Observations from St. Looey
MARCH 5, 2007
Did you know that the city of St. Louis gave the rapper Nelly a star on the St. Louis walk of fame? Neither did I, wonder if Bernie Federko got one too?
Track was cool, the dirt was softer and the guys were throwing roost everywhere. There was a tricky on-off section that was giving the 250F guys fits; they couldn't get enough lift or speed to clear it all the time. Lots of crashes and near misses here.
They had a sand section! It was cool to see and launching into it and clearing one whoop was the fast way through. It must have given the tire guys something to think about. I wish they would bring back water-pit jumps ... with alligators in them. Or at least really big Koi fish.
This week's who-the-hell is this guy goes to Kyle Tobin from Climax, GA (hee hee). He placed 13th in the main riding a Yamaha. Runner up is Ronnie Jackson who finished 20th.
Kyle Lewis is retiring at the end of the year, but only from supercross/motocross. He is going to race the WORCS off-road series for Honda/Moto XXX. Kyle reached back and found some of that old speed to make the main and finish 14th.
Bad Barry Carsten is back! It was good to see the 64-year-old out there again. He regained his national number and put her into the night show. He was pushing his own bike and packing his gate by himself. Earlier on in the night, I spotted Barry and Kyle Lewis talking about when they used to hunt the brontosaurus together.
Seriously, what do they talk about? Wouldn't you just love to eavesdrop on their conversation? It could be anything from how the light bulb has changed society, to how RJ was complaining about lapping them, or whether Wardy should have stuck to his open face helmet, to how fast RC is. It's a goldmine of moto information right there folks!
Lange was even closer to a win in St. Louis.
Simon Cudby photo
Poor Darcy Lange. Two turns away from winning his first supercross, and from becoming the first Canadian winner of an AMA supercross also. He ran well all day, and was my pick to win. He made a couple of mistakes half-way through and still caught up to pass Ben Townley for the win with two laps to go. A mistake in the key section (that he was faster in all night) made the difference for him. He should win one of these things soon.
Speaking of Ben Townley, he has to be bummed out about his bike blowing up last week; he looks to be one of the favorites for the title. It's almost impossible now, but I guess Nathan Ramsey did it one year. He rode a good race, probably the third best guy out there, but to finish first, one first has to finish, right? Ryan Dungey also moved up to the front and was right there before crashing.
Speaking of Dungey, this just in: he's fast and will be one of three to win this title (Lange and BT being the others). I have been reading a lot of internet and magazine stuff praising Roger DeCoster with finding this kid. Do these people think RD was out there with a notepad and binoculars scouting the B class last summer? From what I understand talking to people, Big E from Answer racing was one of the key guys pushing for Suzuki to look at this kid, Ian Harrison was also in on it. Sure RD had the final call, but he didn't see something in the kid that nobody else did, he was presented the final package and authorized the signing. I think that it is funny how RC and IT and all these guys are guided under RD's watchful eye, but when he hires guys that suck (LaRocco, Pichon, Riddle, Bess, etc.) you don't hear any criticism.
Steve Bruhn snagged this photo of Darcy's nasty crash. Notice Dungey on the sidelines still trying to fire his bike.
photo: Steve Bruhn
What happened to Mike Alessi? He switched to the easier coast and is not doing well. He ran second for a while before fading back to fourth (and he would have been sixth if not for Lange and Dungey crashing). Sure, fourth looks good on paper, but trust me, he doesn't have “it” this year. His brother Jeff beat him in the heat and Mike isn't the same rider, on the west coast he would be an eighth place guy for sure. Maybe he was too busy spell checking the Alessi Weekly newsletter to practice this year?
Tommy Hahn had a rough night also; he crashed in his heat and was winning the LCQ when he ended up flipping over a berm. I hope he's alright, I didn't see him get up right away. An 18-DNQ has got to have the Honda guys worried.
Rockstar Suzuki's Kelly Smith holeshot the main before fading back and eventually DNF'ing. He came from pretty much last in his heat to eighth and I am not sure what happened in the main but he has got to do better than that. If he keeps his season up, not even Terry Boyd is going to want to party with him.
People are actually reading this drivel that I write! I had an agent tell me I need to meet one of his riders so that I don't get the wrong impression of him. Why would I want to do that? If I meet them, then how can I make fun of them? Somebody else told me that the reason Terry Boyd asks the crowd if they want to party like a rockstar is because Rockstar Energy Drink sponsors SX this year. So now I am wondering how come at four or five races this year the Red Bull energy drink skydivers have landed on the track? I am sure that Rockstar has to be saying, "WTF? Why don't we have a skydiver? That's waaaaayyy cooler then having Terry Boyd act like he's at a rave." Watch for the Rockstar energy drink truck-a-saurus soon, perhaps it will grab the Red Bull sky team and eat them.
