My day in Glendale:
I arrived around 9:45am with plenty of time to pick up my credentials and head through the pits looking for anyone willing to chat. At Jimmy Albertsons's truck I stopped to see if he was alright after his crash last week. While Jimmy wasn't there his wife Georgia Lindsay Albertsonwas willing to give me the scoop on his health. Jimmy was sore but ready to put it in the Main for her, it was her birthday. On my way to the track walk I glimpsed the BMX dirt jumping practice, it's crazy how big those guys can go on bicycles! From there I headed towards the tunnel and happen to catch @Vince Friese’s mechanic hanging out by the MotoConcepts truck. I took the opportunity to ask him about all the drama surrounding Jason Anderson last week. He couldn't believe how much negative attention the stiff arm got him. Somebody once told me he was a bouncer for a Death Metal band, so I asked. He laughed and said he toured with a “rock band,” not Death Metal. We both had a good laugh that nobody mentioned the aggressive move by Malcom Stewart in the corner before the “incident.”
At the track walk I noticed a tall guy with a Rocky Mountain team shirt and realized it was Benny Bloss. I am 6’4 so when someone is taller than me I usually notice, Benny is a nice kid. He has raised his handlebars and is using a slightly taller seat this year, let’s see how this helps him in the East Coast 250 Class. He agreed and nodded when I told him us tall guys have to stick together, then I snapped a photo of him towering over Cooper Webb (you can find the picture in the gallery I posted). On the track walk I watched as Marvin Musquin eyed up the whoops, clearly concerned with the size. I had a quick chat with Tony Alessi about his appearance on the PulpMX show and I assured him he came off likable and we laughed at his “50% less crazy comment.” At the tunnel I ran into Big James Stewart. I told him it was good to see him back at the races. As I left the stadium I ran into another old friend, Roger Larsen with Seven. Roger is the guy putting together everything for Malcom. We talked about the untrue rumors, mainly www.weedfinder. com reported as their title sponsor and yes I asked him about James. Roger didn’t know what James was planning, or at least he didn't share the plan.
From the press box I watched the night’s action and had the opportunity to mingle with Jason Thomasand his VIP’s. The press box was definitely buzzing after Eli demolished the field! Next, things took an unexpected and unscripted turn. After the race concluded and fans headed for their exits, I followed SX regular reporters Jason Weigandt and Jimmy Holley to the press room (truth be told I was nervous as I am new to media coverage). Walking into the press room felt like being at a night club and going from the VIP room to the Platinum room with upgraded benefits. The riders made sure to display their respective energy drinks and appropriately adjusted their hats to represent their sponsors. I chose a seat front and center and that is when the fireworks went off!
My first question was to Austin Forkner. I thought it was not fair that he had such high expectations placed on him as a rookie. I asked him if it was a relief to get his first podium. He answered very eloquently and my confidence grew, now the 450 guys were up. I didn’t want to ask a cookie cutter questions which would elicit a cliché answer. I wanted to ask a tough but fair question. Literally, everybody had said the series was over after last Saturday with Ken Roczen horrific crash. With Eli Tomac previous arm pump struggles most people assumed Dungey would run away with the title. I genuinely wanted to know if Chad and Eli felt disrespected by the fact that fans had “unofficially” crowned Dungey and if that idea provided any extra motivation. My question was simple; “Chad and Eli, did it fire you guys up last week after the [Ken] Roczen injury that pretty much everybody kind of crowned Dungey at that point? How did that make you feel?”
Chad answered as if I asked him if he was happy Ken got hurt, which is not at all where I was going. When I tried re-directing him to the question; “I wasn't asking about Ken, were you mad that everyone crowned Dungey?” (It's hard to hear this follow up because after you ask your question you pass the mic). At this point Dungey jumped in still responding to Reed’s perception of the question, but to everyone’s surprise answered with emotion he is not known for. I always knew there was more to Dungey than the “ahh shucks” interviews he typically gives. He looked me in the eyes as he gave his response about how terrible Roczen’s injury was and how it could happen to any one of them at which point his wife, sitting behind me, clapped and whispered an unflattering comment.. Even Weigandt, sitting next to me, thought the question was fair and was perplexed by the answers given.
I had several take-aways that night. First, when the press conference concluded I might as well have had the plague the way the riders looked at me! The second take-away, I don’t mind. I don’t script my questions, I ask what I want to know and what the fans want to know. I also have great respect for the industry, but I’m not worried about being bros with the riders. If the riders take the question out of context, so be it. The Supercross podcasts and message boards are having fun with the press conference. They saw a glimpse of the person Dungey really is and not what he wants you to think. If you don't want tough questions asked then don't have a press conference. You can check out my question at
Since the press conference most people liked the question and enjoyed a real answer. Others have questioned my credentials and to them I say:
• -Worked in the industry for over 20 years
• -Raced AMA Supermoto in 2003 and 2004 with a couple top 10 finishes
• -Made Arenacross main events in 1997
• -Held an AMA Pro Liscense in 2007
• -Obtained a Bachelors degree in Communications from ASU (home of the Walter Cronkite
• School of Journalism).
While I can’t attend the entire SX series live, I’ll see everyone again in Seattle. Maybe by then we can unofficially crown Dungey champion!
Thanks, Chris Cooksey