Monday Gate Drop

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to the beginning of winter, or at least that’s what it feels like across a few parts of Canada. Cool temps, heavy rain, fog and even snow in some parts is what we had this past weekend. Down in Tillsonburg, Ontario where it hardly ever rains or snows, Derek Schuster and his lovely bride-to-be, Kerrie McDonald, had their Buck and Doe. I wasn’t able to attend but I heard it was a great time with a great turnout.
My weekends are slowly transitioning from motocross to hockey as Saturday we were at our local arena a few different times throughout the day. Once I was there for Ayrton’s hockey practice in the morning and then at night his Tyke team was invited to be part of the Shelburne Muskies opening ceremonies. The Muskies are part of the ultra-competitive Senior AA hockey league in Western Ontario. For the little guys to be able to not only stand with the Muskies for the National Anthem but also play a short five minute game during the first intermission was awesome, and the kids loved it.

As soon as Ayrton’s exhibition game ended it was straight home to get him to bed and then it was time to get comfy to watch the Monster Energy Cup. By the time I turned it on I had missed the first main event plus I also missed our own Casey Keast grabbing fourth in his first race. Keast did an awesome job all night and ended up sixth overall racing against the sports’ best mini riders on a tough track. I couldn’t believe some of those kids were going for the triple. Anyway, as everyone knows, the talent in the USA is amazing and to see Keast right there was pretty cool. I’m sure Keast took a ton of confidence home with him from this weekend.

Casey Keast

At the Monster Energy Cup on Saturday night, Casey Keast picked up where he left off at this summer’s Parts Canada TranCan. photo courtesy of William Rainford

The ride on Saturday night by Keast reminded me of another Canadian a few years ago at the old US Open SX race at the MGM Grand. At that race it was Dean Wilson (who was also riding a Yamaha YZ85 at the time) tearing up the track and impressing everyone. In fact, it was Wilson’s ride at that race that got him on the exclusive Team Green in the USA the following year. We all know what has happened since then for Wilson. Wouldn’t it be nice if something similar happened to Keast?

Obviously most of the talk or jokes from Saturday night have to do with the “Joker Lane” as Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto both didn’t take it as they were supposed to. It happened to Dungey in the first main event so you can kind of understand that he just forgot, but in Villopoto’s case in the second main event, how could he not take it? I did read a tweet that mentioned that Villopoto thought he still had another lap. If that was the case then how could he have not known it was the last lap?

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I think what we witnessed on Saturday night in main event #2 was a case of cognitive overload in Villopoto’s case. This is when your brain is processing so much information at a very high speed, then something new or unordinary gets thrown at it and your brain can’t process it. Here is a possible scenario for what happened to RV2.

For nine laps he’s in the most the intense battle he’s been in for a few months because of how well James Stewart is riding. Villopoto is forced to ride at 100%. Throw in the fact that Stewart starts jumping that insane jump after the first turn and Villopoto is forced to follow or get left behind. They pass each other back and forth, their heart rates are peaked as both want to win very badly; Stewart because he hasn’t won a SX in months and Villopoto because he hates to lose. Villopoto is no doubt a little frustrated because when you’re the champ and you pass someone, you don‘t expect to be passed back. This definitely wasn’t the case as Stewart was riding better than he has in a long time. Each time he got passed by Villopoto he answered right back.

As they approached the white flag, Stewart has the luxury of being in front and seeing the flag. Obviously, Villopoto didn’t see it as he was no doubt trying to figure out where he could try another pass. As they approach the entrance to the Joker Lane, Stewart turns right and darts into it and Villopoto almost hits his rear wheel. I guarantee that the entire way down the start straight Villopoto was thinking about why Stewart went into the Joker Lane and what lap it was. This is where the cognitive overload I mentioned before comes into play. As we all saw, Villopoto made a huge uncharacteristic mistake, crashed hard and was extremely lucky that he wasn’t really hurt.

This is only my speculation but if this was the case then it proves that motocross (supercross) is the most intense sport in the world. Once you get in the “zone” that Villopoto and Stewart got into, it’s very hard to alter your thought process. I think it also proves that Villopoto didn’t look at his pit board at all as I’m sure his mechanic was telling him each lap about the Joker Lane.

This is why I don’t like the idea of having a Joker Lane or something like that at these races. If you want the top guys to show up and race hard and have these incredible battles, isn’t that enough? I know it gives everyone something to talk about, but how awful would it be if we had to talk about Villopoto being injured and out for a while? Maybe they should bring back the “Super Pole” that they used to have at the US Open where each top rider goes out individually and tries for the fastest lap time. That was exciting to watch, although it wasn’t great for television as it was hard to capture the excitement.

Anyway, it was good to see some supercross on television, some great racing, Dean Wilson ride so well, and it was awesome to see Casey Keast out there representing. I don’t know about everyone else, but I felt like riding some supercross when I got up on Sunday morning. Too bad it was 5 degrees and pouring rain. Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great week.

All smiles from Dean Wilson who was so darn excited just to be back at the races. The win was just a bonus.

It was great to see Dean Wilson back racing on Saturday night.

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