By Jody Weisel
(1) OH JOY IS ME: Ryan Villopoto acted like someone shot his dog after winning the New York Supercross. There is no doubt that Ryan is a great Champion, but he’s more Jeff Stanton than Jeremy McGrath or Kimi Raikonnen than Michael Schumacher. The most upbeat thing he had to say was, “I’m just glad it’s over.” This came on the heels of him telling TV interviewer Jeremy McGrath that he didn’t really enjoy racing anymore. We admit that Pro racing does become a business over time, but it’s a better business than being a coal miner.
THERE WAS FOOLISHNESS IN THE FORM OF MIKE ALESSI—WHO’S BROC TICKLE INCIDENT WAS EMBARRASSING, BUT NOT AS EMBARRASSING AS RUNNING AWAY TO CANADA LIKE SOME KIND OF MOTOCROSS DRAFT DODGER.
(2) DICKENS: It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. At least that is how Charles Dickens would have described the 2014 Supercross season if he had ever gotten out of the 250 Novice class. 2014 started with promise and great racing, but then the riders started falling like flies. The best? Although Ryan Villopoto wasn’t his dominant self, he was a wiser racer than in the past. James Stewart got a new lease on life after several years of sullen discontent. James can be forgiven for his faux pas—they are part of the DNA—but he didn’t take his ball and go home like in the past. He stuck it out, manned up and went back to work. The worst? It was a tough season for Trey Canard, Justin Brayton, Josh Grant, Chad Reed, Jake Weimer, Broc Tickle, Wil Hahn, Eli Tomac, Ivan Tedesco, Matt Goerke and a host of riders who were injured. The foolish? There was foolishness in the form of Mike Alessi—who’s Broc Tickle incident was embarrassing—but not as embarrassing as running away to Canada like some kind of motocross draft dodger. The winner? It was a great year for tomaine food poisoning—which was nice enough to hit every major player at least once.
LOSING STEWIE ON LAP THREE OF THE MAIN EVENT MAY HAVE DENIED THE NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY CROWD A BATTLE LATE IN THE MAIN EVENT.
(3) THE GOOD KNEE: Losing Stewie on lap three of the main event may have denied the New York/New Jersey crowd a battle late in the main event, but, worse yet, it may mean that Stewart will not be 100 percent when the AMA Nationals start in exactly one month. The Stewart camp will wait for the doctor’s report on Tuesday. Let’s hope his knee is okay because the battle between Stewart, Millsaps, Dungey, Roczen, Barcia, Canard and Villopoto (who has announced that he will race the 2014 AMA Nationals—ending the swirl of rumors) could be epic. Especially when Chad Reed joins the fray.
BAGGETT HAD NOTHING TO GAIN BY RACING NEW YORK AND THE DOWNSIDE WOULD BE LOSING HIS 250 MEAL TICKET FOR 2015.
(4) THE SURE THING: If anyone would have taken your bet, you would have gotten a terrible return on investment by betting on Team Pro Circuit. It didn’t look like they were going to just win the 250 East, it looked like they were going to sweep the top three spots. Then the wheels came off the green wagon. Cianciarulo dislocated his shoulder bad enough to need surgery. Davalos broke his ankle leading up to New York, while leading the points. And Blake Baggett got redshirted to avoid earning 135 points (and an automatic ticket to the 450 class). Baggett and Pro Circuit had plausible deniability because Baggett had crashed during the 250 East break for Seattle and gotten stitches in his eyebrow. Baggett had nothing to gain by racing New York and the downside would be losing his 250 meal ticket for 2015. So, Pro Circuit didn’t even go to New York. No riders, no need.
AND THE UNIONS RAN THEM OUT OF TOWN—NOT PHYSICALLY, BUT BY RAISING THE COST OF PLUGGING IN A LIGHT BULB OR CARRYING A SHOVEL INTO THE STADIUM.
(5) UNION ORGANIZERS: You have to give Feld credit for bringing Supercross back to the New York area. They tried New York, or their previous incarnation tried it, back in 1987 to 1991. And the unions ran them out of town—not physically, but by raising the cost of plugging in a light bulb or carrying a shovel into the stadium to astromonical levels. We doubt that the unions are more charitable 23 years later, but Feld is willing to bite the bullet in hopes of drawing a big enough crowd over the next few years to cover the high cost of doing business in New York/New Jersey.
YOU WOULD THINK THAT FELD WOULD HAVE PUT THE RACE ON THE HIGH-PROFILE FOX SPORTS 1, INSTEAD OF THE MEANINGLESS FOX SPORTS 2, WHICH HAS LESS VIEWERS THAN BEVO HAS ON HIS CHRISTMAS CARD LIST.
(6) TV NUMBERS: You would think that since New York is such an important goal for Feld Motorsports that they would have put the race on the high-profile Fox Sports 1—where it could draw respectable numbers, instead of the meaningless Fox Sports 2, which has less viewers than Bevo has on his Christmas card list. But, you have to remember that Fox Sports 1 has banked its reputation on UFC Fighting—and they weren’t going to bump the Jones versus Texeria fight for a motorcycle race. Plus, if you are still playing the numbers game—the delayed showing on the CBS network on Sunday gets more viewers than Fox 1 and 2 combined (and multiplied by three).
MAKING IT TO THE END OF THE SEASON IS NO SMALL FEAT AND ONE OF THE REWARDS OF GETTING TO THE END IS THAT THE COMPETITION GETS EASIER.
