Swizcorner "Blakewood"

This is what racing could always be like.

It’s so crazy to me how confidence works in our sport. It’s fleeting, it’s evasive and eternally in limbo. In the early days of the sport, like any sport, before the specifics and intricacies of the minutia were analyzed with a fine microscope, winners were many and revolving. As the years progressed and little pieces of training programs worked for certain successful racers, others took notice and emulated. Many of these tactics were more coincidence than a result of and as such created a false pretense of which was the correct path to follow.
In recent years, and when I say recent I mean the early ’90’s, as  these training programs were truly whittled down to the truly proven path to success and elitism the premiere class came to be ruled by an elite few and they ruled for many years. The confidence these individuals managed to corral was of indescribable importance and something that cannot be trained into existence or taught. It’s that X-factor that every rider strives for and rarely holds onto. Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael held onto it the tightest and for the longest durations. In MC’s case, their was a heaping helping of coincidence as well. It was a new era brought on by MC himself that saw a whole new approach to navigating a Supercross track so smoothly as opposed to the years prior when racers would wrestle and deflect their way around the track. With RC it was all about complete and extreme adhesion to a program who’s goal was simply, never lose. For the best motocross rider of all time, it was clear that RC feared losing more than he reveled in the wins.
These were the first two true examples of alpha dog dominance in the to disciplines of SX and MX who’s dominance spanned years but they certainly weren’t the last. With Dungey’s retirement and Ken Roczen’s injury removing him from focus, we all anticipated Eli Tomac to pick up the flag of dominance voided by Dungey and Roczen. Whatever the cause, this has not come to fruition and the result is a 450 field full of the phantom-product we often seek and seldom see realized. Parity.
Through 6 moto's we have 5 winners and with the inexplicable falters we keep seeing from Eli Tomac, coupled with the surging and growing in comfort, Blake Baggett, this series is just getting started. We’ve all seen the damage Blake Baggett did in the latter half of the moto's in the 250 class when he won the title years ago. That guy was electric. Simply unbelievable and he is now finding more comfort than he has seen in years and we are all the benefactors of this surge by the 4. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and he feels overdue for this step up on the 450.
It’s not all the Blake show though. Is it sinking in yet? Yes, I’m reiterating my point from last week: the front of the 450 class has taken notice that with Dungey’s retirement and Eli’s failure to seize control of the series, every one of them has a real shot at race wins and the title fight. What more proof do you need to realize this than Justin Bogle winning his first ever pro MOTOCROSS race on any size bike in the 450 class this weekend in Colorado?!
Arm pump is a real bitch of a hinderance and if Eli doesn’t get that sorted out really damn fast, he’s going to see yet another series championship slip through his fingers as Blake Baggett, Marvin Musquin or any other rider of a growing list decides that their time has come. Their program is dialed and their confidence is key.
They have a week off and different riders will use that week to help convince themselves of whatever the positive spin is for them and their confidence to begin peaking and sustain that peak into the Raceday when the series arrives at High Point. The series heads east and it wouldn’t be crazy to see yet another winner just due to the east tracks and the racers who excel in those soil conditions.
When the gate drops in High Point there are two things I am personally confident of, the racing will be even more intense and the confidence even more elusive.