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Found 27 results

  1. Three rounds left in Dungey's Supercross career: Tomac vs. Dungey All the recent talk in Monster Energy AMA Supercross has been centered on Dungey and his mental state, but what about Eli? Doesn’t anyone remember Eli floundering in 2013 in Salt Lake City? How about Las Vegas in 2011? This season, other than the first few rounds, Eli has been pressure free with his only task to go out and win. Now with the points tied (Tomac owns the tie breaker) the pressure falls directly on his shoulders. With two weeks before SLC, how is he dealing with the pressure? Has he matured from his 2013 and 2011 chokes or is he doomed to repeat the same mistakes he is prone too, (Colorado 2015 huge crash, Dallas 2017 smashed front brake and Seattle 2017 endo in Main)? Eli is in for a stressful month and Dungey is the underdog that can ride with nothing to lose. Let's not forget Eli struggled with arm pump early in the season and two things that contribute to arm pump are stress and high altitude, SLC will have both. Dungey also has quite a bit of helpers available if needed. Baggett, Millsaps and Musquin are racing Dungey as if he signs their paychecks. I am not saying team orders have been given, but who really wants to be the guy who costs KTM a Championship without having a contract for next season? Millsaps didn't fight Dungey very hard for 4th place in Seattle, in fact it looked like he moved out of the way. With three races left in Dungey's career (assuming he is retiring this year) I look for him to pressure Eli into a mistake taking his 4th SX title and riding off into the sunset as the champion. In the 250 class Arron Plessinger looked like a world beater! He was the only rider, other than Tomac in the 450 class, to go 3/3/3 in the rhythm section. Plessinger is a bit of an enigma, sometimes he looks like the fastest rider on earth but only in bursts. If he could harness his speed he could be a superstar, maybe a move to the 450 class is what he needs. We all know he is good on deteriorating tracks, if he could translate this speed to a regular track he could be a contender on a 450. If I were him I would be talking to RCH, Kawasaki and KTM about a 450 ride in 2018. Justin Hill did exactly what a guy with a 21 point lead and three rounds left should do, ride to a safe 2nd place. Hill is another guy that should be shopping for a 450 ride but not because it suits him better but once he wins he has earned enough points out of the 250 class. If I were Kawasaki I would politely tell Josh Grant his services won't be needed in 2018 and put Hill there. With three rounds left in the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series it is shaping up to be one for the ages. If this is Dungey’s swan song, win or lose, what a way to go out. With a week off before SLC some guys will be testing outdoors but don't look for Eli or Dungey to be riding anything but Supercross during their Easter break. I will be in SLC for the race and yes the post-race press conference. This is my first press conference since the infamous Glendale “no crown incident.” Let me know the questions you want asked. View full article
  2. Monster Energy Supercross: Detroit, is it time for change in Supercross? The 12th round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross concluded in Detroit leaving behind some hard to ignore layout deficiencies on the Ford Field. While the series progresses to St. Louis I find myself asking more questions about the overall structure of the series (as it continues to grow and become more mainstream) and less questions about who will or will not be crowned the champion. At the pinnacle of Supercross why was there not enough dirt to cover the stadium floor and how did the stadium floor start peeking through after only 2 laps in the first 250 heat? Is it time to look at different track building techniques? Here are some different ideas : Another series challenge is the need of updated timed qualifiers. I would like to see the top 20 timed qualifiers split in the heats. Rewarding the top half of the field, top 10 in each heat get a 2 second advantage over the other half of the gate, prevents slower guys from becoming moving road blocks. The rest of qualifying should follow suit, if you don't qualify out of the heat or win your semi, during the Main event you take off in the second wave. Again, this will reward the top qualifiers. This will also give us the elite matchups in the front of the field, Dungey vs Tomac and the moving roadblocks like Alessi and Friese won't be in the way. Every other major form of racing rewards fast qualifying. This will also make the first turn far safer, and while it's cool seeing 22 of the worlds fastest 450’s funnel into a couple lines, the bikes are too fast and have outgrown the current starting procedure. This will help keep the stars healthy and on the track, but still maintain the entertainment factor. The final issue in review is how quick the riders figure out the fast lines. With dartfish and overlapping video these teams have taken out the guesswork of finding the fastest line. If part of the track was not opened until the night program, riders may have more difficulty discovering the fasted line before the race has started. Give the guys a hot lap and then turn them loose! While this doesn’t seem to promote safety, it rewards riders who can learn new sections quickly, making the series more interesting as we will see different rider’s skills outside of dirt preference. Also, the much debated “chase” format has been discussed and in this era of short attention spans, smart phones, and instant gratification we have lost the appreciation for a season long war. If we want to attract a new generation of fans, we need to up the intensity and make sure the champion is not crowned halfway through the series (like Dungey in 2016), we can't count on Eli making it interesting every year. These are just a couple things I feel need to be addressed for the future of Supercross, what do you think? Should we add a shark pit or have riders change a tire for starting position? Let me hear your ideas. View full article
  3. Eli Tomac showed up and did exactly what was needed to close the point gap on Ryan Dungey. Now Tomac must work hard to avoid giving any points back to Dungey. Dungey’s horrible Main event began with Marvin Musquin smashing into the starting gate, causing both Jason Anderson and Dungey to flinch leaving them with horrible starts. Dungey rode determined to a disappointing 4th place finish battling horrible vision, he had no tear offs after the 10 lap mark. The track was one lined and typically this is where I would blast Ricky Carmichael for his poor design, but with all the restrictions placed on the use of space Carmichael did a great job, other than the sand section. A couple of weeks ago I was very critical of the sand in Atlanta, saying sand was alright if it was in a turn. I was wrong, sticky beach sand has no place in Supercross! All it did was ruin Goggles and force single file racing. Adam Cianciarulo used the Dunlop Sand tire last night both Reed and Dungey were out of tear offs about halfway through the main event. I understand Daytona is a different beast when it comes to Supercross, but with a sandy base why add a stickier version in two turns? The biggest surprise last night was Jeremy Martin, at one point I thought he might win the Main event. But should I have been surprised? Martin is a two time outdoor National Champion who grew up riding in Millville, MN, which has similar dirt to Daytona. Martin hired Ryan Villopoto as his riding coach last Monday. I believe he is angling for the vacant spot at Honda left by Ken Roczen in 2018. I don't think we will see Roczen until 2019, if ever. Roczen still has some serious recovery time as he mentioned in his TV interview last night he needed cadaver cartilage replacement in his elbow and he was waiting on a donor. I am somewhat familiar with this process, as I need knee replacement surgery myself. This is a somewhat new procedure (here are couple links to explaining the process http://faoconline.com/home/videos/cartilage/cartilage-transplants-allograft-(from-cadaver http://www.sportsmd.com/knee-injuries/knee-cartilage-replacement/ ). I also heard he has extensive nerve damage and after 10 plus surgeries this is to be expected. Nerves are weird, nerve healing is not an exact science. Different doctors will give you different theories but all seem somewhat unsure exactly how long, or if nerve damage will ever heal. This led me to the sad but likely scenario that Roczen might be done. On the bright side I hear his contract is guaranteed for 3 years. Adam Cianciarulo was the feel good story, after years of injuries and many people writing him off he got the win putting himself in title contention. Adam chose to use a sand rear tire and it paid off! Every time Joey Savatgy got close he was blasted with beach sand. Hopefully this is a second beginning for the likable Ciancirulo, he has paid his dues over the last few years. Points leader Zach Osborne had his worst night so far, he had a good start but multiple mistakes on the one lined track left him salvaging a 5th place finish. Now heading into Indianapolis only 7 points separates Ciancirulo, Savatgy and Osborne. There is destined to be a battle to Vegas, there was no Crown! View full article
  4. Chris Cooksey

    motocross Round 8 Atlanta: Dungey’s Revenge!

