in the second moto, he wasn't the same. Once Matt Georke started pulling him, you knew he was in trouble. I mean, when you say you can beat any American in the sand besides James Stewart, and you're in seventh and freaking Matt "Beef" Georke is pulling away from you, you're going to look bad. Then de Reuver crashed and that was it. Now, the man was super crazy fast for a few laps. He obviously can ride. Plus he was really cool and fun and funny. But, that doesn't take away from what he said. Just say things like "I'm not sure what's going to happen, it's totally different so I don't know." Otherwise you create a battle that doesn't need to happen, and then you lose.

Instead de Reuver created a battle that didn't need to happen, and he lost.

Thursday, August 21

16 Year Old Adults

Oh sure, Shawn Johnson is talented and cute and Nastia Liukin is focused and elegant. We heard it over and over for the last two weeks, and for the moment, these girls are America's little darlings. As such, they were thrust into the spotlight, with appearances live on set with Bob Costas, or appearances on the Today Show. You feel like you get to know someone really well in such a very short span, and then you realize you've never heard their voice before.

When the girls did get their turn to talk, they looked way more nervous than they did when they were performing. But no one would blame them. After all, these girls are 16 and 18 years old, and they've never been in this situation before. They're just kids. They're high school aged, they haven't even gone to college yet. And with this Jason Lawrence business this summer, hasn't everyone weighed in with their "Hey, I remember when I was a kid I did a lot of dumb stuff too..."

But here's the funny part about motocross. We don't have 16 year old kids. We don't have cute darlings. We don't have people who are just of high school age, or who haven't even entered college. By the time a motocross rider at the same level of Shawn Johnson or Nastia Liukin shows up, he's expected to be a man, to be mature, to be a pro and to not be a kid. We don't have 16-year-old kids in this sport. We have 16-year-old adults.

I'm sure when the nation saw Johnson nervously squeezing her medals on Tuesday night, they thought it was cute that she was that nervous. After all, she's just a kid!

In motocross, you're mature way beyond that. Motocross riders have been interviewed a billion times by the time they turn 20. Trey Canard and Jimmy Albertson came on our webcast this weekend and it seemed like it was old hat to them.

Sure, our webcast reaches about a zillionth of the audience the Today Show does, but that shouldn't dismiss how impressively well spoken today's teenaged motocross star is.

As always, we have a tendency to forget just how young our athletes really are. The new champion of the AMA Motocross Class, the one who had to get beaten down for three years by the Greatest Of All-Time, would have spent this summer in NFL Rookie Camp if he played football. For us, he's expected to carry the sport on his shoulders and into the masses. That's as impressive as anything he can do on the track, or Johnson can do on a balance beam.

Monday, August 18

Millville (2)

Talk about eating crow! I didn't expect any of the "new kids" to do anything at Millville, but we did cover them hard on the Racer X Motocross Show from Saturday because our producer/director, Wes Williams, is a hardcore amateur motocross fan. But I was shocked, SHOCKED, with the performance of Blake Wharton on Sunday. Blake wasn't even up front early in the week at Loretta's, and even when he rebounded later in the week to win motos, he still didn't look dominant. But I think he dealt with the pressure better than the other rookies. I saw him on Sunday and he said "It's just another race," and it actually seemed believable.

In the first moto, Blake crashed on the first lap, came all the way back to 9th, crashed again back to 12th, and then finished 10th. That's a lot of energy spent, which doesn't bode well for a rider who hasn't race 30 minute motos before (and practicing 30 minute motos at home isn't the same).

In moto two, Blake got the start and even kept Ryan Dungey honest for the first ten minutes. He was going really, really fast. For Blake, it must have felt like the moto went on for an hour, because eventually Brett Metcalfe got to him, and then eventually Villopoto did. Blake must have been tired at the end, but 4th place is VERY impressive.

Now, will this be a signal of just how good Blake Wharton is going to be as a pro? Or is this another one of those amazing first national performances that won't have a follow up? We'll see.

Sunday, August 17


Whoa, we're back to racing. Feels like we haven't been here in months, although it has only been two weeks. But what a difference that time makes. Ivan Tedesco is back. Broc Hepler is back. Gavin Gracyk is back. We've got ten (10!) new rookies from the amateur ranks. Stewart and Villo can wrap their titles. Sounds like a good weekend.

Although, this year's rookies don't quite have the promise that last year's did. A little-said secret out of Loretta's this year is the fact that last year's rookie crop--Canard, Stroupe and Izzi--were so darned good that it makes this year's entrants a little less exciting. If Blake Wharton, PJ Larsen and the rest want to go all Michael Phelps and use this as bulletin board material, go ahead, but it's not the same as last year's gang, and the lap times from today in practice prove it.

Still, Larsen is the kind of guy who looks really really fast when he rides. So he's fun to watch, and Blake Wharton has, bar none, the best hair to ever roll to an AMA starting line. So there's that...but in the motos, expect the same old names up front, which means a pair of championships wrapped up by the real dominators of American sport. Not Phelps, but Stewart and Villo.

Thursday, August 14

Real Journalism

As you can see, we take our jobs very seriously here. Check out a rousing round of the Bottom Line Show on here.

And yes, I will announce anything.

Tuesday, August 12

An Olympic Moment

First of all....I'm back baby!

Second, I had a weekend off and I was supposed to be all "I don't want to look at a motorcycle, I'm burned out" etc. Yes, a week at Loretta's takes years off of your life, but I'll take those years off at the end, not now.

Anyway, I tried to stay away and do stuff around the house, tried to start planning out that wedding thing (we have like a full month to go, that's plenty of time to get this ready, right?) but in the end it all came back to motocross. I kept thinking about the nationals The Olympics began on Friday night, and we've been watching them solid since. And what did I see???

Swimmer Michael Phelps is going to...oh wait, just made, Olympic history by logging more gold medals than anyone else in the history of the games. Amazing. It really hit me during his record-breaking swims tonight. First, the announcers knew he was going to win. They also knew how he was going to win. "It will look like the other swimmers can challenge him at first, but in the last turn he will make them look like boys, and they're not boys, they are the best swimmers in the world."

And then, that's exactly what happens. No crazy upsets. A few stay with him, then eventually he makes the turn, leaves the pack behind and wins again.

Even in the "wide open" events, ones without a Phelps in it, the TV people already know who the contenders are, and lo and behold those contenders become the only actual contenders for the win once the race begins.

Does this sound familiar? Is this not James Stewart? Before the race begins you know who is going to win. You know who is better than everyone else, and then it happens exactly like it's expected to.

In this year of dominance, I've been working hard to try to make sense of why motocross can become so lop sided. Everyone comes up with theories. We need easier tracks. We need harder tracks. It's the four-strokes. It's the works bikes. It's lazy kids who don't train or try. It's...whatever. Honestly, what it really is is, is that it is what it is. It's a sport. Yeah there are motors, and hence we have a Motocross des Nations instead of Olympic competition. But when you watch it every weekend and then watch this on your weekend off, it's not different at all.

Friday, August 8

YouTube Bails Me Out From Actually Posting Again

Did you even know Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine had like videos and stuff? Check out this gem, basically Thriller just set in a jail.

Thursday, August 7

He Almost Beat Favre

Well, he didn't sign with the Jets and he doesn't wear number four (I guess it was already taken) but it's now official: Chad Reed is racing with Rockstar Makita Suzuki next year. Suzuki just sent us the press release and then I stole it from Racer X. As you can see, we won't get Chaddy Daddy for the nationals next year, but I bet if he gets an itch to try one (like he wants to do right now) Roger D and the crew will have a bike ready for him. Here's the official part:

Chad Reed Signs with Rockstar Makita Suzuki

2008 AMA Supercross Champion, Chad Reed, Joins Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki.

Brea, CA (August 6, 2008) - American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) announced today that they have signed current AMA Supercross Champion, Chad Reed, to join the Rockstar Makita Suzuki factory race team for 2009. Reed will race the 2009 AMA Supercross series and other selected events in the United States as well as compete in supercross events in his home country of Australia aboard his Suzuki EFI RM-Z450.

“We have a great heritage in racing here at American Suzuki,” said Mel Harris of ASMC. “Suzuki has been dominant in the road racing arena for several years and with the introduction of the RM-Z450 and the help of Ricky Carmichael, Roger DeCoster and our dedicated team, we’ve been able to elevate our position in supercross and motocross to that championship level. The signing of Chad helps us reinforce our position and goals for the future of Suzuki racing. We are very happy to have Chad join our team.”

