NDel : Did Tyler Durden take the no guard clippers to Hampshire, slap him in the back of the head and with a look of approval say, “like a monkey, ready to be shot into space”? I saw screen caps of Hampshire in the air, sans motorcycle and I thought for sure he’d have to use the $300 of personal burial money. Fortunately and surprisingly, he walked away unscathed and was able to line it up for moto 2. That was gnarly. We’ve all rolled the windows up, like you said, and my tale goes like this:
2005 Grand Rapids regional arenacross. I was in a rather irrelevant battle in the 250 LCQ for a position that would not even have transferred me to the main event. The rhythm section consisted of 3 singles, a table and a single. The big dick line was to three in, “three” out. I had the big dick line dialed, about 47 percent of the time I attempted it throughout the weekend. In my heated battle for “whatever position” with “whoever”, on lap “something”, I botched the bowl turn and killed my momentum. I was still somewhat young and immature as a racer, but mostly due to me riding like I just lost my virginity, double clutched that SLH 250f, leaned back with my eyes closed and shot my skinny ass and all 155 lbs of me into the shock in what was to be a steezy as fuck display of a bad motherfucker seat bouncing a gnarly arenacross rhythm combo, while making a pass over the less skilled (more like more composed) pussies in front of and below me. I proceeded to botch this step as well. The shock violently rebounded on the face while I was still seated on the bike like it was a Lazy Boy. Up, up, and awaaaay we go!! As my bike and I synchronously experienced weightlessness while ever so slowly rotating forward in trajectory, I quickly and methodically did the math calculations in my head and devised my next course of action. Knowing that my flailing arms were futile at best, I proceeded to bring my knees to my chest, wrap my arms around them and tuck my head, effectively transforming my mid air chicken dance into a graceful Olympic diving front flip. My mental calculations were closer than I would have ever thought because I fully rotated the flip, well almost. The bike stayed relatively neutral in the air, while I did a full 270 degrees in rotation and landed on the seat in what would look like a normal FMX lazy boy. I quickly regained control of the bike and then doubled out of the section, railed the bowl turn and jumped the catapult in disbelief. Just kidding, that part didn’t happen. Checkerz and Hoos were there along with a few other regional AX cast members and they still to this day refer to me sometimes as “Jackie Chan” because of this.
JR51 : Ahh, I spent a decade making oh shit moments. There's a few that stand out, like projectile vomiting in the hotel room at 6 AM Friday morning in Louisville with regional Arenacross practice just hours away. But on the track, bar none, life flashed before my eyes. 2001 Baltimore Arenacross, heat race, I come across the big double in the center of the track and a lapper's bike sits right where I'm landing. I land square on his bike, flying W, feet off the back, throttle locked. I hit the berm in the following corner, tapped, and my bike gets caught in the net behind the berm. I did not. I flip, flying through the air, over the first corner and out the tunnel. Landing in a heap, mere feet away from the dozer blade. And somehow, I gathered myself up, swapped out my broken helmet for a back up, and headed to the line for the 250 heat. And people wonder why I don't ride anymore...
Tez the Casual Fan : 'Oh Shit Moment'....the list is lengthy, but one I'm willing to let out of the bag, takes us back to the 90's and the one of many times I let my emotions get the best of me. [Editor’s note, Like a kid growing up riding a minibike all day everyday, Tez didn’t have a mini-dad but rather a baseball-dad. He grew up playing pitcher & went to college to play til he blew out his knee, sound familiar? He doesn’t ride, but he understands the mentality of one on one battles and knows what its like to grow up with only sports on your mind, all day, everyday.] Baseball....Spring State Tourney and it's elimination time. First thing you learn when you have a 94 mph fastball....nobody wants to get hit with it! So I get the nod, and my first pitch is aimed at intimidation instead of the strike zone. Unfortunately the lead off batter did not expect this and leaned in only to have his helmet and face explode. Thirty minutes later he comes to on a stretcher with a shattered jaw and cheekbone. Oh Shit...I was 14 and learned a valuable lesson about the powers I held. Not really the point...but I threw up a:
7IP..3H..1R..0ER..3BB..14SO Line and we advanced only to lose in the State Final. [Editor’s note, I have no idea what that means]
Checkz : This is definitely too long to use, but too good to not share. [Editor’s note, Nope, we used it]
Flashback to 2005, my first and only pro outdoor national and the last one at Troy, OH ever. In the years of Saturday morning amateurs, Pro practice and day qualifiers to follow, and motos on Sunday. First lap of practice, I land off a table and get over the bars to charge the next straight. My toe catches a rut and rips straight down tearing all the tendons in the top of my foot. Unable to walk, I hobbled to the cement start pad for the Heat where big bro has to start the bike. Had a damn good start and might have even qualified if not for a big case resulting in me calling it a weekend. I spent the next day on crutches and drinking beers cheering on the pros.
