Oakland Supercross – Quadrophonic Sound
To quad, or not to quad, that is the question- Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the bros and bimbos of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of announcers and by jumping the damn thing, shut them up? To jump, to brraap- no more.
Here are my thoughts on a long and lovely night in the Black Hole.
1st Place: Ryan “Slim Shady” Villopoto– Look who’s back, Poto’s back, tell a friend, Poto’s back, Poto’s back, Poto’s back…. Well, here we are again. It seems like just two weeks ago, I was watching old Kris Kringle roost off into the sunset for another dominating win. This green guy, he’s pretty good it would seem.
Once I saw last night’s awesome track, I had a bad feeling about my hopes for the night. The Oakland track was super tacky, super technical and super cool. It was a great track to watch and a perfect track for a guy who likes to grip it and rip it like RV. I think most people watching practice, felt it would probably be one of two guys who would win last night- Poto or Stew. As it turned out, the prognosticators were correct and RV ripped his Williamson-tuned KXF to another victory.
All this, without jumping the vaunted “QUAD” the announcers kept prattling on about. I bet after listening to last night’s show, old BROtocross has developed a nervous twitch. One more mention of that damn thing and Gary Denton was going to show up at sign up for A3. In the end, it pretty much came down to this: RV is badass and calculating, JS7 is badass and reckless, tonight calculating won. RV got a better start and no amount of crazy balls bravado was going to deny the Ginger this day. Riding Grade: A+ (No quad, but who cares?) Gear Grade: B (I’m not usually a fan of the Darth Vader look, but when you team has looked the same for seven years, I welcome any change and RV looked pretty cool)
2nd Place: James “Quadzilla” Stewart- Oh boy, Raining Yellow guy must have been on the edge of his seat last night. His boy looked goooood out there. James was obviously feeling the flow on that uber-technical track and was cutting through the pack 2009 style. Like some kind of white (and black) knight, he blazed a path to the front in an attempt to vanquish the evil Dred Pirate Roberts out front. Alas, twas not to be…
Even with a quad in his back pocket and the full might of the Raining Yellow army behind him, Stewie could not run down the throttle-twisting Lilliputian this night. On the bright side, James has without a doubt, been one of the fastest guys this year at several of the races. He has two seconds, a fourth and a yard sale. Not a bad run of finishes for the King of lawn darts and about what I would expect at this point. If he actually gets a start on a night where he is on it, look out, but until then, he will have to play second fiddle. Riding Grade: A Gear Grade: B (I did not love it, but I appreciated the juxtaposition of is storm trooper get up against all the Johnny Cash impersonators out there)
3rd Place: Chad “Wait till San Diego” Reed- Well, I’m just gonna say it, I liked last week better. Call me bitter, but this whole Oakland thing did not do it for me. Yes, the track was great. Yes, the 250’s were awesome (I sure hope Mitch did not wheel himself into the Bay, Pastrana style, after Deano’s KXF went…cough!!). Yes, Dianna Dahlgren looked slightly less over-muscled last night (WTF is with her this year anyway? I know she is a fitness model, but even my wife said she looks like a dude. Somebody get that girl a hamburger stat.). Yes, it was on live, but after last week, nothing short of a Reed win was going to leave me feeling anything but disappointed. Last week, I got a splendiferous present and now it is back to reality, a very harsh and green reality.
Early on, I thought Chad might actually have a shot at this thing. He got a great start and was hanging with RV. Then old trainer-boy started to poor on the coals and left my guy behind. Then it was Stew’s turn and I was flashing back to the dark days of 2013. Once JS7 got by, however, the Maginot Line held and Reedy took it home to the finish. Even though I greedily wanted another win last night, this was exactly what #22 needed to do. Stay in this, take it when it presents itself and just keep chipping away. Everyone but Dungey is known to take a few chances out there and if you stay close to RV, I think there is a good chance he will give you an opportunity to make up some points. Riding Grade: B Gear Grade: D (I hate black bikes and I hate black gear. Why did Chad retired the beyond badass Aussie colorway for the night show [and on Australia day no less]? The Raiders are not even any good for God’s sake! Next year, let Raider Nation suck it and wear something decent.)
4th Place: Ryan “I shot my wad last week” Dungey– Ok, so be honest, how may of you really thought we were going to see an all-new Ryan Dungey out there last night? Last weeks aggression was a refreshing change, but a leopard doesn’t change its spots people. There is no way the Dunge was going turn into Rollerball 2.0 overnight. Personally, I think A2 was basically a big EFF YOU to all the people busting his balls. Time will tell, but when Ryan pulled up on Reedy last night and read that metaphorical “Hello Ryan” but patch on his rear, he saw a nice safe fourth, not an invitation to damn the torpedoes.