Chad Reed, 26, began racing professionally in the United States in 2002 and since then he’s earned two AMA Supercross Championships (2004 & 2008), an AMA 125cc East Region Championship (2002) and won the 2004 US Open. Over the last six years he has amassed a total of 42 AMA wins and 82 podiums.

“I’m extremely excited to be starting a new chapter in my career and to be working with Roger DeCoster and Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki,” said Reed. “It will be a whole new experience for me which I’m really looking forward to. I rode Suzukis for a good part of my amateur career and have some great memories from then and now I’m excited to be racing the new Suzuki EFI RM-Z450. I believe this bike and my new team have great potential and I couldn’t be happier.”

“I am very excited to have been able to sign Chad Reed to Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki,” said team manager, Roger DeCoster. “Our team has worked very hard to get to the level we are at today and I’m glad we’ve been able to secure a rider with such accomplishments and determination as Chad so that we may continue to be top contenders. Our sponsors have been extremely supportive over the years and I’m happy that we are able to provide them a top-level rider and team to support him.”

Reed’s first race with Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki will most likely be the Rockstar Energy Drink US Open at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on October 10th through 12th.

For more information on all of Suzuki’s race teams, please log on to

Finally the wait is over

Brett Farve has been traded to the Jets. It's over. Now we can all move on with our lives. Nothing to see here. Look away. Put it behind you. Focus on something else. Please. I know it's going to be hard to watch SportsCenter and see some news on something else, but we're all going to have to accept the fact that this debacle is complete and maybe find out something else about another team or sport, finally. Hope we can live with this.

Wednesday, August 6

How Could I Resist

You know, I was trying to lay low this week and do normal stuff like mow the lawn. I was going to ignore the blog for one more week.

But how do I NOT blog something like this?

Thursday, July 31

Covert update: Loretta's

Pssst. We're announcing sun up to sun down here at Loretta Lynn's, and I don't have time to blog. I just snuck in to Rita's motorhome here at 2 a.m. to get internet access. Please check out the usual site for our daily MX SportsCenter shows from the Ranch. They're hosted by myself and Kevin Kelly of DMXS Radio, and they're basically just like a daily edition of the Racer X Motocross Show.

Oh no! The boss lady is coming. I'm out!

Sunday, July 27


We're almost ready to go on the air here in Washington. We had some rain this morning just to remind everyone that we're in the Pacific Northwest, and it subsided just in time for the second practice sessions, probably made the track better, in fact. Yesterday the track was even showing dust in a few spots late in the day, but now it looks perfect, and apparently, rides that way. The WMA just finished their second moto and Tarah Geiger said the track is "bad ass." We'll see. I talked to some of the AMA guys and they said this track doesn't get dug up as deep as some of the others on the tour so it doesn't always get as rough, but of course, there's always mixed judgement on if rough tracks are better or not. Yes, rough stuff seperates the "men from the boys" or even in the WMA's case, the Women from the girls. But smoother tracks, supposedly, create better racing because the gap is closer between everyone. This is one of those questions we'll never find the real answer to. Also, the AMA boys said this track develops different lines because most of the turns are big sweepers, and the track doesn't have a lot of straight sections. A track like Budds Creek, for example, runs straights and turns, straights and turns, whereas this one just runs big turns. When you have simple 18o degree corners it's easy to develop 5 ruts in those turns and hence, 5 lines. It doesn't quite work out that way when the track has big sweepers like this.

Does any of this matter? Aren't Stewart and Villopoto going to kill it anyway? Probably, so let's dig deeper.

A real battle this weekend may shape up between Jeff Alessi and Jimmy Albertson, who are both in the running for a factory Honda ride at Millville. Yesterday they both told me they were faster than each other when the tested with Honda on Wedesday. Yes, both faster than each other. Also, both said the factory bike is way better. Who will beat who this weekend? This is a question factory Honda and fantasy motocross team owners out there are wondering about. Albertson is taking no chances, though. He bought a sweet 1980's era exercise bike at a garage sale on the way to the track yesterday and set it up outside of the Moto XXX rig, which is transporting his bike. So now he's all warmed up and in fact going really fast in practice.

It's funny that both Jeff and Jimmy ended up riding under the same tent this weekend, by the way.

For my fantasy team, the question is who should I pick? Albertson, Alessi or Antonio Balbi or some combination of all of them? I think this is the battle to watch today.

Okay I'm back.

Thursday, July 24

The Real Red Riders

I'm bracing for the biggest trip of the year--Washougal to Loretta's--so I don't have much to write here. So I'm going to share the raw, undeveloped notes I typed in at Unadilla.

Mud, privateers Jacob Morrison, Marsack, Carpenter, Balbi crossed in 4th and pointed to the sky

JS in PC: “That ground had hit me so many times I felt like I had to kick it back”

Josh Hill bad luck both motos. Crash moto one in 3rd, looked like brake troubles in moto 2.

Townley on the show had to leave to cheer Cooper, said the #9 and the #101 had nothing for him in pre season

Cooper had mud tires on for second moto, helped get start. Stewart admitted hard pack

Like I thought, the soil wasn't different. All that sand got pushed off, may have had something to do with expecting rain, you can’t disc as deep, may have to ask. Yamaha manager Jim Perry said it was "a little different."

Davalos bike trouble in first moto, third in moto two for third straight race.

Awesome Lites moto 1 battle for third. Georke crashed out of third.

Canard stopped for goggles in moto 2

Short second moto troubles in mud (hates mud)

Hahn had holeshot and was third in lites moto two when they red flagged. He lost the most

Summey hurt, Jeff Alessi was battling with Albertson

Cunningham awesome 1st moto

That's what I have.

A brewing story right now is a possible opening on the Honda Red Bull Racing team since the #118, #9 and #101 bikes are all parked. The boards are saying Jimmy Albertson may get a shot. And Jeff Alessi hinted on the webcast last week that something big was going to happen this weekend, but Matthes told me nothing is supposed to change as far as the Moto XXX team is concerned (Jeff was riding under the Moto XXX tent anyway, but he's not a full-fledged member of the team because he has a clothing deal with Alpinestars). I honestly don't expect Jeff or Jimmy Alberston to be full-on Honda Red Bull factory guys, but maybe they will get some support. When you combine Honda and Red Bull in one team, I don't think you have a team that just throws deals around so quickly.

And how about Cody Cooper? That dude is tearing it up, but Suzuki had Alessi going strong early in the season and now Byrner is on it, so they're not as desperate for results as they could be. I think Cody has a good thing going and shouldn't mess with it. Plus, I don't think Cooper cares...about anything, really. Matthes actually told me an awesome story, where a bunch of fans went by Cooper's pit at Budd's Creek and said "yeah, doing it for the privateer. Keep it up Cody!" So Cody says thanks and stuff, and then turns to his buddy and said "So, what's a privateer anyway?"

Tuesday, July 22

Two Chicks Going At It!

Here's a clip of Danica Patrick getting in Milka Duno's face at the Indy race over the weekend. The argument perfect. Danica even makes sure to say "What the hell?" to ensure no cussing.

Monday, July 21

450 Words

And I also wrote 450 Words this week. Check it out here.

250 Words

Here's the 250 Words column I put together for Racer X Online today.

Saturday, July 19

Unadilla Saturday

Well, the more you change the more it stays the same. I know they dumped a lot of sand onto the track here at Unadilla, but at the end of the day, it seemed like a lot of that sand had ended up off the side of the track, and the surface wasn't a whole lot different than the past. Yamaha Team Manager Jim Perry told me it was "a little different" but in reality I don't think anyone thought it was drastically different than the past. But the layout was different in a few areas, and the riders all seemed to like the new sections.

But hey, it's Unadilla, and even all-time New York veteran Jammin' Jimmy Weinert told me he never really liked this track. "It was hard, it was Unadilla! No one looked forward to the hardest track the most."

I then made fun of Jimmy because the old-school guys are supposed to say they walked up hill to school both ways and liked it. But Jimmy said he's beyond old-school now.

The track still gets rough here, though. Ryan Villopoto had the fastest lap of anyone today but that came in the first session, and he was a whopping four seconds slower in session two. That's how much rougher the track has gotten.

I was on on Wednesday talking about watching the races on TV, and seeing where riders make up time. David Izer and I discussed watching videos of the races and seeing where speed can be made up. So this week Trey Canard is on a rampage, telling me non-stop "Oh yeah I watched more video so now I'll just win. It's that easy right?" Canard and his gang are one funny group, actually, and it was cool bantering with them. Now if he just watches more video maybe he'll win tomorrow!


On the way to Unadilla tonight, driving the 5.7L V8 w/ 401 lb.ft of torque Toyota Tundra on I-90 East, I went past a cop doing 80 in a 65 zone. He flicked his lights on and I knew I was done. But lo and behold I looked up and saw an exit coming up. I've always wondered "What if you just got off the highway and they couldn't find you?"

