Rev-Up: Breaking Through

December 7, 2006 1:34pm | by:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev-Up. I wanted to try something different this week in lieu of the bonanza of coverage our beloved Amp’s Mobile World Supercross Series received last Sunday evening. The following is what I imagine a newbie fan—for instance, one from another sport—thought when they sat down to watch some motor racing on Speed. Two weeks ago there was a sport with a 75-million-count fan base sitting in their living rooms or at their favorite taverns all over the country watching their favorite driver vie for one last shot of NASCAR victory. This past Sunday, that hulking group of race-loving motorsports nuts were left with one solace; the 6 p.m. supercross event Speed TV had scheduled. Here’s what I imagined happened in thousands of households.

Scott Billings is your average middle-class body-shop worker. Husband and father of two boys, 6 and 10 years old, he has invited his buddy David Owens over for their weekly Sunday evening get together.
     “Hey Dave, thanks for bringing the ribs over, the beer is in the back!”
     “Oh, no problem, at least something good will come of this boring weekend.”
     Scott pops the top of a cold one and shrugs, “I know, but hey, the 500 is only a couple months away, and I’ve been studying up on this dirt bike stuff. Apparently, they had one hell of a shitstorm last year. Came down to the wire in a title chase that made Jimmie Johnson’s weekend at Miami seem like a drive to the post office.”
     Dave pulls the meat off a saucy rib and raises an eyebrow. “I don’t know, man, that was pretty hairy,” he says. Mr. Billings just nods and flips on Speed, which has a Honda commercial playing. Suddenly his youngest boy comes running in the room and slides on his knees across the carpet. His eyes sparkle as he watches Jeremy McGrath fly across the screen with a battalion of minicycles putting along in his wake. Before he can turn and ask his father about the new order on his Christmas list, Mr. Billings bellows, “We’ll see how the winter turns out. If we get a shop full of bent iron, maybe we can get a used one.”
      Now three beers apiece into the evening, Scott and Dave turn up the volume and watch the pre-race interviews—the first of which shows a gorgeous woman with ample room to, ahem, hold a microphone if she had both of her hands busy—interviewing a guy with very short hair. He appears to be a tight ball of angry energy. 
“I wonder what happened to him,” Dave says. Scott and Dave look on as the same woman begins interviewing another rider, who is trying to explain the incident. This particular rider appeared cool, calm, and unabashed by the questioning of the incident. Dave belches and then barks, “He seems a little cocky.”
Another interview sees a shorter rider being interviewed. Meanwhile, a brief highlight clip runs of this red-haired guy wearing the bold # 4, winning race after race. Dave licks his fingers clean of sticky sauce and says, “Now I like that guy! Check out that big number four! Look how aggressive he is. He reminds me of the old Intimidator himself. Looks like he’s fixing to retire—I bet that cocky guy has gotten into his head.”
Fresh beers in hand, Scott and Dave place a friendly wager as to who will win the main event. Dave belches out, “I’ll take the intim— I mean, that Carmichael guy. He never loses, and I just like that #4 for some reason.”
     Scott raises the volume on his entertainment center as the bikes scream into the high rpms, then claims, “No way, I’ve been reading up on this stuff. That Stewart kid is TNT dynamite. He is the future. All I know is this Chad Reed guy doesn’t stand a chance. Your boy Carmichael spanked him in the heat race. He said he went home to, like, Austria or something, on some soul-searching mission or some crap. He’s toast.”
     As the gate slams down, Scott and Dave suddenly find themselves enthralled in the high-flying, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am action. Dave screams, “Haha, check out your boy Stew bring up the back! Ol’ number four is ready to get into the lead!” Unblinking, the two men slap a high-five and pop the top of another beer. “Oh no!” shouts Dave. “My guy just went flying off his bike! He’ll probably go a lap down now for sure!”
     Billings is now rocking back and forth in his chair as he listens to Ralph Sheheen discussing the progress of the hard-charging Stewart. “See, that Carmichael guy is over it. We’ll be watching him drive the 500 in a couple years. Stewart’s the man now.”
The erupting battle between Stewart and the “Austrian” now has Scott and Dave standing up and pumping their fists. Each gasping and screaming every time the two dirt bikes bounce off one another. Dave yells, “That Chad Reed guy was playing possum! Look at him go!”
     Suddenly, the #7 machine flies off the track. Billings throws his empty can square against the side of the trashcan and plops himself down in his recliner, then jumps directly to his feet as his pick to win is drilled in the side by a another rider.
“Here comes Carmichael!” Dave yells. “All the way back to second! Man, that Reed guy is going to win!”
Both men are going berserk as the broadcast shows the post-race mayhem. “Its fisticuffs! Its like the Allison brothers and Yarlboro at Daytona! This is friggin’ awesome!”
     As the broadcast concludes, Billings asks Dave, “So, what do you think about this dirt bike stuff”
     “Fantastic. Those guys are nuts! We have to do this again next year.”
     Billings stretches his arms up and shrugs, “Hey man, it’ll be on same time next Sunday.”
     Dave stops at the door as he exits, then says, “Put the beer on ice, I’ll be over. Something tells me that Stewart guy is pissed, and so is #4, and no way do I want to miss that!”
     Neither do we, Dave. Neither do we.