September 15, 2007

Just In: Mike Brown wins British National Championship!

CAS Honda team rider Mike Brown, former 125 National Champion, has just won the MX2 (250F) British National Championship at the final round today at the Pontrilas Hereford circuit.

Heckuva job, Brownie! (sorry, I couldn't resist that) Seriously, that is awesome news.

Boy, were my Outdoor Predictions wrong!

Wow, was I off! Of course, who could have predicted that James Stewart would get injured and not finishing the season? I mean, just because it happened the past two seasons doesn't mean it's ALWAYS going to happen, right?

Okay, some DID predict it. But not me... when I made my picks for this year, I saw it like this:

450 class:
1) James Stewart
2) Tim Ferry
3) Davi Millsaps

I even went so far as to actually write, "I also do not believe the "Alessi Threat" will materialize into a top three finish..." I was REALLY wrong there. Congratulations to Mike and Team Alessi on that unbelievable second overall on the season! That's a great accomplishment to take to an equally amazing new job at Team Suzuki. I'll have to write more on Mike later...

Notice the missing Grant Langston. He wasn't even on my radar, so to say I was surprised by his late season run would be an understatement. Now on to the 250F class... here were my picks:

250 class:
1) Ben Townley
2) Ryan Villopoto
3) Ryan Dungey

Close, but no cigar. Truthfully, I wasn't even close because I wrote: "I also think that it will be a Battle Royale between Townley and RV all year long, and luck is going to play a big part of it. But I think overall we'll see Townley come close to dominating the series." Uh, WRONG. Yes, it was a close battle, but if anyone deserves the word "dominating" it would have to be the redhead from Washington State, Ryan Villopoto. When RV won, he WON. He's amazing to watch and he certainly rose to the occasion of having to race against a team mate that already holds a world title.

Plus, and this is no small thing, I think Ryan Villopoto deserves credit from all American motocross fans for keeping one of our outdoor titles under the Stars and Stripes. I mean, I know Langston is practically a citizen (actually, he may already be naturalized, I'm not sure), but still...

September 10, 2007

Cardinal Sin: I has committed it...

In the language of LOLcats, "I can has committed..." a terrible sin when I chose NOT to attend the AMA/Toyota trucks National Motocross championship round at Glen Helen this past weekend. There's no use listing my lame excuses because, well, they're lame. But I have not missed a National at the Glen since I moved to California in the winter of '97.

Funny thing is, I don't feel particularly guilty about it.

I will admit that I did feel a bit of a letdown when Stewart bowed out of the series. It seemed as if everyone else in the moto-world greeted that news with excitement, since it meant the title would no longer be a foregone conclusion. To me, it meant that instead of the championship going to the fastest, the AMA series turned into a "last man standing" deal. Which is actually how it should be; a champion has to be able to endure the entire series (unless he scores enough points to wrap it up a round or two early, of course...).

I do wonder, though, if Grant Langston feels the irony of the fact that BOTH of his American motocross championships were series in which James Stewart was unable to fully participate due to injuries. Of course, Grant cannot be blamed for the circumstances that presented themselves, and he deserves full respect for stepping up and achieving what his rivals simply failed to do. Langston won that title fair and square, no two ways about it.

I just didn't drive out to see it happen.

Update: James Stewart's knee surgery

I had heard some rumors on the internet about James Stewart's condition, but I wanted to wait until Kawasaki released the offical word. Well, here it is.

Looks like James made it to Glen Helen after all, and he is currently recovering from knee surgery. James says surgery went well, and his recovery is anticipated to be shorter than expected, but he won't race again until the start of the Supercross season.

Here's hoping his recovery is as complete and painless as possible. Get well, James... the motocross world needs you!

September 06, 2007

An Open Letter to James Stewart

Hey James, I know you’re probably not feeling like hearing advice from a spode like me. I mean, when I was your age, I was still in the novice class and now, decades later, most Vet beginners school me. So I really have no business offering you any pointers on racing; unfortunately, I’m not going to let that stop me.

But enough about me; here’s what I think you need to be doing right now: helping your team mate Tim Ferry win this championship.

Hey, I have no idea what you’re up to right about now… maybe you’re laying in bed recovering from knee surgery, maybe you’re on your boat chillin’ on the water somewhere, who knows? Kawasaki isn’t/hasn’t said, and your own website hasn’t been updated in over a year. But if you’re NOT laid up recuperating then you really oughta be out at the track everyday with Ferry helping him to “win one for the team.” Because that’s what team mates DO.

The way I see it, YOU are the reason Ferry is having the year of his life. Because he has been able to practice with you, watch your lines and this has helped him raise the level of his game. Look at his results when you were on the track; he was killing everyone but you and Ricky. Then check what happened after you bowed out: now he has trouble making a pass on Alessi stick.

Timmy needs you, James. He needs you in his corner, talking him through this thing, pointing out the fast way around the track. You really need to show up at Glen Helen and help him win the National Championship. What do you say?

September 03, 2007

Langston is the man to beat

Team Yamaha's Grant Langston is looking at another American National Motocross championship, after taking a strong win in Texas yesterday. Honda's Andrew Short and Red Bull KTM's Mike Alessi rounded out the podium for the first National motocross held in Texas in... too long.

Ironically, it was Short that started off strong, taking a page out of James Stewart's playbook by grabbing the holeshot and decisively checking out. Unfortunately for Short, he also channeled Stewart in the second moto when he crashed while out front, handing the lead (and points lead) over to Langston.

Kawasaki's Timmy Ferry set fastest time in Sunday qualifying, but once again could not buy a start and couldn't make the necessary passes to gain any ground on his rivals Short and Langston. It's not looking good for Ferry as the tour heads into Glen Helen this weekend for the final round.

September 01, 2007

Is Timmy Ferry gonna choke?

Man, I hope not.

Let me get one thing straight: I have no ill will towards Ferry. In fact, I really hope he can pull off this championship for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he seems to be a really nice guy. I mean, I have never actually met him outside of a autograph line, but I did have the good fortune to meet his wife, Evie, at the San Diego supercross (ironically, the one where Stewart won his very first SX in the 125 class), and she was such a nice person that he just HAS to be a good guy to win a woman like that!

Anyway, what would also be cool, of course, is the idea of a guy as old as Ferry doing the unthinkable: coming back to the factories after having been left for dead basically, and working hard enough to be in just the right place to win all the marbles after his superstar team mate gets taken out by an injury. You just can't write a better script. The only problem is that Grant Langston and Mike Alessi seem to be much hungrier for it right now.

And Timmy seems to be having a problem right now, at the worst possible time... because for most of this year, he was having the season of his life! Check out these results:

Hangtown: 3-3
Hi Point: 3-4
Southwick: 37-4
Budds Creek: 4-8
Red Bud: 4-4
Unadilla: 5-1 (Stewart out after crashing in practice)
Thunder valley: 11-1 (Stewart riding injured)
Washougal: 2-2 (Stewart injured in moto 2))

And then James called it a season... unfortunately Timmy, instead of taking over, seemed to take off as well:

Spring Creek: 8-6
Steel City: 4-7

So what's up? Is Ferry choking under the pressure? Right now, for tomorrow's national at Freestone in Texas, Timmy set second fastest lap... but the current points leader Langston is sitting on the pole. Ferry is only FOUR points out of first with four motos to go.

Timmy, you need to go 1-1 tomorrow and put this thing away.