So I exited. And lo and behold the lights kept on running straight! I did it! I got away with it!

Then later I got back on the highway and the cop had nabbed someone else. Yeehaw!

Special thanks to Toyota for the getaway vehicle.

Wednesday, July 16


Whoa, the whole wedding thing almost got the best of us, but now the invitations are done and in the mail. So each and every one of you loyal Blogandters can expect to see an invite soon. I've illegally wire tapped all of you to get your address, and for those that I couldn't get, I just Googled ya'.

By the way, the misses came up with an awesome idea to make invitations. She designed the things and then saved the design as a photo, and then we just ran the file down to Wal-Mart and got the photos developed. So now we have high-end glossy color invites for way cheap. As you know, though, it can never be that easy when you're dealing with Wal-Mart. When I went to pick up the developed photos, the worker guy just started searching every drawer they had until his finally admitted "Man, I know we developed them, but I just can't find them. Can you just come back in an hour? I'll run them again."

So an hour later he had a new batch of photos. But they never found the originals, which can only mean one thing. Someone else has them!

So, uh, we'll see how many people show up to this wedding.

By the way, don't underestimate Wal-Mart when shopping for wedding stuff. All you have to do is look at the workers and clientele there and you will never, ever, want to go back into the dating pool. Your future husband/wife will never look as hot as they do when set against the backdrop of Wal-Mart. And as such, maybe you'll spend a few extra bucks to make sure they stick with you.

Sunday, July 13

Budd's Creek

Man, it's hot here. Big difference between holding this race in July instead of June. Track is run in reverse, too, which I believe will make for a more fair start. Last year's 180 degree left hand first turn gave the advantage to anyone with an inside gate pick. This year the pack makes a 90 degree left before heading up hill. Also, the track is in much better shape than it was for the National last year, and race promoter John Beasley is in better condition as well. Last year he had flipped his quad a month or so before the race and was in no condition whatsoever for the national. Note now that the track is better.

But Beasley decided to throw small bark chips down to soften the soil, instead of using sand like it seems every other track does. I talked to a few people, and they say that while the wood chips make the track look like it would have good traction, it doesn't actually doesn't. We'll see.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what the track is like, you're not gonna' stop James and Ryan. Enjoy the build up!

Wednesday, July 9


Spotted this news flash when I signed on to AOL IM yesterday:

Mini-Me's sex-tape co-star is responsible for its release, claims TMZ. Verne Troyer's ex, aspiring model Ranae Shrider, now admits to leaking the teaser footage, and plans to shop the whole shebang around town. And you thought your ex was bad ... (July 3)

Man what a great move by this aspiring model! She obviously wants to get attention to help boost her career. And if she's an aspiring model, she must be decently hot. So, you work over Mini-Me for a few weeks, video tape it, and then sell it because let's be honest, a video of some hot chick running Mini-Me might be enough to make the internet explode. She'll make big bucks and get big attention. Folks, here we are fighting a down economy and in desperate need for technological breakthroughs on energy efficiency. But just when you think we've run out of smart people in the world, someone comes up with this!

Wait! Google has led me to more info on the girl right here.

Just Let This Press Release Speak for Itself

Monster Energy Supercross Champ Reed to Throw out First Pitch at Angels Game

AURORA, Ill. (July 9, 2008) – To commemorate Chad Reed’s 2008 Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, and to help kick off the ticket on-sale of 2009 Monster Energy® Supercross season, Chad Reed will throw out the honorary first pitch before the Angels and Indians game at Angel Stadium July 22.

“Angel Stadium is a special place for me; it’s where I won my first supercross race, so I am really looking forward to this,” said Reed. “I have never been to a baseball game before. Baseball is not very popular in Australia; we play cricket. I’m hoping I can make the throw all of the way to the catcher without throwing out my shoulder!”

On the pressure of making the pitch to home plate, Reed said, “I am not even going to practice. I like the pressure.”

Reed, 26, of Tampa Fla., captured the second AMA Supercross class title of his career earlier this year at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium. En route to winning the championship, Reed captured nine wins and earned an additional four podium appearances. Reed became one of two riders to sweep all three race wins at Angel Stadium. A native of Australia, Reed came to the U.S. in 2002 and enjoyed success immediately winning the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship. Reed is now third in the all-time AMA Supercross class win list with 35.

Motorcycles are fun, heavy

Just when I think the quality of my posts should be in question, I catch this randomn blog post from the Sporting News website. Click here and then try to figure out if this guy is trying to make a point, or if he just really wanted a reason to show the Alessi clip.

Tuesday, July 8

One Phase in the Comeback

We had a short discussion at Red Bud about Jason Lawrence's career prospects. At one point, a few of us thought he may have trouble getting a team to hire him, but then we realized that talent and speed and a SX number-one plate are the hottest commodities in this business. He will be back on the track somewhere down the road, and he will have good support doing it.

A few votes went out for a crazy team of Chad Reed and Jason on all-black Hondas, maybe backed by Carey Hart or even the Metal Mulisha. They'd both be sporting number-one plates, and if you're looking for buzz, well, Reed's contract status and Lawrence's 'issues' are the hottest topics this summer. And now neither of them are even racing!

But the reality is this: no matter what team Lawrence ends up on, you will see a press release about it saying two things:

A) He's using this as a positive.

B) He's in the best shape of his life.

And now that the apology is out we already have A) taken care of. Look for the best shape of his life PR in a few months.

Propers out to The Crown AMG marketing group who emailed out the apology today. They really tried to make it sound like Lawrence wrote that.

(Update 7/8/08: I have now heard from good sources that Lawrence did indeed write that letter, and now even the AMA has released an official press release on the matter. I stand corrected.)

That group has always done a good job of promoting what they have. J-Law's agent Scott Sepkovic, for example, has never done anything but compliment us on the stuff we write/say about J-Law. The man knows that to promote J-Law properly, bad press is good press.

Although it might be so bad right now, they'll have to try to turn it into a positive.

And Here It Is

J-Law issues an apology.

Monday, July 7

Things You Hear in the Night

At about 3 am on the drive home from Red Bud last night, I'm doing everything I can to stay sharp.The combination of Monster, Monster Java, and a grande Starbucks pitch in to help, but the true mind stimulation comes courtesy of XM Radio. I have CNN on, and they're playing a superb episode of Nancy Grace. They're talking about the recent story where a husband takes his wife on a honeymoon in Australia and then kills her while they're scuba diving.

These shows are always reaching to fill time. They run the same stock footage over and over, they bring in analysts who have never met the people involved, and they generally run on rampant speculation. So that's what led to this horrible analysis, which, in my highly focused state, I could not miss.

I found the clip on YouTube, just scroll to minute 4:50

So, to review, in just 11 days of marriage, this wife grew a backbone and some self esteem, and the husband realized this and probably had an affair (which "may" come out later) and then had to get revenge by killing her. In 11 days! I've got two months to go before I'm married. If this much can happen in 11 days, it's going to be one crazy summer!

The Real Action

Does anyone else want to weigh in on Jason Lawrence? At this point the J-Law scenario has been discussed to death. Every pundit has said their piece, from rival racers, to retired racers, to fans, to industry types, everyone has said what they wanted to say about Jason. We just keep throwing more logs on the fire, and everyone basically says the same thing: "He's such a talented racer/love him or hate him he brings something unique to the sport/who are the people surrounding him? etc etc etc"

There's a reason everything he does is getting discussed to death, a reason everything keeps getting rehashed. The racing is boring this year. And for that, I kind of feel bad for the guy. In a normal year, the J-Law drama wouldn't get as much attention as it is getting right now, but this is no normal year. No one is battling, and hence, we've all turned to the off track stuff to find some drama.

The top topics getting buzz in this sport right now are J-Law and silly season contracts. And why not? Not only are Stewart and Villopoto destroying people, but we're really not seeing much racing even behind that. Over the last two weeks, the only real battling up front came in the second Lites moto, and this weekend that battle was a race for second. What's more, we could all be banking this year as a warm up for Stewart v. Villopoto 2009, but for whatever reason, that's not bringing the hype like 2004, which was a warm up for Carmichael v. Stewart 2005.

After watching the pre-show we put together on Saturday, I realized what we are up against. Lawrence became the main topic of the show, because there are no other topics to choose from. If this were last year, when Carmichael and Stewart were still battling, and Villopoto was squaring off with Ben Townley in the Lites class, the Lawrence thing may not have led off the show. Yes, Jason Lawrence created his own destiny, but unfortunately for him, no one else has created anything else to help shadow it.

