Well, it was a good season while it lasted, and most of my dreams came true;
Well, it was a good season while it lasted, and most of my dreams came true;
By: Isaac Scoggins
Photos by James Lissimore
Well, it was a good season while it lasted, and most of my dreams came true; apart from the one where Jimmy Albertson and Jason Thomas rage a battle that places all 18 other riders on the ground, or pulled over to the side of the track to watch the magnificent whirlwind created by their draft as they literally leave ruts wherever they go, including all the way down to the cement on triple jumps and rhythm lanes. Did I mention they cross the finish line at the same exact moment; thus, the win is given to both men, and one marries a pit reporter from the ex-motherland, and the other moves to Idaho! Alas, it is but a dream. And speaking of draft, I am going to need several of them to make this exciting from here on out. Therefore, I propose a toast. I was originally concocting a plan; I will spare you the details, but think the movie where two Boston Celtic fans kidnap the star player of the Utah Jazz in hopes of ensuring a victory for the Celtics. Hmm…what was the name of that movie? Yeah, Celtic Pride, that’s it, but instead of nabbing a tall black man who shoots hoops, I was thinking a much more Celtic looking man. Like a red haired madman on a motorcycle who just captured two wins in a row to eliminate the wonderful sensation fans all over were having through the first three rounds of this season. I am not bitter, just sad, and through my tear soaked pillow at night I dare to dream of what might have been. In the wake of the early series low we are feeling I needed to turn to a beverage to help me into a sleep-induced coma so I could at least have my dreams. Upon cracking the top of the, unknown to you, beverage, an idea rose like a bubble to the top of a freshly poured glass. Like any carbonated drink or beverage once you pop the top the fizz rises, and I watch with joy as the party begins; however, once it calms, and the bubbles have been subdued by the golden-brown liquid that lie beneath, I lose my emotional high. That plight of that high is cruel, and I would do anything to regain it. So I do what I purpose we do to this SX series, shake it up, watch it rise, and if necessary repeat.
Let us follow the directions above, and see if we can enjoy the series, because it is far from over. We are a society consumed by instant gratification, and this bad habit inks over into every aspect of our lives. The SX season is a series comprised of 17 races, but every fan lives and dies each weekend, as we root for our favorite riders. In a nutshell, we are in it for the moment, and anything beyond that is exactly that, beyond us. I know I will go through a wave of emotions watching my favorite riders work towards the goal of victory. One moment I am on a high, the next I am down in the dumps, and finally, at a time of desperation, I might even denounce that rider as my favorite. All while knowing full well the length of the series that claims victims nearly every week, and continually denying that next week will bring another chance. Of course, by the next race my rider is back to being my winning lotto number, and I am excited about the win that is his for the taking. My point is that we as fans, and indirectly speaking the media, live and die in the moment rather than keep the reality of the series in mind. That is why we are tabbed as “fanatics”, and why every race is exciting, and builds momentum as the week progresses. Popping the top on Monday, and let the ensuing week build as the bubbles that rise to the top do.
The anticipation that mounts increasingly higher as we, completely oblivious to what might have transpired during a week of training and riding, await the weekends race, indulging our minds with reports, and words composed to allow us a window into the lives of the stars. This window can never be big enough for the avid fan, and through all the media tools at our disposal we let the fizz sparkle, and crackle atop our beverage. By race day, the most business-like day for all racers, we are sick of words, and actions are all that remain to fill the void left by the fading anticipation. Oakland played host to a race of action, yet it was short, and sour. The 250 class has progressively become more intense as the series slips from it’s beginning to middle, and what started as a shut-out run by Tomac has transformed itself into a game of catch-up for the reigning #1. The 450 class has been unpredictable, and after this race some small elements of that remain; however, the fizz has settled, and a shake-up is desperately needed after two dominate wins by the Celtic looking Villopoto. In essence, the two classes have flipped from frothy to stale in one race. I don’t know about you, but stale is a flavor I have no use for.
Can Eli rebound from his Oakland DNF?
