1. Give us your take on the Bowers/Webb run in.
Jason Thomas: This Bowers/Webb saga is awesome! In a sport where no one seems to ever say what they really feel, these two have thrown that strategy out the window. They seem to find each other every weekend and fireworks ensue. I think it has been relatively clean until Oakland, but I do think the intensity of the impact was unintentional. Webb turned down pretty sharply and, while Bowers absolutely went in there with a plan to make contact, he didn't mean to do it so severely. The elbow was a bit excessive and that would be the only part I have a problem with. Overall, though, it has been incredibly entertaining and I hope they can safely continue to battle it out.
Denny Stephenson: Here's my two cents: Tyler never meant for the contact to be that violent. The two of them chased each other through the pack, but Coop turned down when Bowers didn't expect—and wham. People say the use of the elbow was a sign that it was on purpose. He's 6'2" and raced arenacross; that elbow is in full-cocked mode. But, Tyler, don't ever knock someone down and let them chase you down and pass you. I knocked people down for one reason, you sure as heck ain't coming back to catch me. But, yes, I love this knock down racing.
David Pingree: Once again I'm out of the loop on why this was such a big deal. I must have watched it a hundred times and it seemed clear that Bowers had no intent to even touch Cooper as he entered the turn. Copper turned down to make a pass and their lines crossed. Bowers even shook his head as he exited the turn as if to say, "What the hell was that about?" Racing incidents are going to happen; let's not lose our minds over it. And Cooper, let’s try to keep our big boy pants on when we are doing interviews after the race. Saying that you are going to clean Bowers out in Vegas just makes you look ridiculous.
2. At one point Short and Reed were 1-2, proving again that guys over 30 can go fast. What changes when you pass the 30-year-old mark? Do you feel differently? Ride differently? Does it even matter?
JT: There are differences in my opinion, but not all bad. Decision-making abilities improve due to experience, and that can keep you out of trouble. The main drawback that I experienced was an unwillingness to really push the envelope. Being "older and wiser" also means that I understood the consequences of things going wrong on the racetrack. Thoughts of life after racing are much more prevalent than at age 21. The key is to block all of that out and truly stay in the moment. Don't let your mind work against you and try to react instinctively—that's the key.
Stephenson: I was 31 my last year of racing for a living. I think we can all attest to the fact that crashing let alone getting hurt in our thirties can be life changing. It hurts way worse. Reedy wadded himself huge last year when he clipped Roczen in the whoops. He followed that up with an over-the-top crash at the Utah National, and if that wasn't enough, he got clipped again down at the start straight of Motocross of Nations. My utmost respect for this guy is never ending. He feels no pain. And Short getting upended last weekend while leading? Man, the old guys rule! I knew one thing when I was old: If you get to a triple on the opening lap with two or three guys next to you, and you double, it’s time to retire. If the risk of getting landed on because you're scared or afraid to triple—it's time to look for job openings at Wal-Mart. Huge credit to these two for riding without fear.
Ping: Frequent urination. Receding hairline. Increased dietary fiber intake. Many things change as you get older but you certainly don't forget how to ride a bike. Injuries can start to take a toll but both of these guys have managed to avoid big, nagging injuries. As long as they still have the drive, they are capable of running up front, as they proved this weekend.
3. Ken Roczen's case and face. What did he do wrong?
JT: He just panicked a bit. He was miffed that Reed got around him and was impatient in countering. He had the pass made without needing to jump there at all. In his haste to get to the lead, he made a bad decision and paid the price. He will learn from it and be better for it.
Stephenson: Well, I'm going go to out on a limb and say he didn't jump far enough. But, I'm also going to follow up with what I said last week: Winning is the ultimate train and power of confidence, and it can be both great and destructive. After winning my first race I was cocky. I thought I owned it. I proceeded to crash at Pontiac yet battle Mike Jones for the win. In Tampa, I crashed out on the first lap only to finish second to Tallon Vohland. I crashed on the first lap again in Foxboro, and was able chase down and slam Mike Jones in the last corner for the win. In OKC, I pushed the envelope early with Fro [Jeff Emig] and under-jumped a huge double. I should've known I was the fastest guy that day and waited, but instead I went for it, broke my wrist, and lost it all. I'm not comparing the big boys with a 125 or 250SX Regional Class, but that over-confident moment can not only be season changing, but career changing. I doubted the #94 last MX season and I was wrong. He may have eaten his face in Oakland, but the German looks to have escaped unscathed. He will be the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champion.
Ping: I think Ken just got impatient. He has the speed to move forward; he just needs to pick the right places. The leaders weren't pulling away, so he had time to look for the right place to pass. The problem with diving in front of a guy on the face of a triple is that if you have to roll and double out or double and single out that early in the race, you are going to have guys jumping over your head. He could have pulled that move later in the race and been okay to just double-single his way through. With the pack breathing down his neck he had to jump it and he knew it. It looked like he either spun a little or just didn't have the room he thought he would to build speed up to the face. Regardless, he took the beating like a man and he is very lucky to be healthy at this point.