PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Most people spend too much time in the autograph lines and then
miss one of the most important parts of Supercross—practice. After
my failure at getting any autographs, I headed through the general
entry to catch afternoon practice. Although the intensity was muted
in comparison to the night program, watching the top racers dissect
tricky sections with surgeon-like precision was impressive. The
lap-time wars were also interesting to watch. Seeing James Stewart,
Ryan Villopoto, Justin Barcia, Ryan Dungey and the boys go wide
open for a lap and then sit back to see how their time stood was
cool. They played a game of cat and mouse. Ultimately, Stewart
edged out Villopoto by less than two hundredths of a second for
the top spot. Surely there were bragging rights back in the Stewart
camp, if only I could have made my way inside Suzuki’s inner
sanctum. Instead, I held my breath and covered my eyes as some
of the less experienced racers in the non-factory qualifying sessions
lawn-darted into the rock-hard Vegas dirt.
Tip: Split your time between the pits and the timed qualifiers.
Contrary to popular belief, watching the three-digit riders practice
is more exciting than seeing the factory stars. I have the utmost
respect for privateers. They’re the lifeblood of the sport. Although
they don’t crack the top of the leader board, they’re still way more
talented and braver than the folks that sit in the stands. Fight the
urge to flee the stadium after the factory boys head back to the pits.
Daytime qualifying doesn’t evoke the
excitement of the night program, but
it’s still great to watch the racers fight
for the fastest lap time.
250 East/West Shootout winner, Justin
Hill, received a warm welcome from
his adoring fans. Being in the pits
offers an up-close and personal view
of the athletes.