    Round 8 Atlanta: Dungey’s Revenge! The past week was full of message boards and journalists (myself included) asking, “What's wrong with Dungey?” He came to Atlanta ready to silence his critics. I stand by my analysis that he is battling an illness, but clearly he is getting better. Dungey did look fatigued towards the end of the race as opposed to Eli Tomac who remained fresh. With that said, Dungey got it done and this is what defines him as a Champion! He can seemingly raise his level when needed while taking what's given on other days. Marvin and Eli have to be frustrated, both guys were faster than Dungey all day, including the Main event but bad starts caused both guys to struggle. The Atlanta track wasn't ideal for passing and the sand section was downright silly. Why put beach sand on the backside of a wall jump? I like the sand sections when built in turns. Wall jumps without sand cause guys to get blasted with dirt, again putting sand there was ridiculous. Another part of the track I didn't like was the dog leg before the triple. Maybe they had to build it that way to fit the stadium, but in any form of racing a dog leg creates single file racing unless it is followed by a double apex 180 degree turn. In the 250 race, Zach Osborne finally reached the top step of the podium! Osborne took the long road to the top. For those who don't know his story, here is the short version. Osborne was highly touted coming out of the Amateur ranks signing with Factory KTM. This didn't work out and he ended up earning the dubious nick name “snack pack,” the name given to him from outdoor national commentator at the time David Pingree. After losing his ride at KTM the only option to continue his career was to take a ride in Europe. Osborne fought hard and earned himself a ride with Geico Honda but after a couple years of not reaching his potential they let him go. Zach then signed with the Rockstar Husky team. While last year was filled with disappointments, this year is proving different. Almost 10 years after becoming a Pro he earned his first SX win. Osborne took the hard road showing through dedication his old nickname, “snack pack” was lifetimes ago. I put him as the East title favorite, but this coming week will be telling. Is this going to make him want to win every race, or is this just the monkey off his back? I am predicting the competition is in trouble. Alex Martin and Jordan Smith seemed a lock for 2nd and 3rd in the 250 main until Martin cleaned out his teammate. Smith missed the on/off jump and was out of the normal rhythm, still Martin shouldn't have jumped in there and cleaned him out. It makes senses if they were battling for a win, but when both TLD KTM riders are in podium spots with little or no chance to catch Osborne, it becomes a stupid move. Team manager Tyler Keefe has to be pulling his hair out. Although Dungey’s performance was great, it's a 17 race series! Tomac and Musquin can't allow Dungey any more breathing room. Let's be real though, if Dungey is up more than 30 points after Daytona this is likely over.
  5. Chris Cooksey

    “Say it ain't so, Chad”

    “Say it ain't so, Chad” As the Monster Energy Supercross series winds down the battle for the Championship Title heats up between Dungey and Tomac. Unfortunately, Chad Reed cost the fans a chance to witness the two best Monster Energy Supercross riders go at it on a track that was challenging and designed for good racing. Chad was apparently upset at Dungey for coming over on him during the start in Detroit, along with his comments after the heat race. I have watched Detroit several times and don't see anything other than guys funneling into a tight first turn, I call Detroit a racing incident. Reed started his assault on Dungey during the heat race by crossing the whoops in front of Dungey on the first lap. I am of the opinion that whoops are like big jumps, riders are committed and this is not a section to get aggressive. The riders are in 3rd or 4th gear wide open and changing directions can cause them to drop a wheel which ultimately could be catastrophic. Now if a 250 rider made that move I might chalk it up to inexperience, but as a seasoned veteran Reed knew better. The move before the finish line was aggressive, maybe a little too rough for a heat race but I didn’t have an issue with the move. If this were a car race Reed would have been black flagged in the Main. I know I have been very critical of John Gallagher, but as the FIM Competition Director this behavior falls under his jurisdiction. I would like to know where he is viewing the race from along with how many other officials have eyes on the track. If he is trying to do the job by himself, he is doomed to fail as it is impossible for one person to see everything. Mr. Gallagher should have been on high alert after the heat race incident between Reed and Dungey, while not many people anticipated Reed blocking Dungey, Mr. Gallagher or someone in his crew should have noticed this and black flagged Reed. Due to the inconsistency of punishments handed out lately I understand the hesitation, but something should have been done. I would sit Reed out for Seattle, a similar punishment to Kyle Chisholm when he blocked Reed in 2009. With millions of dollars and the prestige of a Supercross Championship on the line, it’s perplexing Reed chose this move. If the Championship is decided by under 6 points many will look back on this moment in infamy. With four rounds left the intensity is as high as any series I can remember with so many questions to be answered in both classes. Who will be champion? Will mud be a factor? Will somebody other than Reed play spoiler? Will we see team tactics? Is this Dungey's last season? Will Joey Savatgy ever smile? Can Mcelrath make up the points lost to Hill in Dallas? Will Forkner get a win? Will the mixed East/West shout out decide both 250 titles? Whoever says Supercross isn't exciting clearly isn't paying attention. We have drama both on and off the track, stay tuned! View full article
  6. Chris Cooksey

    John Gallagher: "Bottom line it ends with me!"

