Monday, May 12

Mudder's Day

I haven't gone to a GNCC in two months. I used to fly to them the morning after supercross races, but now I'm 30 and you know, I need more sleep. Maybe I've gone all big time and sold out, or maybe I'm smart enough to know showing up for a few hours on Sunday afternoon isn't really helping anyone.

But I was back at it this weekend in Ohio, and after great weather on Saturday for the ATV race, it rained and rained and rained on Sunday. It was really bad. It wasn't quite the worst I've ever seen, but it was close, and the whole day was almost comical. I've never seen the riders laughing so much before a race. The GNCCers are all well-versed in the "you have to pretend you enjoy it to do well" mantra, and they were all flexing their acting skills. It kind of reminded me of why these races are still cool, because everyone was so relaxed. The GNCC guys don't live in the vacuum like the motocross guys do, so they don't have to worry about every word getting disected and destroyed by fans on the internet and at the events.

Anyway, two controversies hit the pits, and both seemed to confuse everyone a little more, because they're not used to this stuff. First, David Knight writes a column in Cycle News, and in his latest one, he said he was tired of everyone telling him how fast Charlie Mullins is going to be this year, and how Charlie is going to be his main challenger. Knight said he thinks Mullins is actually slower this year, and he thinks the other Suzuki riders will actually be just as good as Mullins in technical races (by the way, in the mudder on Sunday, Mullins smoked a clutch and failed to finish, while the rest of the Suzuki boys went 1-2-3). The last GNCC Racer to host a column in a major U.S. pub was Shane Watts back in his Racer X days, and Watts was pretty good at tearing the guys up. But that was a long time ago, now, so Knight's comments swept through the pits pretty hard.

Second, the race in the mud came down to a controversial finish. Suzuki's Josh Strang led a lot of the race and had a big lead on the last lap. The Australian is only 20-years-old, and he's really figuring this game out after finishing second at the last two races. Now he was a headed for a win, until all of a sudden his teammate Paul Whibley came through the finish ahead of him! Strang wasn't sure where Whibs passed him, and Whibs wasn't sure where he passed Strang. Strang was pissed, but he couldn't really say anything or do anything about it, since Whibley is his teammate.

So both stories will go quietly into history. Knight will write another column, and Strang and Whibley will race another race. And that's all that will happen, because luckily these boys still get to have fun with the races. If something like this happened in Supercross, we'd still be talking about it next year.


Matthes said...

When I hear that it was one of the muddiest GNCC's ever, I think HOLY F--K because there has been some REALLY muddy GNCC's in history.


Anonymous said...

Do you think Suzuki had a "fuel-injection advantage" under those conditions?


peelout719 said...

"If something like this happened in Supercross, we'd still be talking about it next year."

truer words have never been spoken. as a matter of fact, did you hear Reed was penalized 25 points for illegal fuel? crazy i know. damn whinin-ass ballbaby cheater.

Jason Weigandt said...

I say the Florida GNCC in 2003 was the worst ever, because the track was at sea level, and it rained so hard that water started coming up from UNDERNEATH the course. The whole track was basically under water. But, seeing as dudes were going to the hospital here for having too much mud in their eyes, I don't want to rain on their parade.

Races like this always prove strange things about the bike designs that probably aren't even done on purpose. It's not like Suzuki was trying to develop a bike that runs better in the rain, but something they did to the airbox helped it shed water better than the KTM's, that's for sure.