Chris Gosselaar’s gaze pretty much told the whole story. While the press day festivities droned on in the background, Chris was staring towards the floor of Anaheim Stadium, trying to make some sense of the tarp-covered track.
A steady drizzle had killed off Friday practice before the press conference even started, so there’d be one more day of adrenaline, and one less day of practice before the U.S. season kicks off.
Meanwhile, back at the press conference, CCE’s Mark Abernathy was running through changes to the series, the TV package (remember that this week’s race will be on ABC on Sunday), and details like Jamie Little and Cameron Steele moving to the TV crew, while Erin Bates will take over Jamie’s spot on the Live Event team. Steve Whitelock was introduced as the AMA’s Series Manager, and Duke Finch will also be on hand to help the transition.
Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed both picked up their rings for winning last year’s U.S. and World titles. Ricky sounded disappointed that he wouldn’t be competing due to his knee injury, but sounded determined to return as soon as possible.
When asked who he thought would win this series, he said, “I haven’t seen everyone ride, but based on last year’s results, you’d have to say Chad has the best shot. Kevin Windham and David Vuillemin should also be right there.”
After the conference broke up, it was time to check in with riders and race team personnel that we hadn’t seen in a while. Mike Craig was hobbling around, and when asked what happened, he told us that he’d had a collision last week that smashed one of his toes so severely that it had to be removed. He’s still planning on racing the whole season, but will sit out Anaheim 1.
Another rider we ran into was Tiger Lacey, who had crashed hard during the Arnhem round of the World Supercross. He’d lost three teeth in the crash, and at first it was feared that he’d broken his jaw as well. Fortunately, once he got back home, it was discovered that although sore, his jaw wasn’t broken. Tiger will make his debut on the MotoSports Outlet team Saturday.
Just for fun, TWMX Associate Editor Ryan Cooley grabbed a tape recorder and asked some of the top 125 West guys for their 250 picks, and vice versa for the 250 guys. Here are the results:
“Mike LaRocco, Kevin Windham, and probably Ryan Clark.”
“I’m gonna say there are two Amsoil guys one and two, and Nate Ramsey.”
“Ricky’s not racing, right? Chad’s racing? I don’t know exactly, but I can tell you who’s going to be on the podium. I’m going to say Kevin (Windham), Mike (LaRocco), and Chad (Reed).”
“I’m thinking Josh Woods, Nathan Ramsey, and Hansen.”
“I’d have to say it’s going to go Reed, Windham, Lusk.”
“I’m hoping Gray puts it up on the podium, he’s looking good. Of course, Preston always looks good. For three, I don’t know Gosselaar’s good, then you’ve got the Pro Circuit guys. It’s definitely a packed house in the west. I’m gonna leave that one open. I’d say Tedesco.”
“I’d have to say Travis Preston, Nathan Ramsey, and Ivan Tedesco.”
“I’d say LaRocco, Reed…I can’t even tell you third.”
“I’ve got to go with LaRocco, Reed and Windham.”
“I think it’s definitely going to be Reed, Windham, and I think I’m going to throw Lusk in there.
“I’m not going to say in order, but I’m thinking, Ivan Tedesco, Brock Sellards, and probably Preston.”
“I think maybe Windham or Reed, and Vuillem or Langston.”
“I don’t even know. I’ve been so caught up in getting myself ready I haven’t even thought about it. Of course Ramsey’s looking strong. I’ve been riding with him a lot, and Preston’s looking good, too. I know that recently a lot of guys have been switching coasts, and there have been a lot of injuries. The east coast always seems to be the insurance plan where people can fall back on it. Of course Bubba on the East, and riding against him is a tough feat, so that doesn’t make the insurance plan as good of a deal. I know Nathan is very strong, very committed, and lays down a lot of laps, but Preston has been fast, too. Those are the only guys I’ve been able to watch.”
“I’ll say Nathan Ramsey, Travis Preston, and Stephane Roncada.”
“Dang. There are so many guys. I’m going to have to say Gosselaar for one because he’s a good buddy of mine. I’d say Nate Dawg, Gosselaar, and Preston.”
As a final tidbit before we go, here are some of the bikes that we spotted while cruising the pits today. Click any of the small images for a full-sized wallpaper image.
The good news is, the weather is supposed to be dry for the season-opener, though overnight temperatures are supposed to hover near freezing.
That’s it for now. Be sure to stop back on Sunday for the TWMX Race Report.