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Thursday Rev-Up: Anxiety

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anx•i•e•ty: Eager, often agitated desire.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev-Up! The spirit of competition is firing on all eight cylinders like I have never seen it. I am writing to you all on the heels of some of the most intense college bowl games of all time. It’s been exactly 10 minutes since I saw Vince Young scramble into the end zone to put a nail in the coffin on the NCAA College Football National Championship for the Texas University Longhorns. With that incredible sensation of adrenaline hot in my veins I immediately ran to the computer to write this week’s column.

Chad Reed will bring it this weekend
Something is in the air, folks. I think all of the bad noise of 2005 has given athletes of all sports and distinction a little more pep in their step, a little more grit in their teeth, and a whole lot more fire in their hearts. And for us, of the supercross beloved, we have our Holy Grail awaiting us in two days: Anaheim is here. I guarantee you this is going to be a race and a season to remember! Let’s go over some of the variables that make this year’s Anaheim one of the most anxiously awaited supercross races ever, and get Revved Up for the greatest show on dirt.

AMA Supercross

Realistically, there are going to be two major conflicts in the premier class, the first of which is the battle of the baddest. And there are three warriors in this battle. Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, and James Stewart are going to dance in the six-sided ring of fire. First, though, I am going to go out on a limb and say this will be the last Anaheim 1 for the immortal Ricky Carmichael. Ricky has won everything in our sport save for one very precious race: the coveted supercross season opener. The man will be on a mission this Saturday night. He has been quoted recently saying, “This year is for me.” Ricky knows the chess match of a 16-race season; be that as it may, they’d better reinforce the throttle housing on his RM-Z450 for this one. He is going to try to twist it off Saturday night, I promise you.

Chad Reed will also bring it this weekend. I’ll chalk up his uninspired rides in the Great White North to his off-season surgeries and time away from the fire of competition. Chad is one of those riders who picks up speed when he is angry. And coming into Anaheim on the heels of the drubbing he received in Canada, he has to be straight-up pissed off. Look for Reed and his factory YZ450F to get nasty this weekend.

Will the podium look like this in Anaheim?
And then there’s James Stewart, who rode with ice in his veins instead of fire in his eyes at the Canadian rounds. It will require the same demeanor to continue his journey to the top of the mountain. There is going to be some bar-banging, and even more head games laying ahead for the 20-year-old phenomenon. He has the speed, he has the equipment, and he has the desire. This is James’ time. And it’s time for him to capture it. Man, oh man, is he riding fast! His KX450 appears to be an impeccable machine, and in the capable hands of Stewart, this may be a combination that is impossible to beat. The only thing I see slowing it down are the decisions the commander makes throughout the weekend. However, we saw a “New Beginning” in Canada. And if James rides smart, this could very well be the beginning of the end for anyone not wearing # 7.

The second, and I believe most fierce, conflict will be the battle behind the “Big Three.” I call them “The Big 12.” Check out these names: Ivan Tedesco, Jeremy McGrath, David Vuillemin, Heath Voss, Michael Byrne, Nick Wey, Mike LaRocco, Ernesto Fonseca, Travis Preston, Ryan Clark, Tyler Evans, and Mike Brown. This will be the eye of the storm for 20 laps at Anaheim. There is podium and top-five potential for all of these guys, and they will put forth a spectacular display, all for our viewing pleasure. 

Supercross Lites

Will experience pay off for Andrew Short in the Lites division in 2006?
Nothing “lite” to write about here, folks! The action and drama that awaits us in this class is about heavy as it gets! Holy crap, guys, this is going to be good, and we’re still not quite sure who all is riding where in these two series! We do know we have the heavy hitters (and previous main-event winners) of Andrew Short, Grant Langston, and Nathan Ramsey. Ah, but bringing the heat in a big way will be the notorious Alessi brothers (no matter which one shows up) and fellow first-timers Ryan Villopoto and the Jason Lawrence Show. There is more rivalry and drama in these three entities than words can explain.

How about U.S. Open winner Brett Metcalfe or Billy Laninovich for some more spice? Not enough? How about a taste of Danny Smith, Ryan Sipes, Andrew McFarlane, Chris Gosselaar, and Ryan Mills to ease your appetite for destruction? I can go on: Eric Sorby, Darcy Lange, and Paul Carpenter all have podium potential! You’d better be able to multitask when watching this main event, as there will be block-passes, takeouts, and mind-blowing action from first to 22nd in the upcoming 15-lap march of madness.

Are you anxious? Can you feel the anticipation? Did the Speed Channel episodes of Lackey, Smith, DeCoster, RJ, and Hannah give you the same nostalgic feeling in the pit of your guts as it did me? How about the powerful preseason preview that Troy Adamitis put together for CCE on CBS? Did it fuel your supercross fire?

Hell’s bells, I hope so! I’m pumped beyond recognition! Who is going to whip it the furthest on the parade lap? Who is going to bang the first holeshot of the season? What if it’s McGrath? There is a monster that is gaining strength and growing razor-sharp fangs. This monster has the combined DNA of Hannah, Ricky Johnson, Jeremy McGrath, Mike Goodwin, Mickey Thompson, Clear Channel, and 60,000 rabid fans all configured to form a growing beast named American Supercross. It’s coming. Don’t be anxious, be ready. Listen online, watch TV Sunday, or just hop on a plane and fly out there if you can!

Thanks for reading, see you next week!

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