Sunday, July 26, 2009

Washougal 2009


This is gonna be a long one...

As usual, Washougal is the only pro event I get to physically attend each year. I've been trying to make it up to Seattle SX for years, but can never pull it off. Who needs gucci-cross anyway? Also as usual, the entire week leading up to race day, I was super pumped. This was the first Saturday event I had been to, and the first time I had got to see practice too. It was interesting to see riders piece the track together, and ultimately lay down some blisteringly fast laps times.

If there is a God, he blessed us with great weather on on Saturday. Washougal is already the most beautiful track on the tour, and arguably in the world if you ask me, and blue skies just made it that much more picture perfect. The track was good as well. Alot more "jumpy" than in years past, but lets face it, this is 2009. It's still a dinosaur as far as jumps are concerned. People complain about the dirt every year, but like I've said before, diversity is good for Motocross. It mixes things up, keeps riders on their toes, and helps seperate the good riders from the BEST riders.

Enter Chad Reed! Washougal is about as technical and slippery as you are going to get in AMA motocross, and as many expected, Reed rode to the occasion. He has admitted that he is having trouble pushing it to the edge, so I'm sure it was nice to be at somewhat of an advantage in the NW.

As far as the event went, Washougal is always a great facility, and the fans just straight up love MX, myslef included. From what I could tell, turnout was a little low this year. If memory serves me correctly, it was about 28,000 last year, compared to 20,000 this year. The Amateur racing suffered this year as well. Bleak economy? Saturday's? 4-strokes? Not exactly sure what the problem was.

Also the viewing was worse than in years past. In '06 when RC and James battled tooth and nail, me and my dad were able to catch almost all the racing from one spot towards the back. We saw almost all the passing, and screamed our heads off. The same could be said for '08 when Dungey edged out Villopoto for his first win. Same spot, same story. This year? There was a giant hospitality tent, and a few food stands up in the back that completely blocked the view. I love cruising around the track and seeing the spots as much as the next moto fan, but this was a little ridiculous.

A few observations I had:

Chad Reed is a great rider, and ultra smooth and very technical.

Erin Bates is one of the nicest people you will ever meet

The only bike louder than the PC bikes of Pourcel and Wiemer was Ben Evans bike (but that was more than likely due to the fact that his MUFFLER was GONE) not sure how those bikes pass sound?

J-Law finally rode good, but is obviously going through a tough year. I was extremely pumped for him to be on the podium in the second moto, but had mixed feelings after his podium presence was less than stellar. Either way good job for J-Law.

Josh Grants YZ250 that he is riding at X-Games is the coolest piece of machinery I have seen in many years. On our way out, one of the JGR guys was riding it back into the pits. Between the smell and the sound, I practically fainted out of sheer horniness, and jealousy.

Nic Wolfer is one of my new heros, for trying to make this big show on an RM-250. I made sure to cheer a little extra every time he came by. He didn't make it this year, but he hadn't in years past either, so in no way do his results have anything to do with his smoker. Go get em next year Nic!

Overall, Washougal '09 was a great day for real motocross fans. See you next year.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Don't crash.... Ok don't crash again...

I had not raced a motocross bike for over a month until yesterday. I wasn't exactly filled with overwhelming pride and confidence in my riding skills a month ago, but as of July 11, 2009, I would say my confidence level is in the negative. If someone could have told me how bad I would have done in my first race back, I would have stayed in bed.

My speed was not the problem, surprisingly. My fitness was a big problem on the other hand. Bad starts didn't exactly make my day any easier, but I felt like I had what it took to comeback from the back and win the race. In my dreams...

I got inside my own head and rode a little too aggressively and took myself out of not just my first moto, but my second as well. All in all, I completed about 6 laps on the day. There's no feeling worse than being away from the sport that I love(d) so much, only to come back, be fast in practice, and do abysmally bad once the gate dropped. I left the racetrack with my head hanging low. I have been trying to view my glass as half full, and I will try this whole motocross racing thing again on Thursday, at Portland International Raceway. Thursday night motocross is a blast.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Silly Season

Normally the Off-season is considered "Silly Season." How about the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Nationals?? The 2 favorites out with injury. One of the favorites trying to make a comeback, with a kneecap that is split like Jon and Kate. Chad Reed's... dominance? First time winners. Crazy stuff this outdoor championship has become. And that's only the 450 class!

I'm not gonna sit here and do race reports or give you anything you can't find everywhere else on the webernet. But the racing this season has been good for sure. The Lakewood moto that got all the TV time was kind of a snoozer, minus Tommy Hahn's great ride. But the 250 motos were great races, and will be exciting to watch when they air on speed.

Considering how stacked the 250 moto is, (and was at the beginning of the season with Trey Canard still ripping it up) there hasn't been quite as much adversity as we all expected. It's pretty much been Pourcel and Dungey. Both were favorites, but how many out there were calling for Rattray or Searle to be surprise winners of this championship. And where is the blazing speed of Barcia that we saw in the early rounds? Wiemer's win was much deserved, and I think everyone is happy for him. Jake is one of those cool, down to earth, potato farmers.

So I have not ridden a motorcycle since I posted those pictures last time. My bike has been in the shop, it has been a Merry-Go round ride of going to different shops to figure out what was really wrong, not to mention my increasingly small paychecks. That's all over now, and I am so pumped to get back out on a bike and blow up some berms... or at least try.

Time off the bike is hell, as anyone out there reading this already knows. But it also re-motivates you. You realize how much more you love hitting the bumps in 4th gear with the throttle twisted all the way in the "on" position, rather than playing XBOX. I did get to work on my golf game a little, and I needed it trust me, but it's time to get back out there and moto away.