The victory, the bonus cash, the top step of the podium where leather is worn by skin (I honestly can’t tell what is wearing who), the magazine covers accompanied with winning; they all mean so much, but we are not fools, and we know full well they all pale in comparison to the spray from a bottle of amber champagne! When the spray dissipates what do the riders do? They shake it up again, and let the shower of joy and eye burning alcohol cover the world around them. That is exactly what has happened in the 250 class at Oakland as Ken Roczen found the intensity and sense of urgency to make a win happen. He could have settled for second after losing what seemed like valuable time, but one tuff block is rarely enough to stop Da German. Seely put up a valiant effort while leading the majority of the last two races, but “almost” only counts in horseshoes, and hand grenades. Meanwhile, in a lonely ride spun the wheels of Rockstar Energy Drink’s Jason Anderson. Third is a great ride for him, but he was up front from the start, and was nowhere near the speed of 1 and 2. Maybe it is just me, but Anderson is full of the fizz I speak of; he hardly makes a pass without pushing the rider to the top of the berm, or touching their front wheel. He takes chances and gives fate, plus the other riders, a nicely erect middle finger (yes, I said it, nice and erect…together). I am not a fan of any form of dirty riding unless it suits my wish for better racing, and multiple winners. So in this case I support it. The 250s were tasting bland, but with a little orange slice splashing into the almost coagulating beverage, we find the flavor renewed, and our cup now runneth over.
The inconvenient truth that skewed the 450s came so abruptly that it only took two corners, and a set of whoops for it engulf us. By the second corner the race was all but over, and our well of beautiful bubbling bliss may have well been bled dry. Reed, the man so consistent that the numbers on his bike remain the same, got so emerged in the possibility of rising to the top that he twisted a little too hard on the throttle, and down goes half the class. Tangled in the mess were Dungey, Stewart, Grant, Barcia, and Canard. Only the best shots at taking the bottle in both hands and shaking until foam, bubble, or fizz spray like Old Faithful from it’s port of exit. With the hastiness in which Reed attacked those whoops we can understand that he is possibly ready to step up, and do whatever it takes to restore the chaos in which our previous balance relied upon. I hated to see the win handed to the Celtic with whom I still believe might need to be kidnapped for a round or two. I do not wish ill will on any racer, but I, like you, live and die each race with every pass, and crash. Favorite rider or not, they each play a role in the game of numbers that will eventually tell us who is champion.
After a series of dry runs toward a win or even a top five, Dungey finally made something happen in order to taste the bubbly again. He has been criticized hard over the years, and specifically over his lack of aggression, and timid trips through traffic. That was not the case at Oakland as Dungey, who was hung up by the Reed debacle, made his way to the podium with authority putting down any #10 Yamahas along the way. Yeah, so that was one guy, but he took no prisoners. I feel bad for Brayton, as he had put himself in prime position for a top 5, and after such a lousy start to the season. I understand it was a “racing incident”, and that Brayton should have known Dungey would arch his corner perfectly to place his rear wheel into Brayton’s front, but it just smells sour. If Dungey raced like that with Villopoto, Stewart, or Reed it would be different, but he doesn’t. He backs off of them, and “rides smart”, allowing them to pass him, and sometimes pull away. If he is trying to change his image he needs to stop pushing the wrong guys around, and start pushing back towards the front. Besides, how much more shaken up could it get than if Dungey took out Villopoto for the win? If he needs a reason I would just remind him of St. Louis in 2010. Before the crash that figuratively poured out the entire beverage of that season, Villopoto attempted an unusually aggressive pass that resulted in them both picking up their bikes. I know this is wishful thinking, and Dungey is not going to stoop to my level of thinking, but damn it man! I want it shaken not stirred!
Is Dungey improving fast enough to make a series of this, or is RV too dominant?
The racing of this season still has plenty of room for drama, and has also produced its fair share. But we have to give and take with the racing in both classes, or hope some crazed fans take the Celtic Pride route, and take the series back into the fan’s hands. I know that living in the moment gives extreme highs and lows, but allows for little in the way of perspective. Even as I know this to be true, I find that it is not my responsibility or yours. We are here to enjoy the fruits of other’s labor, and to partake in the rise of fizz, and the re-shaking of the bottle. Nowhere in the fan handbook does it imply we are to celebrate the calm, un-frothy, never-wavering, amber colored liquid that is our possible season as of Oakland. Once again, I purpose a toast, and it is one of beauty. One where yellow bikes don’t get uprooted by red ones, and orange bikes don’t have “racing incidents” with the rarely upfront blue ones. It is a dream where all colors of bikes work together to ensure the green bike has to fight for every win, and no win comes as easily as it did in Oakland. I also would like to add, as a bonus, that Jason Thomas and Jimmy Albertson crossing the finish together could be the, no not the shaking, but the shattering of the bottle, thus allowing the fluid to fizz out and about, making for excitement galore. Overall, what I am saying is the series could go one of two ways at this point, and I would do anything to direct it toward the direction it just came from. Rarely is backwards the way to go, but in this case it is the only way to go for us fans. Damn it! My root beer has lost its fizz, (what did you think I was referring to with all that amber liquid talk?) but I know just what to do to fix that, put the lid back on, shake and drink. I suggest SX do the same. Pop, fizz, shake and repeat.