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Rev Up: Southwick

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Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. All right! Tally-ho, and let’s go. Four motos remain in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, and these could be some of the best we've seen thus far. Southwick's Motocross 338 remains one of the coolest tracks in the country with it's rowdy crowd and super-sandy track surface. My first memory of Southwick was a circa-1986 Motocross Action cover shot of Ron Lechien. The glossy picture showed his KX250 straight smoking a loamy berm. I can still see his front tire throwing a perfect, fading mist of granules over the hay bales. The Dogger always looked cool, but when I ran to my mailbox to snatch my new issue, I stopped in the driveway and thought, "Sand. Cool."

I had been racing in Kansas for a long time, and had no clue what a real berm was. We had ruts and hardpan. It wasn't until I traveled south to the red dirt of Oklahoma that I realized true motocross nirvana. There, at "Interstate Raceway," I was watching practice and couldn't understand why the guys weren't slowing down around the corners. Their bikes looked like they actually gained speed around these "berms." I blasted out for my run with my 490 hard pack tires and crashed about every 3 corners. I had sand in my eyes, mouth, and ass-crack. No fun at all. A couple months later I got it dialed, and after 32 years I still haven't found a feeling that matched the first time I shredded a berm.

We got lots of berms this weekend, Jackson. A damned plethora of them. A veritable berm palace. And let me tell you, there are some boys ready to massacre some berms. Time to see who's the sand man. 

250

Here we have drama. An unlucky 13 points separate Ryan Dungey and Christophe Pourcel. Why is that unlucky? Well, because this is motocrosss and that number should be banished from all involvement. Period. Jeremy McGrath won 13 supercrosses before Emig stopped him. Mike Craig ran 13 and broke his femur. Carmichael ran #13 in Brazil and DNF'd. Rick Johnson tried it. Hey, there is a reason most hotels don't have a 13th floor. That number sucks balls and always equates to trouble. In this case, said bad juju could arrive in the form of a mechanical failure, or what's become more popular at The Wick, bad starts and spills. 

The issue with sand is that it nags engines worse than a bad girlfriend the day after you forgot Valentine’s Day. Mitch lost four engines there one day. James Stewart is still lucky to be with us after losing one going fourth-gear wide on that downhill.

I feel bad writing about bad luck, especially in regards to C-Por. That kid's beaten bad luck to put himself in the driver's seat. How does he ride the sand? I know Dungey carries the mail in it. At this point, #377 has proven he can ride a Barnum and Bailey tight rope if he had to. He's badass. And #77 is his favorite number... The luckiest one.

It's on between those two. I'm just saying, beware the 13.

My man, Jerry Kowal tells us to put our ears to the train tracks. He wrote us an e-mail and warned us that engine #151 will be steaming down the tracks. Jerry said he's ridden with Justin Barcia since his 80c days and never seen anyone come close to beating him. Barcia might be carrying the Guns of Navarone this Saturday afternoon. 

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  • Ron Lechien
Congratulations, Chad Reed. Now, and only now, are you one of the all-time greats. You are the outdoor national champion in the big-boy class. Ain't nobody badder than that. One of the things I like watching about Reed is every time there is a good berm, he annihilates it. Like Lechien, you can see Reedy just waiting for his tires to hit the berm so he can twist the loud side of the handlebars. Perfect style. Reed will wear 'em out this weekend.

The rest of these guys? Eh, let's just be stoked to see these 450s straight ruining the berms. 

But, you know, I don't really like writing about Jason Lawrence. I think he gets too much press for the wrong reasons. I pulled for him when he was riding good, but I've been bummed on #338 all year. That said, Lawrence has a little "'86 Lechien" in him. Going back to that cover I spoke of in the beginning...

On that day, Ron slept in a rental car at the front gate. With everyone shaking their heads, Ron went out and completely crushed the first moto. Won by a damned mile! Sure, he threw up afterward and didn't make it through moto two, but that is stuff of legend. I know the fans that stand in the trees in the back section of Motocross 338 will be swinging some towels for J-Law... If he even rides. I guess I hope he does.

Southwick is on the way, baby! Time for the sandstorm. It'll be good.

Thanks for reading, see you next week.
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