Branden Jesseman, no doubt spurred on by my hype of him last week, failed to qualify this week. That's how crazy the Lites class is: his 5-DNQ looks a lot like Brock Tickle's DNQ-5.
Greg Schnell also didn't make the night show and I am not sure why. I gotta think something happened to him. I would think he can make the top 40 riding blindfolded.
Ricky Renner is the real deal. I guess Honda wanted him to stay amateur and just ride Loretta Lynns and all the amateur stuff but he has made both mains and is 15th in points. He looks like he is ready for the big time. Good job by Ryan Clark to get this guy.
If I would've bet you a million dollars that Ryan Morais would be leading the points after two rounds, would you have taken it? Well, you would owe me a million dollars right now, because he is! With a fourth and a second, he sits atop the leader board right now. Good for him, the kid has battled injuries for many years and he deserves this moment in the sun.
Now that he is doing well, I will take the credit for grooming him. A little known fact about my wrenching career is that, in the off-season of 1999, Ryan was a team Chaparral rider and going to the Mini Olympics and they sent me to work for him that week. Great family and, except for the 4 a.m. wake-up calls, I mostly remember the race fondly. Here is where I am a tad bitter though ... the week consists of a bajillion motos and I tuned young Ryan to every moto win but two. One, he got beat by a young kid named James Stewart (what's he done lately?) and in the other one, he got a bad start and finished second to Steve Mertens (him of the big-ass cowboy hat fame). So Ryan won the Bronze Boot award, the platinum pipe, etc. etc. He pretty much rules the race. They also have a Golden Wrench award that goes to the top mechanic. At the ceremony, I am already thinking how good this thing will look on my mantle right next to my four Manitoba championship plaques. The guy says, “And the golden wrench award goes to……” I stand up discreetly and start stepping forward when they announce some ladies name!! It turns out that her car broke down on the way to the race (call the wahhhhhhhmbulance) and she still managed to get to the race and get her son on the track. Whoop-de-doo! My guy only lost two motos all week! I am still getting therapy for this by the way.
The Hulkster and his antics cost himself a spot in the main. In the LCQ he was fourth and battling with Jacob Saylor. Kyle Lewis was in second and they were catching him when the Hulkster got into a stuffing match with Saylor. hey were so busy sizing each other up and braking early, that Lewis got away for the last spot. Just look forward and concentrate Hulk, let Bobby Heenan worry about the show.
Heath Voss had a rough night and crashed in his heat and didn't fare well in the LCQ. That's too bad for him that he didn't make the main … but wait! He used his provisional to get in, so that's okay, Heath, your parents were wrong, you CAN fail at something but still get your reward. I hate this rule in case you couldn't tell. He got eighth in the main but I never watched him once (out of principle).
Team Kawasaki had the best food this weekend. They always have hot coffee with the little fancy creamers but add in the pizza that was ordered in for lunch and the chicken or steak burritos for dinner and you have a winner! People think I hang out there because of Red Dog but that's just my cover. Sorry I'm not able to report on the second privateer practice but I received a text message that the pizza had arrived. Thanks to Brian Barnhart for the fine dining
Barry Carsten's little boy raced the KTM KJSC intermission show; that was cool to see. I can't wait till Barry's kid turns pro and stuffs the crap out of dad at a SX near you in 2016.
Tim Ferry ran into a crashing Ivan Tedesco the first lap of the main. It was an ugly spill that got worse when Hot Sauce's wheel nailed Red in the head. This must have caused some kind of dementia with Timmy because he went over and picked up a Suzuki. It took him a good five or six seconds before he realized it wasn't his bike! Him throwing it down and throwing his hands up in the air made for good comedy fodder.
I was in shock when I read the AMA press release stating that MDK's Tyler Bowers was suspended for ninety days for his actions at a recent arenacross. By all accounts, what he did sounds really bad and his dad certainly didn't help the cause. But what do you have to do to get 90 days from the AMA? I have seen teams cheat on purpose, cheat unknowingly, riders ghost-riding bikes into each other, riders fighting on the track, riders refusing to take drug tests and many other things. None of them got a 90-day suspension from AMA racing.
James Stewart and Chad Reed hit each other or something. I actually missed it so I cannot judge who did what with whom but I do know this: you cannot put a clean block pass on anyone these days without them thinking you're taking them out. The old guys must just shake their heads at these guys getting all mad. Back in the day [insert music here], there were blatant take out moves every lap, or so I've been told, but they also walked uphill both ways to school in the snow.
After the race, Stewie waited for Chad and they had words, and I don't think they were exchanging recipes. Stewie felt that CR didn't have the room to make the move he did, I guess. Chad was getting booed on the podium pretty good and he kept saying he wasn't going to get “pushed around” any more and basically was going to be the one doing the pushing from now on. It has to be pretty depressing for him to knock Stewie back to 18th or something and then have him blow by you like he was shot out of a cannon. To get back at the fans, he didn't participate in the spraying of the crowd with champagne. That will teach them for booing. I tried to get James to give me a quick interview but he wasn't available. James Sr. was however and had this to say, “I'm always happy. This is Big James! This is me. I'm always happy. You guys know that. Everybody knows Big James. I'm always happy.”