    With controversy surrounding Supercross this season associated with inconsistent penalties, I decided rather than criticize FIM Race Director John Gallagher I would sit down with him to understand what his job fully entailed. After talking with John, I left with the impression that he is both knowledgeable about Supercross and truly cares about his position, the riders, and the crowd. I also left with more questions about the overall rule structure of Supercross, specifically how loose the rule book is, ultimately allowing for human interpretation. This is part 1 of my look behind the curtains of Supercross and who makes the important decisions. This is all about John Gallagher, his responsibilities, decisions and his thought process. Who is John Gallagher and how did he get started in Supercross? His involvement in Supercross began in 1976 as a flagger, from there he continued officiating and racing locally until he graduated from Riverside City College with Associates of Science in Motorcycle Technology. Throughout his journey, John has been an official in Supercross, MTEG Ultracross, 4-Stroke Nationals, Thunder Bikes, Arenacross, Dirt Track, X-Games, and Endurocross from 1976 until present day. When preparing for a race, John will fly into the race city the Thursday before racing weekend and spend his Friday and Saturday at the track. His job consists of three different facets. First is safety, John relies on his years of experience to determine the safety standards. He does this by making sure there are no immediate dangers to the racers, officials, and crowd. As it pertains to the crowd; making sure rocks, dirt chunks or motorcycles cannot make contact or do harm to any race fan. A particular area of concern is behind the starting gate, ensuring bikes cannot toss roost into the stands. The second facet is enforcing the rule book and confirming tech inspection is completed correctly. The third facet is ensuring the program runs with-in the time allotted. This includes allowing time for teams to complete bike changes or repairs while staying within the three hour television window. John also is involved with the input to the promoter to determine the rider breaks and the length in time to give the riders in between heats. He speaks with the teams and mechanics and considers their input when determining the schedule. John also has twelve officials placed around the track to act as his eyes during the event. John trusts each official’s interpretation as if he saw the incident himself. While he trusts in what his officials’ witness, ultimately, it is John’s decision if a punishment is distributed. I asked John why he did an interview with Jenny Taft before informing Jason Anderson that he had been disqualified from Anaheim 2. John stated he informed Jason's team manager and was adamant that the responsibility then fell to the team manager to deliver the news as he needed to get back to his duties. John insisted if Anderson was not informed it was not his or any of the twelve officials’ responsibilities to seek Anderson out. Once Anderson’s team manager was notified John got back to his nightly duties. While Jenny Taft didn't have any issues finding Anderson, he was not in the mood to talk. John told Jenny Taft immediately following the incident, “If it becomes physical on the track or off the track it results in an immediate disqualification.” In comparison I asked John why Broc Tickle was not disqualified from Toronto after smacking Barcia in the back of the helmet, as that appeared to be “physical” off the track. John replied, “Every guy knows there is the ability to make somebody swing on you, I could probably provoke you to be very angry with me.” I also asked John why Tickle didn't receive the same punishment as Anderson at Anaheim 2. John stated, “Mr. Friese was not doing anything to provoke any part of that [Anderson incident], not anywhere in it.” In regards to his previous statement to Jenny Taft, I asked if Tickle had taken matters into his own hands by striking Barcia in the back of the helmet and if he should have been disqualified. John responded, “And running into someone with their motorcycle is not considered the same thing?, which is what Justin did in reverse, those guys got close to each other and had a discussion but it was nothing like what Anderson did to Vince Friese, you cannot compare the two. No possible way.” John viewed the Anderson incident as one sided, while viewing the Tickle and Barcia incident as a couple of racers working out their issues. Therefore the latter punishment issued did not warrant severity. I asked John, if Barcia ran his bike into Tickle after the race and Tickle smacked Barcia’s helmet, wouldn't he sit them both down for the night? John said, “Not necessary to sit either guy down. They had a disagreement, it got heated and I dealt with it. Anderson’s incident was not this, it was all one sided. He was dealing with this issue because of what he thought happened on the track, and by the way, he [Anderson] was incorrect. What happened on the track was not Friese’s fault.” I asked John if Barcia was on probation and he confirmed, “No. He was warned but not to that degree.” He also stated when the Barcia and Tickle incident got out of hand he had to interject himself, but he preferred to let them work it out first. Both teams got involved and asked for action, so he had no choice to intervene and punish both riders. Tickle’s punishment included starting last in the Semi, receiving a written warning, and paying a fine. Barcia received a written warning. As far as the Chad Reed/Blue flag penalty, John informed me he contacted Reed on the Monday after the event informing him of his penalty. At this time he tried every possible way to inform Reed of the appropriate way to appeal the penalty in a proper and timely fashion. John attempted to inform Reed of the proper procedure, due to Reed’s past incident with the Black Flag and Trey Canard. Once the black flag has been thrown, Reed had no way to appeal the penalty. John confirmed this was not the reason he did not Black Flag Reed. His concern was related to making sure Dungey didn't have another issue that might be slowing him down, such as a tire going down or a clutch slipping. If Dungey was experiencing any issues, and Reed wasn't holding him up, then it would be unfair to Black Flag Reed. Upon finding out Dungey had no issues, and to also have time to analyze all facets of the incident, is when John decided to penalize Reed. As far as inconsistent punishments, John stated, “my job is to change behavior. If a rider feels a certain behavior is acceptable and the rest of the paddock doesn't feel it is acceptable, I have to figure out how to take a group of people that are vastly different in ability, quality of team, and funding, to find a way to make this all work.” In relation to different punishments for different riders John stated, “in regard to Jason Anderson, points are a big deal. A fine not so much. If you flip the situation and Friese threw the punches, a fine that would affect Anderson would bankrupt a Vince Friese and Vince doesn't have enough points for what Jason lost at that race now. Vince would still owe me points.” John determines decisions based on what is “equitable to each rider,” and the rule book allows this. Bottom line is punishments are his decision. I asked if John considered punishing Barcia in St. Louis for his take out of Alex Ray (which he didn't see until watching the event on television Monday or Tuesday) and he said he told Barcia, “Justin learned that type of thing not only screwed the other guy but also took him out as well.” He continued, “Is that the way you want to move forward because you are riding in the back right now?” John admits there is no clear way to determine when an action requires punishment or it would be written in the rule book. He determines punishments on a rider’s intent and whether or not riders can sort it out themselves. His tasks do not physically allow him to interject himself in every issue. In regard to punishments, John said, “Bottom line is it ends with me!" In Part 2 I will dive into the rule book and show how loopholes could be closed and ensure less human interjection. This will draw clearer lines as to what is a penalty and what punishments should apply.
  7. Chris Cooksey

    Monster Energy Supercross: Toronto Drama...

    More drama in Toronto surrounding FIM Competition Director John Gallagher! Multiple people witnessed the untelevised incident of Brock Tickle slapping Justin Barcia on the back of the helmet after the heat race. This appeared similar to what Jason Anderson did to Vince Friese at A2. John Gallagher stated in his past TV interview in relation to discipline, “it's been very consistent in Supercross, as long as I have been involved. If it becomes physical on the race track, like a couple years ago [Reed Black Flag] or off the race in track, in the pits, immediately that's a disqualification for the evening.” It appears Mr. Gallagher needs more consistency himself, especially when TV cameras don’t catch the action. Does he only disqualify riders if he gets an interview, like when he black flagged Chad Reed and disqualified Anderson? Like I said before, John Gallagher is not a guy who should have the authoritative control he does. His ego changed both Reed and Anderson's seasons potentially costing them money, sponsors and future opportunities. Come on guys! This is Supercross racing at the highest level and I don't think Reed, Anderson or Tickle deserved disqualifying. Gallagher based the Anderson and Reed decisions on emotion and ego. I bet if the Tickle and Barcia incident was caught on TV and Gallagher got his TV time there would have been a disqualification. Now to the actual Toronto Supercross results; and then there were two. The 2017 champion has narrowed down to Eli Tomac or Ryan Dungey. Eli did his part by winning the race, and Dungey overcame a bad start to finish second. Dungey’s creativity with his line choice after the finish line proved his tenacity. Dungey found a line that allowed him to square up the straight away and miss the exposed concrete. He made almost every pass here. The only rider who picked up on the same line was Brock Tickle (who should have been disqualified by Gallagher’s past standards) who held on for a strong third place and the first podium of his career. Marvin Musquin barely finished the race placing 13th as he was battling a serious illness. Unfortunately, his 13Th place finish seriously hurts any championship hopes he might have had. Early in the Main event it looked like Eli would take a nice chunk out of Dungey's championship lead, but in the history of Supercross I have never seen a rider better than Dungey at managing bad nights, injuries and illness. Dungey’s bad nights end in 2nd or 3rd place finishes. The only rider in Supercross history that could compare to him is Jeff Stanton, but Dungey has had more longevity and speed than the six time National and Supercross Champion. In the 250 class Zach Osborne has established himself as the fastest guy week in and week out. With Joey Savatgy going down late in the Main Event Osborne has a 12 point lead in the series. Zach has mentioned he is moving to the 450 class next year, but I think that's only if he wins the Championship. Clearly he has planned on winning this for a while, as fans we are just finding out now. Let’s see how he handles Daytona.
  8. Three rounds left in Dungey's Supercross career: Tomac vs. Dungey All the recent talk in Monster Energy AMA Supercross has been centered on Dungey and his mental state, but what about Eli? Doesn’t anyone remember Eli floundering in 2013 in Salt Lake City? How about Las Vegas in 2011? This season, other than the first few rounds, Eli has been pressure free with his only task to go out and win. Now with the points tied (Tomac owns the tie breaker) the pressure falls directly on his shoulders. With two weeks before SLC, how is he dealing with the pressure? Has he matured from his 2013 and 2011 chokes or is he doomed to repeat the same mistakes he is prone too, (Colorado 2015 huge crash, Dallas 2017 smashed front brake and Seattle 2017 endo in Main)? Eli is in for a stressful month and Dungey is the underdog that can ride with nothing to lose. Let's not forget Eli struggled with arm pump early in the season and two things that contribute to arm pump are stress and high altitude, SLC will have both. Dungey also has quite a bit of helpers available if needed. Baggett, Millsaps and Musquin are racing Dungey as if he signs their paychecks. I am not saying team orders have been given, but who really wants to be the guy who costs KTM a Championship without having a contract for next season? Millsaps didn't fight Dungey very hard for 4th place in Seattle, in fact it looked like he moved out of the way. With three races left in Dungey's career (assuming he is retiring this year) I look for him to pressure Eli into a mistake taking his 4th SX title and riding off into the sunset as the champion. In the 250 class Arron Plessinger looked like a world beater! He was the only rider, other than Tomac in the 450 class, to go 3/3/3 in the rhythm section. Plessinger is a bit of an enigma, sometimes he looks like the fastest rider on earth but only in bursts. If he could harness his speed he could be a superstar, maybe a move to the 450 class is what he needs. We all know he is good on deteriorating tracks, if he could translate this speed to a regular track he could be a contender on a 450. If I were him I would be talking to RCH, Kawasaki and KTM about a 450 ride in 2018. Justin Hill did exactly what a guy with a 21 point lead and three rounds left should do, ride to a safe 2nd place. Hill is another guy that should be shopping for a 450 ride but not because it suits him better but once he wins he has earned enough points out of the 250 class. If I were Kawasaki I would politely tell Josh Grant his services won't be needed in 2018 and put Hill there. With three rounds left in the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series it is shaping up to be one for the ages. If this is Dungey’s swan song, win or lose, what a way to go out. With a week off before SLC some guys will be testing outdoors but don't look for Eli or Dungey to be riding anything but Supercross during their Easter break. I will be in SLC for the race and yes the post-race press conference. This is my first press conference since the infamous Glendale “no crown incident.” Let me know the questions you want asked.
  9. What should I ask the guys? You can watch live at https://livestream.com/SupercrossLIVE/events/7790575 TT representing!
  10. Chris Cooksey

