Glen Helen can be quite the beast. Just ask Ricky Carmichael, who was sent flying off the side of Mt. St. Helens in 2001, then had to finish off his second perfect season in 2004 with an absolutely hammered foot. The culmination of the stifling Southern California heat and smog is enough to deter even the strongest competitors. Throw in the downright nasty uphills and downhills and you arrive at what is most likely the biggest challenge of the series.
This is what it’s all about. It’s why all of those guys burn hours on their road bikes and drain tanks of gas on their practice tracks. It all boils down to the championship, baby. Four men with a chance to claim it in the big boys‘ class, while RV Park can pretty much taste victory. Or can he? Let’s get into it and fire off one last Rev-Up for the baddest outdoor national series ever!
In this age of agents and dozens upon dozens of professional teams, most of the kids have their rides already lined up for 2008. The last race of the year used to see some last-ditch efforts from guys trying to impress sponsors, but that’s kind of faded. And that is a good thing. It’s awesome that all those kids are getting chances to get to the races and pit out of a semi. There are a few cats that will be riding a little harder than normal, though. For instance, this is likely the last time Tommy Hahn will get to feel what a factory HRC machine feels like. He’ll probably ride the hell out of it. Same situation for Ben Townley. Aside from the MXDN, this is one of the last times you’ll see BT101 riding a green machine.
Beyond that a big shout-out has to go to The Matador From Ecuador, himself, Martin Davalos. That dude has been hauling ass. He’s scary to watch, but when he keeps the rubber side to the dirt, he takes it around pretty good. Those new guys will be on it again as well. Austin Stroupe has simply been raising eyebrows every time he hits the track. Trey Canard and Izzi have been really strong as well.
Only problem with these guys is Ryan Villopoto. He is unworldly fast everywhere, but at Glen Helen he is on another level. He does have a sting of history in his side, though. Remember when Ivan rode out for his first moto at Glen Helen in 2005, then ate it and scored zero points? Hey, man, it all happens very, very fast. Good luck to them all.
Now, all pride and glory aside, there is a lot of money on line here, folks. Say “million-dollar bonus” out loud a couple times. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’d gladly take a few steps back in the integrity category to put my kung-fu grip around that stash of cash. Anyone think it’ll get nasty? In a morbid sort of way, I guess I do. Nothing too dangerous, just some bar-banging and head games would suffice. Mikey boy is pretty good at those, but I’m not sure anyone can crack Grant’s thousand-yard stare or Ferry’s immaculate cool. It’ll be good no matter what. We have Josh Hill and Kevin Windham thrown into the mix as spoilers, and on a track as gnarly as The Glen, anything can and, as history shows, will happen.
Get ready for a big one this Sunday afternoon in sunny SoCal. The historically large fan contingent will produce those bronze-skinned California girls the world loves so much, and when the flag flies at the end of the afternoon we will have crowned our champions. Brace yourself.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.