Wednesday, January 16

The Reasons (Now with updated reader comments)

The best part of the early season is that the riders are all slowly building confidence, which means the racing is still pretty wide open. By week 10, everyone might know where they fit in. For now, it's awesome. Here's what I saw from a few guys in Phoenix that the results won't show you:

Ryan Dungey: Well done for Dungey to get second and extend his points lead, but he had a golden opportunity to stomp on everyone and ruin their confidence, and he couldn't do it. It bodes well for the racing out West, because if Dungey had checked out with the lead on lap two, we could have been in for a snoozer of a series. He may still be the best championship pick out there, but it may take a fight to do it.

Jason Lawrence: Dude, I am going waaaaayyy out on a limb saying this, but I don't think he had the fitness he needed down the stretch to win the race. J-Law was fast all day, and he fought hard to climb into contention. When Hepler fell, Lawrence was right behind him in fifth, and you could tell Hep was a little rattled after the crash. I fully expected #338 to motor by and then start pressuring the leaders, but he just never made it happen. Of course, for all I know he had lost his brakes or had arm pump or something and he's super strong and now Jason and Ryno are gonna' kick my ass for saying this....

Austin Stroupe: Dude, the kid is fast and he looks so much like Villopoto with his short stature and #51 that it's almost scary....for the competition at least! (laughs please). Anyway, he's a little too aggressive right now and that cost him, but the West is so wide open that I could see him figuring this out and winning a race before the season is over.

Broc Hepler: At risk of more Ryno ass kicking, I nominate Hepler as the modern day Ryno. That dude has thrown away more wins from small washouts and tipovers than anyone. Even Josh Grant has figured out how to exorcise those demons. I think Broc had finally worn Dungey down and was ready to win that race...now he's already 19 points down.

Nic Wey: I think NYK just had a bad night in Phoenix and we haven't heard the last of him. He had horrible starts and crashes at the worst times. As it stands now, positions 3-10 in the Supercross Class are pretty closely stacked, and if Wey can get in those battles early and get his confidence back, he can get back on the podium again. But if he has a few more bad ones, uh oh, people are going to start blaming that no-link.

Davi Millsaps: I can see the "Millsaps Sucks" headlines coming to a message board near you. But let me tell you, in his heat race he shadowed Langston and Ferry the whole time, and then uncorked an awesome jump combo in a rhythm section. He passed Ferry and then nearly got Langston on the last lap. I've always said Davi rides like a guy who doesn't know his own strength--occasionally he just busts out crazy jumps and combos and it looks like an accident. Davi's potential is off the scale, he's like the guy on the basketball team who can run and jump right out of the gym but just needs to round out his game. I think it's make or break time for that right now, but unfortunately he got screwed when Alessi clipped a tough block and Davi and Ferry hit it and went off the track. If Davi gets a good start, he can run with almost anyone and that will build that confidence.

Andrew Short: I know Tedesco was the one everyone was talking about at Red Bull Honda, but Shorty handled him in both the heat race and the main, and for a few laps he was closing on Windham and the podium. He needed this ride, and I think Short's about to become a player.

David Vuillemin: DV is nursing a thumb injury right now and he's not riding as well as he could. He has not given up yet.

That's my take--I think this is the best time of the year because no one is sure where they stand yet. Let's get interactive again. In three weeks time, will Dungey be dominant or will we still have a battle? By the halfway point of the season, will we still have positions 3-10 up for grabs in the Supercross Class, or is someone about to start owning that podium real estate? Give me your thoughts.

11 Comments:

MIKE D said...

"Manfriend" might live that stupid shirt down if he keeps producing quality podcasts. Is he really Canadian? if he is that shirt makes a little more sense.

Well, do you remember Davi Millsaps when he was on a lites bike? Hes was one of the most confident cocky and annoying guys to listen to in the interview after he just got done Kicking ass. If he can get that confidence back I think he will be DANGEROUS!!!

Nick Wey is a mystery to me, I think he is the 4th fastest guy on a Honder, on a KTM?? I hope he can get to the podium and keep that orange bike up front all year.

Ryan Dungey, He reminds me of David Bailey ALOT. Ryan has the same body as David and same style EXTRA SMOOTH. He will dominate this year and win the Title. Hell he should have won it last year.

The podium will look alot like it did last weekend the rest of the year, Im telling you that is one fast mustache!

PS- Way to go Gibbs guys, I have to give C. Summey props for following up with a solid ride.

Anonymous said...

Awright Weege,

Here you go. Ryno is kicking your ass. J-Law will get it together and embarass Dungy. Team ProCircuit will stop embarassing themselves and become consistent podium finishers.

