January 08, 2007

Thoughts on Anaheim 1, 2007

Man, I had a GREAT time on Saturday, mostly due to the company I was with, but the exciting racing had something to do with it, too! As you undoubtedly know by now, James Stewart stormed to the win after falling early in the race, denying Carmichael the A1 win that RC says wasn’t all that important to him anyway. Okay. And Superbad Injured Guy, Chad Reed, pulled a MONSTER holeshot and went fast enough to finish third.

In print, it sounds boring, but it was great! Anyway, here are the things that stood out from my day in the Big A:

1) If you want to go to the pits AND watch the practice/qualifying sessions, get there early. REALLY early. Because we got there around 2pm, in time for the second practice sessions, and by the time they were over, it was nearly 4:30… and the pits closed at 5pm. So sorry to anybody who missed seeing me in the pits (yeah, right!), but the practice sessions were too much fun to miss!

2) Grant Langston was friggin’ FLYING in the second practice session. I believe he finished with the third fastest time of the day. I mean, that really surprised me. (And sorry about that link, it was a joke; here's Grant's real website... and it looks like it needs to be updated!)

3) David Vuillemin was also turning good laps, fighting for the fourth or fifth fastest lap with Kevin Windham.

4) Ryan Villopoto was as fast as expected, but the surprise was that his teammate, Chris Gosselaar was nearly as fast as RV. I thought we were looking at a Pro Circuit 1-2 on the podium… I was wrong.

5) I simply could not wrap my head around the idea of Jason Lawrence on a Yamaha of Troy bike. I kept looking at the number 338 on a blue bike and wondering “who IS that guy with J-Law’s old number?” My confusion lasted most of the night; must have been that “coffee” we were drinking out in the parking lot…!

6) When you take the time and effort to mount a bazooka-like t-shirt launcher on a customized, lifted golfcart, don’t you think it would be cool to actually drive around the perimeter of the field launching t-shirts on the fly? Well that’s not what happened; instead they just parked that puppy in the MIDDLE OF THE FIELD and then attempted to shoot into the upper deck… and failed miserably each time. 45,000 fans were not impressed.

7) Stewart’s excitement after winning the main could be felt all the way up in the cheap seats. He was STOKED!

8) Parking cost $15 DOLLARS! Man, there oughta be a law…

9) French GP guy Christopher Pourcel looked like a supercross specialist from way back the way he effortlessly led the 250F main. He’ll be a contender when he makes the move over here.

10) Ryan Villopoto is the next “Ricky Carmichael”… he’s that fast. I hope he takes his time and stays in the 250F class another year, and then… watch out! I think he’ll be James’ biggest threat.

11) I didn’t miss the semis one bit. And if canceling the day qualifiers made track maintenance easier/better, then I support it 100%. It’s nice to see a positive change in this sport.

12) We had the biggest hicks in the whole world seated behind us. During the heat one for the 250Fs, one of them was beside himself about the “huge lead” RC had…! They were outta control. In fact, it got so bad, I wished I could hear Terry Boyd instead… kind of like curing a headache with a hammer to the forehead.

13) Chad Reed qualifying after stalling his bike in his heat. I swore up and down that he would just cruise and take his “gimme” into the main; imagine my surprise when he didn’t show up to start the LCQ. And then when he pulled that killer holeshot from the 16th gate pick, well, wow! Good job, Skippy!

January 05, 2007

My 2007 Supercross Predictions

Well I don’t know about you, but I am very excited about the “start” of the new Supercross season. 24 hours from now, I will hit the road to Anaheim with two of my favorite people to witness the latest installment in the “magnificent men with their flying machines” saga, the Amp’d Mobile/Toyota/and Other Sponsors Supercross thing-a-ma-jiggie. And here’s my pick for the championship:

James Stewart, Jr.

Now my regular readers will note that I picked James to win the title last year… and I was wrong. BUT, I was right about one thing: I predicted that the title battle would go down to the wire in Sparkplug 35.

With Rick Carmichael moving on, there’s no reason why James shouldn’t repeat as WSX champion AND win the AMA SX title as well… he’s got the speed, the experience, the bike and no competition.

No competition? Look, I think Chad Reed is ready to put on a fight, but he is proving himself to be fragile. Another pre-season shoulder injury was just announced, and he’s questionable for A1. I hope he shows up to gather up as many points as possible, because I think he’s the only real contender that Stewart will face this year. No one else has been able to run even close to Stewart’s pace.

Milsaps? Still recovering from a broken femur, he’s outta the title chase.

Langston? Has just recently returned to riding after a broken ankle, and he’s still unproven in the 450F class.

So here’s how I think the season will shake out for the AMA series:

1) James Stewart, Jr.
2) Chad Reed
3) Kevin Windham
4) David Vuillemin
5) Tim Ferry

Yep, I think Ferry will keep Tedesco, Byrne, Langston and Wey at bay. Hey!