Observations from Anaheim 2

January 21, 2009 5:28pm | by:

  • The Anaheim 2 track was cool. It was different and that was what made it cool. We need to select some fans to design tracks next year!
We were back at the Big A this week (and in a related note, I was watching Anaheim ’86 and am amazed at how massive and how many people they used to get in that very same stadium before it was remodeled. Did you know I bought another copy of the World’s Greatest Supercrosses DVD because mine was all scratched? I’m pathetic…). Anaheim 2 and the subplots were grandiose and intriguing. Would Jason Lawrence start his push to defend his title? Would Ryan Dungey start impaling himself into the ground? Would wunder-kid Josh Grant continue his surprise season or would the balloon burst? Would James Stewart just cut to the chase and get rid of his Yamaha and show up with one of these to help him go ever faster in the whoops?  

Upon arriving at Anaheim I went right to walking the track. I should mention that I walk the track pretty much every week and that’s hilarious when you think about it. Why do I need to walk the track? Am I going to tell any of those pro riders anything that could possibly help them? When I walked the track with my riders I used to ask them if they were actually going to quad this or I’d just look at something and whistle. A few times when Nick Wey would ask me what I thought of something I’d say that since practice hasn’t actually started and he should go see if he could get his money back from the AMA. Supercross tracks are very big and very scary for some people. What usually happens is I end up talking to Weege and Cox and we bug every rider that walks by us.

So anyways, I’m walking the track and I have to say it was awesome! Lots of things we don’t normally see, a big finish, a straight-up wall, a split lane, a tabletop corner thingey, some sand, two whoops sections and a few more goodies thrown in. It was my favorite track since last year’s retro night, which was a great success but the riders hated it.

You know what? Most of them hated this one also and I don’t care. I spoke with Ivan Tedesco and Wey during track walk and neither of them really knew what to think of the design. That right there is proof enough to keep making whacky tracks…. With over-under bridges, of course.

  • Stewie won and climbed closer to the points lead. It wasn't as easy as we thought it should be, but a win is a win right?
Stewart won but like his win last week it wasn’t easy. He didn’t get a great start and had to come through the pack and pass the Grant the new rookie sensation—Ryan Villopoto—and a guy that of course we should have known would be fast when the track is all goofy, Kevin Windham. At least James got a break when his rival Chad Reed was picking up his bike in the first turn and was 19th and a cloud of dust behind The Seven. 

I feel bad for saying this but James just isn’t James yet, he had some really close near misses (but he won), his helmet came down on his eyes when he cased a jump (but he won), he caught a Tuff Block (but he won) and his bike is still not working for him (and he won). His scrubbin, soakin, defying gravity self of old is not there… at least not quite yet.  When he figures out his bike, it could be curtains for everyone.  His pass on Josh Grant should be chapter one in the “Most Beautiful Passes Ever Made in Supercross” book.

(Ed note: I asked Stewie about a podcast Monday and he texted me back that he was very sick this past weekend and throwing up. So that makes his win more impressive and makes me look like more of a jerk then ever before.)

Reedy didn’t stay in nineteenth for long. He ripped through the field in another impressive display of riding to grab second from Windham on the last lap when he blitzed the whoops and swooped block passed #14. The points he got from this ride may prove very valuable to him at the end of the season. He had the fastest lap of the night (which was 1.2 faster than James’ best) and in all he had four laps that were better than what James could muster. When was the last time that ever happened? Reedy was, in a word, awesome.

The consensus in watching the two big dogs go at it is that Reedy is riding his Suzuki and the Yamaha is riding James. I’ve been on the other side where as a team you’re trying to get the rider happy (the hours I spent at the Yamaha track when Chad was struggling with the new aluminum frame in ’05 come to mind) and you’re throwing everything against the wall and hoping something will stick. Also remember that this isn’t just the San Manual team trying to get the bike where James’ likes it, it’s factory Yamaha and KYB USA and Japan as well. Plenty of smart people and it’s laughable when anyone on the internet starts to compare themselves and their bike to what these guys have problems with and making statements of what bike is better off what happens on a Saturday night. Trust me, these guys push the motorcycles more than you ever dream of and what they ride has the plastic in common with yours. That’s about it. Can we stop the bagging on Yamaha?

Ryan “It’s Hammer Time” Dungey grabbed his second win in a row and looked great in doing it. Fastest in both practices, fastest lap in the main, he grabbed the lead from Ryan Morais and sped off with win. He also widened his points lead to six over Morais. Dungey’s grabbing a hold of this series and somebody has to stop him quickly or he’s going to push any remaining thoughts (if there is any in there at all) about last year right out of his mind. Let’s not forget that Beeker now has a winning streak as well.