As for the SX class, I would venture to guess Windham, Ferry and Langston are your other half of the top five, so that leaves the contenders you named last week arguing over 5-10.

RC's replacment at Suzuki will continue to holeshot and fade to 6th.

I was impressed with Hansen and CJ Sumney recovering from the A1 disaster.

But what I really want to talk about is James Stewart and his non-branded drink bottle on the podium.

He not a Monster sponsored rider juding from his helmet. We all know about the Red Bull Bently, is he still pissed for having to forgo the Red Bull relationship because of Kawasaki's deal with Monster ?

I see him jumping ship to Honda and Red Bull at the first opportunity. What's your's and the other clones opinions?

Later

M. Brown

Anonymous said...

Jason,
Have to agree with your assesment of the riders so far - pretty much spot on as far as I can see. Who am I to pass judgement on any of these guys........but you asked (in no particular order):

450's
Langston - got to cash in one of his unlucky coins this weekend. That shock was completely sacked before he hit that next triple. Could have been UGLY.......a sign he will be healthy the entire season ? Shares 3rd place's with Short but winds up 4th or 5th at year end.

Short - Not sure why but from where I could see it looked like Windham gapped him at the end of the race ? I still say he is one of the few that improves as the season rolls on. Consistent and getting better - 3rd overall at year end.

Windham / Tedesco / Millsaps / Ferry / Alessi / etc...will get the occassional Bronze. We will get some good racing but I just don't see how any of them can close the gap to second if they haven't shown it already.

Reed / Stewart - SUPER pumped Chad has stepped it up this year or Stewart would have run the table. Last year I feel Chad "planned" on Stewart wadding himself enough for Chad to win based on consistency. This year he seems more willing to ride past his edge and risk hitting the deck if that's what it takes.

Maybe it's me, but watching Chad over the past couple of years he has had several "opportunities" to put a stuff on Stewart but tip toes away from it. I believe if he would have won Phoenix it would have really put James on edge the next few weeks and maybe pushed him into making some BIG mistakes. Now Stewart has some confidence back and it will be harder for Reed to keep it close.

Chad HAS to follow it up with a win at A2. Do that and you got James rattled. I say the Anaheim crowd would be ok with Reed putting Stewart into the tuff-blocks if given the opportunity. Reverse the rolls and Stewart gets booed. If #7 wins big in Anaheim this weekend, you can probably hand him the #1 plate now.

250's
Dungey just seems to polished this year to walk away without that #1 plate. I knew Lawrence, Weimer, Hepler, and the Pro Circuit guys would be up there but results so far show inconsistency. J-law, Stroupe and Metcalf do get wins though. Keep an eye on Weimer though.

Till' next week,
CMC

Clash said...

West Lites stays hot and goes down to the final round.

Lawrence regroups at A2 and wins.

Stroupe regroups and snags his first podium at A2.

Windham had clutch issues at A1 and Phoenix but survived. He's back.

Reed wins two more rounds, but won't be enough for the championship.

Spots 3-10 swap all year in the bigboy class with Short, Tedesco, and Langston all on the podium.

Josh Hill stays on the map.

Alessi continues to struggle but figures it out by Atlanta.

Villopoto sweeps East.

Weege flys around Chicago and is late for at least one race.

DJ 868 said...

I say for the Lites, Dungey will get on a roll soon and probably win the most races in the west. As far as the SX class, thats a tough one. Shorty is the one I would like to see up there every week but K-Dub seems to be on a mission right now. I think thats great because if this season went like last years we would probably see him retire sooner than later. Anyway, there's my two cents.

Jason Weigandt said...

Thanks so much, boys! Awesome bench racing here.

Mike D:
How dare you give Matthes/Canadians credit for anything except things that suck. Did you hear that that was the SECOND podcast I had to do with him, because he forgot to hit record the first time?

As for the racers, I liked Millsaps back in those days, he and Langston made for the funniest press conferences ever back in '05. I think he was more "I dunno, I just rode" than "I just kicked everyone's ass." Either way, I'd like to see the same type of riding we saw out of him back then--what happened to that ridiculous speed through the whoops?

Awesome point on Dungey and Bailey.

I think we're all getting on the Mustache bandwagon right now. And the Joe Gibbs guys did rebound strong. Thanks for the good feedback, Mike.

M Brown:
Dude, I know, I may seriously get beat up by team Ryno this weekend.

What I like about this year's SX class is, although Windham, GL and Red Dog are the obvious top 5 faves, I think Shorty, Saps, IT, NYK and maybe the Suzuki boys can run with them. That's depth!