Saturday, July 5

No Longer Above the (J) Law

Happy 4th of July from Blogandt! Me and the Mrs. had a nice drive to Red Bud here yesterday to celebrate......


That's the word from the track here on Saturday morning. Now he's out on bail, but the word is that the AMA isn't going to let him race, and he may be done with Yamaha of Troy as well.

We've all heard rumors like this before, so we'll see if the gate drops tomorrow without him.

Anyway, ironically, happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 2

The Fad

Check out this Newsweek article in found from 2000--on freestyle motocross at the X Games.

Tuesday, July 1

Buffed Out

Monday, June 30


Clearly, it was a night race.
Carl Stone photo

Every Monday I roll back into the Racer X office to be greeted with “So how was it?” It was especially important on this Monday, because this was the first night race, and, everyone had watched the stuff on TV. So how was it live? The concept was great, but they needed more lights. It was the opposite of what I thought would happen. David Clabaugh, who runs the event, always puts together first-rate stuff. In fact, there simply wouldn’t be a national in Colorado at all if it wasn’t for him, so the guy knows what he’s doing. Based on that, I expected the lights to be perfect, and I didn’t think it would be an issue at all. But even David didn’t nail it this first time. As soon as we arrived at the track on Friday morning and saw how sparse the spacing of the lights was, I knew we had a story. Things improved throughout the weekend, as a dozen light poles were trucked in from around the facility. It helped, but no one said “it was perfect.” But if you give Clabaugh another shot, I bet he’ll have it dialed.

On the other hand, I was really impressed with the atmosphere for the fans. The race had the feel of a summer concert or festival. There looked to be way more fans than previous races in Colorado, and many noted that those fans weren’t all wearing motocross swag. A few vendors told me fans were asking very basic questions, such as who was racing in what class. That means these were newbies who don’t follow every round. We could always use converts like that.

One other side effect/affect of the night race was track prep. The idea was to not disc the track up as deep as usual because big bumps and ruts would lead to big shadows. I talked to Villopoto about that on Saturday morning, and he said “The lights will be okay as long as it doesn’t get rough.” So they didn’t let it get rough. This also meant a challenge for watering the track, because A) you can’t water as much when a track isn’t as deep and B) water doesn’t dry up when there isn’t any sun on it and C) moist dirt is darker than dry dirt. So it was all a little experimental, and as far as I could tell, we had a track that was smooth and slippery. And there was even some dust kicking up in the last moto, something that hasn’t been seen at a national in decades. Hey, the only way to try to dial this race in was to run it in the first place.

The savior for all of this was the 2003 edition of James Stewart, who was in action again. Not only did Bubba wax everyone as usual, but he kept the fans on his side with every word he said. In his Monday Conversation with Steve Cox, he summed it up well: “I think, for a night race, it was all cool. I think, like I said in the press conference, it’s good for the sport. I think you can be negative about it, and you can say a lot of things, but I bet more people tuned in, and I bet more showed up here tonight than they normally would’ve if it was a hot summer day.”

After Stewart said good things in the press conference, Kevin Kelly turned to me and said “he’s just putting the sport up on his back right there.”

And hey, Stewart got engaged last weekend? Somewhere, someone told these racers that being married is where it’s at. At the press conference, you had 22-year-old Stewart (now engaged), 20-year old Davi Millsaps (now engaged) and 20-year-old Mike Alessi (who is no engaged, but dad always refers to girlfriend Dani as “my future daughter-in-law). I’d like the meet the trainer/coach/agent/parent/manager that started giving everyone the marrying advice. Can it really be a coincidence? It’s probably the same guy who said “Don’t ever tell the media anything about your bike or training program, ever.”

Brett Metcalfe’s mechanic received the first-ever ejection from the pro pits that I’ve ever seen. In the first Lites moto, the riders were riding over the track markers and nearly hitting the mechanic’s area. The AMA threw a hay bale down there to stop the riders, but Metcalfe’s wrench, Kyle Bentley, grabbed the haybale and threw it back over the side of the track. Then the AMA’s Jay Mitrowitz came over to argue, and the next thing you know, he gives Kyle the “You’re outta here!!!” Kyle should have kicked some dirt on Jay’s shoes at the very least. Man, the comedy potential of that whole scenario is through the roof. What if Kyle had bumped Jay stomach to stomach? Should the other Pro Circuit team members have come over to get between them and protect their guy? What was Metcalfe’s reaction when he came around and his mechanic was gone? Kevin Kelly gave me the funniest visual, imagining a full bench-clearing brawl, where other mechanics come sprinting out of the pits and into the mechanic’s area to join in the melee.

Something was in the air in Colorado (besides less oxygen and sunlight). We had the mechanic ejection, we had Josh Grant and Ryan Villopoto slamming each other in practice and nearly fighting, and we had the ongoing J-Law and Dungey battle. When the races for the win are the same each week, we need rivalries more and more. Be it mechanic’s versus the AMA, or riders versus each other, I’m all for it.

Saturday, June 28

I Believe In a Thing Called Laaaahve (The Darkness)

Man there a lot going on in this sport right now. While we're all talking about the lighting in Colorado, we're missing
A) the altitude is still here
B) Dungey and Lawrence hate each other (J-Law dropped some HUGE trash talk on Dungey today--listen to the whole interview during our audio webcast pre-race show at 5 p.m. mountain time. But I just have to give a hint. Ready? "Dungey calls me an embarassment to the sport, but he blew a supercross championship, and that's an embarassment." )
C) Mike Brown is back with Troy Racing for the FOURTH time.
D) Sean Hamblin did indeed just becomes "This Year's Sean Hamblin" by going from privateer to factory Yamaha. To me, I just ask why they didn't just do this deal back at Glen Helen?
E) Now Josh Grant and Ryan Villopoto are back to hating each other, which I believe is the 37th friendship turn between those two. One week they're hugging, next week they're fighting. This weekend they they're fighting. This is like Van Halen and David Lee Roth getting together and breaking up. Or a soap opera. Or Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Hulk Hogan.
F) James Stewart decides not to ride Friday practice on the same week we run lights for the first time ever??? He was here all day and yet he didn't ride. Is there something wrong here???
G) Mototalk still has a giant TFS thread going right now.
H) We secured some swag to give away on our audio webcast tomorrow, so tune us in. We'll give some stuff away during the first motos, and then debut a first: a live call in number for fans during the halftime show. This is really going to be cool. We'll announce the number at the end of 450 moto 1, and then you can call us in the tower and bench race with guys who love to sit down and talk about racing. Hear you then.

Okay, the lights. It sure didn't look like they had enough lights when we looked around this morning. But these big MUSCO things are apparently potent...and apparently not potent enough, because some team people weren't thrilled, so a whopping 15 extra light plants were brought in tonight to make sure it all works. Sometimes, I wonder if riders/teams feel the need to complain just so their voice get heard, but this time, man, it just didn't look good in spots. The additional light plants will take care of the light problem, but even that's not perfect because a bunch of light plants on the side of the track isn't the most aesthetic set up, and remember, we have live TV here. But I really hope this can all be made to work. If the lighting can be made to work for the racers, everything else will be awesome. The atmosphere of a night race in the summer is really amazing. This is like a concert or a festival. It looks cool, relaxed and fun. It's a step in the right direction, and I'm sure they can get the details sorted.

There's a lot to talk about here, so talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, June 26

It is was it is really is now

"It is what it is" has become the key phrase in the motocross pits nowadays. Davey Coombs, ever the trendsetter, started running it a few years ago. Then Tony Soprano started running it on his show (credit Kevin Kelly for that reference.)

By 2008 it has become the most popular go to phrase in the sport-- even surpassing the once unstoppable prowess of "over it" for the number one spot.

During the pre-race press conference for the Las Vegas Supercross, Chad Reed ran "It Is What It Is" approximately 379 times--a true championship performance. But you can't blame Chad, the phrase works so well that you just can't help from using it.

"What's your take on what happened with Andrew Short?"
"It is what it is."

"How is the shoulder?"
"It is what it is."

"What's your team deal for next year?"
"It is what it is."

Davi Millsaps had even seen everyone's "It is what it is" and raised it, running a solid "It was what it was" when talking about Anaheim 1.

But now we've officially reached critical mass. On page 18 in yesterdays' New York Times, presidential hopeful Barack Obama brought the phrase to the level of the highest office. Ralph Nader had been stoking the flames with Obama recently, and Obama fired back with "He is just trying to get attention. His campaign has not been able to get traction. It is what it is."

