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Crazy day in Glen Helen!


Chris Cooksey

What a crazy day in California!  If you told me Tomac wouldn't win a Moto and Osborne would win with 4-2 Moto finishes I would have called you crazy.  I am not sure if the stars have aligned or what crazy karma is going around, but as soon as any series in 2017 looks to have a clear favorite everything gets flipped upside down.  The only thing you can count on is it's not over until it's over.

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My employer, Wester Power Sports is a headline sponsor for the Outdoor Nationals which allowed me exclusive access to the event as both a media and employee.  My day started at 4:30am when I left Vegas for the 3.5 hr. trek to Glen Helen.  As an employee I needed to arrive there early to sort tickets for my dealers attending and also help setup our Wester Power Sports VIP area.  As media personnel I hoped to take advantage of this early time to speak with riders and industry professionals.  While in line at Will Call I ran into Tyler “The Bear” Bowers, who I know from the Pulpmx show.  I congratulated him and his wife Brady as they are expecting their first child.  I asked him if he had any plans to race outdoors.  He made it clear he had been riding a 450 and is in great shape.  I got the impression he was making sure teams knew he was available if anyone needed a fill in rider.   It looks as Honda will need one now (Christian Craig is out with a broken hand), maybe “The Bear” will get a call.

From there I hit up our Fly Racing Activation Booth where Ex-Pro Racer and Fly Racing Specialist, Jeff “NorCal” Northrop was doing his thing talking with the public about the benefits and features of Fly Gear and bench racing.  The 2018 Fly Gear is the best gear Fly has ever produced and will be released soon.  On the way back to the VIP tent I ran into the legendary Chuck Sun.  I introduced him to my friends from Carter Powersports.  Chuck is one of a kind, he may be close to 60 years old but still looks and acts like a young 35.  In all his years Chuck has never missed out on a good time!

I walked around the track marveling at how big the jumps, ruts and braking bumps were.  TV does not do Glen Helen any justice.  The hills are extremely steep, you almost need climbing gear to get up and down them.  In the post race press conference all three 450 podium finishers openly discussed their views of how frightening it was to ride down the hills.  After my stroll around the track I headed back to the VIP area to watch some racing.  First up was the 450 LCQ where we cheered on our own Fly Racing rider Austin Kouba as he fought for his spot on the gate.

While viewing the qualifying races, I turned around and there was Grant Langston chilling in our tent.  I thought it was cool to have him with us, as he was live on TV in 30 minutes.  Grant is truly a man of the people.  At this point I felt slightly overwhelmed as we had Andrew Short, Damon Bradshaw “Beast from the East,” and Connor Fields (BMX Gold Medal winner in Río) in our tent.  I did have a funny moment with Bradshaw.  I walked up to him and said, “I am sorry, but I am going to have to ask you to leave.  A guy by the name of Matiasevich said you can't be in here.”  He looked at me like he was instantly ready to fight, before quickly realizing I was joking.  He then responded, “If he {Matiasevich} is in here, these tables are going to get flipped over!”  I laughed.  Langston and Connor Fields chatted for quite a while.  Remember Connor Fields name as he will most likely be a TV personality after the next Olympic Games, his charisma is undeniable.

During the 450 press conference I fell victim to Jason Weigandt’s peer pressure.  I would just as well leave, “there was no crown” attention in the past but he convinced me with Eli having problems, this was the perfect situation to bring it up again.  I did and it went about as well as the Hindenburg flight.   I also asked Jason Anderson about his altitude issues and what he was planning to get through Lakewood.  He quickly stated he was flying in the morning of the race and flying out as soon as it concludes.  He seemed annoyed that I asked the question, which makes me believe he is concerned about the issue.

