By Jody Weisel
Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen and Chad Reed stand on the podium—two out of the three were not expected to be there.
KENNY KNOWS HOW TO CRY ON THE PODIUM, NONE OF THAT “LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE” SOBBING THAT MAKES REAL MEN CRINGE AND WOMEN LOOK AWAY IN PITY
(1) Nobody, as in no fans, want to see a runaway season, undefeated season or carbon copy races week in and week out—thus, A1 insured that neither Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia or anyone else for that matter will sweep the deck. The 450 victory by Ken Roczen, albeit a victory made possible by mistakes from others, was a breath of fresh air. Plus, Kenny knows how to cry on the podium, none of that “Leave Brittany Alone” sobbing that makes real men cringe and women look away in pity.
IF YOU LOOKED DOWN INTO THE CRACKER JACKS BOX FOR A SECOND TO SEE WHAT THE PRIZE WAS, WHEN YOU LOOKED UP RYAN WAS PICKING HIS BIKE UP
(2) Ryan Villopoto had a bad case of the “dropsies.” If you looked down into your Cracker Jacks box for a second to see what the prize was, when you looked up Ryan was picking his bike up. No big deal! Anybody who can crash this many times and still finish fourth is a force to be reckoned with.
This is the start of Bubba's downfall. He had closed on Ken Roczen (94), but he skipped to the right, he skipped to the left and he skidded on his visor.
(3) “It’s Not About The Bike” by Lance Armstrong, should be rewritten as “It’s Not About The Bike” by James Stewart. There was little doubt in the minds of the fans that James Stewart was going to win A1 as the main event entered its final stages. He had worked his way up from a bad start, made lots of decisive moves and looked good—then the Cracker Jacks enigma hit him. His RM-Z450 suddenly became his old YZ450F and he was down, up, down and eventually walking off the track. Shocker! We’ve never seen this before. Well, we have actually. It is proof positive that it’s not about the bike. It’s James' lot in life and his seventh level is to repeat the same scenario over and over.
IF YOU ARE EVER LINED UP AGAINST A WALL FACING A FIRING SQUAD, PRAY THAT THE MEN WITH GUNS COME FROM THE RYAN DUNGEY SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
Ryan Dungey's strategy has always been to get on the podium every week and wait for the other guys to make mistakes—you can't say that his strategy is flawed because it has worked in the past. But, it's a little to 401K-safe for the fans to embrace.
(4) If you are ever lined up against a wall facing a firing squad, pray that the men with guns come from the Ryan Dungey school of thought—because then no one will pull the trigger. Roger needs to send Dungey to “passing school” during the week. Forget about lap after lap of pounding through the whoops. Instead, send a bunch of riders out on the KTM test track to get in Dungey’s way and let him practice actually making the move. He can jump, he can scrub, he can skim the whoops, he can start—but he can’t pull the trigger.
(5) Eli Tomac’s 2014 debut as a full-time 450 rider didn’t last long. He cross-jumped a midair Jake Weimer and the two ended up in a pile. From the pile, Tomac emerged with an injured shoulder, diagnosed as a pinched nerve that left his arm numb. Bad night for Eli, but with 0 points for the night—Tomac can now concentrate on each race as it comes (without the Disney fantasy of a surprise championship). As for Jake Weimer he made a good move to try to pass Eli, but Tomac never saw him coming, but the fans in the stands got to see a lot of Weimer as he was in the heat, semi, last chance and main.
A PODIUM FINISH HAS TO FEEL SWEET TO A MAN THAT NOBODY WANTED
(6) The mystery of Chad Reed isn’t how this evergreen oldie keeps surprising the skeptics, but what the deal is with his blacked-out goggle strap. A podium finish has to feel sweet to a man that nobody wanted.
(7) You have to love the new format because it is the old format. Now, let’s return to the old-school tracks, rough up the dirt, slow down the momentum and go retro on the obstacles. Then Supercross will be headed in the right direction. You could easily say that the A1 track produced great racing. However, it would be more accurate to say that if you string enough straights and hairpin turns together eventually the riders will have to come together.
PERHAPS HAVING RICKY CARMICHAEL AND JEFF EMIG IN THE BOOTH AT THE SAME TIME IS ONE COLOR COMMENTATOR TOO MANY
(8) Being a race announcer is a thankless job—the
fans love to hate whoever is on the screen, then, when they are gone
(well, after a decent memorial period) they are suddenly declared
“great” and the new crew is terrible. Art Eckman and David Bailey
weren’t always fan favorites during their heyday—they just got a revival
as of late. As for Saturday night’s show, perhaps having Ricky
Carmichael and Jeff Emig in the booth at the same time is one color
commentator too many. And, perhaps Krista Voda got way too much face
time. And, perhaps the new girl on the field was no less vapid than the
ones that came before her, but somebody has to ask questions so obvious
that they don’t deserve answering.
(9) It’s KTM’s World and the other brands are living in the suburbs. KTM’s sales are up 30%, orange is beginning to dominate local starting lines and with Roczen winning the 450 class and Jason Anderson taking the 250 West KTM had a great night. No one expects a weekly KTM rout, but if you are going to maximize publicity—the opening night is the best place to do it.
WITH A COUPLE TURNS TO GO, COLE CAME UPON A THREE-MAN ROLLING ROAD BLOCK (AND TWO OF THEM MIGHT HAVE BEEN LEANING AGAINST SHOVELS)
Cole Seely (21) was gonna win, but a funny thing happened on the way to the checkered flag (in the form of Jason Anderson). Photos; KTM Images
(10) You have to applaud Feld for putting 22 riders on the track in both main events—put another way, you have to applaud Feld for putting two more lapped riders on the track in both main events. Why don’t we hear Cole Seely clapping? Because with a couple turns to go, Cole came upon a three-man rolling road block (and two of them might have been leaning against shovels). In the heat of the moment, Cole made the wrong decision. He should have protected the inside, but instead drifted up into the middle of the banked hairpin (one of seven banked hairpins) giving Jason Anderson a straight path to a classic Sprint Car-style slide job. To Anderson’s credit he tried hard to pull his bike down to avoid getting tangled with Seely and in the process he succeeded in cue-balling off of the Troy Lee Designs rider and getting a thrilling, if last second, victory.
RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Ken Roczen
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Chad Reed
4. Ryan Villopoto
5. Justin Barcia
6. Justin Brayton
7. Josh Grant
8. Broc Tickle
9. Andrew Short
10. Jake Weimer
11. Wil Hahn
12. Mike Alessi
13. Matt Moss
14. Nick Schmidt
15. Kyle Partridge
16. Weston Peick
17. James Stewart
18. Josh Hill
19. Jimmy Albertson
20. Vince Friese
RESULTS: 250 WEST CLASS
1. Jason Anderson
2. Cole Seely
3. Zach Osborne
4. Dean Wilson
5. Cooper Webb
6. Justin Hill
7. Darryn Durham
8. Malcolm Stewart
9. Jessy Nelson
10. Austin Politelli
11. Michael Leib
12. Jake Canada
13. Dakota Tedder
14. Dean Ferris
15. Zach Bell
16. Sean McElrath
17. Valentin Teillet
18. Zach Freeberg
19. Scott Champion
20. Topher Ingalls