Jan 16, 2009

Supercross 2009, 2 down, 15 to go

I wanted to remind a few that this is a fan's blog. I am not writing this as a journalist or some sort of editorial, so my preferences and personal opinion have a strong part of this. I am a fan before all and I will sometimes express my "fan views", even if I try to remain as partial as possible.

Can you believe that this Supercross season lasts 5 months. Five very long months when anything can, and will, happen. And after 2 races, it has already happened, the "anything" that can happen!

450 Class.
Although the level has really been uplifted compared to previous years with a very strong line-up within the Top 10, this is a class that is enlightened by the presence of the two fastest, most combative, Supercross racers on the planet. Without James Stewart, racing would be meaningful and without Chad Reed no one would watch. These two guys are giving us some of the best racing in years and after only 2 rounds, I believe that the best is to come. Both are riding very well at the moment but Chad Reed seems faster, especially after his race in Phoenix last weekend as he looks more in sync with his Suzuki RMZ450 while James Stewart seems to be strugglng a tiny bit with the bike, especially in the whoops.
There was no bigger excitement than watching the Anaheim opener live on Speed TV. So much happned during that crazy race, from Chad messing up in his Heat to both Reed and Stewart going down hard in the Main, to Josh Grant winning with a tuff-box cover stuck in his rear wheel. Oh my! It was awesome.
I still think that overall James Stewart will edge Reed out for the chapioship but I think that this could be the most fought season of all and I wouldn't be surprised to see them going very close in points into the Las Vegas finals in May.

We have some exciting Rookies in this class. Ryan Villopoto and Josh Grant are here and doing great. Of course a few people are disappointed by RV as many (me included) expected him on the podium, but he has done well, rode well. Crashed more than usual, but came back to valuable points positions and will most probably finish his first season in the 450 class in a Top 5 spot. Nevertheless, the Rookie of the Year award goes to Josh Grant right now. If JG keeps it focused and rides like that for the next 15 rounds, he can too secure a spot in the Top 5 and would have surprised more than one. His move to the SX class and the Yamaha Joe Gibbs Racing team is perfect right now. Even if he was handed a gift at A1, he took it and made the best of the #1 and #7's crash, riding very well, increasing his gap on shorty and saving a very dicy situation in the last 3 laps. JG had already proven his speed in practice and confirmed the following week in Phoenix. Well done Josh Grant and hope that you'll keep rolling.
Hopefully RV will pick it up and work on his starts in the Main. He has the speed and isn't far from his first podium.

The rest of the class is stacked. The Hondas of Tedesco, Short and Windham are getting up to speed, Ferry is on, Alessi isn't doing too bad for his return. The KTM boys are showing their front wheel, Millsaps is going through a rough time but should get back up there soon. Josh Hill should pick up the pace too and Coisy is steady in 10th.

I am still defending my opinion that Mike Alessi didn't take RV on purpose but just raced him, brake checking him in that corner. RV should have known better, even though he was full on in his racing mode too.

Anaheim 2's track looks really good, it should be great this Saturday.

Lites West.
That's where the biggest dramas have been happening. Of course, what else could we expect from a series that saw the return of Dungey and Lawrence, spiced up with a bit of One Industries contract issues and the arrival of Trey Canard.
Apart from those 3, we have seen very good rides and speed from Weimer, Morais, Brayton and Sipes. Early in the races Reardon has been going fast but has not managed to finish well yet.
In Phoenx, both Canard and Lawrence didn't score any points and most probably lost the title, at least for sure Canarad who will not be ready to race A2 after that horrific crash. Of course J-Law could come back, mathematically, but if Ryan Dungey plays it smart and safe (unlike last season) he should secure the title.
Unless Jake Weimer takes him to the ring. I have to make a side note about the Pro Circuit boys: before A1, I really didn't think that both Weimer or Morais would be title contenders. I knew that they had the speed and most probably the best bike in the pits, but I really didn't think that they would score a 1-2 at the season opener. I ate my crow that day. Weimer rode very well and very mature and Morais brought his experience to the game. To see both of them still strong and on the gas in Phoenix was very good too. Too bad JW let it down in the sand because I would have liked to see a repeat of Phoenix '08 when he battled it with RD until the end to take his first SX Lites win.

A big shout out to Chris Blose who has scored a 4th and a 5th and sits 5 in points on his Troy Lee Designs Honda. Can he make the podium this season, maybe, I'm not sure but he should definitely stick to the Top 5.
Another A+ for young Frenchman cedric Soubeyras, 8th in points after a 16th and an 8th. Cedric will race A2 before returning to France for the 09 season. I hope to see him settle down in the US sometimes soon. Hopefully some big teams will notice him this season, thanks to all the work of Mario and Didier Vuillemin at MD Racing.

OK, packing for Anaheim 2.