Wednesday, June 25

Quite Possibly the Worst Lighting in the History of Television

Check out this awesome news clip we got together for the High Point National a few weeks back. I'm the guy in the giant shadow.

Tuesday, June 24

Where do you live

The fiance and I are getting married in a church here in Morgantown. We originally had these grand visions of an outdoor wedding (I was hoping to maybe do it at Unadilla or something, and maybe even have the groomsmen ride down the aisle on bikes, you know, something really classy) but in the end, it was just too hard to get that together. A church has all the elements: looks decent in photos, good parking, places to sit, even comes with a guy who can do the whole marrying part.

God knows all, but even the secretary at the place had to be suspicious of our motives. Oh, you coincidentally are all into this church thing at the same time you're getting married? Really?

The church wasn't going to make it that easy. As a requirement, they enrolled in this couple's counseling deal. They told us the counseling helps to determine what parts of the marriage we had to work on. But we were afraid the "counseling" was really just a way to snuff us out. Were we really getting married here for religious reasons, or did we just want a place with nice windows and a built in sound system?

We were really worried for the first meeting, and our fears where confirmed when the Reverend brought out this standardized test for us to fill out. It was just like the tests you took in high school - multiple choice questions, fill out the circle with a number two pencil. We've both been through this drill before. But the SATs never had a question this hard:

#9. Describe your living situation:

A) Alone
B) With roomate
C) With parents
D) With partner

How do you answer this in church? The correct answer is D, but that's living in sin. I could answer A and she could answer B, because a few months ago that was the case. But would they know we're lying? This is God we're talking to!

So I dug deep into the memory banks of such tests. I've been stuck for an answer before. How did I used to get out of this? Cheat! So I figured I would just skip that question, give the Fiance time to answer it, and then glance over at her paper and copy it. So I waited. A minute later I looked over. Dammit, she had left it blank as well

The Reverend was watching us closely through this process, and he surely noticed we both somehow decided to skip the most basic question on earth: Where do you live? Who can't answer this question???

Earlier in the session, the Reverend had asked for our address, so I felt things out and said "Hey, she's moving some stuff in slowly, should I just put the same address for both of us? Doesn't that make things easier?" The Rev. agreed and on we went. So I took the plunge and answered D) with partner. Whew.

The problem was, I looked back over and the Fiance had answered B) with roomate. Dammit!

When the Rev. had his back turned, I slyly began erasing my answer and switching it over to A) alone, so it would match her B) with roomate response. But that damn no. 2 pencil wouldn't erase. Now I had a giant smudge on the paper, proof that I couldn't even answer the most basic question on earth.

Surely the church wasn't pumped about people living in sin. Surely they would be even less pumped over liars living in sin. But now, we were liars living in sin who didn't even agree with each other. Might as well just apply for the divorce papers right now.

Friday, June 20

Do Work

No weekends off here, Blogandt is headed to North Carolina for GNCC Racing. Things have changed quite a bit for me at these races, there was a time when my number one goal at the GNCCs was to make sure I busted my ass harder than anyone else. (WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! the blog author is about to compare his job to that of a racer even though it's about 1/10000th as hard)

Back in the day I didn't really subscribe to the work smarter and not harder theory. I would work all day on Friday, get to the track late Friday night, get up on Saturday and be there by 6:30 or so, help Rodney Tomblin with the announcing by 7, do TV, announce the race, hand out plaques and awards, shoot pictures, do interviews and write stories, rinse and repeat again on Sunday, then drive all night to get home and sleep in the office to make sure the world had their stories, photos and results by the time they showed up to work on Monday morning. I literally worked some 24 hour days on Sundays.

I had convinced myself that I needed to do all of that. I was a one-man band at the GNCCs, I was the announcer, the TV talent, the writer, the shooter and the web master. But as crazy as that sounds, I really only did all that because I wanted to. I chose to make it hard. I was like the intern running to the kitchen to get coffee for the bosses. I was doing hard work just to prove I would work hard. Like many who have always wanted a job in this industry, I always promised myself that if I ever got one of those jobs, I would bust my ass. So I did just to prove it.

Took long enough for me to realize it's not really needed. Jason Hooper and I are hopping in the truck in a few minutes, and we'll get there when we get there. I will make sure to be at the track by the time the Youth race begins at 8, and I'll probably avoid writing the world's longest press release on Saturday and Sunday night (I used to put together 2000 words epics, complete with quotes from like 8 racers. And all people really want to know is "Who won?"). Most importantly, I'll enjoy it. The GNCC Races need to be just fun for me now, because it's no longer my only job. Luckily, the people are great and that makes it easy to enjoy.

But for the rest of you looking to break into this industry, don't forget to do the hard work part first, and then do the fun aspect a few years later.

Monday, June 16

High Point 3

Two theories always collide in this sport:

Theory 1: This sport grew based on the dominance of McGrath/Carmichael

Theory 2: To really grow, this sport needs competition and multiple winners.

How completely polar opposite can those theories be? We all say the sport needs good racing, but in reality we say it because that's what we want. Good racing solves all problems. Weekends are fun when there's a battle, and they're not as fun when there isn't. Everything else is just background. I always feel bad for people I know in this industry who work so hard to make better events, but all they can do is make 10% of the event better. Great racing is 90% of what people talk about.

And this High Point National didn't off up many action-packed battles. The facility looked awesome, the track drew raves, and I know our crew worked hard to make it happen. But Stewart and Villo OWN it right now on the track. The only highlight of the afternoon was either A) Matt Ware getting stuck in the mud (see below) or B) Ryan Dungey going OFF on J-Law in the press conference (See Racer X Motocross Show). Otherwise you just knew Stewart and Villo would take off, and they did. that really bad? We spend a lot of time and effort generating local press for this event. The local TV stations came out, the local newspaper wrote about the event, and the local radio station hung out all day on Saturday. And you know what's good? You can make any local reporter or fan an expert just by saying "You want to watch #1 and #7." On Saturday, I had to do some of the interviews with the radio station, and the DJ they had there running the show knew NOTHING about motocross. But he was an expert, instantly, by just saying "We've gone from the Carmichael era to the Stewart era." How long did it take for him to memorize that? 15 seconds? And then when the fans came to see the show the next day, that's exactly what they saw, the Stewart era.

So our sport is accesable to the casual (read: new) fan this way. that good?

After wrapping up another great day bench-racing with David Bailey, DB said "People love watching Stewart ride. TV needs to show that. Show Kobe. Show Tiger. Show James."

Good point...but. Here is why dominance looks better in basketball or golf than in motocross. When Kobe is on fire, he's hitting big shots with defenders all over him, and the game is still in doubt and he's making clutch shots. It's exciting to watch. Stewart jumping a double while all alone out front is not the same as Kobe hitting a huge three with two defenders on him. Stewart may win by 50 seconds and Kobe may score 50 points, but think about the difference in the excitement in watching those two accomplishments.

As for Tiger, all golfers are out there by themselves, so you can't compare. If motocross was all time trails, and everyone rode the track alone and did lap times, James would be like Tiger. But when there are 40 other guys and he runs away, well that's not the same.

What's my point? Still not sure, and I'm not sure anyone else is sure, either. We need dominance but yet we don't. Dominance is boring to the masses but makes it easy for the masses to follow the sport. Dominance is good and yet bad.

I don't know about these theories. What do you think?

High Point 2

How did they salvage the track from all the rain? The RP crew pushed A LOT of mud off to the side of the track. Our photographer, Matt Ware, found himself a big 'ole pile of it.

Saturday, June 14

It's Raining at High Point

Well, it just can't happen any other way. It has to rain when we have a race at High Point. It's been hot and sunny all week here. The rainy season ended on June 1. The race is no longer on Memorial Day Weekend (when, by luck, they had good weather here this year) but it's just like it used to be.

Weather will be better tomorrow. I don't have anything to write about because they canceled 450 practice, and the Lites rode in the mud which really isn't relevant.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, June 13

A Case in High Point

You want to know how fast a starter Mike Alessi is? Today we said we would have an open house at 3 p.m., but Mike and Tony and Dani showed up here at 11 a.m. That's four hours ahead of everyone else! And of course, that was the worst-case scenario, because High Point weekend is the time to clean and organize everything and make people think you're clean and organized all year.

Of course the Alessi early entry meant they saw my office as it really is: a complete mess. I moved to a new room in February, and I hadn't unpacked most of my boxes of stuff. You know, just in case I got fired or something. The rest of the place looked horrible, too. So when Tony said to me "Yeah we saw you're new office, very nice," I knew I was done for.

