Round two enters and against all prior season opener indications, round two leaves us even MORE in limbo as to what could happen as the championship unfolds. It’s a great thing when a fresh season kicks off and and the rule appears to be chaos. Plain and simple.
Not only is Jason Anderson, last years champ, not exuding even a modicum of dominance through two rounds, he was passed and disposed of in short manner by a first time winner, a guy who only two short years ago looked to be wrestling his bike around the tightly confined SX tracks. Blake Baggett has done what few have in history, especially in the stadium series: he’s found the magic key that unlocked Pandora’s box. That key has a name and it is Michael Byrne. This is no fluke or just compounding of coinciding solutions, Michael Byrne has done this before, albeit not with the resulting W though. Remember a few years back when Michael Byrne began helping Mike Alessi when he was still giving it a go on Supercross tracks. Mike didn’t turn the Byrner-effect into dramatically improved results but it is undeniable that with Michael Byrne assisting fun setup, Mike looked like and utterly different rider indoors especially when it came to navigating the persistently troublesome whoop sections.
It was quickly noticeable after Byrner and El Chupacabra began working alongside each other that something clicked with Blake. Call it confidence, call it setup, call it a lightbulb going off; it’s all of those. It’s the unlocking of a door. We’ve seen it from Blake in the outdoors and now when you combine the obvious improvement, the killer instinct, the W and the undeniable confidence, ladies and gentleman, Blake Baggett has thrown his hat in the ring as contender.
Ken Roczen looked solid as he clicked off laps prior to Mookie’s crash but that stupid single file restart jacked it all up. That thing needs to be revisited and resolved because that setup is NOT the correct implementation of a mid-race restart. Do we or do we not have transponders? We do, correct? Ok, and these transponders not also map the gaps between riders at any given moment on the track? They do, correct? So why in the hell does the AMA restart rule put these dudes butts to nuts on the start straight completely negating the progress they made prior to the event which caused this bastardized resuming of the race? Add it to the list of big problems that are easily resolved with a SIMPLE and QUICK brainstorm process. I am shaking my head as I type this, it is NOT complicated. Note the AMA timing sheet gaps between riders at the time the Red Flag begins to wave, line them up butts to nuts if you wish and give the restart-guy a stopwatch and point the green flag at each descending rider at the time which coincides with the AMA timing sheet gaps…
The transponder reported gaps above are the obvious solution for a proper restart. That Red Flag is nano-seconds from being waved at Ken.
Sooooooooo, Ken gets the green flag pointed at him to take off and stop watch is started, at 1.312 seconds the green flag points to rider 2 braaaaaaap, at 2.065 the green flag points to rider 3 ziiiiinnnngggggg… at 3.574… I’ll let you guess, YUP! The green flag points to rider 4 and they take off like a bat outta hell. IT’S THAT EASY!! Why do we have to punish these dudes who have created gaps between them and the field and reward the other guys who have been getting dropped? Isn’t the idea to restart the existing race progress? Because bottling these dudes all back up together is creating a new race and “eracing” (hehehe) the completed progress that ALL these guys have worked themselves into.
Fix this AMA. Geez.
How about those Jason Anderson podium statements? That was honestly the first time I’ve ever gotten the sense from Jason that racing has become a serious focus for him. Obviously that sounds ridiculous because the dude is a 450 champion but hear me out. Jason has always been the dude cut from a different cloth. Laid back, easy going and not letting the pressure or head games affect him. He’s put Cole Seely on the ground multiple times and plenty of other dudes as well, never with any hint of regret or guilt. Then following the restart, he puts a wheel in on Ken two laps in a row in the same corner before taking it out and he feels bad about it?! Let’s be clear, that move was not dirty, it was insinuated twice before being delivered. Everyone knew that was coming, and I’m not real sure how Ken let it happen. Jason’s words of regret hit me like a guy who is starting to feel the, not pressure but weight of the sport as a career and an opportunity to make hay while the sun shines. That old often mentioned idea of champions needing friends on the track in order to succeed perennially. Jason’s got his first title and they all say backing it up is even harder. With Jason’s podium words, I hear Aldon Baker in his ear and finally getting through to him that he does indeed need friends out there, or at least he needs to stop giving so many riders reasons to put a target on his back, he’s already got the slanted vertical target on his number plates. Perhaps Jason just really feels for Ken and his injuries the last few years and honestly, simply feels guilt for taking him down? Could be as simple as that. I think we’ll get more evidence in the coming weeks as to which side of the new leaf Jason is leaning toward for 2019.