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Rev-Up: Freestone

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev-Up. Round three of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championships gallops south to Freestone Raceway in Wortham, Texas, this weekend. Thus far, it’s been a mean green machine taking the bull by the horns in the opening rounds. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s James Stewart has led every single lap, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki pilots Austin Stroupe and Ryan Villopoto have brought Mitch Payton’s smile back by winning three of the first four motos. Save for a season-opening moto win from Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence, it’s been pretty lopsided to this point. Now we’re heading to Texas, where everything could hit the proverbial fan. The state of Texas is one of a kind.

I’ve been excited about the Freestone National since I first heard word that the tour was planning on making a stop in the Lone Star State. I spent a good portion of my amateur career racing at tracks like Lake Whitney, Tyler, Burleson, and Mosier Valley. I was lucky enough to share the same Texas tracks with riders like Dennis Hawthorne, Tim Hodes, Willie Bowden, Jack Ricks, Roy Schellenberger, Charley Bogard, Billy Akers, Jason Edwards, Billy Whitley, Brad Woolsey, and many, many others. I could never quite put a finger on what profile they fit – they were this high-energy juxtaposition of cowboy and punk that had left you trying to guess what they were going to do next. Some were wild, some were mild, but all of them were fast. I still see most of those names at races twenty years removed from those special times, and they are all still as crazy as they were then.

The race gas has hardly cleared the Texas sky from the Dallas Supercross as the circus returns to the land of big belt buckles and coyote skulls. The great outdoors is beginning to stretch its legs, and while she has been a shade docile in its opening moments, we’re going to take it Texas so let’s get revved up about why the dam is about to burst.

Lites

Matthew Lemoine, Kyle Cunningham, and the Hahn brothers are going to be taking a little extra around the track with them, as they will be riding in front of their home-state friends and family. Matt, Tommy, and Kyle have already thrown down top-tens, so look for them to use some of that extra juice toward a top-five. I’m also putting in a call for Wil Hahn to steal a holeshot.

But all hometown hero noise aside, they’re seals swimming with a Great White when compared to Ryan Villopoto. RV Park is back on his game and with hot weather and a rough Freestone track on the horizon, anything less than a two-moto beat down will be surprising.

Does J-Law have enough piss and vinegar to say otherwise? Is Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey ready to lay it on the line? Those two have been the closest so far, and if somebody is going to put something other than green on the top of the steps, it will be one of them.

Brett Metcalfe and Austin Stroupe will make themselves heard as well. Everyone should be pumped up to see which one of these contenders will be the immovable stone in a world of weak.

Motocross

The lyrics to James Stewart’s redemption song read like this: One hundred and twenty minutes of perfection. Unfortunately, the only man in the galaxy who can beat him earned a Coors Light Pole award last weekend. Like he touched on in his press conference interview, the men he is racing are the best riders in the world. They train hard, they ride hard, and they are expected to win. They just can’t. This isn’t anything new - nobody has ever been able to beat James Stewart except Ricky Carmichael. The GOAT is gone and the only rider Stewart has to fear is the one he looks at in the mirror in the morning.

The race behind him is interesting, though. Last summer Andrew Short came out swinging in the first moto, took the holeshot, and rode off with a commanding win. Mike Alessi was also tough at this track last time around. And unless you have somehow avoided Steve Matthes’ Bottom Line or Observations pieces, you know that Timmy Ferry is riding his best outdoor motocross ever. He needs to grab a gate next to Alessi and hang on to his fender so he can maybe slingshot himself into a top-ten start.

And who is going to be the surprise of the week this time? Hamblin, Collier, Boniface, and Cody Cooper have been revelations. And how about the return of Jeff Alessi? Once upon a time he was beating Ryan Villopoto. Maybe Josh Demuth will show up after driving all night from a fairground race, with the hottest girl in the pits, and go 5-5.

The weather is going to be in the 90s, which means Texas’s most beautiful, ahem, assets will be on display in all their glory. It’s going to be another strong weekend of American outdoor motocross, and you can count on those Texans to pack the house and have the T-shirts swinging. Tune into the Racer X Motocross Show presented by Toyota Trucks for the pre-show to get the lowdown, then Katy Bar the door for four motos of fury.

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

 

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