I wouldn't call Alessi a fade--it's more like starting in a better spot than your speed will allow you to finish. I always give the kid credit for being willing to get the holeshot even knowing he will then become a moving roadblock. He could have just started 10th and finished 10th.

I don't think Stewart has been down with the Monster deal since day 1--he even thanked Red Bull at the SX banquet last year and didn't even mention Monster! This obviously opens all kinds of rumors for where he will ride next year, especially since RV is coming out as well. One theory is Stewie goes to JGRMX and brings Red Bull money, while RV takes his spot at Kawi. It makes sense, really. But then, I bet Red Bull Honda would love to get their hands on RV, which could mess up the whole works...

CMC,
Awesome stuff there, I agree with everything you said--GL had uncharacteristic luck, the rest of the pack will have a tough time seeing JBS and CR, CR could have done major damage had he beaten Stewart at Phoenix...man I love bench racing.

Clash:
I hope you're right, West going down to the wire would be awesome. And by the way, here I am waiting for my second flight this week to Chicago...and it's DELAYED!

DJ868:
No doubt, KW has to be feeling like a young guy right now. He is riding WAY better than he was at this point last year. Maybe we can get a few more years and some more AMA/Toyota Nationals out of him now.

Daniel said...

Starting with that 3rd podium position: I feel like Ferry, Windham, & Langston could take it at any moment. There is one rider in the SX class that I feel could really step it up. Andrew Short really jumps out at me as someone who will make big strides this season. He is so mellow and genuine, that to me at least, he seems almost transparent. Let me explain. In the past he has had a couple championships slip through the cracks. In interviews about that afterwards he was pretty candid about why he didn't get it. And because he is so genuine, when he says he will work harder to improve on that, I believe him. Maybe more than anyone else, I believe him. J-law has taken a big step to improving himself by getting a trainer this year too. But for some reason I feel like Short could easily become a regular visiter to the podium.

Ryan Dungey seems a lot like Short to me too. I was pretty stunned by his open letter to the fans last week. He hadn't done anything wrong, yet still wrote a letter. RC will always hold a special place on my monitor wallpaper, but you only got letters like that from him when something bad happened, ie) fuelgate. Dungey just won a race, and writes a nice letter to the fans. Sweet. He seems like he will continue to win, maybe not dominate, but win.

Metcalfe I think will do well too. He knows how fortunate he is to be on Pro Circuit and what it has done for others in the past. Chris Gosselaar made huge improvements in his SX game a copule years ago when he started riding PC. Metcalfe can do the same. He seems to definately have the desire to do it.

How about one other guy? Kind of a curiousity thing. What does the season hold for Tyler Evans? Is he still out there going for it? I saw a picture of him from Pheonix with some impressive chops, and he was pre-entered into the race. Is he hurt? Does all this matter to me? Not too much. But this guy has taken an opposite trend to the point of this thread, which is rising. Two years ago he was part of opening ceremonies all over the tour, now he is just viewed as that guy who gets in to ACTUAL fights on the track and can't make the main. It has probably been a rough couple seasons for him.

Ben Trujillo said...

There is no way lawrence becomes a contender in this series, sure a podium here and there, maybe even a I win but I still do not think he has it. Dungey is solid and will win the series.

Jason Weigandt said...

Daniel,
I think Shorty was already way-overachieved in his career. When he came out of Loretta's he was battling with Josh Woods, now Woods is managing an AX team and short is getting fourth in Supercross for Factory Honda. Shorty shows what hard work can do, I'm pumped for him.

Ben,
Have you seen J-Law's bars? They're totally retro, so he will kill it at A2!

MIKE D said...

Bubba-Red Bull.........yes
Bubba-"Factory" Honda.........never

Blogandt- Please explain the "Grand National Number 1"

Blue Backround Gold Number 1

I remember seeing Bailey with it a few times, Maybe RJ once? I think Jeff Stanton? and for sure,...flat tracker Bubba Shobert......what were the qualifications and why does it not exist anymore?

It was cool.....

Jason Weigandt said...

Mike D:
Basic explanation on the GNC #1: The AMA used to hand out a separate #1 plate for the rider who scored the most total points combined with Supercross and the Motocross Nationals. You know who would have won it in 2007? Tim Ferry. It was kind of cool because you could have a guy like Mark Barnett who did well in SX and the 125 Nationals and then David Bailey doing well in SX and the 500 Nats, battling for that crown. The Champ wore the blue plate. I think with Shobert, it was the same thing, maybe combining road race and dirt track? Not sure.

I don't know why they stopped doing it for MX. A few years later, Stanton ran that same blue #1 plate but that was only because Camel sponsored the series and that was also their color. MC was the last to wear it ('94) and then Camel left, and that was all she wrote.