Salt Lake City Track Walk

April 21, 2009 2:15pm

This week's host for the Smith Optics Track Walk is SPEED TV and CBS Color Commentator Jeff Emig. Jeff was the 1997 250 AMA Supercross Champion and a three-time motocross champion.

Hey supercross fans, welcome to the Smith Optics Track Walk for round 16 in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the Utes. We have dodged some bullets this year when it comes to rain/mud races, but we’re going to have to be like Keanu Reeves in the matrix to get away from it this weekend. Which, if you have a passion for this type of motor racing, like I do, you can’t wait to get there and see how it all goes down. This could be the most important race of the year. And remember, the fuel-injected bikes perform very well at high altitude and in extremely wet situations. This could be a game changer. With both supercross championships so tight, you wont want to miss this one live. For those of you that can’t make it Saturday night, Ralph, Erin, and myself will bring you all the action on CBS Sunday morning and SPEED Sunday afternoon. Of course, check your local listings for times. Now, let’s take a little walk:

Salt Lake City Supercross Track
Click Image for Wallpaper

1. It’s an extremely long start this weekend. You can get the holeshot from anywhere. If it’s wet, this will be the most important 10 seconds of the race. Get your attitude right and believe in your routine and starting technique and you should excel.

  • Jeff Emig, Erin Bates, and Ralph Shaheen
2. There are three bowl turns in a row next. Once again, good technique will pay off here. The top of the turns could stay drier than the bottoms. It’s always a good place to make a block pass if needed.

3. Historically, the soil up here is soft and rutted. This could make this first set of whoops tricky. There are only seven on the drawing, so jumping, rather than skimming, could be the fast way through. 

4. Next is a section you can do a couple of different ways. Typically, scooting on and off the tables is the quickest and keeps you moving forward in a straight line, but if you can carry a little more speed by jumping over the first table, then from the second to the single, it could set you up good for the corner.

5. Once again, there’s another short set of whoops. Getting through this section fast will enable you to make a block pass on the inside, or if you go to the outside, it will help you set up a pass exiting the left-hander before the triple. 

6. Here, we see the first triple. It’s pretty much a standard obstacle on a dry day, but you mix in the high altitude that steals horsepower and a muddy racing surface and this triple will become very difficult to make out of the turn – especially for the Lites riders. Just completing this every lap could be the difference between winning and losing the race.

7. Seven and seven. No, not the cocktail, although you may need one after several trips through here. As always, if you can throw in a triple rather than a double, it will be faster. Rain could make this section nearly impassable. The important thing to remember is not to make any mistakes. We have seen, time after time, a rider lose his balance and go flying off the track. Keep your focus and look ahead as much as possible.

8. Here’s the longest straight on the track. Get out of the turn good and hit this triple with some speed. If you have a "scrub" in your arsenal, this would be a good time to deploy it. As you can see in the design that the guys from AGS so beautifully crafted for us, there isn’t a turn after, so you can really do something with momentum generated off the triple and possibly do a triple/single rather than a double/double into the final turn.

9. If it’s muddy, just clearing the finish-line double could be difficult. Even though a double jump is old school, attempting this in the rain has proved to be disastrous for even the sport’s greatest riders. Taking the checkers here for any of our championship contenders is going to be a welcome sight. For Reed, possibly a tie in points. For Stewart, a cushion going into Vegas. For either Weimer or Dungey, it could mean the title. 

Thanks for taking the track walk with me and I hope to see all of you out at Supercross this weekend, even if it is raining. Salt Lake City is a great town with loads of great places to stay and dine. The view of the city and the Great Salt Lake from Rice-Eccles Stadium is incredible!