For starters, the AMA Supercross main event will see the #1 plate take to the track for the first time since the 2001 season when Jeremy McGrath wore it on a Chaparral Yamaha. You historians will recall that Jeremy beat Ricky Carmichael twice at Anaheim that year before RC brought the rain. That said, Chad Reed is bringing back the big number one set on red backgrounds as he tries to defend his 2008 crown. This moves us to what I call the second biggest change with James Stewart pushing to the line in Answer gear riding Reed's YZ. Woah. Who would have imagined? Taking the podium for pre-race hype has to be the highly-anticipated premier class debut of Ryan Villopoto. History isn't on Ryan's side as most rookie big bore riders endure an awful string of crashes. On the other hand, McGrath dominated his first year of competition with the big boys. Also, Stewart won his SX title in 2007 and Reed already has two. I'd hand the hungry man award over to RV Park. I'm not really sure that lightning rod needed any extra kick, either.
Man, I cant believe it's here already. Anaheim is so special because of its hair-raising vibe and environment. When they turn the lights down for the pre-race introduction, man, you can't help but hoot and scream. When the gate drops for the first heat race the entire stadium is pretty much a giant mosh pit. The riders are beyond thunderdome in their demeanor too. All of the pre-season training and the practice. They've been listening to their trainers, mechanics, and family tell them that they are the best, and that this will be their year. One of the coolest aspects of supercross is that there is a full gate of maniacs with this mindset. Everyone thinks they can win at that first round. Ah, but as we all know, there will only be two winners at the end of the night.
There isn't anything in the sport as cool as the main events at Anaheim. They typically separate the biggest names between the heat races, and you never really have a great sense of who is holding the cards as they begin to push to the line for the 20 and 15 lap features. All you know is, it's on. You're damn right it's on!
No more bullshit. Enough with the small talk, it's time to get the shoulders back for the greatest show on dirt. I'm talking about American supercross, baby! You kidding me? Anaheim 1, son! The weather man is calling for sunny skies to cover what looks to be a great race track. So, it will be a fair fight. Who do you got? Are you going with the Czar of Gnar, James Stewart? Do you think The Thunder from Down Under can get it done on the fuel injected RM-Z? RV Park? How about Hepler and Hill? I'm putting Hepler in for a surprise podium, personally. And there always seems to be a red bike at the front at Anaheim, but who? Who is it going to be in the AMA Supercross Lites division? Whoever decides to choose the West Coast to do work better expect it to be stacked. Looks like it's going to be a shit storm between Canard, Lawrence, and Dungey. What more do you need?
Before I go, I wanted to hit on the fact that, as far as I can remember, this is the first time the Rev Up has hit on January 1st. Man, what a year. I think that 2008 was a lot better than the peaks and valleys of a typical year. I'm pretty good with 2008. In the world of motocross, a lot of the year was spent preparing us for this season and beyond. Now it's the proverbial clean slate. From the President to new class rules in supercross, everything will be a lot different as we prepare to close out the first decade of the new millennium.
Happy New Year, my dear friends. Thanks for reading, see you next week.