Sweet Mary Mother of Moto was that one awesomely amazing night of racing! Hell, I was pretty much satisfied after Dunge’s man berries dropped in the first heat and he started going all Bradshaw on everyone. The dude was froggie last night and just looking to jump. Little did I know that was just an appetizer salad to a main course of Supercross thrills, spills and chills.
On top of all that great racing, we had the retro night, which is right in my wheelhouse as you might imagine. I totally love stuff like this that mixes things up and adds a little spice and it was great to see some of the teams get behind it. A major bravo to Team Honda, JGR, Crossland Motorsports and all the other guys who donned retro gear and even a few crazy seventies numbers. I would also like to send a major raspberry to all the teams that stuck to the same old, same old and just ran their usual kit. Would it have killed Kawasaki to be green again for ONE NIGHT? Sure, their bike might not look like the same stupid Monster can it has since 2007, but come on! Have a little fun for poop’s sake. Everyone knows you can’t go full retard and win an Oscar, but you can go full retro and win the hearts of millions (ok maybe hundreds, but still).
Here are my thoughts on probably my favorite night of racing in the history of EVER.
1st Place- Chad “Write off this” Reed: First of all, I want to preface things by stating that I am indeed a total Chad Reed homer. I have pulled for him since he got here and love the guy’s heart and determination. I pulled for him against the nearly unbeatable RC and Stewart, and I have pulled for against the litany of other guys he has had to face in the last decade plus. Yes, I was incredibly cheesed off when he went all pussy and bailed on the outdoors, but I stood by my man nonetheless. I nearly died when he hit the Chad-a-pult and damn near cried when he cartwheeled at Dallas two years ago. I love motocross, so I always enjoy it no matter who wins, but I really care when it involves Chad. For whatever reason, he is my guy, and will be so until he hangs up that #22.
That said, even I had my doubts CR22 would ever hit the top step again. First of all, he was pretty much not great last year and second of all, he was pretty much not great last year. Plus he is old, stubborn, finicky, running his own team, has a kid, is richer than Midas and blah blah blah…. Well you know what? I was wrong. I was dead wrong. And holly s%#@! balls am I glad to admit it.
Last night, Chad showed that he may indeed be the most mentally tough man ever to race in this sport. Since 2002, Chad has been up against some of the greatest riders the sport has ever seen and every one has had his number. He has been beaten over and over, but never let that defeat him mentally. To keep fighting and believing in yourself, after all that, is a rare gift and probably more important than the great physical gifts Chad has been blessed with. Lots of dudes are fast, but very few are as tough and doggedly tenacious as number 22. He really is one of a kind, and I count myself lucky to have been able to watch him over the years. Thanks again for the ride. Riding Grade: A+++++++++++(Seriously, what do you think I was going to give him? I was going to give him more, but I ran out of pluses.) Gear Grade: A (loved the Emig inspired retro Shift threads. It could have used a little more camo, but I’ll allow it).
2nd place- James “Hey, that’s my foot” Stewart: This was a very solid ride by the formerly fastest man on the planet. He inherited the lead when my other man crush, Dungey, huck-a-bucked himself out of the driver’s seat and looked like a shoe-in for the win. To be honest, however, even then I had my doubts about whether James could hold on for the win. Whenever I watch him, I am just waiting like a kid turning a Jack-in-the-box. Dut-tadut-ta-dudaly-dute-SPRONG!
At any point, the crash may come, but to his credit, JS7 kept it on two wheels last night. This in spite of two pretty aggressive moves by RV and a pretty blatant attempt to steal his oh-so-minty boots (maybe RV needed to freshen his breath). James was really lucky not to break something or twist a knee in that exchange. After that, it still looked like he might hold on, but for maybe the third time in twelve years, he was not as fast as Chad Reed. That was the race, plain and simple. Stew just did not have the Aussie covered this night and the Universes got put on their head.
