I’m just loving Saturday nights! I feel so spoiled and so appreciative. Seven weeks in a row of live Supercross coverage! I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I remember when the thought of seeing motocross on television was a pipe dream. Now I can watch every single Pro Ama race and, thanks to the CMRC, every single Pro Canadian National on TV! I’ve always known motocross was the greatest sport in the world, and that if it got half a chance the world would fall in love with it. Now the Supercross Facebook page has just crossed over one million fans, and motocross is all over the TV and internet. Even the Arenacross series gets full coverage, and the Speed Channel’s race report show ‘WindTunnel’ covers motocross on virtually every episode. It’s so nice to know, as I struggle to get through the work week, that I will spend three hours every Saturday night hunkered down in front of the tube watching the greatest sport in the world. We’ve come so far in a couple of decades!
The ‘Greatest Season Ever: Part 2′ has fizzled a little bit due to the injuries of Trey Canard and Chad Reed, but it’s still been fantastic. Ryan Villopoto has shown that he is clearly the man to beat; he has to be the odds on favourite to win the title, but it’s not a ‘gimme’. In fact, if I was a betting man, and I wanted to make money, I would bet on the longer odds that Ryan Dungey provides. He’s getting better and faster on his KTM every week, and I think he is a little more consistent than Villopoto, who rides a bit closer to the edge. I expect Villopoto will win, but it’s close enough to still be interesting. Let’s not forget that Dungey was a rookie last year, and he’s shown incredible maturity, mental toughness and desire already this season. I believe he believes he can do it, and I’m not prepared to count him out.
What can we say about James Stewart? Well, I suppose we can let Jeff Emig say it. This weekend Emig openly stated that Stewart was not as smart as his competition! I have to believe on some level that this is what it comes down to. How can such a fast rider be 53 points behind? Chalk it up to a lot of bad decisions, riding a little too aggressive at the wrong time and a little too loose at others. Being a Champion in this sport requires intelligence and the ability to think things through. It seems like Stewart is racing in panic mode, and the harder he tries the harder he falls. I suspect he needs a sports psychiatrist more than anything at this point. I’m really starting to feel for him, and for the good of the sport I’d love to see him up there racing Villopoto instead of picking his bike up and trying to catch him from 20 bikes back!
The ‘big race’ for the Supercross title is only part of the fun for us diehard enthusiasts though. There is a lot of other action going on that deserves comment. The Lites West is taking a break at the moment, but what about Dean Wilson taking back the series lead at the last round!? At first glance you might say he just backed into it when Eli Tomac crashed, but remember Wilson had a few crashes of his own in the series. I would suggest that this just evens the table with two rounds to go. Tomac does appear to ride a little more aggressively and a fraction of a second faster at times, but Wilson has been rock solid, and I’d dare say he might have another gear left for these last two rounds if he needs it. I like his chances, I think he may bit a bit stronger mentally than Tomac, and there will be a lot of pressure on Tomac. It’s gonna be wild!
The other big story for me is the Canadian and ‘sort of’ Canadian contingent racing the series’ this year. I was so stoked to see Kyle Beaton finally have a breakthrough at the last Lites West round. He put on a great move to take the lead in the LCQ and made no mistakes soldiering on to the win. He then rode a rock solid final and inched his way forward throughout the whole race to end up 11th! I told Kyle on Facebook at the start of the series that I thought he had a top ten in him. He almost proved me right, and I don’t discount the possibility that it may still happen in Seattle. Love this kid’s guts and determination! On the East coast Cole Thompson has been representing Canada fantastically! He’s made two of the three finals so far, and finished as high as 9th! He is definitely a top ten guy already in his rookie season. While these are the only two ‘real’ Canadians contesting the series, there is also Dean Wilson of course, who I consider ‘mostly Canadian’. Of particular interest to me is a large, and ever growing contingent of Americans I call ‘sort of’ Canadian because they come up to race our National series. I’ve got to give props to the CMRC here for putting on such a great National series, and getting such good exposure for it. I remember when the Nationals almost fell apart completely under the CMA, and I have witnessed the CMRC take over the series and steadily improve it over the years. Now it’s such a good series, with such good television and media coverage, that more and more young Americans see it as a great place to hone their skills before their full on assault on the AMA. This is fantastic for us diehard motocross enthusiasts north of the border. Of course the most famous example of this is Ryan Villopoto who came up here to race early in his career, but you don’t have to look far on the Supercross entries to find the Canadian influence. The list is long: Kiniry, Marshall, Politelli, Larsen, Goerke, Ingalls, Rife, Sewell, Nauditt, Willard, Carpenter, Hagseth, and Maier are among the many past and present Supercross series riders who also compete (or have competed) in our Canadian series. This speaks volumes to the quality of racing that the CMRC has developed up here in Canada. We are fast becoming THE place for young American riders to prove themselves. This is phenomenal not only for fans like me, but also for the Canadian riders who get the experience of racing these top flight Americans. Seeing guys like Politelli and Kiniry consistently qualify for main events in the States makes me wonder how our young Canadian stars like Tyler Medaglia and Colton Faciotti, who regularly beat these guys, would do in the States given the opportunity. All in all it’s just a great testament to the state of Canadian motocross that this level of integration is occurring. I envision the ‘trickle down’ effect is that it will eventually translate into more Canadians having an opportunity to race south of the border.
It’s important that people acknowledge the importance of the trickle down effect in our sport (and others) from a professional level to the amateur level. As American motocross gets bigger and bigger, we see the positive influence on our own Nationals as more and more young Americans come up here to race. In turn our own series improves and it makes it easier to promote motocross at an amateur level. The more fans the sport has, the easier it is to recruit participants. This is a classic instance of ‘think globally, act locally’. We know that on a global scale the CMRC is doing great things for our sport all across the country and even reaching into the hotbed American market. On a local level we should be doing everything in our power to support their efforts to help grow our sport. What’s good for the sport, is good for us amateurs. CMRC has done great things for our sport in Canada, and I want to take this opportunity to raise my helmet to them. I can’t wait for the Nationals to hit Nanaimo again this year!
Look forward to seeing my MX family at Nanaimo’s Open House on March 18th. Also, if you’re at your local dealer don’t forget to let the owner know you read and appreciate this blog, especially those listed on the sidebar who help me out. I’m currently trying to solicit sponsors/advertisers to keep the race reports going through the season! Private contributions are also greatly appreciated!