(7) LATE SEASON NUMBERS: Making it to the end of the season is no small feat and one of the rewards of getting to the end is that the competition gets easier. Take the 250 East for example. With top ten riders Blake Baggett, Adam Cianciarulo, Martin Davalos, Kyle Peters, Gavin Faith, Cole Thompson and Blake Wharton not racing in New York, a rider who normally finishes outside the top ten, could easily be in the top ten. In fact, two of the top three riders had never been on the podium before.
THEY BUMBLED AND STAMMERED AROUND BEFORE AGREEING ON ANDERSON, OR PERHAPS DAVALOS OR MAYBE SEELY. NONE OF THE ABOVE. DID YOU GET IT CORRECT AT HOME?
(8) QUESTION OF THE WEEK: When Ralph Shaheen asked Jeff Emig and Ricky Carmichael, “Which 250 rider was most impressive this year?” Jeff and Ricky bumbled and stammered around before agreeing on Anderson, or perhaps Davalos or maybe Seely. None of the above. Did you get it correct at home? Do you wonder why his name wasn’t added to the list? The real answer was Adam Cianciarulo.
THE NEW YORK SUPERCROSS SET THE ALL-TIME RECORD FOR THE MOST ANNOUNCERS AT ONE EVENT WITH RALPH SHAHEEN, JEFF EMIG, RICKY CARMICHAEL, ADAM CIANCIARULO, JEREMY MCGRATH (ON TAPE), JENNY TAFT AND DANIELLE TROTTA.
(9) NICK’S PICKS: Nick Wey set a record that will last for decades. Not really. Nick Wey raced his 171st 450 Main event, which puts him one race ahead of Chad Reed on the active rider list. However, there is a catch. When Nick quits, which isn’t too far in the future, he won’t be on the “active list” anymore and that “record” will disappear because he is nowhere near the record for the most all-time Supercross starts—a record held by Mike LaRocco at 228 starts. However, the New York Supercross did set the all-time record for the most announcers at one event with Ralph Shaheen, Jeff Emig, Ricky Carmichael, Adam Cianciarulo, Jeremy McGrath (on tape), Jenny Taft and Danielle Trotta.
THE 250 EAST WEST SHOOTOUT DOESN’T PAY ANY POINTS (AND HISTORICALLY NO ONE CAN EVER REMEMBER WHO WON IT). BUT IT DOES PAY A BIG $27,939 PURSE.
(10) BOGLES THE MIND: The Supercross promoters want you to think that the 250 East isn’t over, but it is signed, sealed and delivered to Justin Bogle. He can’t lose. Why not? Because second, third and fourth place in 250 East points (Davalos, Cianciarulo and Baggett) will not be racing in Vegas. That leaves Bogle with a 46-point lead over the next closest chaser. Luckily, the 250 West still has a little drama left to make Vegas more than just another race. Jason Anderson has an 8-point lead over Cole Seely. Everyone else is out of the running. Vegas’ convoluted race schedule means that there won’t be any heat races for the 250 class—the 20 riders will go straight to their respective 250 East/West main events based on timed qualifying. For Seely to beat Anderson he has to win, while Anderson must finish fifth or worse. The 250 East/West Shootout doesn’t pay any points (and historically no one can ever remember who won it). But it does pay a big $27,939 purse and when combined with the standard purse ($13,871) a rider who won his regional moto and the East/West Shootout could make $10,500—which is a lot more than the $2500 they make at every other Supercross.
NEW YORK SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Eli Tomac (Hon)
3. Josh Hill (Suz)
4. Justin Barcia (Hon)
5. Ken Roczen (KTM)
6. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
7. Mike Alessi (Suz)
8. Andrew Short (KTM)
9. Trey Canard (Hon)
10. Weston Peick (Suz)
Other notables: 11. Jake Weimer; 12. Phil Nicoletti; 13. Nick Wey (Kaw); 14. Ronnie Stewart; 16. Josh Grant; 22. James Stewart (Suz).
NEW YORK SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 250 EAST
1. Justin Bogle (Hon)
2. Jerermy Martin (Yam)
3. Vince Friese (Hon)
4. Matt Biscelgia (Hon)
5. Kyle Cunningham (Hon)
6. Alex Martin (Yam)
7. Mitchell Oldenburg (KTM)
8. Jimmy Decotis (Hon)
9. Jackson Richardson (hon)
10. Gannon Audette (Kaw)
Other notables: 11. Justin Starling; 12. A.J. Cantazaro; 15. Levi Kilbarger; 22. Aaron Gulley.
AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 16 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto………….343
2. Ryan Dungey……………282
3. James Stewart…………..271
4. Ken Roczen………………265
5. Justin Barcia,……………232
6. Andrew Short……………207
7. Justin Brayton…………..196
8. Josh Hill…………………..144
9. Broc Tickle……………….126
10. Wil Hahn………………..122
AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 8 of 9 rounds)
1. Justin Bogle…………………166
2. Martin Davalos……………149
3. Adam Cianciarulo………..120
4. Blake Baggett………………120
5. Vince Friese………………..120
6. Kyle Cunningham………..109
7. Matt Lemoine………………90
8. Jimmy Decotis…………….90
9. Cole Thompson……………89
10. Alex Martin………………..86
AMA 250 WEST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 8 of 9 rounds)
1. Jason Anderson………178
2. Cole Seely………………170
3. Justin Hill………………139
4. Dean Wilson…………..138
5. Cooper Webb………….121
6. Malcolm Stewart……..121
7. Jessy Nelson…………..103
8. Zach Osborne………….100
9. Shane McElrath……….96
10. Jake Canada…………..72
Photos by Scott Mallonee, MXA, Pro Circuit