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Rev Up: Toronto

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  • The crowd could not get enough of TP in St. Louis
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. With only five rounds remaining in what has been an astonishing 2009 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, the circus will trek north for the always unpredictable Toronto round. Before we get into that, I wanted to give a brief tip of the hat to whoever made the decision to include Travis Pastrana into the St. Louis event. Can one person carry enough energy to ignite an entire stadium of 55,000 people? Apparently so. I wasn't even at the race and I could somehow feel the vibe last Saturday night. The race was a homerun of epic proportions, and strengthened the idea of rider-inspired tracks. Too bad TP didn't make the main, but he didn't really need to; his presence and energy alone did the job with flying colors. Atta boy, TP. 

This week we have six-time AMA Champion Jeff Stanton taking the reigns on track design. A lot of folks regard Stanton as an outdoor specialist, what with his bullish riding style and other-world fitness level. Ah, but do recall that Jeff is also a three-time supercross champion. This juxtaposition of racing experience should culminate to produce a monster of a race track for the Canadian fans to spill their beer cheering for. Check out the massive start stretch into—that's right folks—a triple! It's times like these that make me remember the great Larry Huffman's quote of "the mud, the blood, and the beer." 

Five rounds to go. How hard is it to earn the title belt in American Supercross? Stewart has led 160 laps, earned eight wins, and has only missed the podium twice. Reed has won three times and held the lead for a measly 34 circuits. Yet, his twelve straight podium finishes puts his kung fu grip tightly around an eleven-point lead. That said, he'll have to finish ahead of #7 one more time to taste championship wine for the third time in his career. It's all coming down to these final five races. 100 laps to glory. Let's get it Revved Up for this weekend's rumble up north.

  • Will Nico Izzi get one this year?
Lites

I predicted Blake Wharton would be a threat for wins in this year's East Coast Lites series. It's amazing what a holeshot can do for a rider with speed. I've watched the Wharton brothers race since they were on 60s and 80s. At one time, they weren't that fast. Motocross trainer Shannon Niday turned his attention to them and he can now be proud of producing two main event winners in two years with Trey Canard in 2008, and now the first Texas-born racer to win a supercross. How about them apples? 

With parts of Canada having French ties, Christophe Pourcel may feel a little more comfortable taking his points lead into the final thirty laps of the series. He just needs to be smooth and get good starts, but the wolves are snarling in the distance. Anything can still happen. With Wharton riding with the confidence of his first win, Stroupe's ability to win anytime, and Nico Izzi yet to taste victory, C-Pour still has some wood to chop before he can finish the game. His magic number is twenty-five.

Should be a slew of hungry local Canadian talent ready to mix it up, too. Be ready for anything!

Supercross

Almost every racer has felt the acid taste in his mouth when he is leading and it all goes wrong. Stewart's palate has tasted that foul mouthful twice this season, and now his back is against the wall. Canada has been parts sugar and salt for #7, and as he faces his most difficult championship effort in his career you can almost feel the 800-pound gorilla he is carrying. That said, James almost always rebounds from a loss. He lost two in a row with Indy and Daytona, but I'd be very surprised if that happens again down the stretch. 

What more can you say about Chad Reed, or Team Suzuki for that matter? How smart were they to snatch up Reedy and his number-one plate? It's still early to say this, but every champion says that defending a title is far harder than earning the first one. Chad has a very real opportunity to become a three-time and defending AMA Supercross champion. He's done almost everything in AMA Supercross there is to do but one: beat James Stewart heads up in a full series. 

  • Shorty needs to step out of his comfort zone
The rest of the usual suspects? There have been no usual suspects this year behind the aforementioned SX gods. "What about J-law?" There has been a tremendous upheaval surrounding his two top fives in his first two supercross starts. Rightfully so. But look at it in comparison to Josh Grant's. Grant also had two top fives in his first two showings - with one of those little first-place trophies to boot. Josh was on the stick last weekend and who knows how fast he would have been if he wouldn't have been stuck in third gear the whole race. Will J-Law race his third main event of his career and shuffle his stats? 

When are the red riders going to bust out? 'Saps, Short, and Sauce need to tighten it up down the stretch and make themselves heard. Kevin Windham has a penchant for pulling hard down the stretch too. 

One hundred laps to go. As exciting as this year's title fight has been, I don't think we've seen the climax yet. There is still a lot of racing to go, and it sure is a good feeling to be a supercross fan right now. Close your eyes and imagine what will happen this time around. Will Alessi or Grant bang a huge holeshot on the massive start stretch? Where will Stewie and Reed get out of the gate? Think about the energy in the stadium when the card goes sideways. Try to hear the thunder and popping of a full gate of 450s holding it wide with the clutch pulled in, tranny grinding in second gear. Ready yourself for the explosive cacophony when the gate falls.

One hundred laps to glory.

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

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