Photos by James Lissimore
I'm back! After two weekends away from Supercross, I am back on the scene and observed quite a bit this weekend at the chaotic St. Louis supercross. We came into this race with the hopes of seeing two riders go at it for the title all the way to Las Vegas, but by the end we were down two riders and the Suzuki kid has the 2010 SX title clinched. What a night!
First, let's talk about the track and what a course it was. Big whoops, big jumps, and some tricky rhythms had most of the riders I spoke to commenting on how gnarly the track was. When the builders only have one triple on the track, most times it's a good one as the triples are the easiest thing out there for the guys. There was some sand and even a split lane! Combine all that with the always-sweet St. Louis dirt and the Dirt Wurz boys really let it all hang out this weekend. But to some guys, letting it all hang out was not a good thing…
I think my favorite SX obstacle ever is the off-camber turn where you can either jump on and go to the bottom or single and roll around the inside. Just a cool looking contrast as the guy on the inside looks like he makes the pass and tries to get over to block the dude railing the berm. Cool stuff.
Last weekend Ryan Villopoto made up a bunch of points in the SX title chase and it looked like it was going to go down to the wire and early on in St. Louis, it was getting good. Ryan Dungey shot into the lead early and RV blitzed through the pack and into second to set up a great battle for the lead. To put it simply, RV HAD to win this race. He needed the three points as the races are winding down and the 12 points separating the two guys needed to be reduced ASAP.
Villopoto pulled close to Dungey and made his move in a bowl turn. Was it dirty? Well, watching it live it looked to be a perfectly fine, close racing, SX block pass. But then on TV the next day, it looked a little dirtier than I first thought. Yes, it was right on the edge (and by edge I mean just teetering on the balance beam with only a small wind needed to blow it on the dirty side) but that's the stuff you do when you're 12 points down with four races left. You don't pull that at A1, but near the end there's too much money and prestige on the line to just follow a guy.
If you're RV, you're thinking that you caught your main competitor and it was time to get busy so you made something happen. In the ensuing chaos of the pass, both riders were knocked down and everyone in the Edwards Jones Dome lost their minds. Then both guys got going with RV in front (maybe not the way he wanted to be in front but the endgame was accomplished) and pushing hard. Dungey seemed to be powerless to do to RV what RV did to him and it looked like the gap was going to be nine when disaster struck for Villopoto and Kawasaki.
Ryan was forced to jump off in the air when he was going to come up short on a triple and crashed to the ground in an ugly, ugly get-off. He was on his way to the win and instead ended up on his way to the hospital. A broken leg was the result of the crash and he's probably out for at least six weeks, which should put him ready for round two of the motocross series in Texas.
So with that, it leaves Ryan Dungey as your 2010 Supercross champion! With only 75 points up for grabs and Josh Hill 77 down in third place, Dungey has completed a remarkable climb from Supercross rookie to Supercross champion. The cards have all fallen into place to allow RD to take advantage of his opportunity and I say, good for him. It's been a remarkable climb from the "B" class to 450 Supercross champion; take a bow Ryan, you deserve it.
I really thought that Dean Wilson was going to win the 250's. You know how when you watch practice, you can just see guys that are on it? Riders that are aggressive, cutting through riders and seem to have the track dialed? Well, Dean-o was one of those guys as he figured out the sections right away and worked on laying down laps. Then early on in the main event, he was in second behind Justin Barcia and he looked like he was set up perfectly for the win (especially with Christophe Pourcel stuck on a berm and a lap down).
But something happened to Wilson on his way to the win and that something was Justin Barcia. Barcia got the start and laid down some incredible laps early on. He was two seconds faster than Wilson on the first lap and then after Wilson fell, two seconds faster than Brett Metcalfe. It was a tour de force performance by Barcia as he went wire to wire to capture his second win of the series and for his efforts (and Austin Stroupe's injury) JB17 ended up second in the series and years from now when the people of the future crack open the time capsule and look at the 2010 250 East Results, they'll see that Barcia only finished 13 points back of Christophe Pourcel and think this series was closer than it appeared.
Andrew Short came back one race ago and wasn't happy with his eighth place in Houston as he somehow thought that despite being off for three months with an injury, he should jump in and run podium speed ASAP. I've been telling him that he's too hard on himself but he's not been buying into my whole "Don't worry, be happy" philosophy.
And that's a good thing he doesn't take my advice otherwise he'd be an overweight hack writer surrounded by Basset Hounds instead of now a podium racer in the toughest motorcycling series in the world. Shorty was really good this weekend and ended up grabbing the third spot on the box behind quasi-teammate Kevin Windham. It was a good ride by the 29 and he showed his usual fight and never-say-die attitude out there. You can listen to his post-race thoughts right HERE.