Able to limp by Monday, I ditched the crutches and headed to the $20k purse race at Lake County on Wednesday before going home. They always watered the hell out of the track in practice and Schaefer built the 6 gnarliest whoops I’d ever seen before a huge finish line booter. Usually the big whoops were my specialty, but being 240lbs on outdoor suspension in these icy monsters got the best of me as I dropped the front wheel into the last one, grabbed a full grip of CRF450 power and catapulted off the finish line take off ghosting the bike as we lost contact with earth. What felt like an eternity later, I face planted a good 60 feet away in the infield. Dazed and confused, I definitely couldn’t walk or ride...plus the bike was mangled.
Still not ready to cut my losses, we returned to the hotel to drink away the pain. While sitting on our hotel patio, JR51 hears some girls chattering down the hall. A quick trip “to the ice machine” later and he returned with one girl and a dude who just talked like one. About 2 bottles of Jaeger later everyone but the chick and I had passed out. Unfortunately, she became my now ex-wife.
Let’s just say, that whole trip was a giant yard sale and it would’ve been cheaper to ghost ride my bike into the river than do that again.
Damnit. This one is too long too. [Editor’s note, Nope, we’re gonna run this one too]
Somehow even with a ton of broken bones, I only jumped through the bars once and it was no big deal on a low speed double. Most my crashes weren’t too gnarly. The most memorable is probably Saturday night of the 04 Omaha AX. A year I spent making mains as a last heat transfer or out of the LCQ. But the hometown race, a bigger track and long whoops were in my favor. Or it was Storm Lake Honda’s contingency plan of an 18 pack of beer for every main I made.
Anyways, coming off top 10 in both mains Friday night (my first two ever), I headed to the hotel to bed while the rest of the team (riders included) hit the bar at the hotel. About 1am or so I’m awakened when they come stumbling and crashing into the room. You see, they wouldn’t let JR51 into the Casino (guess making his only main of the year also needed celebrating), so instead it was time to go an hour down the road to the 4am strip club. It was 18 and up and I had two top 10s to celebrate. Fast forward to a few lap dances later and it’s bed time at 5am.
Saturday night JR51 not only lets me by in the 250 heat but brake checked a dude in the process opening a straight transfer to the main for me. Time for my bread and butter, the 450 class. A third place start and I’m secure in a transfer spot, but the top 2 go to the Dash for Cash and I’m clearly faster down the whoops. Lap three I get a run down the inside about midway through and have the pass setup...so I thought. The back wheel of the 860 of Brandon Hoff kicks left off an edge nailing my front tire. I fly like superman over about 6 whoops and belly slide underneath the stadium only to come to a stop gently against the tracks of the bulldozer. My hopes of ever re-enacting my best DFC Denny in his hometown were ruined as I’d never get that close again. I did make the main through the LCQ and score another top 10, the last main I’d ever make in AX.
Let's try this… [Editor’s note, Now you’re just boring me]
If you don't suck, you don't crash often. And if you are gonna crash, you ride that bitch until she smacks your ass into the ground like you went 12 rounds with Muhammad Ali.
Denny : Dammmm, that’s difficult to top. I have more than a few, but lets go with the most embarrassing one. 1990 Pontiac Supercross, night one of a double header. On the parade lap before the main, I decide at the last minute Im going to seat bounce the big double right before the track looped around thru the tunnel jump finish line. Braaap, bog and suddenly I am flying thru the air, without my bike. Turns out, someone had turned off my gas and like an idiot, I forgot to check it before rolling over the gate and taking off down the start straight. I’ll never forget as I was flying thru the air, thinking, “What the fuck just happened, this is not a good way to start the night.”
2) Eli is back! Just when you thought he was mailing in this outdoor season, the #1 starts 11th in the 2nd moto, drops the hammer with about 12 minutes left and dam near wins. Next round is in Tomac's Colorado backyard, does he go 1-1 in the altitude?
