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One Industries Thursday Rev-Up

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Boom! Amp’d Mobile Supercross nailed us with a direct hit last weekend! What more could we ask for? Insane racing action in both classes, terrific next-day coverage, and an RC-vs.-Bubba duel to the checkers as the climax. All things considered, it has been a toss-up as to what carried the hot gossip and topics throughout the week. Was Bubba playing with RC? Was RC (or Chad Reed, for the matter) showing his real cards? Were the Amp’d commercials a little too, um, Amp’d? We’ll go over all of that in this second part of my two-part series on the opening rounds taking place in the Great White North. Turn up the heater, sit back in your chair, and get ready. Here comes the Rev-Up! 

The Tale of the Thumper

Well, the boys all ended up racing four-strokes. It’s been coming for a long time, and it appears that the revolution has taken over. I noticed a couple of things while watching the “big three” throw down on their air hammers.

Ricky Carmichael
For one, it seems the 450 machines favor point-and-shoot-type racing. It’s apparent that when you point a 450 in a direction and clack the throttle to the stops, that it will gobble up anything in its path WAY faster than the two-strokes. Whether it’s whoops, a start stretch, or a long rhythm section, they cover ground fast and effective. The Toronto track had a lot of long lanes of jump combinations followed by tight turns. To increase the racing action, the tracks need to have wider corners and more switchback action. Flat corners will also provide some great racing.

I also noticed the riders land with the front wheel down a lot less. I think the weight and the geometry of the new age bikes need a less-severe takeoff than the typical five-foot ski launch-style they currently use. Mellower angles on the jumps and longer gaps will work in their favor. Keep this in mind: The track changes will not close the gap between the two-strokes and the 450s; this will merely increase the action between the 450s. Barring a stall or reliability issue, I think it’s abundantly clear that the 450 is a more effective winning machine.

David Vuillemin will be making his BooKoo Honda debut this weekend as the lone contender on a CR250R. I have seen DV ride recently, and he was carrying the mail, for sure. He also lit up some overseas races on the two-stroke. David is a legitimate top-five contender. We’ll see if his premix-burning Honda will be an asset or a liability come this Saturday night.

The Duel

James Stewart
James Stewart pulled it off. Coming into the race with a New Beginning and new number, the pressure was on to perform. At the end of the race, James was punching the air, yelling, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Well, what he was talking about was a very intelligent and patient ride that put him in victory lane. To be honest, I scoffed when I heard Jim Holley say, “And Stewart goes down!” I thought, New number, same Bubba. But what he did afterward made me a believer that this just may be a New Beginning. James caught back up to Ricky and took his time setting him up. He didn’t throw on the banzai, he didn’t ram (or land on) anybody, and he didn’t end up in the Asterisk Mule. People (including myself) were quick to buy the “He is toying with Carmichael” that Holley yelled over the Live Wire. But after further review on Speed Channel, I didn’t see much of that.

Keep in mind that the last three times RC and James were fender-to-fender, James made huge rider errors. In Toronto, James made a pass over the triple and was fender-to-fender with RC and was on his inside. James could have jumped the double into the corner and risked making a mistake and cleaning them out. Instead, Stewart rolled it and waited to finish the kill. Yes, he could have pulled away after his second pass attempt, but he still had air in his lungs and several laps to go. Had RC seen his lines, he may have been able to replicate and stage a last-ditch effort. James rode with strategy and great awareness. I call no foul.

Chad Reed
Carmichael was right there, though, maybe just a couple tenths off. Ricky always over-rides and over-trains and usually looks a little stale at the first race. His idea of boot camp better prepares him for the season, rather than the opening salvo. I guarantee you that he will be faster this weekend, and by the time we get to, say, Phoenix, he should be at full speed. That said, very few despise losing as much as Ricky. As fast and impressive as # 7 was in Toronto, I predict we will be seeing the GOAT make an immediate rebuttal in Vancouver.

Chad Reed, on the other hand, was off the back. Chad never seemed into it in Toronto and had to take a shot in the confidence category, although I highly doubt the Australian speedster is just going to lie down. I remember Daytona, I remember him beating Carmichael six times in a row in 2003, and I believe we will see a little more out of Chad Reed in less than two days. He should be flying by Anaheim.

The Show

Professional supercross can walk a little taller coming into this week. Speed Channel did a very good job with their presentation, and I don’t think I have ever seen the sport look more polished. Save for a couple, ahem, colorful commercials sandwiched in between the Jeremy McGrath “I wanna ride, I wanna ride” Honda commercial and the Toyota “meteor” ad, the television presentation was the best of all time. I can’t wait for this Sunday to see the second show, which I am sure will be even more of a pleasure to enjoy.

Josh Hansen (#100) and Davi Millsaps
The young men in the Lites class put on a hell of a show! Ramsey, Millsaps, Short, and Li’l Hanny were trading paint and riding the wheels off their small-bore machines. Short had some concerned comments over racing so hard with his teammate, and I promise you that Hansen will be back “Doin’ Big Thangs.” Keep and eye, and ear, out for this race!

This is it, one more chance for the riders to show their cards before taking the holiday break leading us to Anaheim. I can’t wait! I want press-day pictures! I can’t wait to see RC and Chad Reed go at it in the first heat race! I want to see Ivan Tedesco inch his way up and Villy12 to show up representing what’s left of the two-stroke world! I want to see that amazing Thor commercial with MC, Nate Adams, and Chad Reed doing some moto-ballet! Its all coming our way, folks, starting again Saturday night.

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

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