Lead Photo: James Lissimore
I needed a second set of cerebral contribution today so I went with the smartest guy in moto media. That’s right, JT.
We got a couple days left before the kickoff of the Fly Racing sponsored MX Nationals, JT, and I may be out of my mind but honestly, the thing that just keeps going round and round in my head more than anything else, is Adam Cianciarulo.
I know, I’m ridiculous.
I mean the guy had his pro debut three years ago now but as all fans are all too aware, his participation at the professional level is has been abbreviated multiple times and his actual debut was marred by that iron deficiency that left him weaker than Matthes when he steps up to a pitching simulator.
I feel like we’ve all been cheated by misfortune in regard to Adam’s tribulations in those three years. I can’t even imagine the thoughts which have gone through Adam’s head in these three years when I consider how cheated I feel and I have no skin in the game at all.
I’m not saying Adam has overcome more than any other racer but when I contrast what was forecasted for Adam’s evolution with what came to fruition through these tough three years, it just makes me shake my head. And there’s nothing we can do to get those years back.
Prior to Adam’s pro debut in 2013, Moser and I penned a Point/Counterpoint in regard to Adam turning pro and I was in full belief that it was too soon and he should wait. Expanding on that, there’s no way to reason my final thought but in my mind, when the gate drops in two days at Hangtown, I will be looking at it as Adam’s true pro debut.
As tough as they’ve been for Adam, I truly believe it’s the failures that we really grow from and Adam is stronger and will be better in the long run from them. I don’t really have a debate in mind regarding this whole AC situation; I more just want to know if I’m on an island with this level of interest regarding a guy who is three years beyond his pro debut and fighting to prove he can stay healthy as much as he is fighting for results?
JT: I have a soft spot for AC. Maybe it’s because he’s from Florida and I have watched him ride since he was barely able. Maybe it’s because he was short like me and then miraculously broke those shackles, growing to six feet tall. Or maybe it was because I was awestruck by his talent on the bike and his quick wit off the bike. In any case, I have always cheered for Adam and quietly hoped he would succeed in this professional segment of his racing career.
Coming in, I didn’t have an issue with the timing. 16 years old is the standard age for the amateur-to-pro changeover. The upside for Adam was that he was backed by so much expectation, providing him with a long term deal. The downside for Adam was that he was backed by so much hype and raised everyone’s expectations. It truly is a double-edged sword. Most amateur racers would sell their soul to get a long term factory contract long before they ever see a professional race. What they don’t see is that big money creates big pressure and when things go south in the early days, things can snowball in a bad way. Adam’s 2013 outdoor season was plagued by sickness and poor results. It wasn’t until Utah’s race near the end of that summer that Adam would start to pay dividends. He showed that he could run the pace when healthy and his future looked bright.
The next supercross season started off like gangbusters for Adam, winning his first ever attempt at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium. He was the points leader until injury struck in Toronto. This shoulder injury would be the genesis of a multitude of problems over the next two years. That was basically the last we saw of Adam in supercross. He was the points leader, looking good for a rookie championship and the next thing we know, some are calling him damaged goods. He has had multiple shoulder surgeries and just when he put that behind him, broke his wrist entering this supercross season. It has simply been one thing after another since early 2014.
This summer presents a chance to change the dialogue. He has had months to prepare while others were consumed with supercross. He is on more than capable equipment. He is on a track this opening weekend that he knows how to ride well, leading here in 2015 for multiple laps. By all accounts, he should be a factor for podium finishes each and every week. The big factor is in his ability to stay healthy and reinstate the belief that he will indeed reach the level he is capable of.
I am very interested to see how he does, Swiz. I just feel that the last thing he needs now is more pressure or spotlight. He needs to go out and handle his business without all of the other noise. Results are the only he can quiet the whispers about his future. Personally, I am pulling for him.
One question I have for you: does the arrival of Austin Forkner help or hurt this Adam Cianciarulo saga?
Swiz: I definitely think it puts Adam even further under the microscope because Austin is coming in much the same way Adam did three years ago; in essence anyway. Adam was certainly touted more at his debut but Austin has been gathering steam in that regard ever since his first appearance at the Monster Cup.
Austin’s debut will be directly compared to Adam’s even though Adam came in nearly anemic. Adam is in a tough spot because it’s essentially a no-win for him with regard to Forkner. If he beats him on the day, he should have; and if he doesn’t, the sky is falling again for Cianciarulo.
The good thing for Adam is over these last three years he’s gained a ton of perspective and resolve. He’s now got the mental toughness that is only gained through such trials and short of physical pitfalls, nothing can disuade his ambition to succeed.