Or check out this podcast I did with him on his site andrewshort.com
What about the 250 champion Pourcel? Well, Christophe rode around all day like he didn't want to be there and didn't seem to care one way or another how his day went. He struggled (for him) to a fourth place qualifying time, rode around in his heat and then in the first lap of the main event got high-sided on a berm and stuck. By the time he got going he was a lap down, tried hard for about four more, and then pulled off and called it a night. If you want to compare his day at St. Louis, watch The Who's Super Bowl performance… the same inspiration was put into both performances.
Let's take a look at the results on the night:
1 17 Justin L Barcia
2 108 Dean A Wilson- Wilson told me that during his exile in Canada (wasn't that a Stones album?) he played a lot of MX Reflex, ate a lot of pitas, drank a lot of Jamba Juice and worked out in the gym. Good times.
3 24 Brett Metcalfe
4 577 Martin Davalos-Good ride for the 577. Three top five's in the last four races salvages a season for Davalos.
5 66 Blake Baggett
6 32 Kyle B Cunningham- Kyle has done well since switching over to the Valli team, he's trying to stay with them for the outdoors but the team is a 450 team first and foremost.
7 92 Michael L Willard- Silently and without much fanfare, Willard had a good series and ended up with a season high 7th place.
8 31 Matthew J Lemoine- Lemoine had a good race and his teammate Clarke ended up right behind him and that had to feel like a 1-2 for the Suzuki City team.
9 43 Steven J Clarke-Clarke did not have a good series but he went out with a bang.
10 130 Kyle D Keylon- The light switch went on for Keylon because he carded a 13th and a 10th the last two races after struggling for the entire series.
11 61 Vince A Friese- Vince is toughing it out with some serious injuries that would've stopped a lot of guys.
12 69 Adam B Chatfield
13 613 James A Decotis- The privateer ends the series in 12th.
14 677 Jason R Hussey
15 87 Les Smith
16 211 Tevin N Tapia
17 505 Sean Lipanovich
18 412 Levi Kilbarger
19 46 Ryan Sipes- Sipes was the fastest qualifier and looked to be a sure bet for at least a podium on the night when he cartwheeled early in the main when he was in third. Hopefully he's all right.
20 1 Christophe Pourcel- Bad night for Pourcel and his mechanic Kyle Bentley who had to be carted off after badly twisting his ankle walking to the mechanics area.
1 5 Ryan M Dungey
2 14 Kevin W Windham- Great ride for KW, he was on it all day and is the man in the whoops. We should just rename him the Whoop Monster.
3 29 Andrew T Short
4 27 Nicholas A Wey- Wey wanted me to come out with him for opening ceremonies and high-five the crowd and what-not. I politely declined.
5 22 Chad Reed
6 23 Justin D Brayton- Man, I thought Justin Brayton was a shoe-in for at least a podium spot. He was on it all day, set the fastest time, won his first ever 450 heat race and generally looked like a world-beater. But then a bad start in the main and a collision with either Chad Reed or Nick Wey resulted in an injured ankle and an ok night. What could’ve been…
7 26 Michael Byrne- Byrner rode pretty well I think. He recently switched to a stock Yamaha clutch perch to help him with his starts. Tedesco switched as well, like the ads say- stock is best!
8 55 Kyle P Chisholm- KC came together with Boni early on the in the race and left the #47 telling the #55 that he's got one coming. The Chiz is in a fight with Byrne and Hahn for top ten in the series.
9 18 David D Millsaps
10 10 Thomas K Hahn
11 338 Jason D Lawrence- J-Law is just another guy out there these days. An 11th is good and is right about where he should be.
12 252 Justin F Keeney- Great ride for the privateer. Always a good jumper, Keeney was 18th after lap one as he got caught in the gate. Good to see.
13 75 Joshua R Hill- Hill didn't have a very good race as he's re-injured his ribs from an earlier crash this year. Still he's in a dogfight to try and end up second in the series which isn't too shabby.
14 67 Chris Blose
15 47 Matt Boni
16 62 Jason W Thomas
17 9 Ivan Tedesco
18 921 Manuel Rivas
19 271 Jeff Gibson
20 2 Ryan D Villopoto- I hope me crushing RV's feeling before the night show didn't cause him to hurt himself. I was in the Kawi truck making some coffee when he came back from practice and we were alone for a bit in the truck talking. He was going through the freezer and showing me what's good in there when his mechanic Mike Williamson came in and told him to put the food away. That's when Ryan blurted out "If Matthes was my mechanic, we'd eat corn dogs together!" which made me happy and sad all at the same time.