    Ryan Dungey Isn't Dead!

    Congratulations to Ryan Dungey on his highly successful racing career! He will go down as one of the all-time greats in the sport of Motocross and Supercross. While the sport is beneficial with Dungey’s participation, the sport will survive without it. After hearing his retirement speech, at his personal press conference, I am curious to see how he handles retirement. Retirement for professional athletes can be tough. Athletes define themselves by their skills and Dungey's entire life has been dedicated to the goal of winning. Once winning is no longer an athlete’s sole goal in life, depression can take hold. The identity of their professional self dies and they are forced to reinvent themselves. In the heat of the moment Dungey probably wished he was normal and didn't have the intense pressure or stress anymore. While this is true, he will still miss the adoration of so many fans. He will never be able to recreate the feeling of crossing the line to win a Supercross Championship. His life will be full of great joy and good times but the feeling of being Champion cannot be replicated. Ryan Dungey will be remembered as one of the hardest working and determined riders in the sport’s history. This skill will help him moving forward or it will be his downfall. Unfortunately, professional athletes are not held to normal societal rules and many are socially inept. They are so used to everything being geared towards them and their goals. In retirement they are expected to instantly become regular people. They no longer receive special treatment or have an entire team geared toward assisting them reach their goals. They lose many “friends” who were there to feed off their fame and fortune. This is devastating to their psyche. Dungey will need to learn how to widen his focus. The tunnel vision required to be a Champion can alienate an athlete in regular society. Retiring athletes often have an identity crisis when it all ends. During their careers they have a team of people helping them focus and move forward. When they retire this giant support system shrinks to a few people and things can feel lonely. In the next couple years Ryan and Lindsay will be challenged in their relationship. The divorce rate for professional athletes upon retirement is extremely high, their relationship dynamic will completely change. I have heard many people say, “He is rich and has a hot wife, life is good!” While this is true many professional Motocross racers don't have the money to sit back and reflect. Ryan has the money to allow the nothingness of retirement set in. Ryan doesn't need to enter the regular workforce and will have a lot of time on his hands. Ryan will have to find a new motivation for getting up in the morning, much like Kevin Windham. He might want to give Windham a call and allow Windham to explain the emotional roller coaster that lies ahead, and unlike his professional career this will be played out in private. While we celebrate Ryan Dungey and his historic career achievements, I am concerned for him as a human being. I don't think Ryan will go very far from the sport, he has too much to offer. Hopefully he will make the transition and embrace his new life in whatever role he chooses. RD5 is no longer his identity, he is now Ryan from Minnesota. I personally appreciated Dungey this season as this was my first season in the Supercross media and he made it very memorable. He answered my press conference questions honestly and didn’t hide his emotions. I took a lot of heat after Glendale, but I wouldn't have it any other way. He showed his human side, something he never showed earlier in his career. If you want a perfect example of the struggles an athlete goes through upon retirement, check out the documentary State of Play: Happiness. (Photos by LC)
  11. Chris Cooksey

    Kenny Is Back! Roczen Rides Again!

    Ken Roczen is riding again! Since his historic crash in Anaheim, Roczen’s career has been in limbo with only hints and speculations by industry insiders of his return. Ken continued to fuel hints via social media by documenting his surgeries and sharing with his fans his road to recovery since the horrific crash that severely damaged his left arm. To date he has endured twelve surgeries on his left arm leading many to question his future riding ability. Today at Mesquite Motocross Park while burning some Pre-Labor Day BBQ calories I noticed a clean looking Honda 450 with the number #94 plate. I had stumbled across the HOLY GRAIL, Ken Roczen on a motocross track! While he was clearly cruising and getting comfortable, his talent is undeniable in case anyone is wondering. Ken did two Moto’s roughly 30 minutes in length. Until today I wondered if he would ever be the same rider he was before the accident. After watching him ride I am confident we will see a dominant champion return. I had the opportunity to chat with Ken, and while he did not want to answer any questions about his return, my guess is he will be ready for Anaheim 1.
  12. Monster Energy Supercross: Detroit, is it time for change in Supercross? The 12th round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross concluded in Detroit leaving behind some hard to ignore layout deficiencies on the Ford Field. While the series progresses to St. Louis I find myself asking more questions about the overall structure of the series (as it continues to grow and become more mainstream) and less questions about who will or will not be crowned the champion. At the pinnacle of Supercross why was there not enough dirt to cover the stadium floor and how did the stadium floor start peeking through after only 2 laps in the first 250 heat? Is it time to look at different track building techniques? Here are some different ideas : Another series challenge is the need of updated timed qualifiers. I would like to see the top 20 timed qualifiers split in the heats. Rewarding the top half of the field, top 10 in each heat get a 2 second advantage over the other half of the gate, prevents slower guys from becoming moving road blocks. The rest of qualifying should follow suit, if you don't qualify out of the heat or win your semi, during the Main event you take off in the second wave. Again, this will reward the top qualifiers. This will also give us the elite matchups in the front of the field, Dungey vs Tomac and the moving roadblocks like Alessi and Friese won't be in the way. Every other major form of racing rewards fast qualifying. This will also make the first turn far safer, and while it's cool seeing 22 of the worlds fastest 450’s funnel into a couple lines, the bikes are too fast and have outgrown the current starting procedure. This will help keep the stars healthy and on the track, but still maintain the entertainment factor. The final issue in review is how quick the riders figure out the fast lines. With dartfish and overlapping video these teams have taken out the guesswork of finding the fastest line. If part of the track was not opened until the night program, riders may have more difficulty discovering the fasted line before the race has started. Give the guys a hot lap and then turn them loose! While this doesn’t seem to promote safety, it rewards riders who can learn new sections quickly, making the series more interesting as we will see different rider’s skills outside of dirt preference. Also, the much debated “chase” format has been discussed and in this era of short attention spans, smart phones, and instant gratification we have lost the appreciation for a season long war. If we want to attract a new generation of fans, we need to up the intensity and make sure the champion is not crowned halfway through the series (like Dungey in 2016), we can't count on Eli making it interesting every year. These are just a couple things I feel need to be addressed for the future of Supercross, what do you think? Should we add a shark pit or have riders change a tire for starting position? Let me hear your ideas.
  13. Chris Cooksey

