The First National Motocross of the year has come & gone …
And I had a blast!
My race weekend started off on Saturday. Saturday everyone arrives at the track early, gets their credentials and working passes, and just gets accustomed to a new series and surroundings. I got to Glen Helen around 10 am.
My first surprise – parking at a National Motocross is a bit different that parking at a supercross! I had to do a little ‘off-roading’ in my car, driving thru dirt, holes, bushes … and ended up parking on a hill at about a 45 degree angle!
Next surprise – it’s then about a 3/4 mile walk to the track. Always good when you are toting around computers and cameras and equipment : )
So, I went to the ‘big white tent’ (NPG Will Call) to pick up my new credential. The people there were very helpful and I was ready to head to the track.
(One caveat though … for some co-worker of mine at Supercross.com – who ever sent NPG the goofy picture of me that is now printed on my credential for the entire year – you should be fired! That’s not funny! If I find out who it was, you are in BIG trouble!)
After walking into the pits, I went around to say hello to a few familiar faces, and to ask around about the health conditions of some riders that have been out with injury. It was good to see James Stewart back and 100%. Grant Langston (the defending National Motocross champion) is still out unfortunately (broken collarbone). Mike Alessi is back and 100%. Josh Grant and Ryan Morais still haven’t gotten clearance from their doctors to get back on their race bikes yet.
Monster had a neat new viewing area that they debuted for the first time this weekend. It was multiple stories in height, the bottom story was a dark cool lounge area, and the top floor was an open area with tables and shade for you to watch the action on the track. In my opinion, it was the best place to watch from!
Once Saturday practice sessions were over, we saw Jason Lawrence with the fastest 250 Lites lap time, and James Stewart with the fastest 450 Motocross lap time. And they both seemed to be having a lot of fun doing it!
Sunday I got to the track around 9am, and the line to get into the track area was crazy! The line was about 1 mile of backed up cars. I had to park even farther from the track, even arriving 4 hours before the first race! And yes, I had to do more ‘off-roading’ in my car – I think I got up to about 50mph, hit a huge bump, and lost control a little bit … but just a touch more throttle and I roosted my car right into a perfect parking spot! However, the parking security crew was not to happy with my driving skills … and issued me a very stern warning: “That was awesome! We wish everyone would park their cars that quickly!”
Now I began the long walk to the track … but it didn’t bother me, it just made my more excited for the day to get started!
Opening ceremonies began at 12:30. First moto went off at 1pm … and Jason Lawrence completely dominated it! I think a lot people were a bit surprised at that – as they thought of him more as a ‘supercross’ specialist compared to being strong outdoors. He did however finish 5th in the second moto, and you could tell he was hurting. When asked about it after the race he said he was having stomach problems from eating a little bit too much. (I don’t think he will let that happen next weekend!)
The 250 Lites guys put on the best racing action of the day. There were a lot of battles among second, third, fourth and fifth. Austin Strouple won the overall, with Ryan Villopoto second, and J-Law third overall.
To see all the results and photos from Glen Helen – please visit this link.
The 450 class – it was great to see James Stewart out on the track again, and dominating. And he said he was having a lot of fun too! Mike Alessi – super strong in both motos too. The 450′s though were not as much fun to watch as far as racing ‘action’ compared to the LItes. Don’t get me wrong though! There just wasn’t a whole lot of racing action to watch near the front. The top guys in the 450 class – they were just flying – super fast! Davi Millsaps finished third in each moto behind Stewart and Alessi, and commented afterwards with his great, dry sense of humor “James is fast. What else is new? : ) I just couldn’t catch them today. I just came out of a long Supercross season, but I’m heading home tomorrow to start working on my cornering speed and more.”
Between seeing a lot of old friends, BBQing, and a great start to the 2008 AMA National Motocross Series, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend my weekend!
p.s. Next weekend I’ll be at my sister’s graduation, and the following weekend I’ll be at the French Motocross Grand Prix, where I do my TV gig. And I will find out who sent that funny photo of me …. and there will be consequences! I’ll keep you updated!