We were in Big D this weekend for the supercross and I'm not sure what most people were more excited about. The fact that the two Ryans (Dungey and Villopoto) were battling neck and neck for their first 450 supercross title or the new stadium that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had recently built. Upon first seeing it, I thought of some 1950's sci-fi movie with the two pie plates spinning around acting like the alien spaceship. Although this is some spaceship.
Before we get too far into this, let's all keep the Masterpool family in our thoughts after the passing of Jesse. It's times like this that you realize just how dangerous our sport is and how all these guys I write about every week are literally one mistake away from things like this happening. Bad deal for sure…
We didn't have a supercross last year in Dallas because there wasn't a stadium ready for it. The old one in Irvine was closed and the new one wasn't done. Dallas has traditionally been on the sx schedule and it was a shame when we didn't go there last year. I've been visiting for the sx for a long time and I can tell you this about Dallas, the dirt is hard packed and slick, the track is smaller than usual and good times can be had after the races at many of the local establishments. That's about all I know.
So after I entered the stadium for track walk and stopped staring at the massive 800 foot HDTV that hung above the floor, what did I hear from the riders? Well complaints really but I don't really base much on what the riders tell me. They complain about every track and the only guy happy with it is the winner. Still, the guys were a little worried about the loose chunks of dirt everywhere and some sports were a little narrow.
The whoops were huge! And I mean huge. Luckily they weren't very long but they still caused problems for some of the guys. The rest of the track was pretty tricky, the three tabletops that the guys were jumping on was pretty gnarly as was the triple/triple at the end of the first rhythm section. It did get really hard and slick though and the track wasn't very wide. I guess you can leave stadiums but the essence of them stay the same.
As far the low turn-out last week in Toronto, well this week there was 49 pre-entries in the 450 class so it just appears that was an anomaly. And the 250 class had over 60 riders vying for the 40 man night show field! It appears it was indeed the distance from Daytona and then the turnaround to Dallas that left many privateers clutching their wallets.
Ryan Dungey really put a stranglehold on his points lead with his impressive win at Dallas. RD was on it all day, right from the start of practice and you knew he was going to do well. He told Swap earlier in the day that his extra practice on the slick California Suzuki test track was one of the reasons that he performed so well. There's an art to riding the blue-groove and on Saturday night, Dungey mastered it.
He won his heat over Villopoto which had to give him the confidence he needed going into the main event. In the heat, the two riders seemed to be matching each other lap for lap but Dungey held strong. It was as much of a tour de force performance for The Dunge as RV put in last week in Toronto and combined with Villopoto's fourth place, gave The Suzuki Kid a 24 point lead with only six races remaining.
As I said, RV's fourth was strange for him. He never seemed to get along with the track all day and his opening lap or two were absolutely horrible. I've said it time and time again, Reed and Stewart's ability to shoot through to the front when coming around the first turn in fifth or sixth is uncanny. Reed especially (maybe because I've watched him at Yamaha on film over and over) is a master at that.
Well, RV didn't have that ability this weekend and he was banged around there at the back for a few laps. He went from about fifth to tenth at the end of lap one and it was all over. He let Dungey gain four seconds on him in just the opening two laps and although I'm no Tony D, that's not good. The first two laps at Dallas just might have cost Villopoto any chance he had at the 2010 450 championship.
This wasn't the ideal track for RV and his riding style, smooth and precise is not his strength. Hang it out and pin it is. If you rode like that on this track, chances are you would end up on your head. It wasn't RV's weekend that's for sure. Nice late race charge on Justin Brayton though, those two were going at it hard before Villopoto claimed the fourth spot.
I thought it was cool that Dungey (and Dungey's people) orchestrated a cool little scavenger hunt at Dallas where the winner, via clues sent by Twitter, ended up with an autographed used race helmet from the Dunge. Pretty sweet deal I think. Stay tuned to my Twitter (pulpmx) at Jacksonville where I will leave a half-eaten cheeseburger under a toilet for a lucky follower.
What a 250 main event! It felt like something that you would see in a movie. First you had the points leader not on his game at all (probably distraught that his teammate, the little Dean Wilson, wasn't there. Trust me, foreigners look out for each other) and causing a fifteen man pile-up in the first turn. It was unreal and nothing I've really seen before. Then you had the second place guy in points (Austin Stroupe) going to move into the points lead as he was one of the lucky ones to get up quick enough but no, he crumbles and crashes his way to the back.