A few hours later and now my office looks good. That's odd. Everything is weird today. Steve Cox and Steve Matthes are working in our office, which makes no sense. David "A Year in" Bullmer is back, just like it was 2007. The Solitaire rig is in the parking lot. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki truck is parked up the road. The Dominion Post (Morgantown's paper) is covered in High Point stuff. Although this is the weekend where you get to stay home, it's the weekend that's strangest of all.

And the strangest part, by far, is the fact that we've brought in a bunch of cases of beer for our open house. As crazy as we are around here, drinking in the office is prohibited. Except for today. Once we get into that, we'll probably go and trash my office.

Thursday, June 12

More Texas

Since runs the streaming for our webcast, I have no idea how many people listen to our show every Sunday afternoon. For those that do, we salute you. I mean, if I had a nice Sunday afternoon to spend, I don't know if I would do it in front of my computer....

Anyway, we've been introducing a lot of fun stuff on the show lately, because 5 hours on the air is a long time. This week, we introduced a top 10 list, and I'll print that out on the left side of the blog in a few minutes. We also introduced a new segment called "Assume the Position," in which we select a random finish position in each moto and call the battle for it. This lets us highlight other riders that may not be winning the races. It's also pretty exciting, because you would be amazed how hard guys are fighting for, say, 18th place.

Here were the Assume the Position winners for Texas:

Lites Moto 1: 18th, Matt Lemoine. Lemoine fought all moto for this one, passing Tyler Bowers on the last lap to snag 18th.

Lites Moto 2: 16th, Adam Miller. Props to the privateer KTM rider, who crashed earlier in the day in those vicious Texas sand whoops. 16th actually made him the top KTM finisher, too, since the entire MDK KTM team took a powder in moto 2.

450 Moto 1: 22nd, Kyle Partridge scored it after a race-long duel with riders like Gavin Gracyk and Ryan Clark. Gracyk and Clark beat Partridge, but that doesn't get them any love in the battle for the Assumed Position.

450 Moto 2: After 16 riders failed to finish the second Lites moto in the heat, we decided to go with Red Bull Last Man Standing rules for this race. The last place rider still circulating the track at the end of the race? Dustin Gills in 30th place.

This "Assume the Position" program was such a hit that sponsors began calling in and signing on live during the show. But we at the Racer X Webcast don't want to split the industry's money up any further, so we decided to snag some outside sponsors. Kentucky Fried Chicken ponied up for the first 450 moto, so Mr. Partridge gets himself 22 pieces of chicken for his 22nd place finish (co-host Kevin Kelly and I snagged the biscuits that came with, sorry). We'll ship the chicken to Kyle overnight so it should still be pretty fresh.

Our second 450 moto was sponsored by David Oric and his 8 lb Oric XL vacuum cleaner. Congrats, Mr. Gills.

This week maybe we'll pull in some Lites sponsorship as well. And as an added bonus for our listeners this weekend, we're bringing David Bailey back. The Icon is the man and I'm pumped to work with him again. This show will be worth listening too.

Finally, props out to Steve "Do'h!" Flanders and everyone over at the fantasy league. The new Industry Guys class had given me new motivation to perform, as I'm sick and tired of getting my ass kicked by the DMXS fans like I usually do. Big thanks to my big hitters on the team this week, including Bobby Kniry, Tommy Hahn, JT$, and Ryan Clark. These underdogs scored well over pay for the weekend, and now I'm tied for first in the division.

When guys like Stewart and Villopoto are killing everyone in the battle for first, you need to find other things to focus on. Assume the Position and some fantasy moto keep it going.

Monday, June 9

Texas 2

Is everything really bigger in Texas? Well, this race was the biggest physical test I’ve seen for the riders in a long time. We all know motocross is physically demanding, but you don’t always see it. The tiredness was on full display this time, though. You could see the posture, you could see the speeds, you could tell these guys were SPENT. It made for an unpredictable day. The heat was so unrelenting that it drowned a cross section of the field. Some riders known for being tough faded, just like some known for fading, faded. You couldn’t count on anyone, really, because the jaws of 103 degrees were ready to snatch anyone at any time.

Brett Metcalfe was the worst. With about a lap and a half to go in the second Lites moto he just started losing time and positions, and barely made it to the finish. He completely collapsed over the bike as soon as he crossed the finish in 9th place. What's really amazing is that Brett, who must have been in a trance during that last lap, still managed to double over two whoops on his way to the finish line. Pure instincts, there.

Also, Doc Bodnar told me that privateer Kevin Rookstool had some major heat issues, too. They had a lot of IV requests over at the Asterisk truck this weekend, some from racers who needed it to recover, and some who just figured it would help their recovery during the week. AMA rules don't allow riders to take IVs during the day and then come back and race a moto, but when the racing is done, everyone wants one.

The race really illustrates how competitive the Lites field is. Riders were dropping like flies in that second moto, but it was even hotter for the next 450 moto, and the attrition rate wasn't the same. Are the 450 riders in better shape? No. I just don't think they have to push as hard. In the Lites class, everyone on the track is just hanging on the cable and going balls out the whole way. You just can't do that when it gets to 103. It seemed like the 450 guys, veterans and privateers instead of factory supported 18 year olds, knew when to charge and when to chill out. Only at the very front did you see the same level of fatigue, because Short and Millsaps and Alessi and guys like that are pushing really, really hard.

James Stewart had zero issues with the heat. He's in really good shape right now, and he probably never gets to all-out speed anyway. Tim Ferry simply never gets tired. Those were known traits. But the rest of the field was unpredictable. Josh Summey, that was the tale of two riders with him. Faded in the first moto, charged from a first-turn crash up to 11th in moto two, and looked strong all the way to the finish line. Davi Millsaps took a few slow laps in each moto and then somehow recovered to charge past guys at the end of the races. Andrew Short rode his heart out for third in moto one, and didn't have much left for moto two.

It's actually kind of odd that we don't see stuff like this happen more often. A 30+ 2 moto at all-out speed should knock more guys off more often than this. These riders are in amazing shape. The most impressive of all? Ryan Villopoto. If we could hook up some sort of heat index/cardio rate/VO2 Max and strength equation formula on Ryan Villopoto during the second moto, surely it has to rank up there with any other athletic endurance accomplishment. He was just blazing fast, pushing incredibly hard, he never faded, and he looked completely normal after the race. His wins are always impressive, but on this day, you could actually see just how impressive it is.

Saturday, June 7


Not joking, not lying, totally serious, the thermometer on the announcer's tower today said 101.8 degrees during the second 450 practice today. 101.8! It was hot. It still wasn't as bad as Loretta Lynn's in August, which can reach that temp AND add ridiculous humidity, but still, this will be a real test this weekend. The track features a gnarly sand whoop section heading into the finish line jump, and that section alone, when combine with the heat, would beat most riders into a pulp. Somehow, the top dudes are gonna' send it for 30 some odd minutes. After supercross, the first few weeks of the Nationals seems totally weird. The races seem so much longer, the engines are strained so much harder, so much more stuff happens. After a few rounds, it makes sense again, but right now it seems so hot, the track seems so rough, the dudes are pushing so hard in battles for like 17th place. Man the Nationals rule.

The riders have it so hard. We have it super easy. We went to the race, watched the race, hung out with friends, and made each other laugh a lot. Now I'm on my fourth beer right now in our hotel room as we watch the Racer X Motocross Show upload. We've got five dudes crammed in one hotel room, and we've spent the last two hours watching You Tube videos on Brawndo Energy Drink (Ryan Clark's Title Sponsor), and You Tube videos on giant Belgian Motocrosser Ken De Dyker (who comes in a close second to Yoshi Fukudome as the best name in the sport). Now we're checking We've also had push up contest. We made plans for a Behind the Motocross where Kevin and I try to enter a Yamaha Riva 50 Scooter into an AMA National.

The show now needs another 90 minutes to render in, and then you can watch it late tonight for a preview of the Freestone National. For now, we're walking across the street to join just about everyone in the industry for margaritas at the Chilli's across the street. Yeah, we don't have it very hard.

Friday, June 6


Sorry, it was a busy week trying to cover a GNCC I didn't go to so I am only able to get to my stuff from Hangtown now.

And by the way, as far as GNCC is concerned, we finally have a battle on our hands as a gang of Anzacs (a Kiwi and two Aussies) swept the podium at the Kentucky race and David Knight crashed back to fifth. And Knight was getting heavy pressure when he crashed, so it's not like they got lucky.