  • RV had his best race of the year at A2. He probably still isn't happy with a fourth, but I would be. But that's the difference between a top SX athlete like RV and a guy like me. One's never satisfied and the other just wants another cheeseburger.
“Flyin” Ryan Morais (that was Ryan’s nickname when he was younger and seriously, is it a law that your nickname is “Flyin” when you’re named Ryan? “Flyin” Ryan Newman, “Flyin” Ryan Gauld, to just name two; Google it sometime, I did) is really riding well with that Pro Circuit machine under him. I thought he might even get the win but he let Dungey sneak up on him and make the pass. Man, I really want this kid to win one race this year or maybe even the title and then I can add him to my list of past champions I have wrenched for.

His teammate Jake Weimer was looking good and these three guys are separating themselves a bit from the field. Jake was catching his teammate in the latter stages of the main but some lappers jacked him up and he settled for third. I met Jake’s dad Jason this weekend and he explained to me the whole “more carrots” thing I wrote last week to me and also told me that Jake owes everything he has ever done in motocross to his time spent in Canada racing in that high-octane series…. Ok, I made that last part up.

We finally saw Josh Grant with some pressure and adversity and he handled it, well, okay. He was in second for a long time before letting Villopoto and Stewie get by him on the same lap. After that he seemed to lose some drive and at one point clanked his way off every jump in the tricky rhythm section, losing a ton of time. He still proved that he can run the pace of the top guys and although he seemed to get rattled when pressured, we’ll have to see how the rest of the season turns out.

Villopoto finally had an incident free main event and just missed out on his first podium finish when Reedy got by late in the race. Me and everybody else was waiting for some payback to Mike Alessi for Mike bizarrely admitting that he took out RV in Phoenix but it didn’t come. RV jumped over his head when Mike couldn’t triple early on. Did I mention that of course Mike holeshot his heat and the main event? Look for RV to get stronger now that he’s had a taste of the frontrunners’ speed and knows what the hell goes on up at the front.

  • This guy never got the notice that retro night was cancelled. Don't stop believin' pal.
The legend Jean Michael Bayle was in the house and I was trying to track him down for an interview but it was like a bad “Three’s Company” episode where I would just miss him in all these places. Everyone was like “Oh, he was just here, try over there.” In the good news department, the “Flyin Hawaiian” Clifford Adoptante was not in jail and at the race but the bad news is Tyler Evans is actually in jail, according to a few sources on the mean streets of Anaheim….

Red Dog had an uneventful night, finishing a quiet eighth. He was catching Ivan Tedesco (who had another good ride) for seventh before washing out and settling in. There was this gnarly rhythm section along first base line where the guys would jump onto the top of the tabletop and off before doubling out. Well someone (probably crazy-balls Stewie) started going all the way over the table and tripling out. It was big and scary (remember what I was saying about sx?) and Ferry did not do it in practice. The first time he busted it out was the last lap of his heat and he overshot it and looked like he slipped both feet off the pegs in the air. When I asked him about it after the race he said that he put his feet out on purpose to create wind resistance and slow him down. I’m serious. When I asked him if he really thought that would work he said that he saw Seth Enslow talk about it one time in a “Crusty” video and that if I don’t believe him to “Ask Seth.” I’m not making a word of that up either.
In some training/man friend news it appears that Tedesco is working with Johnny O’Mara now and Andrew Short hired a guy they call “41” to be his practice bike mechanic/man friend. I don’t know the guys name but he used to work at Honda and is a really nice guy.

I had a Parts Unlimited guy tell me that the sponsorship for the webcast is actually just a deal where PU will cover any costs that Feld Entertainment has after all the subscribers fees are tallied up. See? It’s not some master plan to make tons of money, they just want to not lose money on the deal but keep it alive for the fans, which is great if you can’t afford to go to all 17 races. Conspiracy theorists continue on…

  • See? Look at the backside of this berm. All nice and pretty for the fans. I think somebody's been reading...
  • Here are the masters back in action. Last week the number one question wasn't
  • Here's
  • I've trained my wife well. Check out her earring!
  • Lot's of very important people walking the track here.  If you opened up all these guy's wallets, it would equal the GNP of some countries.
  • I'm telling you this SX stuff is big and scary. Look at the face of the finish line, I ain't jumpin that for all the nuggets in a chicken farm.
There was no retro night but that didn’t stop some teams from busting out cool replicas of old gear. James has some sweet Answer duds on (think Micky Dymond ’88), KW had the old “MS Racing” gear and TLD went out with some kind of classic retro stuff where the jerseys looked like they did when you were a kid and went to the local jersey shop for numbers.

Speaking of Troy Lee, Chris Blose got another fifth and continues to impress. Steve Boniface took his ’08 Honda to a 16th in the 450s, and Ping continued his march to that coveted “Team Manager of the Year” award.

