Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. The 2014 Monster Energy Supercross Championship heads to the Pacific Northwest for round 15 in Seattle, Washington. Ah, Seattle. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit most of the major metropolises in the United States but my lone trip to “Jet City” left an impression on me I’ll never forget.
The year was 2009 and of course I was there to see supercross, but I used the visit as more of a tourist excursion. From the Fish Market, to the Space Needle, to the EMP Museum I was able to experience most of the more intelligible spots. It was just one of those weekends that stick with you forever. The extenuating circumstance for the joy of the weekend was the weather. Seattle is one of the wettest cities in the country with an annual precipitation count of nearly 38 inches, hence the moniker for one of my old school NBA heroes, Seattle Supersonics’ Shawn “Rain Man” Kemp. Ironically, the sun shone from Friday to Sunday on my trip and everyone in the city seemed to be beaming. Meanwhile, the racing inside CenturyLink Field was great, with semi-local boy Ryan Villopoto picking up a super popular win. I can close my eyes and remember it all like it was five minutes ago, instead of four years ago. James Stewart won his last SX title that year and as we wind down the 2014 SX season it looks like RV and Bubba are going to finish 1-2.
Like 2009, the forecast is calling for rare blue bird conditions for this weekend. It looks like one of the more dynamic designs of the tour, and while the soft soil will rut up substantially the track should offer optimal racing conditions. I’m just glad the ground is going to be relatively soft because attrition is really beginning to take its toll.
This is historically a somber time of the season as the beat down of the SX series thins out the pack. This year is no exception. Heck, both members of the JGR Toyota Yamaha squad are on the sidelines and will have Phil Nicoletti and Vince Friese riding their mega trick YZF450’s. In addition, we’ve lost two-time winner Chad Reed, rookie of the year contender Wil Hahn, Ivan Tedesco, Broc Tickle, Kyle Chisholm, Jake Weimer, and Matt Goerke. We’ve barely had Eli Tomac and Trey Canard, and were never able to see what 2013 runner-up Davi Millsaps could do. This is a tough, tough game. After 15 consecutive weeks, the boys will finally get a break after the flag flies at the conclusion of Saturday night’s program.
It’s all over but the crying in the 450 class as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto drove nails into the championship with a resounding win in Houston. During the broadcast Ralph Sheheen attempted to make a point of how Ryan’s 2014 title made him truly exceptional. While the hustle of bustle of live television prevented a clear delivery of his Bob Costas style message, the point he was making is valid.
There have been championships won with more races, but very few, if any, have been earned with the cool authority in which the soon to be four-time champ has. With Andrew Short being the lone exception, no other rider in the top 20 has made it 15 rounds sans DNF. Villopoto has won four times and never finished worse than sixth in an intensely stacked field and has had total command of the series since he took over the point lead early on.
Discount Tire/Two Two Motorsports’ Chad Reed was in contention early before a season-ending shoulder injury. Red Bull KTM’s rookie Ken Roczen opened with a bang and was putting together a great season until the roof caved in at Indy. His teammate Ryan Dungey just never really found his groove in SX this time around, but something tells me he is going to really pour it on in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships. Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart has had a career revival in 2014, but he just couldn’t make up the ground he lost at the opener. Unless RV wins out from here, James will be the only rider with a streak this season and he has nothing to hang his head about. He proved that there is a lot of gas left in the tank and his career win total has a chance to make it into the sixties.
All of this may carry more of a past tense tone than some of you would wish, but in regards to the 450 championship … the fat lady is clearing her throat. Ladies and gentlemen call the pit boss, we have a winner. Turn out the lights, the party is over.
However, the 250SX West Region title is definitely not over. Rockstar Energy KTM’s Jason Anderson eradicated any doubt of his aloof demeanor during their break when he showed up in Houston to dominate qualifying, his heat race and the main event. I think he made up his mind that this championship was his when he put his balls on the tank during the last lap at Anaheim 1 and stole the victory with two turns to go. He is now 11 points up on Lucas Oil Troy Lee Designs’ Cole Seely with two rounds to go, but that isn’t enough of a cushion to relax. With so much talent in that division a fifth place (or worse) finish could happen, even with a great ride.
The soft soil could throw a monkey wrench into the scene for this group as the 250 guys have primarily raced on hard pack throughout their championship. There are some hungry guys like Justin Hill, Zach Osborne, Dean Wilson, rookie Cooper Webb and Malcolm Stewart who will have Rockstar KTM team manager Dave Gowland rubbing his hands for the next 30 laps of the title chase. This will be an action packed main event.
So, we’re heading to Seattle! The sun will be shining, and there should be a very large crowd inside CenturyLink Field, which is the loudest stadium in the world. Will the supercross fans carry as much of an influence as the “12th man” did for the Super Bowl winning Seahawks? I think we are going to have two very exciting main events and a ton to cheer for!
Three to go.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.