It seems that just yesterday we were at Anaheim for the first round of the SX season and now after Las Vegas SX, the 2013 season is in the rear view. As I was on the plane traveling there I was in shock out how fast the season passed us by. Never the less, I was excited to get there for a little work and watch the guys race their last SX of the year and to watch the two Lites champs square off against one another in the Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East vs West Shootout. I have to admit I wasn’t anticipating much from the Supercross class.
Prior to the race I had an appearance at the X Ryderz store in Henderson, NV for Fox Racing. It was the grand opening for this particular store and it is also a new account for Fox. Chad (Reed) and I made the trip out there and I have to say the marketing people for the store and Fox did a great job promoting the event. There was a huge line there waiting for us made up mostly of moto fans. It was a great way to kick off the weekend.
As the racing got under way you could tell from the start that the Lites class was going to be a great race, both Tomac and Barcia winning their heat/main event qualifying races in dominant fashion you could see that there was a statement to be made by one of them come East/West shootout race by one of them. The Supercross class heat races were nothing to brag about. The racing wasn’t great in my opinion and I didn’t see anything changing before the main events to make them any better. The only guy to me that really was riding better and with more determination than normal was Millsaps.
As the East/West shootout was underway, and only a 10 lap race to get the job done, the battle between the two champs was on. This race reminded me a lot of my championship battle in Vegas in 06 when Stewart, Reed and I ran up front all night and rode picture perfect. Tomac and Barcia showed the world we they are Lites champions this year, they dominated that race and were in a full blown battle. Even though they weren’t side by side there were within a second of each other the whole time and were basically mirroring one another’s lap times, just totally on point and at one point towards the end of the race they even made the exact same mistake on the same lap thru the whoops in the same spot and it was crazy. I know for me personally that is the race I wanted to see, the two champs squaring off with no interruptions and may the best man win. In the end it would be Barcia taking the advantage but even though that was the case I have to say Tomac was just as good and made up a little bit of ground on Barcia but the W in the win column always trumps any performance other than winning unfortunately even if the other person was better.
The Supercross class main event was pretty boring, which was no surprise after watching the heat races. Dungey did what I would expect him to do, which was get the holeshot and win by 15 seconds. I said earlier that Millsaps was the guy that impressed me the most and I will tell you why. He didn’t get the best of starts and was coming through the pack and went off course at one time, caught back up again and finished out strong. Usually he wouldn’t have came thru the pack like he did and with going off course well then for sure would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for him, but not this time. He had a lot on the line being that he could get second in the championship and it was awesome watch him ride to the level of his talent and also watch him ride with determination and a purpose. I have always admired his talent and it was really good to see him use it.
As the night was over it was time to reflect a little bit. I think Barcia and Tomac in the Lites class were definitely the best in the class of their series. Both riders being the more dominant of their opponents and really taking charge when they needed to. All series long they were both very poised and focused on getting the job done no matter what the circumstances were. In the Supercross class I in think that Villopoto was clearly the guy, even though he got beat a few times and was challenged by some of the top guys he always seemed to be the guy to me that was just extremely focused and wasn’t flustered by anyone. If someone on any given night was giving him troubles he always stuck to his game plan and never wavered from that plan and in the end, I believe that’s what you have to do to be champion in a 17 race series. He also had a lot of speed. In my opinion I think some of the injuries in the SX class came from him, he set a level that was going to be extremely hard to beat, from his speed, consistency and fitness. So I think that he put those guys in predicaments that they didn’t need to be in which caused them to ride harder and maybe out of their comfort zone which causes wrecks most of the time and also gave them a sense of urgency to stop him before the points battle got out of reach. In the end that’s my take on it.
I have to say it was an exciting SX series and I think there is some great talent moving up in the next few years from the Lites class to the Supercross class and I cannot wait to watch. Also, even though some of the top guys went out in the Supercross class the racing was still good which was great to see. With that, that’s going to wrap it up and thanks for all the reads this SX season, next up for me is my regional qualifier for Loretta Lynn’s. Check back and I will be filling you in on my getting ready for the event and the race itself. I am really looking forward to it! (ed. Note if you missed it here is Fox’s Racing’s video from RC’s area qualifier back in April.)