The first Supercross of 2010 was spectacular, to say the least. Many of you know the first race starts with a few pre kick off parties, media events, and a big press conference the Thursday before the race.
It’s kinda’ like a big adventure for all of us at Supercross.com as we get set to embark on this remarkable 17 race journey across the country for the 2010 AMA / FIM Supercross Series!
Once it’s race day, one of the first orders of business for the riders is a must attend track walk and riders meeting.
Each team walks at their own pace, checking out each & every bump and curve, making sure not to miss a thing.
Discussing the track with their mechanics and managers is a huge part of the preparation for the day – from the layout of the rhythm sections, weighing out all the options in corners and passing lanes to a method of attacking the whoops sections.
Riders are surrounded by their not only their mechanics and managers, but also friends and their competition. And not only is the track strategy talk important, but there is another side to this community gathering – the fundamental congregation of hope, faith, and humanity. Yes our day starts with some great words of inspiration and prayer before the guys get ready to suit up and ride.
Even though a professional supercross racer’s job comes with pressure and stress, most of the guys looked fairly relaxed and ready to get out on the track – the anticipation & buildup of the off-season was getting ready to end. And the first race day was underway … getting to this day and it was finally here.
Each year the riders competing in supercross fluctuates – some guys retire or move on to other life adventures. And that leaves the door open for new riders joining the pro ranks.
One sharp guy in the mix riding on the MotoConcepts team this year is Travis Baker. It is his Rookie Supercross season riding in the 250 West Supercross. I asked him if those nerves were kicking in yet, and this guy has got it dialed and ready to go, here are some thought from Travis right before the show: “I am feeling pretty good right now. I just ate dinner and stretched out, now I am feeling ready to go. Surprisingly I am really calm, probably because I haven’t put a lot pressure on myself for this first race, so I am just going to go out there and do what I love to do – race supercross!”
Everyone knows about the ‘E’ word. Economy. Things are tough for many. But a new team to find their way to the Supercross circuit is Team Hostility, owned by Dale Fletcher and Keith Neff. And they have put together something from nothing in under two months! I talked to the owner, Dale, and I asked him how he started this new team: “It was a trip trying to get it all done – from finding riders and bikes and all the parts that go into it. We’ve never had a Supercross team before, so we didn’t even know the rules or anything, but we got it done in 45 days and everything that we have done has come out pretty good – no problems so far.”
One guy I was very surprised to see under his own tent and running his own rig this year is Michael Byrne. I am just not used to seeing Michael without factory support! He’s even driving himself to some of the races this year! Here’s a short bit about how he feels regarding the new season: Michael Byrne: “Yeah, I am doing my own thing this year. Everything that I was working on just fell through and I did not want to sit at home on the couch and cry about it, so I went out and got a bike and here I am. It is definitely different and something I am not used to, but we are getting by and we will see how it goes.”
The list of privateers in the sport of Supercross has grown and do not forget, there is a top Privateer award given out each season! Last year Matt Boni grabbed this title at the last round and I wanted to know how he felt going into a new year and joining the Hart and Huntington team: Matt: “Last year I received the Top Privateer award at the last round and I really came on strong towards the end of the season. Hopefully I can carry that momentum into this new season. I have done good in the off season with preparing for this season, so I feel confident. The X Games went well for me and I got a fourth there. At the US OPEN in Las Vegas I ran into a little bit of trouble, but it all worked out and I got fifth one night, so I was happy with how the off season went, and I have a lot of momentum coming into this year.”
After the race, I caught up with third place 450 Supercross finisher Kevin Windham, and here’s what he had to say:
Kevin: It was an incredible feeling and a big relief especially compared to how the season started last year. The GEICO Honda team works really hard during the whole off season and I feel like we have a great bike. I knew it was going to be a tough race and I was excited about even being in fifth, but I found some opportunity to make some passes and then to land on the podium was great and a really good feeling.
I was comfortable in fifth because it is a huge field stacked with talent and as I was going through the mid part of the race I was really focused on being in my own position and I saw the ability to pass Villopoto coming, and I was able to make that pass. Just a few laps earlier I had watched Andrew Short put the same pass on Villopoto in the same place as I put the move on him. At that point of the race I was really focused on riding to the best of my abilities and wasn’t really thinking about where I was in relation to the podium. When I came around and got the board that I was in third place it was a sweet feeling.
For Phoenix, I am confident in my program and I want to continue to do the same. I am at the realization in this season that to be a podium contender, which I proved I can be, is going to mean that sometimes I might get a fifth or sixth because there are guys like Villopoto and Millsaps who do win races. And then you have Chad who got that DNF – there are going to be races where really good guys get further back than what they expected. I want to continue my program and work ethic and the progression of the bike. The Honda is working great. I came out of this first Anaheim race without changing anything on my bike, so I think all the pieces are in place to go out and repeat in Phoenix. It all falls back on me now and how I can handle the competition and who is going to have a good race. So I will put my best foot forward and be up there as a contender for the podium
But back to this race here at A1 … to know that I was going to get a podium and I was going to be able to thank my sponsors and be able to give some recognition back to my team and bring the trophy home and all the things that go along with being on the podium was awesome!