Wow what a race to behold at SLC3! I’ll admit, the return to racing has been the speed-equivalent of a fire-sale. We’ve had content pouring in and churning out and I have honestly not had a chance to catch my breath, gather my thoughts and “tap tap taparoo” them (in the words of Happy Gilmore) to get a point of view out into the ether. It’s a good problem to have right? Too much racing, I’ll take it everyday of the week.
We’ve seen three round of SLC and impressively, we’ve seen enough variance in the track surface and action that it feels like the series is pinging across the continent as per usual. Gotta love the open air stadium and a unique climate that is Salt Lake City. This Sunday/Wednesday race schedule is so awesome! It’s a monkey wrench no one would have thought up were we not put into this pandemic-predicament but hey Feld is making lemonade out of lemons and dare I say, it’s some of the best lemonade I’ve ever come across. I know we were all very race-starve but seriously, with the action we’ve been served up and on the accelerated schedule, my mind is utterly blown at how much action there is to ingest, and contemplate. It’s a for real, full blown Motogasm. I’m trademarking that shit Keefer. And now I need a smoke.
Considering the fact that I know you too are just as overwhelmed by this Moto-onslaught, I’m not going to bother reaching back into the prior two SLC rounds. Partly because I know you’ve already been there and done that but primarily because of the profound change we witnessed at SLC3. Completing the 7 rounds of the series at elevation in SLC of course on paper sounds like an Eli Tomac advantage but it has really materialized on the track more obviously than anyone anticipate, in my opinion. This #3 is not one we have seen before. All of his preparation at elevation is truly an asset he can rely on that nobody else that is in his league, can. Least of all Ken Roczen who disappointingly has verified his health is nowhere near what it should be for an athlete at his level. I’m disgusted by the cards Ken has been dealt since 2017, as I’m sure most of us are. It seems like every year we are holding hope that the answers to his health shortcomings are being resolved and this year with a couple wins, it looked like the road map was improving. At elevation though, all the positives have fallen off a cliff.
That leaves us with Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac. The defending champ is a breath of fresh air in a sport where smiling, naming sponsors and school boy charm is confusingly the goal. Cooper is real. He swears sometimes, is often cocky but most importantly he’s a blast to watch battle on the race track. ALL we want as race fans is to see guys go toe to toe and not leave anything on the table. Don’t back down and assert yourself if an opportunity presents itself. Cooper has shown he;’s not afraid to make contact in the past, even with his teammates but yesterday at SLC3, Cooper was surprisingly respectful of the #3 who is on the doorstep of taking his number-one plate. Eli and Cooper traded the lead as they jaw-droopingly lapped up to 4th place! Late in the race Eli really put his balls on the crossbar (there’s a throwback reference) and started throwing down a triple-triple-triple and quickly put Cooper in his ultimate runner-up position.
As I said earlier, THIS is not a #3 we’ve seen before. I’m not sure whether it’s his altitude-advantage or exactly what but THIS Tomac is racing like he finally has it figured out and he BELIEVES this is his title and no one is going to rattle him into faltering in 2020. What other reasoning could you present for Eli ramping out up and going toe to toe with the former Champ in a situation where he really did not need to engage with him?! Those 3 points are largely inconsequential with 4 rounds to go. Of course ANYTHING can still happen in the remaining rounds but THIS Eli looks like he finally HAS the confidence we’ve all been expecting him to have the prior 4 years. With yesterdays win, he has tied Ryan Dungey with all time SX wins and I’m sure he intends to put his newly acquired steadfast confidence to use in a few days and add to that total.
Cooper’s respect of Eli at SLC3 was a side of Cooper we haven’t seen much of and I expect the bulldog in him to take over in the remaining 4 rounds. Cooper is a racer amongst racers. He’s a no apologies guy and trust me, he believes that #1 is his and intends to pull out all there stops to retain it.
I can’t wait to see his approach.