"While flying, Lindberg explained that he felt as though he had
lost ‘all conscious connection with the past,’ that he lived ‘only in
the moment in this strange, unmortal space, crowded with beauty,
pierced with danger.’”
-James Bradley, Fly Boys
Anyway, I just finished reading James Bradley’s Fly Boys, and I wrote down Lindberg’s account of what it felt like to be alone in the air because that mirrored that unforgettable moment I experienced in St. Louis. It’s incredible.
The boys heading east to continue their aspirations of victory are all too familiar with this incredible state of mind. For the AMA Supercross class, the action and battle for points supremacy has reached never-before-seen levels of intensity. And joining them this Saturday night is a new arsenal of talent in the East Region Supercross Lites division. Come fly with me as we get Revved Up for the continuing flight and fight between Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, and the boys, and the arrival of the Lite Class Beasts riding the East!
“His mind is right, his knee is strong, and he is putting in lap times at the Honda test track that have people tripping out!” said Hicks, a man who knows young motocross talent as well as anyone. So look out this Saturday night for the man from Belpre, KS, to be putting on a show!
Joining him is his SoBe/Samsung teammate Josh Grant, who has proven he can get the job done indoors and out. Ah, but one of his biggest jobs in 2005 was avoiding conflict between himself and new born bad boy of the Lites division, Josh Hansen. Sparks, fists, and about everything else flew between these contenders last year. As Li’l Hanny rolls into 2006 with all of his doin’-big-thangs bravado, I forecast the drama spotlight being fixated tightly on #100.
But the heavy favorite for the East Coast crown is Davi Millsaps. Armed with the potent CRF250R, Maverick could be making his final attempt at tiddler-class stardom before moving on to the big boys in 2007. No one but no one can ride the whoops sections like #118, and all Davi needs to do is avoid the Curse of the Horrendous Starts that has plagued his 190+ lb. frame throughout his first two pro seasons.
Some other class notables will be BooKoo Honda-mounted Steve Boniface, Monster Energy.Pro Circuit-sponsored Chris Gosselaar, Sean Hamblin, and none other than the preeminent press-conference favorite, Matt Walker. Walker saw some tough days in 2005 and will be looking to turn it around this year.
Okay, I left two other guys out on purpose, but only to see if everyone back in District 5—the birthplace of Racer X—was paying attention. Team Makita Suzuki’s Broc Hepler is a question mark with that sore foot, and Yamaha of Troy’s comeback kid Branden Jesseman is even more of one. Will he be the Brando of old—he won St. Louis in 2003—or the Jesseman of late—a quiet also-ran? I expect him to be his old self.
Behind them, Chad Reed has apparently lost the draft. He seems to have entered into a grudge match between himself and Ivan Tedesco rather than apply pressure to the title contenders ahead of him. We are going to see an entirely different track surface this weekend, as the St. Louis soil is typically soft and produces more ruts and bumps. Hopefully, this will play to Reed’s advantage, because we need another horse in this clash of the titans. And maybe Ivan will come with him and we'll see a four-rider battle for the win instead of the Floridian freight train of yesterweek.
St. Louis will also mark the first race of 2006 without Jeremy McGrath, who was wildly popular out West, not to mention still pretty damned fast. His fourth-place last weekend in his farewell ride no doubt felt as good as a win, and I tip my hat to the Mac.
We’re heading east, ladies and gentlemen! Can you believe the ride we have been on so far?! Isn’t it great not knowing who will win as each round comes to us? I, for one, have had a great time juggling between listening to the live feed, waiting for next-day coverage, or attending the races themselves! St. Louis is regarded as the “Gateway to the West,” but for we of the supercross beloved, it will serve transversely as the gateway to the East! With the stainless steel awesomeness of the St. Louis Arch looking on, and the soul of the great Charles Lindberg hovering in the heavens above, it’s once again time to fly, baby!
Thanks for reading, see you next week!