    “Say it ain't so, Chad”

    “Say it ain't so, Chad” As the Monster Energy Supercross series winds down the battle for the Championship Title heats up between Dungey and Tomac. Unfortunately, Chad Reed cost the fans a chance to witness the two best Monster Energy Supercross riders go at it on a track that was challenging and designed for good racing. Chad was apparently upset at Dungey for coming over on him during the start in Detroit, along with his comments after the heat race. I have watched Detroit several times and don't see anything other than guys funneling into a tight first turn, I call Detroit a racing incident. Reed started his assault on Dungey during the heat race by crossing the whoops in front of Dungey on the first lap. I am of the opinion that whoops are like big jumps, riders are committed and this is not a section to get aggressive. The riders are in 3rd or 4th gear wide open and changing directions can cause them to drop a wheel which ultimately could be catastrophic. Now if a 250 rider made that move I might chalk it up to inexperience, but as a seasoned veteran Reed knew better. The move before the finish line was aggressive, maybe a little too rough for a heat race but I didn’t have an issue with the move. If this were a car race Reed would have been black flagged in the Main. I know I have been very critical of John Gallagher, but as the FIM Competition Director this behavior falls under his jurisdiction. I would like to know where he is viewing the race from along with how many other officials have eyes on the track. If he is trying to do the job by himself, he is doomed to fail as it is impossible for one person to see everything. Mr. Gallagher should have been on high alert after the heat race incident between Reed and Dungey, while not many people anticipated Reed blocking Dungey, Mr. Gallagher or someone in his crew should have noticed this and black flagged Reed. Due to the inconsistency of punishments handed out lately I understand the hesitation, but something should have been done. I would sit Reed out for Seattle, a similar punishment to Kyle Chisholm when he blocked Reed in 2009. With millions of dollars and the prestige of a Supercross Championship on the line, it’s perplexing Reed chose this move. If the Championship is decided by under 6 points many will look back on this moment in infamy. With four rounds left the intensity is as high as any series I can remember with so many questions to be answered in both classes. Who will be champion? Will mud be a factor? Will somebody other than Reed play spoiler? Will we see team tactics? Is this Dungey's last season? Will Joey Savatgy ever smile? Can Mcelrath make up the points lost to Hill in Dallas? Will Forkner get a win? Will the mixed East/West shout out decide both 250 titles? Whoever says Supercross isn't exciting clearly isn't paying attention. We have drama both on and off the track, stay tuned!
  14. Chris Cooksey

    Vegas SX: It's Over! Best Series Ever!

    The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series is officially over. Ryan Dungey clinched the Championship and I cannot remember another series more entertaining. Obviously, I have to start with the 450 class and what could have been Ryan Dungey’s last Supercross race. Going into the 2017 season all the talk centered on Ken Roczen and his new Honda, and Roczen did not disappoint. He came out swinging in the first two rounds, winning the opener and out dueling Dungey in San Diego. San Diego appeared to be the start of many storylines. Dungey showed us he wasn't going down without a fight, and then ar A2 Roczen experienced his horrific crash and subsequent injury. At this point message boards and industry insiders all speculated Dungey was on cruise control to his 4th title. Eli Tomac was a favorite entering the series but after struggling for the first three rounds everybody was speculating about his bike, fitness and mental status. Whatever he was battling in the first three rounds he quickly fixed, and the Glendale SX began Eli’s domination. Where Eli dominated, Dungey's foundation began to crack. In the postrace press conference Dungey broke character and let loose on me! Looking back it is clear Dungey’s motivation entering the 2017 season appeared to be aimed at Roczen. When Roczen became injured , Dungey lost his motivation and was reminded of his mortality (similar to Rick Johnson the year after David Bailey became paralyzed). But Dungey is not a champion by accident. While battling inner demons and a noticeable burnout he still maintained consistency and managed his point lead. As many champions do, Dungey has established a ridiculous expectation from fans and media. Anything less than a win had fans and media questioning, “What's wrong with Dungey?” The season stress only increased for Dungey and he looked like he was ready to wave the white flag after Salt Lake City. This shifted all pressure directly to Eli and it became his championship to lose. Like Ricky Carmichael said, “the red plate pressure” had Eli floundering in East Rutherford. Even if Marvin Musquin didn't pull over for Dungey in East Rutherford Ryan was leaving with the points lead heading into the final round in Las Vegas. Marvin Musquin pulling over and basically handing KTM and Dungey 3 points in East Rutherford could have turned into a poor strategic move by KTM. Heading into Vegas, Dungey had a 9 point lead, and Musquin’s move justified in any tactics Eli chose in his attempt to claim the Championship. From the pre-race press conference it was clear Tomac wasn't going down without a fight. I spoke with some industry insiders and told them I thought Eli would get dirty if needed and they scoffed at the idea. They assumed Kawasaki didn’t want the title in that way. I disagreed and during an event with Andrew Short I asked him his thoughts. Andrew replied, “I wouldn't want to hurt him, but yea you have to take a shot.” Eli not only took a shot, he took three! He slowed the race pace and if not for Jason Anderson acting as Dungey's wingman Eli’s plan might have worked. When the pace slowed, Chad Reed sensed a chance to win. Reed does not care about other’s agendas or any championship in which he can't win and saw an opportunity to grab a win. Luckily for Dungey his wingman straight t-boned Reed ending his shot at being the oldest rider to ever win a Monster Energy Supercross. Eli made one last Hail Mary attempt by letting Dungey pass in order to try and take him out. In the process this allowed Anderson to squeak past and steal the race win. Dungey realized he had a big gap back to 5th place and stopped taking Eli’s bait. Dungey became the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Champion in what was likely his last Supercross race, even though he declined to announce as he had previously promised. The Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Shootout may have been the best race I have ever seen and Supercross winner David Vuillimin agreed. Here is Vuillimin’s tweet after the race: “I've just witnessed the best SX race in history... #CongratsZacho.” Typically the press box is reserved, with cheering and yelling at a minimum. When Zach caught Joey Savatgy and made the pass the press box erupted, not because they were fans of Osborne but because we all realized we had just seen a race that will be talked about for years to come. Zach's performance was one that parents will reference when teaching their kids discipline and the importance of never giving up. As bad as Savatgy has to feel, he was part of a historic race that will remembered for a long time. As exciting as the race was it was equally disappointing for both Savatgy and Jordan Smith who both were in positions to win the Championship. Savatgy appears to have something going on with him mentally. He reminds me of Chuck Knoblauch, the second baseman for the Yankees who forgot how to throw to first base: (https://honesthypnosis.com/2013/03/what-really-happened-to-chuck-knoblauch/). Hopefully Savatgy can get this corrected. I was also glad to hear Smith was alright after his frightening crash heading into the stadium. He smashed into the side of the track going about 70mph and that easily could have been life altering. The sport of Supercross is the most exciting form of Motorsports! I will argue this with anyone who is up for a debate. Supercross is changing the format for next year, at least there are serious discussions about making changes. The changes I want to see have to do with the rule book and how rules are enforced, but I have a different article for that, here is a link to Part 1: https://www.thumpertalk.com/articles/john-gallagher-bottom-line-it-ends-with-me-r671/
  15. Press conference is at 10:15 Pacific time, what do you want to know?
  16. Chris Cooksey

    Looking California feeling like Minnesota:

    As the series hits the East Coast swing Ryan Dungey normally hits his stride by clicking off wins and asserting his dominance. This year is proving different. Musquin and Tomac are stronger and can sense a vulnerability in Dungey we have not seen before. Are we witnessing Father Time catch up with Dungey? Is he injured? Did the Roczen injury mess with his head? These are all factors I hear fans discussing. I have a friend who is close to the riders at the Bakery who told me Dungey is suffering from an Epstein Barr/Mononucleosis type of illness. While I am not 100% sure about what's going on with Dungey, clearly something is off. Riders who are overworked and under fed (Aldon’s program) is news we have heard before, most recently Ken Roczen was extremely critical of the program. Assuming this is Dungey’s issue, Musquin has to know what is going on. Training alongside your competition with an “iron sharpens iron” philosophy is how the riders in the Bakery train. This can be a huge benefit to the riders, until they are attempting to hide a weakness from their main competitor. While Musquin was riding high with confidence after his win in Dallas, maybe he had inside knowledge about Dungey struggling late in the races and that is why he charged hard late in the race. I can't ever remember watching Dungey get repeatedly caught and passed at the end of races. With 9 races, and two riders within 24 points of Dungey, the championship is wide open. While 3rd place isn't a bad finish, Tomac gained 5 points and Musquin gained 2, it’s getting interesting. Loved seeing the 250 East guys. Every rider wanted to come out swinging and establish themselves as “the guy.” Confidence is important in Supercross, probably the most important thing a rider can have as the first race establishes the pecking order. Joey Savatgy did what most experts predicted. While his performance didn't overwhelm the competition, a win is still a win. Jordan Smith may have found what had been missing the last few years. In the past we’ve seen flashes of speed followed by spectacular crashes. He rode solid in the Main event providing him the confidence needed to make him a consistent podium guy and maybe get his first career win this year. Zach Osborne is desperately trying to get his first win and it shows, he is not content with a podium finish. He will win or crash trying. Round Two in Atlanta will be make or break for both Alex Martin and Christian Craig. Martin’s night ended in the first turn with a vicious crash, hopefully he will be alright for Atlanta. Craig had a bad start and got caught up in first round mayhem earning him a 12th place finish. He will need a podium in Atlanta to get back in this championship. We are seeing the attrition of Supercross taking a toll on the field. Last night we lost both Cooper Webb and Justin Bogle, not sure how bad their injuries are but both walked off and Bogle said via Instagram that he will be racing in Atlanta. Webb’s injury looked severe, when somebody grabs their arm and immediately walks away from the track, not even removing their goggles, I get worried. These guys are gladiators and being dramatic about injuries is not something they do, this isn't Soccer or Basketball. Hopefully his injury isn't serious, we’ll find out in Atlanta.
  17. Chris Cooksey

    Oakland; ET has landed!

    Clearly there is no crowned champion after Saturday night! Eli is looking like the rider we saw winning outdoor nationals a couple years ago. But, before we get ahead of ourselves let's not forget this is a 17 race series (Dungey, SX reporters, podcasts, and fans reminded me of this last week). As dominant as Eli has shown the past two weeks, year after year Dungey seems to find the speed when it matters most. Other than 2016, Dungey is typically a slow starter and finds his groove as the series heads east. However, Eli rode amazing in Oakland while Dungey struggled with the treacherous conditions. Had this been the last round of the series with the title hanging in the balance, I bet we would have seen a more aggressive Dungey. Eli looks flat out amazing on certain days, unfortunately watching him charge through the pack or win by massive margins doesn't matter when it comes to point standings. Eli only gained 3 points in Oakland. Anyone beating a guy who finishes 2nd or 3rd on his bad days in a series is impressive. Eli still has a tough road ahead but so did Carmichael in 2001 when he dethroned McGrath. Time will tell, remember no crown here, no crown! Cooper Webb is becoming more comfortable each week. Whatever Yamaha did to their bikes at A2 has proved to show a big difference for both Webb and Reed, even though Webb denied making the same changes as Chad in the postrace press conference. I was not surprised by Reed’s performance as he struggles on tracks with inconsistent dirt. Look for him to be out front in the domed stadiums where the dirt is more predictable. In the 250 class Justin Hill is destined to take the title. He is riding smooth and a misplaced 2x4 under his rear wheel and an illness didn’t stop him in Oakland. Plus Hill is refreshing as he lets his personality shine on the podium unlike second place finisher in Oakland, Martin Davalos. While everyone is talking about Martin’s social media skills (or lack of), I take more of an issue with his podium interviews. If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all! No emotion simply a flat cliché followed by a shameless sponsor plug delivered in his monotone voice. I commend him for having the talent to win 24 heat races, but damn! How about he answers the questions asked with genuine personality. I know some people close to him that say he is an intelligent and funny guy, but based on his interviews I don't see it. In an era of social media we know more about our heroes than ever before and can accept their mistakes if they are honest. His talent on a dirt bike is undeniable, I will keep enjoying his riding while fast forwarding his interviews. Shane Mcelrath faced some serious adversity, after tangling with Jimmy Decotis in the heat race in what I call a “racing incident.” Mcelrath landed on the footpeg of Decotis and those are razor sharp! Looked like the peg came close to slicing his armpit which could have been horrible, with a main artery in the armpit things could have gone bad. Mcelrath recovered for the second week in a row by winning the LCQ and fighting hard for a gritty third place finish. This result keeps him in championship contention. Dallas will be crucial for Mcelrath, heading into the break he desperately needs to stop the momentum Hill has established. Don't forget Dallas is another early race so make sure the DVR is set if you are out riding. The series is developing some interesting plots. Can Eli maintain his domination? Will Dungey find his flow? Who will be the next first time winner? Will the Rocky Mountain team ever get Forrest Butler a podium? Can Hill make it 4 in a row before the break? Stay tuned….
  18. Chris Cooksey

    Vegas SX Photos

  19. Chris Cooksey

    Vegas SX preview: Tomac needs to get dirty!