Jason Lawrence crashed in the first turn of his heat, worked his ass off to get to a qualifying spot and then crashed again. He won the LCQ but couldn’t pull a “Bradshaw” off to grab the holeshot. So he had a long night, passed a ton of guys on the first lap and finished fourth. It was a good ride but he lost points to his buddy Ryan Dungey.

What happened to all the hate we media guys were expecting? First Stewie and Reed congratulate each other last week after a great race. Then this week in the heat, Reedy gave the thumbs up to Short after crossing the finish line. These guys aren’t supposed to like each other! Oh well, we do have J-Law and Dungey, that flame will live on forever.

I spoke to Alex “don’t call me Frodo” Martin and he is happy with his debut season in the 250F class despite not making two out of the three mains. He told me that he needs to get in the seeded practice as that will allow him to see what the top guys are doing and in his practice he was faster than “Anthony” Michael Hall and Hall ended up tenth on the night. He was sixteenth in qualifying so he definitely has the speed. The Minnesotan had a great ride in the LCQ to come from the back and got the Asterisk Mobile Medics Card. I haven’t seen such ferociousness in him since he was protecting Endor from the Empire.

  • Here is me under the Thor truck. Wow. I didn't realize I'm that hot. I thought the camera was supposed to add pounds?
If you ask me, they should still take 22 to the 250F main. Why was that changed anyways? Alex Martin is surely bummed about this decision.

The Rockstar/Hart & Huntington team again had beer pong, DJs, smoke machines and new this week was Rockstar go-go dancers on a stage. The biggest question I have is how in the hell do the riders and mechanics actually focus on the race with the pit presence they have?

Davi Millsaps told the webcast guys that his problem has been “over-training” and that this week he just hung out and played golf to get away from the training. I also heard that he has a bonus-heavy contract and is putting too much pressure on himself…. The golf didn’t help as Davi rode to a lackluster tenth. Remember though, he did this last year…

Look for Michael Byrne to be back by San Francisco but when I reminded him of the mud, he changed his mind and said that it would probably be Anaheim Three!

Star Racing Yamaha uses Fox Shox on the back of their YZ250Fs and has Fox stickers on their front forks but there is also a Enzo Racing sticker on them. That’s nice, two competing companies in one sticker—what harmony!

I was praising the music last week of the opening ceremonies because they used new G-n-R instead of “Final Countdown” or something like that. Somebody told me this week that the new music guy for Feld is a guy named Maxie who’s a sound engineer for a bunch of bands, most recently Guns-n-Roses last year in Europe. No wonder why! This week he went back to the ‘80s and brought in Stewie to AC/DC’s” Hell’s Bells.” I’m okay with that as that song is timeless and cool. I think you could show a giant middle finger on the scoreboard with “F-YOU SX FANS” but people would cheer ‘cause “Hells Bells” was playing.

One team that not a lot of people are talking about is the SVM team with Eric McCrummen, Daniel “Jimi” Hendrix and Kyle “Keith” Partridge. McCrummen was thirteenth the last two weeks and is from Oakley, California, but wears X-Brand goggles.  Anyways, it’s teams like these that don’t often get recognition but are very vital and important to the series. No one’s getting rich over at SVM, trust me.

“Dandy” Dan Reardon didn’t have a good night. The man holding up the Factory Connection flag was up front early in the main before dropping back to 6th by the end. I dunno, I just expected better things from the Aussie. He was on pace at A1 but crashed and this week, he just crumbled once some dudes got around him.

The Black sumo suit guy won this week but I don’t think they inflated all the costumes that well as nobody really fell over nor had much difficulty in the suits. I watch these races like I watch the mains, and it seems that the girls do pretty good in them. Is it because they’re generally lighter people so the suit doesn’t sway as much? What’s the deal here?

  • I thought
Despite watching my video where I beat Blair Morgan in 1988 the night before, Josh Summey crashed in the heat and got a bad start in the LCQ and failed to qualify. He said he was inspired but that when Kiniry went over the split lane right into him the inspiration ended. His teammate Travis Preston also didn’t qualify but is still getting up to speed. Preston told Summey that he’ll do better when he has to fly to the races, rent cars and stuff like that. Again, I’m not making that up.

And alas, L’il Hanny did not make the main. Again. DC says there’s “too much talent” in the Hart & Huntington pits, be it the go-go girls, supermodels, Vegas club girls, whatever. But that kind of stuff never seemed to bother Bob Hannah…

Thanks for reading, next week we’re in Houston and it should be another great race between Stewie and Reedy along with the debut of the East Coast 250 guys. E-mail me at matthes@racerxonline.com for questions, concerns and comments.