For this week’s Style Check, I decided to use this awesome photo of Chad Reed skimming across the difficult whoops section inside the University of Phoenix Stadium. To me, this photo not only demonstrates Reed’s perfect style through a section that he’s always excelled in, but it also reinforces why a rider like Chad Reed is so important to the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series.
Even though we’re only four races into the 2017 SX Series, everyone involved has pretty much seen it all thus far. The track crew has had to deal with multiple ‘rain builds’ as they call them. This means the tracks are built as early as possible and then tarps are laid down, completely covering the track and sealing it up from the elements. This has also meant a shortened practice program at three of the first four rounds, as well as softer than normal track conditions. We’ve have also seen a tale of two series as far as the results have gone. In the first two rounds, both Shane McElrath and Ken Roczon dominated the 250SX and the 450SX classes, while in the last two races there have been different winners. Of course Roczen’s massive crash at Anaheim 2 is still fresh in everyone’s mind, and the series definitely took on a different face with the now German down and out. However, while fans around the globe were in a state of SX mourning all week because of Roczen’s early departure, almost all of that sadness was temporary forgotten on Saturday night with Chad Reed’s amazing ride.
After three very subpar finishes in the opening rounds, Reed bounced back in Phoenix to cross the finish line in second, passing Cole Seely and Ryan Dungey along the way. Is it perhaps why it made Reed’s ride on Saturday night extra special, because of the way he did it? After starting outside the top five, Reed made some early passes, which instantly got the attention of the fans. As it would for any rider, this early race success appeared to give Reed an extra boost of confidence on the fast Phoenix track. At 34 years of age, Reed’s wealth of experience is both his best friend and his worst enemy. When the track is just right and his bike is cooperating, Reed’s mature brain tells him it’s go time and he’s as good as anyone on the track, sometimes even better. However, on the flip side, when things don’t feel right, or he gets a bad start, that same brain won’t allow him (for good reason) to push beyond a certain level. Along with his outstanding talent for riding SX, this internal rev limiter is the reason why we’re still talking about Chad Reed as a professional racer. As we saw on Saturday night, everything aligned just right and Reed was able to charge all the way up to second place.
Even with Eli Tomac’s dominating win at round four, the entire SX world was enthralled with Chad Reed for what he was able to accomplish. Just as it did the weekend before in Anaheim, the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series changed in a heartbeat. This time, however, it went from hopeless to hopeful! Hopeful that the one rider (Ryan Dungey) wasn’t going to walk away with the title now that Roczen is out, and also hopeful that we might get to witness a few more incredible rides by Chad Reed. With so many Canadian fans in his corner, I think the Rogers Centre next month is going to be full of Reed supporters! If he can pull off the win in Toronto, March 4th may have to be officially called ‘Chad Reed Day’ in Canada from this year on.