    Tomac needs to get dirty! With Las Vegas left in the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross series, countless storylines are still in development. The most important is The 450 Championship. Eli Tomac needs to win which would require Ryan Dungey to finish 5th or worse, and that's the simple version. Looking closer at last week’s race we find a frustrated and even angry Eli Tomac. Typically when racing one of the sports all-time greats, you want to maintain a clean and respectful race. After KTM took their gloves off last week, having Marvin Musquin pull over and hand Dungey the win, the door is wide open for Tomac to play dirty. KTM cast the first stone, unfortunately if Tomac takes Dungey out in spectacular form, he will definitely take heat. KTM is playing with a loaded deck in Vegas. Eli is battling Dungey, Musquin, Millsaps, Baggett, Anderson and Wilson. That is 5 guys that will move out of Dungey's way in order to get Dungey into the top 4. Eli might have placed himself in this situation with his “choke job” in East Rutherford, despite the controversial “team orders.” If this was Carmichael, Reed, Johnson, Hannah or Villopoto they all would be planning an attack against Dungey. Is Tomac willing to get dirty to win the most prestigious MX/SX championship in the world? If Tomac decides to execute this strategy he can only become more popular. Tomac is single handily taking on the current evil empire of Supercross (KTM/Husqvarna) and not many would blame him for fighting the bully using dirty tactics. I think Eli will take a shot at Dungey on Saturday night. In the 250 class team tactics could also get out of control. With the East and West Regions combined, and the West already claimed by Josh Hill, a group of riders are vulnerable to being forced to “help” their teammates. We all know the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team isn't shy about using team tactics. I guarantee KTM and Husqvarna won't be shy about using their guys either as this is the only time any Supercross Championship has been a winner take all finale with 3 riders. Joey Savatgy is likely to be the guy with the most teammates at his disposal, but Hill is looking for a 450 ride. I don’t think Hill will risk angering a future employer. Adam Ciancirulo is still alive in the championship. Austin Forkner is still looking for his first win, would he sacrifice that for Hill? Let's not forget Tyler Bowers isn't Savatgy’s teammate this year and even though Bowers hasn't been a top guy this year his disdain for Joey Savatgy has not subsided. Bowers has mentioned on multiple occasions that he would love to get a shot at Savatgy. Jordan Smith has a couple of good teammates in Shane Mcelrath and Mitchell Oldenburg. Both guys appear to be team players and would sacrifice their race so TLD KTM can earn their first championship. Zach Osborne has been the fastest guy in the East and should be able to win this outright with no help. His teammate Martin Davalos should be willing to help Zach, but at times Davalos looks more like a human torpedo on the track. His best offering might be staying out of Zach’s way. Don't miss the race on Saturday night! This season will be dissected for years to come. 2017 is Dungey's last season (maybe) along with Roczen’s too (I hope not). This will be the last year with the modern format. We will see many changes coming in 2018, whether it's a Chase Format, a 2 moto format or something new. This will be the last series under the current format and no matter how Saturday ends it has been one for the ages!
  20. With my first season as a Monster Energy Supercross media member winding down, I decided to provide a media member perspective of my day in Salt Lake City. By now everyone has seen or heard about Eli Tomac’s amazing ride, so I won't beat a dead horse. This is all about my day in SLC, a behind the scenes look at my Supercross experience. In Salt Lake City the vibes were different than other Monster Energy Supercross events. In Utah the crowd attending appeared family based as Utah doesn't have the “So-Cal Bro” feel of Anaheim and Las Vegas. If you wanted to bring children to a clean race, this was the event. My day started with a stroll through the pits where I took pictures and made the rounds catching up with industry friends and coworkers. I spoke with Charles Castloo from 100% about their impressive growth. I chatted tire preferences with my WPS co-worker and working man hero, Kyle Gills. He prefers to run the Michelin Starcross 5. Kyle is about as privateer as a rider can be. While he has some friends as mechanics, he does most of the work himself. Kyle only competes in select events as he has a 9-5 job and traveling across the country every week isn't feasible. From there I headed to the track walk, specifically to get a closer look. As I tried to enter the track I was stopped by an official and told, “Sorry, working media only.” While I could have easily become upset or explained my way onto the track I didn’t have too. Standing to the side and towering over most, wearing a cowboy hat and boots, Teddy Parks and his grizzly voice directed me to a VIP view from the grandstands, after posing for several photos of course. I would proceed to see him multiple times throughout the night, even holding the flag during the National Anthem! After track walk and rider’s meeting a chapel service was conducted on the track. The pastor was puzzling to say the least. Typically, most members of the media head to the press box to watch practice, but I like to watch from different places around the stadium. This gives me a better idea of what the riders are doing and how they are feeling. I enjoy watching the B and C practices as this give the best indication as to how difficult certain sections of the track are, sometimes the A riders make it look too easy. After practice and timed qualifying I headed to the press box. The press box is strange, there are a few seats reserved for “working media” mixed in with JT$’s VIPs taking in the experience. JT$ walks the VIPs through the track during track walk explaining the sections, level of difficulty, and possibly what the riders are thinking. I usually don't sit in the “working media section” because I can't watch the race without showing emotion. In the end none of us were able to watch Tomac and Dungey's epic battle without screaming emotion. By the main event the normal stress and tense mood of the room melted into an outcry of emotion for Tomac. For a brief moment every media member put their deadlines to the side and became a fan in the crowd. After the race, leaving the press box becomes a race itself. With elevators jammed packed and the press conference held in secrecy, no media person desires to walk into the press conference room late, or get locked out unintentionally. The press conferences have been a source of great controversy, as it is a new system and there is little or no guidance outside of asking any question to the podium finishers. Some of the old guards of Supercross media despise the new format, they feel it removes their inside advantage. For newbies like myself it provides access to the top stars. In previous years you had to be a rider’s friend or grind through the system for years to get an interview or quote. The new format allows media access to riders who might otherwise avoid them. I was extremely nervous, as this was my first press conference since the infamous, “there was no crown” incident in Glendale. I heard a rumor the 250 class changed their eligibility rules allowing champions to defend their title. I wanted to know if Justin Hill would defend or look for a 450 ride. I asked my question and without hesitation he confirmed he was racing 450 in 2018. Ryan and his wife Lindsay sat directly behind me during the press conference and I did a little eavesdropping. I cannot be 100% sure of everything said, but I caught a few things. Ryan described Eli’s performance to Lindsay as Eli riding full of confidence after signing a multimillion dollar contract and Eli’s willingness to hang it all out. Since I didn't hear the entire conversation or the exact context consider this “fake news” but interesting nonetheless. As the 450 riders were called to the podium Daniel Blair announced Jason Anderson would not be in attendance as he was battling altitude sickness. Dungey took his seat in the 2nd place spot. Tomac avoided sitting in the middle, in the first place seat, and chose to sit furthest away from Dungey. Tomac appeared professional showcasing his Monster Energy drink, but avoided direct eye contact with Dungey. While they both respected the press conference process there was definitely tension between the two, even if it was one sided from Tomac. After a few reporter questions had been asked, the mic was passed to me. With hands sweating and my heart racing I tried to hide my nerves and make sure I asked my question correctly. This time I held the mic tight until I was sure Dungey understood exactly what I was asking. I didn’t want to ask the cookie cutter questions others were asking, but also I didn’t want to be disrespectful as these guys just put their hearts and lives on the line for 28 laps. I asked Dungey if the implementation of the chase format would have any impact on his retirement decision. To my surprise Dungey appeared relieved to share his thoughts on the future format. He expressed his opinion that he didn’t want things to change or turn into a “circus,” but did not break any information regarding his retirement. As they dismissed the 450 riders from the podium, the top 10 riders from both 250 and 450 classes were obliged to hang around for 20 minutes for individual interviews. Dungey didn't want to hang around and headed straight for the door, I thanked him for not yelling at me this time and he gave me a funny look, I’m positive he did not remember me from before. At the end of my 14 hour day, I was mostly relieved to complete my first press conference since Glendale, and look forward to Vegas!
  21. More drama in Toronto surrounding FIM Competition Director John Gallagher! Multiple people witnessed the untelevised incident of Brock Tickle slapping Justin Barcia on the back of the helmet after the heat race. This appeared similar to what Jason Anderson did to Vince Friese at A2. John Gallagher stated in his past TV interview in relation to discipline, “it's been very consistent in Supercross, as long as I have been involved. If it becomes physical on the race track, like a couple years ago [Reed Black Flag] or off the race in track, in the pits, immediately that's a disqualification for the evening.” It appears Mr. Gallagher needs more consistency himself, especially when TV cameras don’t catch the action. Does he only disqualify riders if he gets an interview, like when he black flagged Chad Reed and disqualified Anderson? Like I said before, John Gallagher is not a guy who should have the authoritative control he does. His ego changed both Reed and Anderson's seasons potentially costing them money, sponsors and future opportunities. Come on guys! This is Supercross racing at the highest level and I don't think Reed, Anderson or Tickle deserved disqualifying. Gallagher based the Anderson and Reed decisions on emotion and ego. I bet if the Tickle and Barcia incident was caught on TV and Gallagher got his TV time there would have been a disqualification. Now to the actual Toronto Supercross results; and then there were two. The 2017 champion has narrowed down to Eli Tomac or Ryan Dungey. Eli did his part by winning the race, and Dungey overcame a bad start to finish second. Dungey’s creativity with his line choice after the finish line proved his tenacity. Dungey found a line that allowed him to square up the straight away and miss the exposed concrete. He made almost every pass here. The only rider who picked up on the same line was Brock Tickle (who should have been disqualified by Gallagher’s past standards) who held on for a strong third place and the first podium of his career. Marvin Musquin barely finished the race placing 13th as he was battling a serious illness. Unfortunately, his 13Th place finish seriously hurts any championship hopes he might have had. Early in the Main event it looked like Eli would take a nice chunk out of Dungey's championship lead, but in the history of Supercross I have never seen a rider better than Dungey at managing bad nights, injuries and illness. Dungey’s bad nights end in 2nd or 3rd place finishes. The only rider in Supercross history that could compare to him is Jeff Stanton, but Dungey has had more longevity and speed than the six time National and Supercross Champion. In the 250 class Zach Osborne has established himself as the fastest guy week in and week out. With Joey Savatgy going down late in the Main Event Osborne has a 12 point lead in the series. Zach has mentioned he is moving to the 450 class next year, but I think that's only if he wins the Championship. Clearly he has planned on winning this for a while, as fans we are just finding out now. Let’s see how he handles Daytona. View full article
  22. Chris Cooksey

