Rev-Up: PhoenixThursday, January 11, 2007 | 11:38 AM
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It is hard to find the words to explain how important that was. All that matters is that we were lucky to get the show on live TV and have the opportunity to do a better job next time around.
But for now, we have another race around the corner. And in many ways, this one is just as important as the first one. A few years ago the NCAA put out a slogan trying to pump up March Madness: “Every game counts.” The 2007 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series is no different. Every race counts. Let’s get Revved Up about why Phoenix counts so much.
When you look at the rider list for the East and West Region Lites classes, I picked up what appears to be a subliminal message that reads, “Avoid Ryan Villopoto.” The only two guys who hung back out West and had a shot of beating him (Josh Grant and the longer shot of the two, Tommy Hahn) took themselves out with crashes. But after watching “RV Park” make a schoolyard sandbox out of that burly Anaheim 1 track, I’m not sure anybody would have deterred his winning efforts. I have been trying to pinpoint his riding style and match it with other SX greats. There is a little RC in there, a little Bradshaw, and something else that seems to be all RV. He stays toward the back of the bike, with his shoulders square and his head centered straight over the bars (and I do mean straight!). I could only scoff when he was carrying the front wheel through that sand section and hucking the triple at the end like he was bored or something. Damn!
Did you see how many Loretta Lynn’s alumni were in the main event? Matthew Lemoine, who led the youth gone wild with a seventh-place effort, while Kyle Cunningham, Josh Hill, and Kyle Chisholm all spit Tennessee sawdust just last August! As a matter of fact, if you throw out Steve “Bonifast” and Oz’ Cody Mackie, every rider in last Saturday night’s Lites class had ridden through the Ten Commandments. And how cool is it that Christophe and RV were racing each other in the Supermini class at Loretta’s just four years ago, along with a certain #800? It’s great to see all those kids and all those families “making it.” And atta boy, Jason Lawrence! Well done, J-Law.
The royal rumble I was predicting last weekend didn’t quite come to fruition – but for seven or eight laps, it sure looked like it was going to! How many of you jumped out of your chairs when Chad Reed banged the holeshot? Were visions and memories of Daytona filling your mind? What about when James dumped it on lap five? Déjà vu all over again or what? And although it was only for a lap, watching RC and Bubba race side by side was truly great. We will see it again this weekend, I promise.
Every race counts. For James it counts as another chance to prove that he is the man—he damn sure was last weekend! For Reed, it counts as a chance for him to get another podium. And for RC, this race marks the beginning of the end. This Saturday night will be the last race of Ricky Carmichael’s infallible full-time career, as RC is stepping down and staying away from Anaheim 2—whether he’s still the points leader or not (and right now, he’s it in the WSXGP tour). Phoenix has always been good to him. The state produced his wife, who is carrying his twins and has been the site of some of his greatest victories. What better place for him to have the chance to walk away from the sport as the points leader?