Rev-Up: Gates of FireThursday, January 4, 2007 | 11:57 AM
In this article…
Go tell the Spartans, stranger passer by,
That here obedient to their laws we lie.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev-Up. The above verse is engraved upon a stone that lies at the site of one of the greatest battles in history, Thermopylae – “Gates of Fire.” It’s the battle where 300 Spartan warriors fought to the last man against hundreds of thousands of members of the Persian army.
Supercross is a contest of champions. Its danger is only surpassed by the immaculate flow of adrenaline it delivers to those competing as well as those in witness. While there have been many incredible supercross battles over the years, I believe the one we will see this weekend will leave such an indelible mark that it may surpass all that have come before. Please allow me this chance to get you Revved Up about this weekend.
Ah, Anaheim. The epicenter of supercross glory—home and favorite battleground to the greatest supercross racers the world has ever seen. Lying in the midst of the pulsing motocross mecca of Southern California, its walls have seen some of the greatest moments in supercross’ existence. Almost all of the great ones have enjoyed the glory of stealing victory at the season opener in Anaheim: Johnson, Ward, Bailey, Stanton, McGrath, Bradshaw, 2007 contender Kevin Windham, and 2004 champion Chad Reed. But there is a warrior missing from that list whose name the Spartan king Leonidas would surely look upon with honor and respect.
While a multitude of events and scenarios will make this weekend great, the real story is Ricky Carmichael’s grand conquest to finally claim victory at Anaheim 1. While he has won literally everything else (including eight different Anaheim 2s and 3s), this particular feat has eluded him throughout his entire career. When he puts on his armor at Anaheim for the last time this Saturday night he will be devoid of the self-sustaining preservations that championship hopefuls Reed, Stewart, and Windham have. He will have nothing short of blood in his eyes when he takes to the track. The GOAT will gallop through the tunnel and out into the open spaces of the Big A on a mission for twenty perfect laps. Something tells me they are going to be a long way from perfect, but his “checkers or wreckers” effort just might be enough.
I cannot be there to battle or attend. But I honor and cherish the reality that my motocross experience has given me the gift to kindle the spirits of the legions who will attend and or watch the battle to the checkered flag. I hold dear my calling to rile the anticipation and quicken the blood flow of those who choose to endorse the commissioners of horsepower and airtime who will take to the track in less than two days.
The trumpets are sounding.
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.