    Round 8 Atlanta: Dungey’s Revenge!

    Round 8 Atlanta: Dungey’s Revenge! The past week was full of message boards and journalists (myself included) asking, “What's wrong with Dungey?” He came to Atlanta ready to silence his critics. I stand by my analysis that he is battling an illness, but clearly he is getting better. Dungey did look fatigued towards the end of the race as opposed to Eli Tomac who remained fresh. With that said, Dungey got it done and this is what defines him as a Champion! He can seemingly raise his level when needed while taking what's given on other days. Marvin and Eli have to be frustrated, both guys were faster than Dungey all day, including the Main event but bad starts caused both guys to struggle. The Atlanta track wasn't ideal for passing and the sand section was downright silly. Why put beach sand on the backside of a wall jump? I like the sand sections when built in turns. Wall jumps without sand cause guys to get blasted with dirt, again putting sand there was ridiculous. Another part of the track I didn't like was the dog leg before the triple. Maybe they had to build it that way to fit the stadium, but in any form of racing a dog leg creates single file racing unless it is followed by a double apex 180 degree turn. In the 250 race, Zach Osborne finally reached the top step of the podium! Osborne took the long road to the top. For those who don't know his story, here is the short version. Osborne was highly touted coming out of the Amateur ranks signing with Factory KTM. This didn't work out and he ended up earning the dubious nick name “snack pack,” the name given to him from outdoor national commentator at the time David Pingree. After losing his ride at KTM the only option to continue his career was to take a ride in Europe. Osborne fought hard and earned himself a ride with Geico Honda but after a couple years of not reaching his potential they let him go. Zach then signed with the Rockstar Husky team. While last year was filled with disappointments, this year is proving different. Almost 10 years after becoming a Pro he earned his first SX win. Osborne took the hard road showing through dedication his old nickname, “snack pack” was lifetimes ago. I put him as the East title favorite, but this coming week will be telling. Is this going to make him want to win every race, or is this just the monkey off his back? I am predicting the competition is in trouble. Alex Martin and Jordan Smith seemed a lock for 2nd and 3rd in the 250 main until Martin cleaned out his teammate. Smith missed the on/off jump and was out of the normal rhythm, still Martin shouldn't have jumped in there and cleaned him out. It makes senses if they were battling for a win, but when both TLD KTM riders are in podium spots with little or no chance to catch Osborne, it becomes a stupid move. Team manager Tyler Keefe has to be pulling his hair out. Although Dungey’s performance was great, it's a 17 race series! Tomac and Musquin can't allow Dungey any more breathing room. Let's be real though, if Dungey is up more than 30 points after Daytona this is likely over. View full article
  23. As the series hits the East Coast swing Ryan Dungey normally hits his stride by clicking off wins and asserting his dominance. This year is proving different. Musquin and Tomac are stronger and can sense a vulnerability in Dungey we have not seen before. Are we witnessing Father Time catch up with Dungey? Is he injured? Did the Roczen injury mess with his head? These are all factors I hear fans discussing. I have a friend who is close to the riders at the Bakery who told me Dungey is suffering from an Epstein Barr/Mononucleosis type of illness. While I am not 100% sure about what's going on with Dungey, clearly something is off. Riders who are overworked and under fed (Aldon’s program) is news we have heard before, most recently Ken Roczen was extremely critical of the program. Assuming this is Dungey’s issue, Musquin has to know what is going on. Training alongside your competition with an “iron sharpens iron” philosophy is how the riders in the Bakery train. This can be a huge benefit to the riders, until they are attempting to hide a weakness from their main competitor. While Musquin was riding high with confidence after his win in Dallas, maybe he had inside knowledge about Dungey struggling late in the races and that is why he charged hard late in the race. I can't ever remember watching Dungey get repeatedly caught and passed at the end of races. With 9 races, and two riders within 24 points of Dungey, the championship is wide open. While 3rd place isn't a bad finish, Tomac gained 5 points and Musquin gained 2, it’s getting interesting. Loved seeing the 250 East guys. Every rider wanted to come out swinging and establish themselves as “the guy.” Confidence is important in Supercross, probably the most important thing a rider can have as the first race establishes the pecking order. Joey Savatgy did what most experts predicted. While his performance didn't overwhelm the competition, a win is still a win. Jordan Smith may have found what had been missing the last few years. In the past we’ve seen flashes of speed followed by spectacular crashes. He rode solid in the Main event providing him the confidence needed to make him a consistent podium guy and maybe get his first career win this year. Zach Osborne is desperately trying to get his first win and it shows, he is not content with a podium finish. He will win or crash trying. Round Two in Atlanta will be make or break for both Alex Martin and Christian Craig. Martin’s night ended in the first turn with a vicious crash, hopefully he will be alright for Atlanta. Craig had a bad start and got caught up in first round mayhem earning him a 12th place finish. He will need a podium in Atlanta to get back in this championship. We are seeing the attrition of Supercross taking a toll on the field. Last night we lost both Cooper Webb and Justin Bogle, not sure how bad their injuries are but both walked off and Bogle said via Instagram that he will be racing in Atlanta. Webb’s injury looked severe, when somebody grabs their arm and immediately walks away from the track, not even removing their goggles, I get worried. These guys are gladiators and being dramatic about injuries is not something they do, this isn't Soccer or Basketball. Hopefully his injury isn't serious, we’ll find out in Atlanta. View full article
  24. Chris Cooksey

    supercross Oakland; ET has landed!

    Clearly there is no crowned champion after Saturday night! Eli is looking like the rider we saw winning outdoor nationals a couple years ago. But, before we get ahead of ourselves let's not forget this is a 17 race series (Dungey, SX reporters, podcasts, and fans reminded me of this last week). As dominant as Eli has shown the past two weeks, year after year Dungey seems to find the speed when it matters most. Other than 2016, Dungey is typically a slow starter and finds his groove as the series heads east. However, Eli rode amazing in Oakland while Dungey struggled with the treacherous conditions. Had this been the last round of the series with the title hanging in the balance, I bet we would have seen a more aggressive Dungey. Eli looks flat out amazing on certain days, unfortunately watching him charge through the pack or win by massive margins doesn't matter when it comes to point standings. Eli only gained 3 points in Oakland. Anyone beating a guy who finishes 2nd or 3rd on his bad days in a series is impressive. Eli still has a tough road ahead but so did Carmichael in 2001 when he dethroned McGrath. Time will tell, remember no crown here, no crown! View full article
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