Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev-Up. The events that will
transpire this weekend are sure to leave some deep knobby marks in the
history books. And man, has it all flown by fast! I was going through
the archive list on www.racerxill.com and reading some of my old Rev-Up
stories today when I had an epiphany: This supercross series has been
The Greatest Of All Time!
The 2006 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, aka The Perfect Storm 2,
aka the Clash of the Titans, has more than lived up to every moniker
thrown its way. From Anaheim to Atlanta, from Daytona to Dallas to this
very minute, we had no idea who was going to win the race. Now we are
faced with an even more beautiful dilemma: Who will win the title?
Isn’t that a great question?
Like any great question, it is the elements that pertain to it that
give it weight. That Chad Reed, Ricky Carmichael, and James Stewart
arrive at the last round separated by five total points makes for some
amazing elements. There is so much on the line this Saturday night: the
title, career reputations, millions of dollars, the future of sport,
maybe even the perfect ending. They’re all akin to a pair of dice
bouncing across the felt surface of a casino craps table.
We've got a live one here, folks. Literally. After all the hype, the
New Beginnings, the crashes, and the controversy, it’s going to come
down to 20 laps—on live national TV. It’s going to come down to
fortitude and fearlessness, and it is coming down to Vegas, baby! So
let’s kick the tires and light the fires on this sweet supercross
symphony one more time, shall we? Here comes the Rev-Up!
Dave Coombs Sr. East-West Shootout
It’s all about bragging rights and bench-racing bravado here, guys.
It’s where you come from; it's one for territory. The titles have been
decided, and aside from the large purse, the coolest thing a rider
earns with a victory in this prestigious event is the ability to walk
the track at Hangtown and look over at his cross-coastal rivals and
say, “Hey, I kicked your ass in supercross.” And for a racer, there are
few material things as rewarding as that.
This race typically brings some drama with it: the 1997
takeout/crash-fest between Carmichael and Kevin Windham; the
LCQ-to-victory lane of Nathan Ramsey; #259’s “endo seen around the
world” in 2003; the ‘04 battle royal between Stewart and Stephane
Roncada.… That last one sticks out the most in my mind.
It’s also a great race for a guy like Andrew Short to get a little
back. As the winner of the 2003 event, another win for Shorty could
sweeten the sting of last week’s failed attempt at the West Region
Championship. But I will reiterate, it gives a guy like Josh Grant the
chance to erase any doubt of right- or left-coast superiority.
Another division runner-up, J-Grant, can lay wood in the main and look
over at Grant Langston and Davi Millsaps and say, “Scoreboard.” Did I
leave anyone out? Of course I did—there are a half-dozen guys who can
win this great race!
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.” Relax, it’s just a quote from the movie Airplane. But seriously, folks, this is downright nutty.
Let me make sure I have this straight: RC and Reed are tied, James is
only five out, Metzger is flipping the fountains this evening, the race
is airing live, all of the after-parties and the banquet, and Tool is
playing at the Joint? Fahgeddabout it! Throw in a FHM Oil Wresting
Tournament and a guy could pretty much call it good when Monday rolls
Before I get carried away with the comic relief, I am going to stop
right there, because this is serious. This is it. This race is the
biggest … er, uh … greatest of all-time. The championship is going to
be decided between three of the most incredible supercross racers who
may ever throw a leg over a bike. And I don’t care who you are pulling
for, each one of these cats deserves it if they make it their own.
James Stewart has given it everything he's had since the gate dropped
on the World deal in the Great White North. Although he has given it a
little too much along the way, he has fought through a mountain of
adversity to arrive at the last round with a shot at the title. He came
from dead last to second in Phoenix, went down in the first turn
several more times, somehow peeled himself off the grass of the Daytona
infield, and simply left it all on the track every weekend. And in the
middle of all that, the man has been straight killing it. He blew the
roof off whatever bar was set for speed, but he’ll still need a miracle
to accomplish what he set out to do. James is gonna need help to get it
Richard Petty once said, “I’d rather be lucky than fast any day,”
meaning that if he won a race after a faster car suffered a mechanical
failure or a crash, he knew that when the paper came out the next day,
all that mattered was the headline read “Petty Wins.” There is no way
anybody can beat Carmichael and Stewart in a championship by just being
lucky. Petty knew that at the heart of competition lies a balance. You
get some wins the easy way, but all championships come the hard way.
Chad Reed has ridden brilliantly in 2006. He has kept his nose clean,
for the most part, and stayed in the hunt all season long. Main events
are won on speed, but championships are won on consistency. To date,
Reed has won two mains and placed on the steps 12 out of 15 races—many
of which came after he separated his shoulder before Daytona. In most
cases, this would spell championship. But unfortunately for Chad, and
many others, their rise to greatness came at the wrong
Ricky Carmichael has almost reached the end of the road. After 13
titles and 133 wins, RC has the chance to begin his walk into
retirement with both middle fingers in the air (figuratively speaking,
of course). In any sport, it’s the ultimate goal of the alpha
competitors to give up the ghost on the heels of victory. John Elway
hung up his cleats after winning his second straight Super Bowl; Lance
Armstrong made sure his record of seven consecutive Tour de France
victories was out of anybody’s reach before he finally stopped
pedaling. Well, the sun will burn out before anybody gets 133 wins in
our sport—and he’s not even done yet!
So it’s not that big of a deal if he loses the championship in 2006. Or
is it? "There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men
are forced by circumstances to meet.” Ricky is just a man. The Big
Three are just men. They put one leg in their riding pants at a time
and bleed the same blood when they crash. The 20 laps that face James,
Chad, and Ricky this Saturday night are an unbelievably great challenge
for all of them. There is a lot at stake for all three gladiators, but
none more so than Carmichael, because this appears to his last full
dance card with supercross. His antics on and off the track while
earning his wins and titles make him a good man, but becoming the 2006
Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Champion would forever cement his status as
In the big picture, each of boys has already won something, but the
biggest prize of all is still up for grabs. So let’s call down the
thunder one last time before we head outdoors. Lets watch (live!) the
boys finish the game they began in January. And (best Michael Buffer
impression) Ahhhlet's get ready to ruuummmble!