Just yesterday we confirmed that 2004 Supercross Champion and defending U.S. Open SX Champ Chad Reed would not be competing in this year’s running of the lucrative Las Vegas event, and by chance we ran into the Team Yamaha rider today out at Lake Elsinore MX Park in Lake Elsinore, California. Reed, who was back on a bike for the first time since undergoing surgery to have pins removed from his wrist, looked like he was having a nice, easy ride on the jump-laden course. Skippy was joined by his trainer, Jeff Spencer, and his mechanic Darrin Sorenson, who was also cutting laps aboard a Yamaha YZ250.
Most interesting of all was the fact that Chad was aboard a 2006 Yamaha YZ450F that was decked out with factory suspension. “It’s really good, he said. “A big improvement over the bike I raced in this year’s Nationals. Right now, we only have two-and-a-half bikes, and Heath Voss has the other one. We’re supposed to be getting a few more for testing here real soon.
Reed went on to joke that between now and next weekend’s US Open, he could get a solid three days of riding in on the bike and just might show up to race, but we seriously doubt that. Why? When questioned about the YZ450F, Reed admitted that he would be testing it starting next week as a possible mount in next year’s Supercross Series. “It’s that good, he said. “So far, I really like it.
Could we see all of the top competitors mounted on big, thundering four-strokes come Anaheim 1? Quite possibly. In an interview last month with Kawasaki’s James Stewart, Bubba stated that racing the new Kawasaki KX450F was a very realistic option. “For sure at the tracks that it would be suited for, like Las Vegas, said Stewart. “If I have my way, I’ll switch between four-stroke and two-stroke, depending on the track conditions. Stewart’s teammate Michael Byrne has already made the decision to race the KX450F exclusively in 2006, perhaps Stewart will join him.
Lastly, we’ve been hearing reports that defending Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael will be testing the Suzuki RM-Z450 and is seriously considering going valve-and-cam full-time in 2006. In a recent interview with RC for the December issue of TransWorld Motocross, RC said, “I’ll be racing the RM250 for sure in Supercross. Though I think that four-strokes will eventually be the way to go in Supercross, I know that our two-stroke 250cc is really, really good and that Chad and Bubba will be on them as well. That’s why I am racing a 250. Sounds like the Goat’s tune has changed in recent weeks… Stay tuned!