The Moment: Hangtown

The Moment Hangtown

May 24, 2011 12:00pm

Chad Reed was not himself last year, but we’ve only discovered that for sure this year. Yes, he did struggle through the 2010 season, logging his worst supercross season ever, and eventually pulling out of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. He sent out a letter explaining that he was suffering from Ebstein Barr virus, and simply didn’t have the strength to keep on racing.

This scenario could have been interpreted two ways: either Reed was really sick, or Reed was just really sick of getting beaten by Ryan Dungey and needed a way out.

After Hangtown, we now know the truth. Clearly, Reed was suffering from an illness last year, because his performance on Saturday afternoon was the exact opposite of what we saw a year ago. After Dungey won the first moto, and took the lead in moto two, the race seemed to be over. If this were 2010, it would have been.

Reed answered alot of questions with his victory at Hangtown.
Photo: Simon Cudby

But Reed is healthy now, and lo and behold, a few laps after Dungey took the lead from Ryan Villopoto, something changed. Instead of Dungey just outlasting the field and pulling away, a red fender popped into the picture. It was Reed, and at that moment, it was clear the 2010 Chad Reed was gone, and a much stronger rider had taken his place. Reed was game for the full 30 minutes and two laps, staying with Dungey, passing Dungey, and beating Dungey.

It’s only one race, sure, but it was the type of victory no one could manufacture last season. With Reed proving he’s strong enough to stay in the hunt for the entire moto, there’s only one way to describe this year’s championship fight: it’s on.