May 25, 2008

Of course, there is a lot more to Glen Helen 2008...

So I was sitting in a grassy field beside my Mustang, eating a baby spinach salad while observing what looked like the monumental meanderings of a mad tailor: a small airplane was performing acrobatic maneuvers over the Glen Helen racetrack in the distance, stitching up the sky with great looping threads of smoke.

Again, that spectacle was in the distance. I was also being entertained by an airshow of a different scale in the grassy field before me: a flock of tiny birds wheeled, looped and careened over the carpet of grass, pulling moves that made the aerobatic pilot seem lame in comparison. I was sitting in a field right next to the Pavillion (whatever corporate sponsor owns the naming rights), about to make the hike into Glen Helen with hundreds of others as the parking "lot" continued to fill, feeling pretty pumped about seeing the first AMA Toyota National (presented by FMF, don't forget) of the year. How many Nationals start with a friggin' airshow?? Glen Helen had two (counting the birdies).

Rode in the back of an overstuffed Toyota Tundra. I have to say the overcrowding effect seemed to override any other impressions I might have had about the truck. Um, the bed liner was fresh?

To the racing. Jason Lawrence wire-to-wire in the first 250 moto, say what? Damn, that was cool to see. Monster Pro Circuit, though, really flexed their muscle today: Austin Powers, er, Stroupe won his first National by going 2-3! Ryan Villopoto turned a 5-1 into second overall, and J-Law wasn't able to repeat his first moto win, but got on the box with a fifth in the second moto (holding Trey Canard at bay to do so. Hmmm.).

And in the 450 class, like I said before, James Owns Glen Helen. He is still poetry in motion for those able to see him without being blinded by politics or other distractions. He was flying his Monster Energy Kawasaki higher and farther than anyone over that crazy mountaintop step-over in the REM section of the track, which then plunged steeply downhill straight into some Prius-sized braking bumps, which James would jump over, landing in the turn. Just watching that guy ride is truly one of life's little pleasures.

You gotta give Mike Alessi credit for giving it his all to make it a race. No one else on the course (save James, of course) could hang with the M. Mike rode the crap out of that Suzuki trying to keep Stewart in sight. Roger D and Big Goose deserve credit for putting a great bike under Alessi, and the entire Rockstar Makita Suzuki team should be pumped with Alessi's 2-2 for second OA.

Red Bull Honda is loaded this season, but their top man today was a surprise: Davi Millsaps carded 3-3 for the last spot on the box, after team mates Andrew Short and Ben Townley both dnf'd moto two. The Last Dragon on RBH (last Bull?) was Ivan Tedesco, who's sauce hasn't been hot for a while now. Number 9 ran hard all day, though, finishing fifth OA. He shouldn't do any worse than that.

Tim Ferry looked strong, but couldn't handle Millsaps for some reason. Timmy is faster than that, so I don't know what's going on there.

Big surprise of the day? Has to be Sean "I'm Back" Hamblin going 8-8 for SEVENTH overall, beating out some factory guys on his TUF Racing-backed private Yamaha. Hambone might get invited back into a big rig soon.

So the day was great, the racing was fan-tastic, the weather was the best it has ever been at GH, I hear the riders actually like the track, and the AMA Toyoto Motocross Championship is underway.

So what was NOT to like? Little birdie airshow notwithstanding, the parking SUCKED this year, and what sucked the most was that I was using the side of the facility that was supposed to IMPROVE the parking experience. In the past years, I seem to remember parking in the same area, but this year they had only one way out, so all the cars, trucks and motorhomes were funneled into one path out. Yes, I sat in the grassy field by my Mustang and watched the aerobatics one more time.

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