"Does it look like we’re in Anaheim 1 freakout mode?” asked Dan Fahey, team manager for Monster Energy Kawasaki.
It did not. Although Eli Tomac’s attempt to finally win the Monster Energy Supercross Championship started with a lowly seventh at the 2020 season opener, panic was not in order on the first day to fix the problem. The Monday after the race, I was driving along Interstate 15 (“The 15” in California-speak) in Corona, California, when I saw the Kawasaki K1 practice track off the side of the highway. I saw a rider in a #3 jersey putting in laps, so I quickly pulled over and fired a text to Kawasaki PR rep Vanessa O’Brien. Could I drive up and hang out? Vanessa said it was too late to plan anything, so she advised me to literally walk inside the gates and ask Fahey if I was allowed to watch. So I did that, nervously parking my rented Jeep off to the side, then walking along the fence line—as far from the actual track as I could get—and trying not to look prying. Adam Cianciarulo was off practicing starts in the center of the track, but I didn’t look that way. I wanted to see and hear little until Fahey gave me the green light, no pun intended.
Of course, I laughed back. I was trying to keep the mood light. Then Eli’s dad, John, came walking around the corner.