Still, a fourth is not terrible by any standards and it is actually pretty damn good if you consider the way The Dungenator looked in his heat race. At one point, it looked like he was actually trying to break his Factory Edition KTM by slamming it into every obstacle as hard as possible. Timing is for losers bro, and the Minnesota Mauler was having none of it. Thankfully, Ryan pulled it together before his KTM went all Pingree on him and snapped in half.
After last night, The Dunge is knotted with his energy drink loving teammate at nine points back of the leader. Not a disaster, but not trending in the right direction either. Two weeks and two podium-less finishes, one Rocky style, one Ritchie Cunningham style. Which Dungey will we see in Anaheim next week? I’m hoping for the holeshot and checkout one, but that one is a rare bird indeed. Riding Grade: C (“High Ryan”, enough said) Aggressiveness Grade: 0 Bradshaws Gear Grade A+ (I love this Bradshaw-esque Fox colorway and best of all- IT WAS NOT BLACK)
5th Place: Justin “I’m in the mix” Brayton– Another very solid ride for JGR’s main man Brayton. He looked good out there at times last night, but seemed to be just a tick off the leader’s pace. First, he missed transferring out of the Heat, and then he got a little too close for comfort to his teammate in the Semi race (J-Bone had to have been sweating bullets). In the Main, he was good, but not great and unable to challenge the top guys. Still it is really nice to see him upfront and think that he might have a realistic shot at pulling off a win. Maybe next week for Iowa’s finest. Riding Grade: C Gear Grade: A (I loved this O’Neal stuff. It is colorful without being schitzo and a nice complement to his blue Yamaha. Bonus points for the cool Toyota helmet)
6th Place: Kenny “Scheiße Nacht” Roczen- Auf Wiedersehen red plate, my old friend, until we meet again. Last night was not awesome for the points leaders in either class. Much like the TV camera, it certainly appeared that red plate was adding about 30 pounds of unwanted weight to the front of those bikes. Neither Seely nor Roczen had a night for the ages and left the bay minus that pretty red plate. I predict better things are ahead for both going forward. Riding Grade: C- Gear Grade: C+ (A return of his A1 kit, this stuff is a little too crazy for my taste)
7th Place: Justin “Eject Mav, Eject!” Barcia– WHOA…did you see that? That was the most amazing near-death experience since Carol Ann was told to go into the light. How in the H-E-Double hockey sticks did he manage to not pummel himself into a shaggy blonde ragdoll on that? Feet off the pegs? Check. Nose down and completely out of control into a rhythm section? Double check. If that were this guy, I would have been into the cheap seats and straight to the ICU in .43 milliseconds.
In the end, it came down to an amazing save and another subpar night for the Bamster. Not sure what is going on with is team, but something seem to be amiss. Maybe the CRF is still not up to snuff, or maybe he has just been watching to much Honey Boo Boo. Either way, it is not good. Considering Team Barcia was getting cheesed off at him getting thirds last year, I can’t imagine they can be too pumped with this current situation. Still, he did finally look like someone other than a One Direction groupie dressed him, so there is that. Riding Grade: C+ (Not a great night overall, but a solid comeback after nearly meeting his maker) Gear Grade: B- (I was hoping for a return to the Wonder Woman getup, but no dice)
8th Place: Will “I pulled a quad” Hahn- Wilbur, you diminutive little acrobat you. You had those commentators abuzz with tails of your aerial antics. You would have though they had never seen Winners Take All for goodness sake. Everyone knows the Himalayas are the ultimate Supercross obstacle and all this talk of jumping four little mounds is just so much hyperbole. You need distance, not height my friends, and make sure you check that throttle cable. Riding Grade: B Winners Take All Grade: 4 Carl’s Gear Grade: B
9th Place: Jake “The other green guy” Weimer- It has to be tough being Jake. You have a Factory ride in the most successful team, you had the most successful trainer (and quit him) and you are teamed with the gnarliest munchkin this side of the Emerald City. That is a lot of pressure for anyone, and Jake does not seem to relish it. He seems like an awesome guy and maybe, just a bit to nice for this line of work. Top ten is certainly nothing to bat an eye at, but I’m sure he and his team hope for more. I think a podium is still possible, but he will need a little help to get it. Riding Grade: C Gear Grade: C (Didn’t hate it, or love it, and they still can’t spell)
10th Place: Andrew “All smiles” Short- Another nice night of racing for BTO’s top gun. Andrew got a little face time by winning a Semi race (Thank you again Feld) and got to give a little love to BTO and KTM. In the main, he was solid but outside of the main battle so we did not see much of him on TV. Still, he pulled a sweet whip at the finish of the Semi and got to show off his Fly threads. I’m glad to see Shorty putting together such a solid year and hope he keeps it rolling. Riding Grade: B Gear Grade: A very fly B+