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For this week’s Friday Flight I’m going to fill in for Brent ‘Airmail’ Worrall as he’s been spending a well-deserved week off in Las Vegas. This will be Brent’s final stop of his three week tour on the west coast of the USA. In talking to him on a regular basis during his trip, I know that he’s had the time of his life and he certainly will have a lot to talk about when his Canadian Moto Show resumes.
Just like our friend Airmail, the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series is leaving the west coast this weekend to take the travelling circus eastward to Dallas, TX. Round 7 of the series will take place at the enormous Cowboys Stadium in front of thousands of Supercross crazy Texas fans. After more than a month of racing, we’ve seen a few very interesting things happen to keep us sitting on the edge of our seats. We’ve seen Ken Roczen come out of the gate like Donavan Bailey to start the season, only to announce that he’s changed up his training program for the rest of 2015. What happened next was a big mistake in Oakland and then a few weeks of so-so riding by the German. Can he bounce back this weekend and once again solidify himself as the rider to beat?
Last weekend in San Diego, we perhaps saw the smartest ride of the season so far by Kenny as he followed Trey Canard around for 18 laps waiting for the Honda rider to make a mistake. When that didn’t happen, Roczen still stayed patient and took home second place and the valuable 22 points that came with that finish. I’m sure Roczen would’ve loved to have taken the win, however on that night it wasn’t to be. Since we’re still not yet at the halfway point of the 2015 series, it was probably a good decision to chill out and take the points.
So as we head into concrete-like dirt that the Dallas SX always seems to serve up, which riders are likely to find success inside the house that Jerry Jones built? Well, I think you have to give the nod to riders that are capable of controlling their right hand the most. Throttle control (while not as important as it used to be when two-strokes were the stars of the show) will be front and center as the riders fight to find that pace that will allow them to go 20 laps without any mistakes. While riders like Trey Canard, Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, to some extent, may struggle with the slippery dirt, more experienced riders like Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey may find it a little easier to be smooth with their tube shaped accelerator. Of course, as it usually does in SX, the start will be very important as passing is always tough when the conditions are slick.
With the two Atlanta rounds on the horizon then the all-important Daytona Supercross coming up on March 7th, the riders’ mentality will soon be switching from playing it safe to thinking about making a real run at this title. If the races continue to go as they have, after Daytona we may still have a four or five rider race to the final round in Las Vegas and the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross Championship.
Over the years the series stop in Dallas has produced some memorable moments. One of the biggest was in 2012 when we all watched in horror as Chad Reed cart wheeled while chasing down Ryan Villopoto during the main event. That crash really did change Chad Reed and his career as his injuries were extensive. I guess looking back now, his injuries could’ve been a lot worse. I remember standing in an Indianapolis bar with numerous Canadian motocross industry personalities watching the Dallas SX and everyone was cheering for Reed that night. He seemed at times to be toying with Villopoto, waiting for the right moment to make the pass for the win. However, sometimes this sport can be cruel. When a last second decision forced Reed to square up a corner and take a line that he hadn’t before, that line happened to be a bad one and it kicked him over the bars and into the Dallas soil. It was an awful crash as so many of Reed’s crashes have been since 2011. Let’s hope we don’t see anything like that from anyone this weekend.
Another cool fact about this weekend’s Dallas SX is the beginning of the East 250SX Series. It’s always exciting when a new series begins, and I think you have to make riders like Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin as the favourites for this title. Fans will also get to witness Vicki Golden try to become the first female ever to qualify for a SX main event. I had a chance to hang out with Vicki last summer at a Suzuki press launch. She’s a pretty cool person and very focused in what she does. If any girl can do this then it’s Vicki Golden. Good luck to her and everyone this weekend in big D.
Well that’s it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and guys, don’t forget it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow. It’s time to pull out all the stops and do something special, and please try to avoid the temptation of having that romantic dinner at a restaurant that just happens to be showing the Dallas SX on television. Most girls don’t like it when you spend the entire dinner looking over their shoulders and periodically cheering because your favourite rider just made a pass. Of course, these days some girls will be pushing you out of the way so they can see the TV and cheer themselves. Have a great weekend and I hope Airmail and his wife make it home from Las Vegas safe.