Matt Goerke didn't win like he said he was going to, but a third isn't bad either. He has been impressive and is tied for first in the points but loses out on the tiebreaker. The YOT guys are showing that J-Law isn't the only feel-good comeback story on the team. Did I just use the words J-Law and feel-good story in the same sentence? Unbelievable.
Josh Summey rode well in practice and his heat. He was also fourth in the main for a while before crashing twice. He also ate poop like eight times in practice or something like that. The last crash in the main, I was worried for his safety because he crashed in the same section that Lange did and he just laid there doing dirt angels on the ground. Afterwards he said he was just so frustrated from all the soil samples that he thought he would “just lay there and figure something out.”
Eric Sorby led the main for a while! Let me type that again … Eric Sorby led the main for a while! It must have been three or four laps of Eric Sorby leading the main! That was cool for him and has to give him some confidence, he eventually finished 9th. Good ride Eric, but why were you hanging out at the Kawi truck for so long after the race? He looked like he was waiting for Mike Fisher to give him a contract or something. He was also leering at the mechanics tearing the bikes apart like that weirdo uncle everyone has who leers at the booze cabinet.
DV rode to a quiet sixth; he was closing in on Nathan “Afro-king” Ramsey for fifth at the end. At least he didn't jack anyone up on the start this week. Last week, he slithered his way into Ferry, thereby starting the chain of events that left Reynard and Preston on the ground. Two weeks before that, he bulldozed the gate and screwed a bunch of guys up. He is getting back to that speed we saw in Canada and the early AMA rounds. Just don't start next to him ... which was a rule that Ferry and I had in the Yamaha days!
Speaking of Le Cobra, he was so inspired by the picture of me racing my KX 80 last week that he sent me one of his own. Let's take a look here….
Le Cobra rocks the Skittles look.
photo courtesy of DV12
Looking at this photo, you can tell DV was a privileged youth. He has WP upside down forks on his bike, that's a lot of francs. He is an innovator with the early Alpinestars, but takes a few steps back with the Carrara goggles, Hey DV, Brad Lackey called, and he needs his goggles back. Seriously, who wore those things in 1991? I think you can see the early beginnings of why he is so good in whoops, he is just hanging off the back of this thing! He has the Ricky Ryan FLY pants; that's pretty cool (if it's 1987), but between his pants and helmet he really looks like a bowl of skittles out there. Thanks for the photo DV. If there are any other top pros reading this; feel free to send me some old pics so I can make fun of you. Merci.
Look at Kevin Johnson go! Two races and two main events for the arenacross/freestyle rider. He ended up with an 11th this week. His bike is pretty cool also, its an all-white YZ 450F. I know his sponsor is Team Faith and am wondering if its supposed to be like an angel bike or something? That would be cool if it had some attachable wings and if Kevin wore a robe and had some sheep ... I will shut up now.
I was back wrenching this weekend, well kind of. Donnie Emler, Jr. asked me if I could help out with the sound testing for the privateer FMF guys and I happily agreed. I did get a little carbon on my fingers and was not happy about that but it went well. Everybody passed with what they had except one rider who shall go nameless. He didn't pass with the same set-up that everyone else had so I was forced to put a noise-tube in his muffler to help him meet sound. Here is a guy from FMF, giving him a free thirty dollar part so he can race and his dad is just bitching the whole time. “Why doesn't it pass?” or “Well, that thing is going to kill power” or “We can't race with that thing.” It's like, “Hey buddy, it's either this or you load your bike up and go home so let me continue to put this free part in for you and could pipe down.” Geez, some people!
Jeff Alessi rode well again; he beat his brother in the heat and got seventh in the main. He is taller and seems to be able to handle the bike a little better than Mikey. He deserves lots of claps for what he has gone through with his feet and ankles. He had multiple surgeries and I really didn't expect much from him this year but he has good supercross skills.
I love living in Las Vegas. During the hour and a half waiting for your bags, you get to people watch. Everybody's happy in Las Vegas. Guys are drunk, and girls get their “I can dress like a hooker this weekend” card and take full advantage of it. I have seen girls wearing six-inch heels on the plane. That looks comfy. Today, I saw a black guy about 6'4", 350 pounds wearing a fuzzy Sean John sweatsuit, bright blonde hair, and enough chains to make Mr. T jealous. Very bizarre, but I guess the town attracts that type. After all, where can you do the following at 4 a.m.
Fly in a Helicopter [check]
Walk down the street absolutely trashed [check]
Shoot a machine gun at the twenty-four hour range [check]