Don’t get me wrong, I was one of the first to be genuinely excited about Stewart making it to the 250 class. Count me in among a few millions (trust me, the figure is right) who were rather bored by the Saturday-night-cum-Sunday afternoon annihilations that Ricky Carmichael authored. Be it under a dome or outdoors, Ricky would certainly run the table any day for any point of time—unless, of course, it happens to be one wet and un-motorable Anaheim in January.
I digress here. I was certainly rooting for Bubba to make it tough fight with RC in the 250 class. Alas, we all know how that panned out. The point I am trying to make is James did put on a wonderful show at Toronto. He took the lead, went down and mounted a fight and methodically grinded RC, crowding his shadow and finally passing him with more brain than brawn and won this race. It’s the exact same formula that RC has used on several occasions: to go out and pound out the competition is one thing but to line up at the gate and out-smart your rival by adopting similar tactics to what your bitter rival always relies on, well, that says something.
First up, the season hasn’t started yet and secondly most of the riders would treat these World SX meets as more of a training ground to get them up to speed, fine-tune their bikes, and measure their fitness levels with the others. Rather than working on a private testing session somewhere down in Florida or SoCal, the Canadian races give the riders an opportunity to tweak themselves to “race-trim.”
Similarly, one fight doesn’t a season make. NASCAR, after getting its share of the market, ought to have had a good product on the ground (read: competition) to sustain its fan base. In fact, NASCAR produced nine winners in the 1979 season (and that included the current Fox analyst Darrell Waltrip). It’s here that motocross needs to capitalize. Now since it has gotten the rude awakening that it has craved for years, the sport needs some nip-and-tuck stuff to woo the casual fan and also those straight-jacketed sports editors in mainstream newspapers.