Out front was a wily veteran looking for his first ever race win (Ryan Sipes) and a young first year racer just happy to finish second if that was the best he could do (Blake Bagget). Then the rookie started reeling the veteran in and slowly but surely, got closer and closer before taking advantage of a lapper jacking up Sipes and taking the win.
Then he bursts into tears upon crossing the finish line and is the most unlikely winner this year. Bagget has been riding very well this season and the Rockstar Suzuki team looks to have found a nice diamond in the rough. Blake had to have been bummed when he was passed over for the last Pro Circuit spot in favor of Dean Wilson but funny how life works huh? The kid ends up on a new OEM and wins a race before Wilson but yet looks like he's 20 years older.
As far as Sipes, well this might have been his shot ever at a win and he simply couldn't bring it home. Yes, the lapper held him up and it's still mystifying why an AMA official that had two shots at waving a blue flag at the lapper chose not to. As well, in the opening laps when Sipes broke away from the crash and had a bit of a lead, he was blue flagged twice by the finish line flagger! So early on in the opening laps, one AMA guy didn’t know he was in the lead and then, late in the race, another AMA guy couldn’t believe it either!
Ryan's a good dude and he didn't place any blame or go off on any tangents that, all things considered, might have been understandable. He was happy to get second and will continue to get back to work to hopefully win next weekend. Sipes is good people and he's been riding great this year. How many of you guys reading this would have placed him in fourth in the series at this point? Nice pick-up for the Motoconcepts Yamaha guys.
Did you hear the one about how Dean Wilson was rejected by Canadian immigration and not allowed to come to America and race this weekend? Yeah, me too. How in the world anyone would think it was the Canadian side that wouldn't let a Canadian enter into the USA is beyond me but the real story is that Wilson's athlete VISA papers weren't finished yet and he tried to come back into the red, white and blue country after Toronto and there was a bit of a problem.
I heard a few different stories from a bunch of different guys but the bottom line is (and I have extensive experience with work visas, green cards and crossing the Canada/USA border) that the work should have been done before anyone even had given a thought to trying to cross the border. It's asinine that anyone would be a high-profile rider from another country and not have the T's crossed and I's dotted on a VISA before trying to enter another country. Did you know that Customs and immigration guys are fans of motocross also?
Davi Millsaps rode great to get second in the 450 main event. The #18 was second fastest in both practice sessions so it's obvious that he was comfy with the track. With the blinding, blowing snow outside causing everyone that I knew from Florida to be miserable, Millsaps ignored the elements and put in a good ride. He was caught from behind late in the race by defacto-teammate Trey Canard but held onto second with some good line selections and some grit.
Speaking of Trey Canard (or TSTC for short), this kid has been amazing. I honestly thought that his podium streak was over because he was buried a bit in the pack. The first lap says he was sixth but he was further back than that to be honest. With RD and Millsaps already checking out, Trey's obstacles to a podium were named Ryan Villopoto, Justin Brayton and Josh Hill. But he picked those guys off one by one and worked up into third. As I said, he almost finished second but couldn't match Davi in the whoops. He would hesitate a little bit before them and lose ground to the blitzing Millsaps. There were a few times I thought he could've stuck it in there a little bit but he chose to play it safe.
Overheard by me one of the red shirted guys saying that they've been on Davi to do twenty laps hard and they didn't realize the best way to get him to do that was to have a kid trying to steal his job right behind him!
Let's take a look at the top twenty in each class shall we?
1 66 Blake Baggett
2 46 Ryan Sipes
3 17 Justin L Barcia- Good ride for Barcia with no front brake after he went down in that monster first turn crash.
4 577 Martin Davalos- Martin finally does something this season. He was fast all day and even went down in the first turn and was 11th after lap one. Then a good charge to get fourth.
5 45 Austin L Stroupe- Austin's fifth was actually pretty good because he crashed three or four times in the main event. I still call him for the Jacksonville win!
6 31 Matthew J Lemoine- Lemoine needed this finish to stay relevant. Him, Clarke and Durham have all been pretty disappointing this season so far.
7 1 Christophe Pourcel- Just wasn't on it all day.
8 92 Michael L Willard- Shhhh, Willard has been good and NO ONE has talked about him. Except for me of course.
9 64 Taylor C Futrell
10 43 Steven J Clarke- See above.
11 24 Brett Metcalfe- Got the break of all breaks when the LCQ was red-flagged and re-started. Metty wasn't going to make it in so his eleventh in the main event was almost like a bonus.
12 69 Adam B Chatfield
13 196 Tyler A Wharton
14 79 Justin M Sipes- Pooh Sipes makes his first main event of the year and brother Ryan just about wins the entire thing. Great night for Ma and Pa Sipes sitting on their rockers in Kentucky watching traffic go by.
