Friday, June 6

Finally

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.

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Weege,
How bout a "top ten" every week?
We need more of you, so much more!!

steve said...

what about Sean Collier? Fifth in moto one, crash and pass in moto 2...

JimmyC said...

Weege, Some people get up every morning and turn on FOX news or read USA Today.... but we get up and read the "Weege Report" so keep your fans happy and post... yes even the crazy stuff... or tell us where you do post the secret crazy mental stuff... FEED ME FEED ME... LOL thanks man JimmyC

Jason Weigandt said...

Man you guys are putting the pressure on.