450 Words:  Dallas

450 Words Dallas

February 19, 2012 9:20pm
We expected this year’s Monster Energy Supercross chase to feature two battles—a crop of big names dueling up front, and a hungry chase pack fighting each other for top-five real estate while hoping to bridge the gap to the proven champions in the field.

That is exactly what has happened, although for 28-straight laps through San Diego and Dallas, Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed threatened to the turn the series into a two-man show. But Reed’s crash now leaves Villopoto with a solid advantage in points and momentum—and possibly speed—over everyone else. The lead pack is beginning to break apart: Trey Canard is out, Reed is out in California hoping he doesn’t get terrible injury news, James Stewart is struggling, and Ryan Dungey hasn’t seen the leaders for several weeks.

But that chase pack is going at it! Every week, the momentum shifts in that group. Justin Brayton had the best result at Anaheim 1, then Jake Weimer went a step further with a podium in Phoenix. Andrew Short has had a few good nights, Brett Metcalfe scored a fourth last week, and Kevin Windham is riding well as usual). Quietly, Josh Hansen is piecing together a solid season and has delivered back-to-back top fives. And this weekend in Dallas, another name jumped into the conversation in Mike Alessi. Alessi got another of his typical good starts, and he didn’t block or luck his way into a fourth-place finish. He just rode well.

Mike Alessi put his Suzuki, er, MotoConcepts 450, into the mix.
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“I feel like, for the first time ever, I’m racing supercross and not just riding it,” said Mike after the race. “I’m always trying to just survive supercross healthy to be ready for the outdoors, and then I end up crashing out of outdoors anyway. So I’m just going to hang it out in supercross, and if I crash out or get injured in supercross, at least I’ll know I gave it everything I had.”

Meanwhile Short was too beat up from his San Diego crash to compete in the night show in Dallas, and Brayton is still dealing with an leg injury from last week. While Villopoto has made the results at the front look the same for the last three weeks, the action behind him has been anything but predictable.

But the big question still remains: can anyone from that chase pack bridge the gap to get on the podium consistently, or even get a win? Once again, Weimer has come closest. He rebounded from a few rough weeks to put his Kawasaki on the box again at Dallas. He fought Dungey hard through the final two laps to try to hold onto second. But Dungey put another aggressive move on, and the contact busted Weimer’s shifter and left him powerless to fight back through the last few turns. Regardless, right now Weimer could be voted most likely to join the lead group. However, for most of the riders this year, momentum seems to only last for one week!

Of course, there is one rider in the pack can actually claim to have beaten anyone out there on the right night--K-Dub can never be counted out.
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