Still, a second is very solid and he is actually not out of the title fight in spite of a DNF at A1. Overall, it was a very good night for Suzuki and the ripped one. Riding Grade: B+ (No Crazy Balls, but no yard sale either) Gear Grade: B- (Not loving the whole schmedium thing James has going on this year, but I actually liked the black and yellow colorway)
3rd place- Kenny “My English is better than yours” Roczen: Hello red plate, my old friend, it is nice to have you back. Last night was a solid performance by Zee German. At one point I thought it was going to be his race to win, but then he seemed to tighten up and got gobbled up by the Twotwo Express. He certainly looked fast and capable of winning. Personally I think the Red Bull buzz wore off on about lap 14 and then he hit the wall. Whatever the reason, it was a nice podium finish and enough to take back that pretty red plate. Plus, his Fox gear looked badass, so there is that. Riding Grade: B Gear Grade: A
4th place- Justin “Captain Retro” Brayton: OK, now this is how you do retro. JGR hit it out of the park with this 70’s bumblebee get up (Big win! When was the last time anyone looked at a Yamaha and did anything but scratch their head?). Personally, I think Yamaha should bring back this look as at least an optional color. It always looks cool and really resonates with the only demographic with enough money to actually afford a 450 four-stroke these days. When you added in Brayton’s old school gear, you had by far the best look of retro night.
As to Cele-Brayton’s riding, I thought he rode very well once again. His heat race win was exciting to watch and showed that last week was no fluke. He did a great job holding off RV, then got passed and passed him back for the win! #Awesome
The main did not go as well with a so-so start, but he kept his head down, stayed out of the carnage and carded a very good fourth. Overall, this was a great night for JGR with a heat win (and sweet look) and now Justin is only five points out of the series lead! Riding Grade: A+ (Heat) B (Main) Gear Grade: A retrotastic A+
5th Place- Ryan “Pardon me, is that your boot?” Villopoto: Bit of a rough night for the champ. First, his team totally sucks a big one by not going full retro, then he tries to steal Stew’s boot (unsuccessfully), then he gets torpedoed by the second coming of Damon Bradshaw. Overall, it was a pretty bummer of an evening by the gingeriest leprechaun in moto. Oh well, there is always next week to smash everyone’s will again. Riding Grade: C+ Gear Grade: C (No retro-BOOOOOOOO)
6th Place- Ryan “ You want some of me punk?” Dungey: WHOA NELLY! Where in the name of man friends did this come from? It would appear Dungey is tired of everyone from Matthes to Kelly Rippa busting his balls about not being aggressive enough. Last night, the guy rode like he had a scorpion in his Feeguns. Torpedo Tickle-check. Ram Ryan-double check! Win race….well, we may have to work on that part of the equation.
Early on, it looked like this might be the Dungenator’s night to zero in on a victory. Then his targeting computer went all haywire and he started careening off stuff. Oh well, he still got to tell all the pit pundits to suck it and Roger to get off his back. Plus he executed a nearly perfect pick-up pass on the redheaded munchkin so he got my vote. With the top five only 5 points apart, this is still anybody’s game. Did I mention I love this sport? Riding Grade: C (Should have had the win, but pooped the bed) Aggressiveness Grade: 5 Bradshaw’s Gear Grade: A- (Not really retro, but very nice none the less)
7th Place- Weston “Everything he hits, he destroys” Peick: Awesome ride by The Nihilist to seventh place. On a night were Reed won, it is fitting his archenemy from last year should have a good night as well. This was a major bounce back (pun intended) for Peick who tried to teach Phoenix who was the boss last week by pounding the bejesus out of the track with his linebacker’s physique. It was a great showing for the guy who just does not give a f&%#. Riding Grade: A Gear Grade: B+ (bonus points for the sweet retro yellow and blue Zook)
8th Place- Josh “It’s my turn to make the main this week “ Hill: Wow, it really was a retro night last night, Josh hill won something (Semi) and made the top ten. J-law must have been rolling a car somewhere in tribute. Smoke ‘em if ya got’em!
I like Josh and am happy to see him have a solid finish. It would be nice for RCH if both their guys could make the main on the same night, but it appeared the Universes had Tickle in their sights last night. Oh well, maybe next week. Riding Grade: B Gear Grade: B
9th Place- Andrew “Bubba Burger” Short: Another top ten for Shorty and he is only four points back from Twilight Sparkle (What in the hell was with Barcia’s get up last night? He looked like someone rolled him in yogurt and then barfed French fries all over him. The dude just can’t stop giving) in seventh for the title chase. It would be nice if he could maybe win a semi to get a little face time with the cameras, but overall BTO has to be pleased. Riding Grade C+ Gear Grade: B
10TH Place-Jake “I’m glad Dungey did not stuff me this time” Weimer: Do you think the people running Answer know that ANSR is not a word? I know these home schooled kids that don’t make it need a job, but seriously. Every time I see it, I want to take Johnny O’s boot gator and smack someone in the face with it. Somewhere in Santa Rosa, Micky Dymond is ashamed… Riding Grade C- Gear Grade: Do you have to ask the ansr?