NDel : A part of me says that second moto was the best we’ll get from Eli. You could tell he was giving it everything he had and despite being the aggressor and the late race fast guy, those tiny mistakes he was making, either because he was fatigued or because the intensity it took to make moves on Osborne was keeping him from making the pass. Would the outcome have been different if it was the 2019 Tomac? I think so. Does Tomac go 1-1 next weekend? Why would he? Osborne et al, are professional athletes, prepared and their fitness is adequate enough to eliminate altitude being any advantage to Eli. But yes, he’ll absolutely go 1-1 next weekend in the altitude, for sure. Maybe?...but probably not. Most definitely, kind of.
JR51: Like many Colorado residents, Mr. Tomac has the ability to cook up the highest of highs in his backyard. But, we must also remember the crash that wrecked both his shoulders in his early 450 days. That being said, there's nothing like a home track in moto. I refuse to believe the #1 will go an entire season with one overall, but I have seen enough racing this year to know better than to bet on him going 1-1. Do I think he gets the overall? Probably. 1-1. Nope. Remember our current red plate holder is very accustomed to fall in Colorado as well.
Tez the Casual Fan : Pretty safe to say someone showed Eli(to) my answer from last week’s 4 A**holes and the Casual Fan. Kidding aside, how fun was that to watch? The calculated recklessness that is Eli is amazing....and what we've been missing! Tomac will be my first pick come next weekend in CO to start my climb up the leaderboard on MxD360. [Editor’s note, It looks like everyone has the same idea, Tomac is currently on almost 58% of the teams]
Checkz : What that moto shows is that Eli isn’t slacking off. It was by far the hottest and roughest race on the schedule thus far and Eli was strong at the end. It was also sand where bike setup is way less important than rider flow. When it’s hot, rough, and grueling Eli can come through the field to the front. With mid-70s and a dirt based track on the horizon combined with his crappy starts, Elito reruns in Colorado.
Denny : Shoot, like many others, I thought Eli was going to kick everyone’s ass at Spring Creek. But as we all know, horrible starts, an exceptionally fast track and two uninspired motos later, there was certainly no asses kicked. Other than Eli’s by Elito. However, after watching Tomac during that 2nd moto in Florida, flip the switch like he does, I am going to give the 20SX Champ the benefit of the doubt in his home state. The local boy goes 1-1 kids! All aboard the Tomac Train… toot toot! Speaking of which, how much toot-tooting will be going on in the infield Saturday?
3) Speaking of 1-1 days, the points leaders, Ferrandis & Osborne each knocked out a perfect 50 point afternoon in the Florida sand. Are the 250 & 450 titles out of reach for JMart & A.C.?
NDel : Anytime you go 1-1, the effects are two fold. Not only do you earn max points, the confidence level snowballs and into what can become an exponential level. Look at the perfect seasons that RC and JS7 had. Those seasons turned into an unstoppable force that were never met with an immovable object. That is what motocross so rad and interesting. As physically demanding as this sport is and for as many factors a race result is dependent on, the mental aspect of racing motocross is equally, if not more important. For RC and JS7, you don’t go UNDEFEATED without being a cocky son of a bitch that knows he’s a bad motherfucker. Maybe that was too vulgar and a stretch. Point is, the confidence levels are banging the rev limiter. The current points leaders probably aren’t in that same mental state, but with them each going 1-1, it’s gotta be up there with two rounds left. Oz and Ferrari are both proven champions with the ability to handle the pressure and weight of the points lead. At this point, I think the 450 title is Oz’s already, while the 250 gap is much closer. That said, I think Ferrandis has the mental fortitude and obviously the riding ability to bring it in to the Star Racing Yamaha squad. Although I’d rather listen to a Joe Biden campaign speech than a Dylan Ferrandis podium speech, but I digress.
JR51 : LaRocco. Pourcel. McGrath. Langston. All had similar titles within their grasp, if not more so, only to have the Moto Gods turn the series on its head. We have two hours plus of racing left, and it takes a mere second for it all to go wrong. Until the #1 plate is in hand, it's never out of reach in moto. Overwhelming favorites with the best odds? Yes. But far from locks.
Tez the Casual Fan : No one knows how these things will finish, but Oz with his statement yesterday and having an almost 30pt lead sure makes it all but written in the 450's. As for Ferrandis and the 250 title...13 points isn't much to rest your head on. I still think JMart can make a run, but remember this is his first season back and it's got to be taking its toll. As much as I would like to say we still have a battle, I'm thinking this is only lost by Ferrandis himself.
