Is this the year that Austin Stroupe pulls it together?
Is this the year that Austin Stroupe pulls it together?Is this the year Austin Stroupe pulls it together?
Matthes- I like Austin Stroupe. I really do but I worry about him and his professional motorcycle career. And I know there are people around him that share my worries. Stroupe’s a talented rider who’s looking for a spot in the sport and if he’s not careful, he’ll find himself on the outside looking in.
Truthfully, Stroupe probably should still be in the 250 class as he hasn’t really ever put in a solid season indoors and out. Injuries and some personal issues have kept him out of competing an entire season of moto. But with some good finishes in the 250 SX class, he’s out of the class due to AMA rules.
Last season Stroupe rode for the Valli Yamaha team and depending on who you talked to and what day it was, he was either really close to getting fired or was actually fired from the team. In between those close calls, he put together some good rides here and there in the 450 class but those were pretty sporadic. There’s no doubt he’s talented but can he focus on his job long enough to put in the results needed to keep a ride?
Notoriously unreliable when it comes to working with sponsors and his own team (when I did a podcast with him a couple of years ago, I had Suzuki PR and some of his own sponsors tell me they couldn’t believe I was able to do it), soon enough that kind of stuff will start to add up if the results don’t come this year.
I like Austin and have been a fan of his for a while but he’s got to pull it together this season or I’m afraid for his future to keep racing at a high level.
Swizcore- Hello Mr. Wishy Washy, I thought we were getting this back to the roots of pick a side and argue it to the death. To the death! Whether you really believe your stance is irrelevant, just as in debate class in Canuckia, your only goal is to make your stance appear indisputable; screw facts.
So, I’m going to gamble and assume with your reiteration of “liking Stroupe”, that your stance is leaning toward this, again, not being the year he pulls it together and delivers on his promise of greatness. So that presents me with my task.
Austin is one talented mofo. If you recall in my 2011 SX preview assessment, I actually picked Austin as one of the guys who I could see getting a win. History wasn’t on my side but much like the H&H team, I’m all about giving chances to underdogs and I stand by my belief that Austin has the skills to pull down a win. Remember his first National ever? He came in and snatched the overall from a dominant RV51. In Phoenix this year he gave Stewy a run in the heat and looked solid. As they say, if you can do it for one lap, you can figure out a way to do it for 20.
Stroup-a-loop is a free spirit; that’s putting it PG in case you didn’t know. Yeah, he’s made his share of mistakes but his speed, unique persona and no regrets approach to life make him a magnet for those fans who pull for the “outsiders”. This is year zero for Stroupy and he knows it. The question I feel will determine where he stands at the end of the year is, can he finally stay healthy? He’s aware of the ramifications of self imposed implosion and I see injury as the only obstacle keeping him from the break-out year we’ve expected since he left the PC team where he gave CP377 all he could handle.
Matthes- I agree Swizzle, I hardly built any kind of argument there for or against Stroupe. As I was writing it, I was debating which side I was really on so kudos to you for calling me on it. It’s just a couple of things get my interest piqued in this sport (or any sport for that matter)- the underdog coming up against all odds and the talented, under achiever working to pull it together. And Stroupe’s in that second class in case you’re wondering.
Here’s the thing- I talk to a lot of people in the sport daily and a lot of people that are smarter than me really think Austin is one talented dude. The Pro Circuit guys still have stories of him showing up and blowing their minds. But he just can’t keep himself from hurting himself with poor choices on and off the track. Lots of times riders that are perpetually injured are that way because they’re not doing the right things off the track in regards to taking care of themselves. So you’re not in shape and not sharp to push the speeds you need to go and then an accident happens.
Not saying this is exactly what’s up with Stroupe but it could be. One time at Yamaha, an old guy there told me that leopards have spots and that never changes. You can’t make a rider into something they’re not and although I hope that theory is wrong in regards to Austin, I’m afraid it may not be.
I’ll leave you guys with a quote from his old team manager John Mitcheff when I asked him about Stroupe and what the deal is:
“You can have all the talent in the world but you gotta do the work to prepare yourself to run up front. Austin chooses to do it with talent only!”
Swizzle- I’ve heard that as well and indeed, it often holds true. It’s a lot like insanely gifted artists, musicians or athletes. They use their craft as a way to get away from the anguish surrounding their day to day existence and when it all comes down to it, they need that drama and feeling of uncertainty in order to feel a sense of normalcy. I don’t think Austin grew up in any such turmoil and therein lies the oddity in his situation. He’s just a cut from a different cloth, his own man, marches to his own beat; ok that’s enough cliche’s.
I gotta believe Austin is going to connect the dots this season. He’s had two abysmal years in a row with a shit-ton of couch time watching his peers progress while he gets healthy. If he doesn’t have the fire in his belly and the razor focus now, he never will. With LeCobra by his side and not taking any shit, Stroupy needs only to stay injury free. Sure that takes a little luck but the more you prepare, the less you rely on luck; you see my point.