15 87 Les Smith- First main event for this kid, want to bet he makes the rest of them from here on out?
16 613 James A Decotis
17 65 Troy K Adams- Troy was 2nd and Moss was 3rd in the opening laps before the crashed into each other and tumbled off the track.
18 40 Jake Moss – Jake got the worst of it though and was last seen running off the track looking for the medic crew.
19 36 Darryn L Durham
20 412 Levi Kilbarger- Team HOT has a tough night with a second last and last on the night.
1 5 Ryan M Dungey
2 18 David D Millsaps
3 38 Trey G Canard
4 2 Ryan D Villopoto
5 23 Justin D Brayton- I wanted a podium from JB this weekend and I swear to god, I thought he had it. But once again, he's just a little short. It'll come for sure but I thought, like Easter, that it would have been here by now.
6 75 Joshua R Hill-Hill and I spoke before the night show about the lame-ass parade laps and he's cooking up something that will blow peoples wigs back. Oh and he's still hurt. But now he's at least riding during the weeks.
7 14 Kevin W Windham
8 55 Kyle P Chisholm- The Chiz rode a good race and is having a great season. He's the rider highest in the points with a full chest protector on. That's something!
9 338 Jason D Lawrence- J-Law got put back in the fast guys practice for the second set. He celebrated that fact by doing no-leggers and one leggers the entire length of one rhythm section.
10 10 Thomas K Hahn- Very classy of Tommy to come out on Masterpool's RM80 for opening ceremonies.
11 26 Michael Byrne- Byrne was happy I told the world that he got a flat tire last week because he fade at the end was inexcusable. Unless a guy had a flat that is.
12 27 Nicholas A Wey- Although his sponsors and back account may say otherwise, I say Wey just brakes and gives the start to someone else. He rides differently when he grabs the holeshot as opposed to when he has to work at coming up.
13 9 Ivan Tedesco
14 67 Chris Blose- Blose jacked up his ankle really bad earlier in the day. He was lucky to even be out there racing to be honest.
15 13 Heath D Voss
16 62 Jason W Thomas
17 124 Ryan D Clark
18 47 Matt Boni
19 116 Ryan Morais- Ryan was 15th until very late in the race when he ate poop and DNF'd.
20 41 Kyle J Regal- Regals 450 debut was a pretty good one all things considered. He was pretty fast all day and looking good in the main (in 7th) when he washed out in a corner. Then teammate Ivan Tedesco plowed into him and Valli team manager Jon Mitcheff probably punched himself in the nuts.
In the always exciting world of the Alessi's, it seems that Mike and Tony are over KTM and I think the feeling is mutual. So right now the rumor (that I've confirmed is true) is that Team Alessi may be reunited once again as Mike and Tony are talking to Motoconcepts Yamaha about riding outdoors for them. Stay tuned next week when…well, I don't know what else could possibly happen.
The weather was so cold in Dallas, it was really amazing that, in March, Toronto Canada was nicer than Dallas, Texas. The teams mostly pitted inside the semis or under the canopies. It made for a bizarre day as there weren't too many spectators there and it was a bit of a ghost town in the pits. The mechanics that I spoke to were not happy with the weather, that's for sure. When Maeda and I went out to our car after the night, there was blowing snow everywhere and our car was buried! Reminded me of my days back in Canada.
It appears that James Stewart is indeed working on being at the first two nationals. I didn't believe this when team manager Larry Brooks and I texted (Hi Andy!) back and forth a couple of weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I didn't even bother to report it because I've been through this song and dance before.
But with James hurting his wrist and missing the supercross season and with Red Bull really, really wanting JS7 to race the USA MXDN, he's trying to rework some deals and get the team to the first couple of races for him. What happens if he's leading the series after two races? Now THAT's an interesting question and we'll have to see.
I was wondering what happened to Jet Packs? In 1984, we saw a man fly into the Olympic opening ceremonies and I, as an 11-year old kid, was blown away. Well that was 25 years ago and we still don't have much in the way of advancement in the world of personal Jet Packs. That's weird, think about how much cars, motorcycles, ovens, vacuum cleaners, etc, etc have advanced in 25 years. Anyways, I wanted to see when I would be able to buy one and fly around like a superhero and found THIS.
Swap gave me a little camera and sent me off to take some shots for the column. He mumbled something about me leaving him alone. Check out some shots of my day!
Thanks for reading this week and see you next week from Jacksonville where I will no doubt be enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Something we've been lacking the last few weeks. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll chat.