At the press conference I asked Jeremy Martin about his bike and how much it had changed since his first ride on the Geico Honda. He ducked my question so bad that Jimmy Albertson actually chuckled.  I think he felt embarrassed and sought me after to explain.  He told me he wanted to be careful not to say anything negative about the team but the bike is night and day different than when he first raced it at the 2016 Glen Helen GP.  He was careful with his words because he has such a high respect for the team and is very appreciative of their hard work making the bike better.  He also confirmed they are getting a new 250 chassis for 2018 and he won't be riding it as he is moving to the 450.  I appreciated his honesty.

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From there I headed to my truck and made the drive back to Vegas.  A day in the dirt and dust can wear you down, but seeing how fast these guys go on these brutal tracks is nothing short of amazing.  If you get the chance I strongly recommend attending in person, TV doesn’t do the outdoors justice.

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Why are you shocked ET didn't win a moto or the overall? I don't get why folks think he's the next best thing to sliced bread.

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1 hour ago, Mongo134 said:

Why are you shocked ET didn't win a moto or the overall? I don't get why folks think he's the next best thing to sliced bread.

Because he won 9 Supercross races in 2017 and has previously dominated races outdoors. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Chris Cooksey said:

Because he won 9 Supercross races in 2017 and has previously dominated races outdoors. 

 

I can understand that but he's also proved that he's not the best starter out of the gate and that he to can succumb to "pressure" more than anyone. The more he pushes, the closer to a dirt nap he gets.  He's no Carmichael. In my personal; opinion, he's not even a decent Villopoto. Also, if anything else has been proven since Glen Helen, it's that the Kawasaki factory bikes are far from perfect and tend to grenade as much as their riders do. 

 

Edit.... He dominated 2.5 races outdoors in 2015. That doesn't take home the crown.

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41 minutes ago, Mongo134 said:

I can understand that but he's also proved that he's not the best starter out of the gate and that he to can succumb to "pressure" more than anyone. The more he pushes, the closer to a dirt nap he gets.  He's no Carmichael. In my personal; opinion, he's not even a decent Villopoto. Also, if anything else has been proven since Glen Helen, it's that the Kawasaki factory bikes are far from perfect and tend to grenade as much as their riders do. 

 

Edit.... He dominated 2.5 races outdoors in 2015. That doesn't take home the crown.

All valid points, but at times he looks amazing.  Like many riders in the past, first we see glimpses of speed and then they find consistency.  Eli has always been better in the outdoors.  Many people assume he will dominate because his SX performance was better than expected.

 

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Why have a press conference if it's not even aired?  Can't find it on YouTube at all.  Do you have a link?  I like to watch them.

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1 hour ago, SilentAssassin II said:

Why have a press conference if it's not even aired?  Can't find it on YouTube at all.  Do you have a link?  I like to watch them.

Yea, pretty dumb not to post them somewhere.  GuyB from Vital filmed and posted them.  If I knew they weren't being posted anywhere I would have filmed them too.

 

http://www.vitalmx.com/videos/features/Glen-Helen-250,15649/GuyB,64

http://www.vitalmx.com/videos/features/Glen-Helen-450,15650/GuyB,64

 

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Another "if you would have told me..." is the Kawasaki bikes going from hot! to not-so-hot. Hangtown had me believing that not only is Tomac hot (he still is), but that the bike itself is/was dialed, and is/was a factor in Grant's comeback.

I think the same thing has happened to Honda this year. The "all new" 2018 (or was it 2017 model) Honda 450 had great hype prior to it actually being raced. Another hot and now, not-so-hot bike. Poor Honda.

I now think that because of Tomac's minor inconsistencies coupled with the bike's and team's issues, MM25 has a great chance of winning the championship. KTM and Marvin are the kings of consistency right now.

Where's Cooper? I have no inside knowledge, but I want to think that Cooper is learning to be a pro. He's learning to be consistent. If I was an owner/manager I know I would tell my guys, "Yes, we want to win races and championships, but for this year anyway (your rookie year), the most important thing is for you to race every race and be healthy at the end of the season."  

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I heard some bad things about Cooper and his attitude.  Never got confirmation but I was told he quit the second Moto.  No major injury or bike malfunction..... If true, not good!  

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