When four becomes one.
When four becomes one.
You know, usually there isn’t anything like a good ole fashioned mudder to really liven up a series with bizarre results and that “anything can happen” outlook from fans, racers and teams alike, prior to the gate drops. USUALLY, this is the case but with the doors closing on the Two Two Motorsports era during the off week and… ok well I guess the fact that we didn’t get photos from the “extra wet” Budds Creek has at least a little to do with me not focusing on the action from the weekend; but I digress. I really, I mean REALLLY wanted to draw a bunch of simple stick figure drawings and diagrams to use as “photos” as I wrote about Budds Creek but that is just far too time intensive for this busy time of year for a Dad of three.
So yeah, I’m putting pen to paper a day late and a reader (or 10) short but a special appearance on the PulpMX Show last night really motivated me to get it done. We all love Mitch Payton. To claim otherwise would be like insulting Alpha and Omega himself. The guy has been building his business, team and the sport for almost as long as my memory goes back. Last night on the PulpMX Show he discussed a wide ranging list of moto topics but what really struck me were his candid thoughts on the end of the Two Two Motorsports era, why it ended and how he could easily understand why it had run it’s course, even against Chad’s hopes. It’s simple, fatigue.
Mitch spoke of Chad first approaching him about the idea of starting his own team and Mitch thought he was crazy. Mitch has been on the Team-owner side of the fence a long time and has dealt with being a nobody that had to fight tooth and nail to earn the respect of those making the calls and even then, respect doesn’t necessarily equate to changes in the status quo. All that respect certainly gets you an ear to listen to your qualms and suggestions but that is a far cry from change or actions. Over time, Mitch himself became fatigued with the resistance to progress within the promoting and sanctioning bodies and he was essentially assimilated by the system and it’s lethargic flow.
Knowing Chad’s goal was to start a team and run it the way he wanted to, Mitch had to have premonitions of an untenable situation for Chad. Chad is stubborn and Mitch knows this as well as anyone, the resistance Chad was certain to face and in all honesty generate himself at times had to leave Mitch with a feeling that it couldn’t last.
In the beginning it was all a Cinderella story. Chad’s public image had never been more positive and the fact that he won races and finished a mere 4pts behind in the Supercross title was mind boggling after coming off a conversely disastrous 2010. As the Two Two team personnel numbers grew, so did the number of mini-Reed’s in the Two Two household, compounding the responsibilities for the team owner, racer and father. We always hear from the guys who moved from sole racer to building a team for themselves about how much work really is involved that the never considered and how much time it takes. Imagine that same paradigm but the effort is on the level of a full factory effort with the most impressive all-star team assembled under one tent in the history of the sport.
A few years in and Chad was already seeing that even with all his incredible resources and personnel, with him calling the shots the way he wanted things run, there were still things out of his control and with that much time and effort invested, the frustration grows quickly and can be paralyzing. A few intense crashes thrown into the mix with long recoveries did nothing to help morale at Team Two Two where there was one rider as the sole nucleus of the effort.
The shining moments of the Two Two Cinderella story were loaded heavy toward the onset of the effort and as the years progressed, they became harder to come by and were instead replaced with struggles, injury, controversy, resistance and levels of frustration that simply could not be remedied. The shining light coming from the disheartening realization that Chad could not continue the incredible effort he had grown from pure desire, was that he was clearly not ready to call it quits. The job of running Two Two had fragmented his capacity as a rider and the frustration was simply not worth it. He was wearing too many hats and he knew it was time to shelve all of them and get back to simply strapping on the helmet.
It really is a bummer that Two Two Motorsports has gone away but I’d much rather see that happen with Chad getting another couple year lease on a reinvigorated focus than see two more years of a frustrated and obviously battered Chad Reed.