Anyway, the 450 thumper has once again proven to be the great equalizer. A bunch of privateers are trying to become "this year's Gavin Gracyk" and they're turning heads. Tops of that list right now is Steve Boniface, who turned in two good rides at Glen Helen and then two even better rides at Hangtown. Boniface looked super fast and smooth in practice on Saturday and backed it up with two good starts and two inspired rides in the motos. French guy fought for every inch of the track, battled the injured Townley and Short, and ended up 5th overall. He basically has no ride and no support and is just hoping to get something somewhere. This weekend he'll be in France to try a GP and see if anything sticks there. The big difference between Boniface and Gracyk '07 is that Boniface is a known commodity. Gracyk's potential upside was the great unknown last year, but Boniface has been around and had his chances.

Sean Hamblin has, too. But like Boniface, he's got motivation again and he's riding as well as ever. His results don't show the true story, as Hamblin moved from midpack into the top ten in moto one only to stall and lose a half lap restarting. He got 15th. In moto two , he had bike problems on the starting line, did a quick fix, rode a few laps and had to pull into the pits, and then came out on fire and charged all the way back to 18th. If you can get top 20 with a pit stop, you're going fast. If Hamblin has two more good weekends and Josh Hill has two more bad ones, you're going to see fans picketing in front of the Yamaha semi to get Hamblin on a works bike.

Jeff Alessi is flying the privateer colors strong now, too. I was super nervous putting him on my fantasy team last weekend. Tony Alessi told me Jeff would be fast, but that's as reliable as source as going to Hillary's campaign chief to ask about her chances (he said last week she would win it all). Jeff came through in the first moto for seventh and would have done the same in moto two until his shoulder popped out. But he popped it back in to help salvage 15th place for the Weigandt Warriors team. I thanked Jeff for that when I saw him at the airport on Monday.

So what's the deal with Josh Hill? He's done with Ryno now because Ryno picked up Broc Hepler, and Hilly didn't want to share a trainer with another 450 guy. Since that all happened, Hepler got hurt, leaving Ryno with no one, and then Hill suddenly started busting the belt out of his pants again and mooning everyone during the motos. Is it possible to get that out of shape that quickly? Hylton from Parts Unlimited told me Thor got the wrong size pants for Hill, and Hill told me his belt broke. That makes sense, except for the fact that Hill pants were also coming down in just about every moto last year. I don't think motocross pants are capable of containing what must be the longest lower back in the sport today. Maybe they can just make a Thor onesie?

Anyway, I think Hill will get better. He rode better in Hangtown and sometimes the younger riders just need a few races to figure out the pressure and the pace and stuff when they move to the big class. A few years ago, Davi Millsaps moved up and sucked at Hangtown, and then battled Chad Reed for a podium the next weekend at High Point. I think Hill's breakthrough moto is coming.

Ivan Tedesco is coming around, too. IT goes fast because he rides aggressive, and I think it takes him awhile to get comfortable doing that. Last year he missed the first few outdoor rounds with a concussion, and when he returned at Budd's Creek, he was a shell of himself. A month later at Unadilla, he finally looked aggressive again. Same thing in supercross, he looked timid in the first few races this year and then suddenly found his aggression in San Francisco. Then he got hurt. He looked timid at Glen Helen, and considerably less so at Hangtown. I'm pumped for IT, he deserves a few good rides.

Ben Townley is hurt, but that guy has come back from way worse to go fast again. Even the knee injury that took him out of nearly the entire 2006 season wasn't the worst he's had to deal with, BT told me that when he first came to America to ride for KTM, he crashed testing for supercross and said he nearly died. He recovered and won a World Championship. Some guys know how to deal with pain and block out the fear once they're recovered. Ben's one of those guys.

A lot of riders in the Lites class left Glen Helen believing they could run with the "big five" of RV, Stroupe, Dungey, Metcalfe and Lawrence. Unfortunately, a bunch of them had the chance to prove they could at Hangtown, and they didn't. Trey Canard is obviously capable of getting in there, but I think it will be mid season before we see anyone else consistently finishing in front of those main five riders.

Jake Weimer had the most inconsistent supercross season ever, and rectified things by finishing seventh in the first three 0utdoor motos of the year. But he dropped to a dissapointing 10th in the fourth moto of the year. You know what that 7-10 made him overall? Seventh.

Are you coming to Texas (or just staying there and coming to the race?) We'll crank up the Racer X Motocross Show Presented by Toyota live in the Toyota Zone on Vendor's row at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Come on by and get yourself on camera. Toyota hooked me up with a sweet 1983 Corolla with 372,000 miles on the ticker so please show them some love. Car has vinyl seats and the brand people tell me it was garage kept with one owner. Must have been a smoking owner.

Monday, June 2

24 motos of advertising

Not much more to say than this: Stewart and Villopoto are doing what everyone is afraid of. They're establishing dominance early. Could this be 2004? When Stewart destroyed the 125s every week and Carmichael did the same in the 250s, basically making the whole season into a big ad for 2005? So many elements are similar, from the rider in the main class (Carmichael then, Stewart now) possibly switching teams, to the rider in the smaller class (Stewart then, Villopoto now) matching the lap times of his future rival despite using a smaller bike. The racing for the win was boring today, I'll be honest. But 2004 was even worse, because Carmichael won every moto and Stewart won 23 out of 24 of his. The sport survived, and we will this year, too.

And I know, it's early in the season, but right now this is starting to seem like destiny.

Sunday, June 1

Hangtown Practice 2

The track is running in reverse this year, and I'm not sure if the riders actually like it this way. There were a few odd transitions yesterday, such as where the track hooked back onto the first turn. There was an odd little jump to get the riders over the berm on the outside of the first turn. But the AMA picked up on that and removed the jump, and now the section flows much better. My colleague Steve Cox would like to take credit for this because he told the AMA the section would be better without the jump. However, Cox thinks removing the jump will open up passing opportunities. I say he hasn't won, then, until someone makes a pass in that section.

The fine tuning of the track after yesterday's practice has led to faster lap times. Way faster. Lites riders were a good 4-5 seconds faster than they were yesterday, and then James Stewart came out and went so fast that I think he actually went faster than the speed of time, and we're now operating on Eastern Standard Time. James has actually won the first moto now, two hours before it starts.

Okay, he was four seconds a lap faster than everyone else. But that is a time zone in motocross terms.

Everyone else is closely matched on times, Mike Alessi, Ferry, Millsaps. Except a podium battle between that gang, while Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco look a hare off of that pace, and Ben Townley should basically wear a suit of ice packs after taking yet another big header in practice yesterday. If you're counting at home, Townley now has a bad shoulder and ankle, and he sliced his elbow open pretty bad during the week. Dude.

In the Lites, this is another chance for the field to either A) prevent Ryan Villopoto from walking away and building confidence or B) piss off Ryan Villopoto by running with him again and then really making him work hard and kill everyone for the rest of the summer. At some point last year, Townley had gotten into RV's head a bit, and RV responded by digging deeper and getting stronger. So it's a dangerous game to play with him out there--beating him now may only make it worse later.

Still, you're looking at six big faves in the Lites, RV, Stroupe, Metty, J-Law and Canard, and a bunch of riders desperate to hook onto that.

Tune into our webcast at 12:30 Pacific (unless Stewart really did ruin our time zone). We'll have interviews with a ton of big names on our pre show, including Millsaps and Short, as well as surprise speedsters from like week like Ryan Sipes and Matt Lemoine. Be ready.

Practice at Hangtown

First, I'm updating this from the NPG/AMA Media Tent! High speed internet from the motocross track! Better yet, while I'm typing this I'm watching the live lap times from the GNCC over at High speed internet from the motocross and the GNCC on the same day!

Anyway I am desperate to step up my performance in the fantasy leagues this year, because I almost lost my Racer X Office Championship to Billy Ursic in Supercross (I only won on a ridiculous technicality in the rules where we had one throw away score, so I sandbagged and skipped the Seattle race so I would have all the big hitters available for Vegas for a massive one week score and championship).

So I have been snooping for dark horse top ten picks. Cody Cooper paid off last weekend. This week I have the suddenly fast Steve Boniface, and then Tony Alessi told me Jeff Alessi was faster than Mike riding this week. Now, I know the A number one rule of motocross journalism is to ALWAYS take Tony Alessi hype with a grain of salt. But there was Jeff, running top five in the second moto in Glen Helen. There was Jeff, top ten lap times all weekend here.

Jeff. Don't crash. Please.

Friday, May 30

The man, the myth, the media

GNCC this weekend in Kentucky, AMA/Toyota Motocross this weekend at Hangtown. I'm in Vegas for a layover so you can guess which one I was assigned to.

The second round of a series can work two ways. You either have a wild first round which essentially proves nothing--i.e supercross this year, when Stewart crashed in the first turn and Reedy won, hence not proving who the faster man was. Or you could have the Glen Helen scenario, where Stewart checks out from everyone. At that point, all the questions are answered. Do you honestly expect #800 to find 30 seconds of speed by the end of the moto? Or anyone else to find 45?