In case you didn't know there has been some controversy over the St. Louis track and specifically one obstacle that Chad Reed called out on TV as being unsafe. Some work was done to the taller landing ramp, but it still proved to be a deadly spot as RV and Ivan Tedesco went down and both will be out for a while. So we got two guys back (Reed and Short) and now we lose two more.
Listen to the Chad Reed podcast for more of what the two-two thought of the track, the USGP, and much more.
Speaking of Reedy, I've been a bit bummed on his comeback to racing as I really thought that he'd be right up there challenging for wins. After all, he's mother-effing Chad Reed! But when you listen to the show, it all makes sense as to why he's not up in the mix. He says he'll be ready for the outdoors and with his history, we should believe him.
Kyle Regal quit/got fired at Valli Yamaha and Dan Reardon quit/got fired at Motoconcepts Yamaha in case anyone is wondering. You'd think we'd see PR's on this stuff but don't hold your breath. I've been down this road before.
The rumor in the pits was that Regal was talking to KTM about riding over there. Another rumor was that Grant Langston was going to ride a KTM and yet another rumor was Sean Hamblin riding orange this summer.
Valli is looking to fill Regal's spot with a 450 rider and are looking at/talking to Michael Byrne, Kyle Chisholm, Dan Reardon, and one other rider. As far as Motoconcepts Yamaha, I believe that you'll see Matt Georke/Ryan Sipes on 450s and Vince Friese/Travis Baker on 250s but I've been wrong before.
It seemed to me that there has been a lot of Kawasakis out on the track this year so I decided to count the bikes this week for all the riders entered. The totals are:
100 total entries
So my suspicions proved to be right, but maybe not as much as my perception was of the difference, still 38 percent of entries is pretty damn good.
The hot rumor was that Kawasaki wanted Pourcel to ride a 450 at the last few Supercrosses but that CP and the green team couldn't come to an agreement on the proper amount of compensation. No matter what, next year we'll all see the slick/crafty/sneaky/funny Frenchman in the big boys class.
I spoke to Josh Hill for a bit about Ryan Dungey getting up in his grill last week and he was as mystified as anyone as to why RD felt like Hill taking Dungey high in a berm would be cause for so much anger. I was simply asking what else he did to The Dunge to provoke him like that and Hill said that was it. As tensions mount and the races dwindle, people do funny things.
I'm still hearing riders complaining about the switch to Dunlop tires but it doesn't get me too worried, after all everyone out there is on them so it's just like having a spec tire. The riders have to adjust sooner or later, right?
Nick Wey rode great this weekend on his way to a fourth. He holeshot, led a lap, and looked to be way more aggressive with the guys around him than usual. The other races that he grabbed the holie at were not his best ones in my opinion and I was hoping this wasn't going to be a pattern. A strong fourth place was great to see for the two-seven. I laughed when he said on the podium that his bike was so good, he could start backwards and still get the holeshot.
Troy Adams sprained his wrist this weekend in the LCQ and was unable to make the main event. Sucks for T-Roy as he dropped out of the top 10 in the points to 13th. If he's okay, look for Fatty McCheeseburger (hey, he's got it on his helmet) to be on a 450 at the next two races.
As you can imagine, the upcoming USGP was the topic of a lot of pit talk this weekend. The sense I get from talking to two or three team managers is that unless they're forced to go by higher-ups or sponsors, no one really wants to go. Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, and Andrew Short have gone on the record saying they're not going to go, and then there's the matter of who Youthstream lets into the race. I imagine they have to figure out what Euro teams are going and then fill in the field from there. There might be the top Euro guys and then a whole bunch of privateers there when it's all said and done.
Interesting to hear that Youthstream is apparently building a permanent two-story pit box structure at Glen Helen. I wonder if there are some European tracks wondering where this co-operation and love has been for them?
This just in: the parade lap with Dungey, Hill, RV, and Reed was still lame. Seriously, Dungey is pulling dead sailors each and every week and we need him (or anyone!) to do something on the parade lap to get the crowd going. Jeremy McGrath would be disgusted…
Stay tuned to this space and other places to have a chance to enter a contest at factionmx.com where you can win an all-expenses paid trip to a National of your choice where you will get a chance to hang out with…me. Yeah, that's right. Where I go, you go. What I eat, you eat. When Hansen throws something at me, it might hit you. You'll have some great memories and fun times. Stay tuned!
That's all I got from St. Louis, thanks for reading and remember-arguing on the Internet is silly. E-mail me at email@example.com if you want to talk.