Since Team USA began dominating the event back in 1981, it seems that we go there carrying the pressure of not losing, instead of going to win. We wear a huge bull's eye on the back of our jerseys and the rest of the world wants nothing more than to beat Team USA. If our boys go over there and win, nobody will make a very big deal of it. But, if we lose, wow, it will be nuclear. That said, we haven't exactly been dominating the event in recent years. We could have lost very easily last year when James Stewart crashed out.
This year we are sending two MXoN rookies and Ivan Tedesco, who has been on two winning teams, but didn't end his season setting the world on fire. In addition, 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross 250 champion, Ryan Dungey, will be racing a 450 for the first time in a major outdoor race. I still consider Ryan to be one of the top-three fastest riders in America on a 450, and his Rockstar/Makita RM-Z450 is arguably the best outdoor machine he could throw a leg over. He'll be carrying the weight of the #1 plate and have a lot of pressure to choke down. Dungey has been in pressure situations many times in his young pro career and I'm confident he'll take care of business.
What about Jake Weimer? If you've listened to Jake's interviews you know that he is one of the more intellectual riders on the AMA scene. He's a "thinker." Also, one our secret weapons is that we are sending one of Mitch Payton's bikes over. RV Park banged holy on one at Budds Creek in 2007 and used it to dust the field by 30 seconds. I don't think Weimer is as salty as Villopoto, but homeboy is very much a gasser. I'm sure Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle can testify to that. If you are looking for a weak link on our team, don't look at the talented Mr. Weimer.
The third member on Team USA has me scratching my head a little. Ivan "The Terrible" Tedesco has ridden strong in his two winning MXoN appearances. He has also shown flashes of extreme speed during the summer outdoor nationals. I was at Lakewood when he ruined the field on his way to a 1-1. Ivan has been around the block and as a man that knows the event well, I'd look for him to put in two solid motos. The only reason I'm nervous about him is that he didn't finish the season strong and I'm weary of his confidence. Hot Sauce is down with The GOAT though, and if I know Ricky, I know he'll be in Ivan's ear and have him ready to eat pressure and shit red, white, and blue victory.
I think we have a great team. Ideally, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, and Mike Alessi would be making the trip. But, if you look at that group as a "team" I don't think they mesh nearly as well as the group making the trip to the country shaped like a boot.
Speaking of the boot country...I saw something that made me want to offer a Tony Lama to the backside of whoever made the image of Antonio Cairoli posing as Uncle Sam.
Yep, I'm one of those "Flag Waving American" types and seeing Tony in an I WANT YOU ad with some weird language used as text made me grit my teeth.
"I want you," huh? Tell you what, Jackson, you got it!
So, here we go. It's the ride for five, baby! Five in a row that is. Good luck boys, show them why. Stretch those throttle cables and go show them why.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.
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