Time to enjoy this James Stewart ride, just like he seems to be enjoying it. I can tell you he's loving life right now. Back in 2003 and 2004, I covered the 125 class at the Nationals for Cycle News. James was unbeatable back in those days, and he had so much fun with it that he'd often make up stories just to give us cool stuff to write about. At one race he ran into another rider on accident, and when he was asked about it at the post-race press conference, he blamed his bike:
"That's my bike, it's like that car in the movie Christina. It just goes where it wants and hunts people down."

James ran the Christina theme for the rest of the press conference. The next week, he was on to something new. But he never failed to hand over a money quote and make the crowd laugh.

Last weekend at the press conference, I asked him if he felt 100 percent. He just stared back, as if to say "wasn't that obvious?" Everyone laughed. When he's on, he does it all, and I think we might get all of it this year.

Thursday, May 29

Sound Off

In order for me to put up a post without doing much work, I now present this link to a story about building a new motocross track in Washington State. It's not easy to do nowadays.

Tuesday, May 27

Glen Helen

This guy looks happy to be here.
Apologies for not posting here over the weekend, but I sold out on the blog to work with the Racer X Motocross Show and the Racer X Webcast for the first time this year. So instead of in-depth analysis, you got my super-outdated post from Friday about rain and MotoBowl. Worse yet, one of the members of my bowling team actually read that post, and took offense to what I wrote. I was supposed to be making fun of myself and my very light level of stardom, but once again I’ve made someone mad.

So let’s keep that theme going with my rundown on Glen Helen. Maybe I will offend again. And thanks for Carl Stone for the photos.

Working with David Bailey was incredible. I’ve said it before, but the 1994 Nationals on ESPN featured Dave Despain and Bailey in the booth, and that was the best moto broadcast team ever. Alas, that summer was the only time they ever worked together. A good 14 years later I got my shot to be Despain, which is kind of like Suzuki telling Mike Alessi “This is Carmichael’s bike so go out and beat Stewart now, okay?” Anyway, I tried and DB was awesome as always. Motocross presents a lot of intangibles. You can break down football with X’s and O’s, but motocross requires an explanation of invisible elements like what’s going on inside a rider’s head during a moto. Bailey usually nails it, and he did again this time.

James Stewart looked better than I’ve ever seen him look outdoors. Without Carmichael there it’s hard to judge if he really is better than last year, but it sure looked that way. Plus, James now knows he can win races and fans over like he did before tangling with the GOAT. For years people have been hoping to see the old 125 class James come back. That James loved the spotlight and seemed to have fun every second of the day. But when you’re used to nothing but positives in your life, like winning every race and getting every cheer, getting beat by RC and booed by fans takes a toll. Those days are over, and I hope James gets his love of the game back, because the whole sport needs it.

Poor Mike Alessi tried hard to stop him. I wouldn’t have expected Mike to have gapped Ferry and the Honda boys by 20 seconds or so, but the boy has been putting in the work. Is he even close to Stewart? Nope, but he presents a difficult combo to beat in case Stewart does have trouble again. You know that Mike will get the holeshot and be consistent all year—which means he will gather a lot of points. The rest of the factory guys had mixed days. Davi Millsaps showed some heart riding through a few problems to a 3-3. I know Ferry was bummed with his 4-4. Townley actually rode better than I thought he would. He looked really deliberate in practice on Saturday and Sunday, and I thought maybe he was still struggling to mentally overcome his recent injuries. But when the races started, he rode well enough to have gotten on the podium if not for some bad luck. Michael Byrne was better than I thought he would be after coming back from such major knee surgery (his injury was even worse than Stewart’s).

Behind the factory guys comes the “hoping to be this year’s Gavin Gracyk” pack. One of them was Sean Hamblin, who was actually “this year’s Gavin Gracyk” before Gavin Gracyk. Hamblin rode brilliantly to 7th overall. And Sean was just as strong late in the moto as he was in the beginning. He’s working hard and with a few more rides like this, he may actually have some confidence. He hasn’t had that for a long time. When he gets it you’ll know, because then he’ll actually get some starts. Sean is one of those guys who doesn’t get starts when he doesn’t expect to do well. Kind of like David Vuillemin completely losing his starting ability at about the same time he lost some speed. And the exact opposite of Alessi, who would rather get the start and get run over in the whoops than start 10th and finish 10th.

Check out all of the sponsor logos on Hamblin's jersey.

Steve Boniface and Juss Laansoo are both only set to ride the first few rounds of the season, and then the travel budget will wear out and their season will end. The hope is to perform well enough at Glen Helen and Hangtown to get a ride from a team after that. Boniface rode well with an 11-12, but the Juss wasn’t as fortunate with a 17-29. Juss should be better at Hangtown, but I don’t know if he’ll be better enough.

Jeff Alessi was solid, too. That kid crashes hard so darned often, I’m amazed that he always gets back out there. Then again, I don’t think the Alessi clan knows any other way but to race. Jeff would probably keep racing even if, as they said in Rocky IV, “His body says stop but his spirit cries never.” Although the spirit crying never could be his dad or his brother. Love or hate the Alessis, but never doubt their desire (and I’m still convinced Mike will be a fan favorite by the end of the year).

Anyway, Jeff was fifth for a long time in moto two until he finally wore down. He told me he didn’t get winded, but his lats (side muscles under your shoulders) always get tired at Glen Helen. Those aching lats cost him a few positions late in the moto.

Another dark horse? California’s Jared Browne, who would have gone something like 16-13 if his bike hadn’t quit on the last lap of he first moto. Instead he went 26-13.

And the dark horse who wasn’t a dark horse was Kiwi Cody Cooper, who everyone seemed to know would be fast. Cooper apparently has been going faster than Townley and Ivan Tedesco while training back in Florida. Brake troubles cost him in moto one, but he came back for sixth in moto two. That’s bad news for the rest of the guys hoping to become “This Year’s Gavin Gracyk,” because if Coops keeps it up, Roger D and the Suzuki guys will start hooking him up.

Cody "Air Time Super Sky Trooper" Cooper

Chad Reed showed up just to watch the races. Chad held court a bit on Sunday afternoon, and he told me (and the rest of the pack of onlookers who hung on his every word) that last summer he was looking to party and have fun (sorry, Jeff Ward) but this year he’s kind of done with that, and now he’s bored already. So he jumped on a plane at 6 a.m. on Sunday just to watch. Why not just race? He probably would have if the whole L&M racing troubles didn’t take place. Anway, Chad is in awesome form right now and he’s not afraid to talk trash. Again, if done right, he could be a legend, but I don’t think people will take his comments well so I’m not repeating anything.

Austin Austin Austin! Be it the bike or the rider, for some reason Austin Stroupe seemed like a he would get his first outdoor win before Trey Canard. Stroupe delivered. Canard was good, too, but just a shade off even in the second moto when he had a better start. But the ceiling is high on both of these kids. Give either an extra shot of confidence and they may really start putting it together. I still think RV is the man in this class, but it will be a dangerous game for him until he goes on a win streak and breaks the spirit of everyone else. Right now he just doesn't have the invincibility cloak. I think everyone in the industry owes Brett Mettcalfe an apology. Was anyone talking about this guy before the nationals began? Well, he’s right where he honestly should be, which is at the front of the pack. If Brett can just avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like unfortunately usually happens to him, he will have a great season and could get a win.

Lemoine led a strong charge for the newly named Division 7/Star Racing team

Team Division 7/Star Racing Yamaha needs some props after snagging four top-ten moto scores from Matt Lemoine, Broc Tickle and Jake Moss. Wil Hahn looked good, too, and the bikes looked fast. Team Owner Bobby Reagan liked my jokes at the supercross banquet, as well, so I would have given the team credit even if they sucked.

Everyone wants to talk horsepower in the Lites class, although David Bailey wisely pointed out that getting in and out of the corner before Mount St. Helen is just as critical as actually having a fast bike. Still, when you see Jason Lawrence get a holeshot and win a moto while the next best on his team is Tyler Bowers with an 18-18, you have to wonder if Jason is overachieving.

J-Law wearing a damn chest protector?! Is he really taking this seriously?

As far as those supercross banquet jokes go, I didn’t even write about it here on the blog because I left that show too confused to really interpret anything. All I know is that people weren’t laughing. Now that I’ve seen everyone again, I have gotten a rash of, “Man, I thought it was hilarious but everyone around me wasn’t laughing for some reason.” So really, I still don’t know what to think.