They say the best job in the world is that of the San Diego weatherman. I tend to agree, what with the daily forecast consisting of, "Well, folks it's going to be sunny and 75 today." And while the weather surrounding Qualcomm Stadium will most likely be perfect, the dark clouds of competition are gathering and gaining strength. San Diego never disappoints. The venue has been the best of times and the worst of times for the upper echelon of supercross heroes. Turn the page back to the tumultuous season of 1999 when Ricky Carmichael began his quest to dethrone Jeremy McGrath. Ricky actually beat MC heads up in their heat race that night, but in the main event the man who would be GOAT suffered one of the worst crashes of his career. Remember that picture of the meat hanging off the footpeg of his Chad Watts tuned KX250? Gnarlboro country.
RC would cut McGrath down at the same venue two seasons later, then never look back. Flip the book to today's chapter of supercross and take a look at James Stewart's career in Qualcomm. Stew took the #259 to his first main event win of his 125cc career here in 2002. It's been peaks and valleys for him since then. A couple of victories are tainted by the 2007 appearance where James endo'd doing a stoppie for opening ceremonies, then abandoned ship over the finish line midway through the main. What does the old girl have in store for us this time around? Things are pretty hot as the boys prepare to leave California. Let's go ahead and flip the throttle a couple times to make sure she is running crisp. I'm talkin' crisp like Steve Lamson's 1996 CR125. Now you feel me?
It's always the hard way for Ryan Dungey. From going over the bars in his heat race at A1, to going down in the first turn last weekend, there have been smoother paths to a championship. The regional supercross series are always gnarly because they are so short. It seemed like Dungey was breaking away with the points lead, but all it took was a fourth-place finish – and Jake Wiemer winning his third main event – to be on the outside looking in. This is a very pivotal round for both of these cats. It's hard to pick a favorite because the pressure is on and absolutely anything can happen. It's time to think title, which means the gloves are off. Should be a good show with these boys. They'll run one and two, but I'm not sure what order.
What can you say about five straight wins other than, "scoreboard." Spills, poor starts, and off night's have pulverized Chad Reed's 18-point lead and he is now 20 laps from building it or losing it to #7. I'm not sure what to make of this week's track, but it seems like a doozie. I like the switchbacks and the long, lazy left-to-right-handed sweeper, and the two whoop sections. Both should encourage passing, and boy do we need more of that!? Maybe the bottom is ready to drop out and we'll see something wild for round seven? Maybe James and Chad won't go 1 and 2 this time around and perhaps Kevin Windham, Josh Grant, or a new face will step up? I have that fluttering feeling in my gut for this one. I wish I was going to be there, that's for sure.
But it's the 51st running of the Daytona 500 for me. I'm ready for the cacophony of 43 crankshafts shoving steel through the air. Oh guys, I wish I could find the words to capture the sound the pack makes when she streaks by at 190mph. It shakes the ground and pulls on your chest in a way you have to feel to truly appreciate. The Gatorade duals will be taking place as you read this. How you finish in that is how you line up for the 500. The Wheelman from Emporia, Kansas, has a new look for this year. He went from the bar to the breakfast table and will be holding the reigns of the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper RCR Impala. Then we get to watch Ricky Carmichael give them hell tomorrow night in the #4 Monster Energy KHI Silverado. Get it up for RC. He'll be mashing the loud pedal for ya! Clint will drive the #29 Holiday Inn RCR Monte Carlo in the Nationwide ride Saturday afternoon, then it's The Great American Race on Sunday. I ask those of you who watch to send us some thoughts and prayers before we take the green.
Get the shoulders back. I have that acid taste in my throat just thinking about the coast-to-coast episodes of chicken skin and swinging t-shirts.
And, somehow I can't get the sound of Lamy's 125 out of my head.