Sunday, August 5, 2007

Moto X at X Games

Last night marked the first time ever that Moto X racing was going to be featured in the X-Games. Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham, Grant Langston and Travis Pastrana were all among a list of riders invited to compete in the inaugural event. The format was going to be a little different than a regular supercross or motocross race. It would consist of more heats, with shorter laps, and less riders. It was supposed to help the racing, but when you invite the #4 of Ricky Carmichael, there’s not much you can do to make the racing closer, except maybe put him on an 85cc or something. But anyway, there were 4 heat races that sent the winners to the main and 2 LCQ’s that sent those winners to the main. K-Dub, Reed, Byrner, and RC all won their heats, and Grant Langston cleaned up in the first LCQ while DV12 pulled out the win ahead of Pastrana in the last LCQ.
When the main started, to no ones surprise, Ricky Carmichael jetted away with the unofficial holeshot, and found himself in the lead in the very first turn. Game over. Sorry guys, but once you let the Greatest Of All Time get out front, you don’t have a shot. They could have just called the race, but there were silver, and bronze medals to give out so I guess they had to finish the race. This is where the only real racing took place. Reed was sitting in second with GL in third and Windham in fourth. That’s kind of how I expected them to finish. But to my surprise Langston caught, passed, and gapped Chad Reed, as if he had been driving race cars in Australia or something… But if my socks hadn’t already been knocked off by the Langston pass, it turns out that even Kevin Windham, who has admitted that he’s on his way out, caught the number deuce deuce Yamaha and went on to get bronze. That was actually some pretty exciting racing. That’s X-Games Moto X in a nutshell, but one thing I wanna talk about is a couple of record holders. While I was watching Moto-X on ESPN, there was a ticker at the bottom that just informed me that Barry Bonds had hit his 755th* career homerun, tying Hank Aaron for most all time HR’s. So I had to channel up real fast, to see history in the making, but what I saw made me realize the true character of a champion athlete. Barry swung his bat, like he had 10 at-bats before, and finally managed to pinch off a homer. He stood there and slowly strutted to first base, staring the ball down like some kind of voodoo master. When the ball finally cleared the stands, he pumped his fist and began to run the bases, pumping his fist, and patting his chest, like the arrogant jerk that he is. He looked around to all his teammates and fans and players from the Padres, with his big man mug on. He was Mr. BigShot again now that he hit another homer. The only thing important to Barry is hitting homeruns, and breaking records. Not winning, or the team, or making his younger players better, no only Barry matters to Barry.
Now think back a month when Ricky Carmichael captured his 100th Motocross victory, becoming the only rider in the magic 100 club and think about the way he acted. He was excited and emotional and he thanked his fans, and his mechanics, and didn’t bask in his own glory, but the glory of the moment. He congratulated James Stewart on a great race, and got to spray the crowd down with his victory champagne for the 100th time. It was a great moment, and he handled it with such class, and dignity, and really expressed the character that a true record holder should in any sport. There are many comparisons to be drawn between Ricky and Barry, and I think both are great athletes (although one had a little help) but I think Ricky Carmichael is the true definition of a record holder, and idol to little kids all over the world. I thought it was great that Ricky was kicking ass at X-Games on ESPN, while Barry Bonds made his mark on the record books on ESPN 2. That’s my 2 cents.

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