This 450 Supercross season has
been nothing but unexpected craziness.
Just under half the 450 field at one
time or another has donned the
number one plate in 250 or 450
Supercross! Yet not one of these great
riders has been able to keep it together
without making rookie mistakes. It’s
hard for the spectators to complain,
because the mistakes make for pure
entertainment. No one wants a
runaway race, so when James Stewart
stalls his bike while leading, the fans
get excited. What’s going on inside the
James Stewart: James proves every week—in timed
practice and his heat race—that he is the fastest man on
the planet. Yet, he isn’t the fastest man in the main event.
James is the “King of Rookie Moves” this season. He has
stalled his engine twice when in podium position.
Ryan Dungey: Before the season started, we thought
that Ryan Dungey would be the most consistent rider in the
series, get on the podium every week and capitalize on other
riders’ mistakes. Wrong! Ryan has flubbed the starts,
failed to make quick and timely passes and, in general,
not been consistent.
Ryan Villopoto: We don’t know who was riding Ryan’s
bike at the start of the 2013 Supercross season, but it
wasn’t the same Ryan who was riding it starting at round
seven. Ryan rides with the most intensity of any rider on the
track. When he concentrates, he can’t be beat. If he isn’t
on it, bad things happen.
Chad Reed: An unhappy Chad doesn’t necessarily mean a
losing Chad, but this year Chad has been both unhappy,
unlucky and off the podium. His two first-lap crash incidents
weren’t all his fault, but he paid a big price in terms of
points. The points loss was so big that he decided to miss a
race to have his knee worked on, even though he finished
fourth two nights before the surgery was scheduled.
Others: We expected mistakes from rookies like Justin
Barcia and Eli Tomac. That is how you learn what not to do.
As for Trey Canard, we always say a prayer whenever he is
on the track.
Why are they making mistakes? Because this is the
first season in a long time where you have five contenders,
all pushing the pace. The pressure is what causes riders to
go fast—and going fast means making mistakes. Jeremy
McGrath and Ricky Carmichael never had these problems
because no one pressured them.
WHY ARE PAST CHAMPIONS MAKING ROOKIE MISTAKES?
Davi Millsaps: Everything that Davi does is icing on the
cake. He is the surprise of the season. We forgive Davi if he
makes a few blunders. But, from the drop of the first gate of
the year, Davi had control of the series. Then it all came
derailed. A freak knee injury caused him to be cautious, and
that cost him points, just at the time that Ryan Villopoto
caught fire. The saddest race for Davi was falling over on the
last lap at Indianapolis when he had a podium spot secured.
WHY USING THE
TO DETERMINE THE
WINNER IS A BAD IDEA
The AMA deems to use the transponder wire—buried
in the dirt on the face of the finish-line jump—as the
end-all, be-all of race scoring. This is a bad idea. Here is
why. The main point to consider is that professional
motorcycle racing is a spectator sport. Thus, the finish
line should always be where the fans can see it. Which
means that it can’t be invisibly buried in the ground on
the face of the finish-line jump 4 feet short of the
In our opinion, wherever the man with the flag is
standing, that should be the finish line. Transponder
wires are buried down in the dirt at a spot where the
motorcycle is pressed against the ground to keep it close
to the electro-field. Why isn’t it at the top of the jump,
where the checkered flag is? If it were at the top of the
jump, it is possible that a rider could pre-jump or seat
bounce the jump and get too high above the transponder
wire to be scored. So, the transponder wire is not under the
banner or at the flagman’s feet, but a couple feet lower.
It is senseless to score the races based on a misplaced
wire that no one can see. The fans deserve to be able to
judge for themselves who won, and the riders need a target
to race to. Nobody can race to something they can’t see.
Thus, the AMA should get off their duffs and ensure that the
man with the flag is always the official finish line. This case
should be closed.
Davi hasn’t been
error-free, but he has
been a revelation.