I am glad the near century mark temperatures will subside before the racing schedule resumes this weekend in Dallas. Those conditions should be reserved for the brutal outdoors just around the corner. There are a few hot topics other than the weather as the West series is finally back in the spotlight after the relatively anticlimactic points chase on the right coast has been decided. Only 2 points separate the top two spots with two races remaining, and don¿t forget about third place only 11 points behind. This is how championships should be decided and the top three riders have all had their share of misfortune this year so the playing field has been leveled with 30 laps to go. Another hot buzz topic is Davi “Duke” Millsaps making his debut on the 450 this weekend. (After a full rib cage size tattoo of his legal middle name last week, we are hoping “The Duke” sticks for a while) We all know this kid has the speed and size to handle the bigger bike so the only drama is whether he can hang with the intense pace of the big boys for 20 laps. This little prelude in SX is just a teaser as Davi is set to contest the outdoors on the 450 which should make for a great subplot to an already epic battle brewing between RC, James, and the usual suspects.
Grant Langston has revived his career and has made the most of his time with Mitch Payton and Pro Circuit. Grant will be moving up next year regardless of what happens this year and contract time for 2007 is about to get crazy. Of course, Grant will be concentrating on wrapping up another SX title, but we will test the waters and see what direction the negotiations are heading. The other major player this year in the Lites class is Andrew Short aboard his Factory Honda. Andrew had a disappointing season by his standards last year, but is set to bring Team Honda another Lites championship this year after a long dry spell. Even after a near title-ending injury early this season, Shorty has gutted it out and used the healing power of his ultra blonde eyebrows to be ready for battle this weekend. Aldon Baker is an integral part of the juggernaut better known as Ricky Carmichael. Aldon has served as RC¿s trainer since his early 250 career and their magic continues to this day. RC has arguably redefined what it takes to get to the top and stay there and in doing so influenced many of his peers to follow his blueprint. A personal trainer in the pits is just as common as short skirts and energy drinks. I look forward to better understanding their relationship and Aldon¿s take on the future of athletes in our sport. The first time I saw Tara Gieger ride was at Loretta¿s a few years ago. She did not have the stamina at the time to run a full moto up front, but her speed and style were awesome. It did not take long for her to break through and become one of the most recognized and talented female riders in our sport. Unfortunately, she suffered a severe injury last year that forced her to take some time off but she is back on a bike. We will catch up with Tara tonight to see how her recovery and training are going.
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