Las Vegas Press Day ReportWhile this weekend’s pre-race press conference didn’t end on a good note with West Coast Supercross Lites Champion Grant Langston’s wrist injury, there was still plenty to report. So let’s get into some of the standout nuggets from this morning’s Q&A, with something that we will affectionately call a “Mini-Kickstart”.
As is always the case at the final round of Supercross—and keeping with the Vegas theme—there was already some flashy new gear, and one-off bike makeovers out there today. As for the new gear out on the track, both James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael were sporting some different colored Fox Encore gear—Stewart had on green, while RC was wearing yellow. Normally, the gear is only available in black or red. On the equipment side of things, Team Kawasaki went the extreme opposite of their previous frame-polishing ways of earlier this year. For the Vegas round, the team powder coated the frames and swingarms of both Micheal Byrne and Stewart’s rides flat black, which nicely matches the green team’s road race bikes. When we quizzed team manager Mike Fisher about the change he simply said, “It’s nice for the riders, they ride the same looking bike every week, so to have a little bit of a change is always good. We decided to go flat black, since we have been polishing the frames all throughout the year—it’s the complete opposite of that!”
To go along with his cool one-off green gear, Stewart also had a special “777”butt-patch on the back of his pants. Like mentioned during the press conference, even if he wins the race, he’ll need lots of help to also claim the AMA title. C’mon, Lady Luck.
Both Lites-class champions were out on the track today during the photo portion of the press day, and both were sporting number one plates for their respective divisions; however, like we reported earlier, Grant Langston crashed at the end of the rhythm section, and the early word was that he might have broken his wrist. We did, however, run into the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider at the MGM Grand following his get-off, and he reported that they did X-rays and nothing was broken, but he’ll complete an MRI early next week to see if there is any ligament damage. As for East Coast Champion Davi Millsaps, he looked good out on the track, and was throwing some pretty cool whips for the photographers. This weekend could quite possibly mark the final Supercross race that we see Millsaps aboard a 250F, as he will be moving up to the big 450 for outdoors and beyond.
On the new sponsorship front, Carmichael announced that he just finalized a new contract with Team Makita Suzuki, which will see him compete in selected events—possibly eight Supercross races and eight motocrosses—for the next three years or so. After that, he will continue to help the team test and mentor new riders. “Suzuki and I have finalized a multi-year deal, and this will be my last full season. After that, I will participate in a selective season next year. Suzuki has always stuck behind me, and I’m super excited for my future. This has no effect on how I will ride the rest of the year. We have also heard from reliable sources that in the years to come, Ricky will be going car racing in the weeks that he isn’t doing motocross.
While we are on the sponsorship subject, Chad Reed walked into the press conference wearing a new white Nike hat. For a few years now there have been rumors circulating that Reed was in talks with Nike about a lucrative sponsorship deal; however, until now, those rumors have proven to be just that—rumors. When asked about the hat Reed simply said, “I’ve had a relationship with Nike for the last two-and-a-half years. Right now, I’m working on some really unique projects with them that are going to come our way I think. It’s a very cool company, and last week I spent the wwhole day there on Friday. I got to work with Tiger Woods’ guy on my golf swing and fitting my clubs. They have a lot that they can bring to the sport.”
As for Stewart, he too just signed on the dotted line of a multi-year deal with long-time sponsor Kawasaki. While he didn’t say much about it at the press conference, there was no doubt that he, and his whole crew, were relieved to have the contract talks all behind them.
Now, there you have it, and that’s not all, keep checking back for daily updates from Sin City. There is still so much more to see and do, that we have to go get to it. Oh yeah, and while we were driving back from the track a few rain drops fell, as dark clouds moved in over the stadium. Here’s hoping that another mudder isn’t in our future. Either way though, tomorrow’s race is going to be one that you won’t want to miss. Take it from us, do whatever you have to do to get here or watch it live on SPEED channel, because you won’t want to miss it.