Checkz : I always preach the elite championship guys have to be good starters. If you start behind, bad things are more likely to happen and eventually it will bite you. Ferrandis made changes to fix his starts before Millville, and so far, it has worked. But Millville and WW were both sandy starts. I’ll have to see it on the dirt at Lakewood to fully sign off on them being fixed. The noticeable horsepower advantage of the Star bikes certainly should help at elevation. It also doesn’t hurt to have your teammates also starting at the front with you should team tactics need to surface. I like JMart at Colorado to take this to the wire at Ferrandis’s new practice track in California.
As far as Osborne, he’s dealt with quite a few mechanical gremlins without making a major mis-step, and now AC and Marv are dinged up. I like the odds here.
Denny : Im pretty half tempted to suggest the fat lady has sang on these two titles, but then JR goes and brings up those names and quickly reminds me, aint nothing over until the last checkered flag waves. There is a lot of heartbreak when you look back at those titles they lost in the waning moments of Championship battle. One JR didn’t list and one I’ll never forget, which ironically took place in Colorado. From the words of the man himself, my hero growing up, Ricky Johnson. “My biggest mistake was breaking a wheel, in 1982 I had a 20 point lead in the 250 championship going into the last round at Castle Rock in Colorado. Honda had given privateer Kenny Keylon a works bike for that race, and I passed him way too fast off this jump. I over-jumped it by a mile, landed too hard, broke my wheel & DNF’d the moto.” I think we’ll wait til Pala is in the books before we crown anyone champion just yet.
4) You might be shocked to hear this in the current day of snowflake culture, but apparently people were offended & upset by the move Marv put on A.C., when they collided and the #9 went down. Is this even a conversation?
NDel : I watched it 1 and a half times, spit on the TV and immediately swore off French fries and threw my French press coffee maker in the trash. AC is the “clean cut, American Kid 2.0”, after TP199, and it’s next to impossible to not have fan bias towards him. My dad, who doesn’t remember or know a damn thing when it comes to who’s who in modern MX, always asks me, “Who’s that guy that I don’t like?”, to which I roll my eyes, sigh and say “Musquin”. Then he goes into the obligatory 2 or 3 sentence justification of why he doesn’t like him, which is little more than a reference to how dirty of a rider he is (he is referring to the ONE time he saw MM25 take out Tomac in Foxborough 2018) and more importantly, how he’d rather listen to a Joe Biden campaign speech than a Marvin Musquin podium speech. [Editor’s note, Nick’s Dad is awesome & too now know he doesn’t like Marv, made me laugh my ass off, cuz Jep likes everybody… or so I thought]
JR51 : Nick, I hate to ask, but whats your Dad think of me? Wait, nevermind, don’t answer that. Moving along, what crash? I spent moto 2 glued to the MotoXDream360 live leader board, watching my team stamp the WW win and jump to overall #1 for the race for the Storm Lake Honda CRF50. Naw for real though, classic case of two bikes, one line. There's not a single race semi, van, truck or flatbread trailer in the United States that would allow a rider to complain about getting taken out from the outside. We have far better debates to have, like whether salsa or pork chops are better things to make on a smoker for race day.
Tez the Casual Fan : The snowflake culture that has taken over our blue ribbon society with participation medals needs to find the home schooling hole it came from. Rubbing is racing....elbows up....show him a wheel....these sayings were the first I heard when venturing into this crazy moto world we love and still hold true. This sport is built on speed, skill, craft, and huge balls. If you don't like getting moved out of the way, then don't give the line away or pull the 'fawk' over and let the real men by. [Editor’s note, I know for a fact, Tez was never afraid to bean a batter with an inside fastball, I’d say that’s pretty similar to knocking someone down]
Checkz : The only one that should be mad is AC, and not at Marv. He had a clear track and his title rival behind him and the opportunity for a 1-1 day; he let Marvin roll up on him and pass him on the outside. You can’t nail what you can’t catch, just ask Gilly. [Editor’s note, that would be in reference to a certain blonde in the Minnesota area, aww hell, pretty much any female Gilly tries to take home]
Denny : That was baby shit. Ive seen more aggressive behavior between Riley and Budman’s son Boston back when they were 2 years old and fighting over a Hot Wheel in the backyard. But seriously, how the hell do you get knocked down from the outside? And honestly, Barcia does that kinda shit on a Tuesday practice at Starwest. (Is that still even a track?) Nothing to see here people, lets move along. Head West they said! Onto Colorado. Smoke’em if ya got’em.