Setting the Stage
Before you can get to the guest list (and the banned list), let’s check out the venue.
The make-up of the Fox Raceway National track is always somewhat of a mystery, as like many of the California national tracks of the past; they see the most changes out of any regular stop on the series year to year. What we do know is it’s a silty dirt on top with a hard base underneath, and while not as flat as Loretta Lynn’s, it certainly doesn’t have elevation like it’s SoCal neighbor Glen Helen. Typically this makes for a pretty high-speed man-made track where you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable… ie. me wearing a speedo to a pool party with my dad bod.
Speaking of pool parties, the weather for this weekend’s race looks like it’d be much better for a day in a donut floaty sipping a frosty beverage than grinding out two 30 plus 2 motos in dry-dusty SoCal. Watch out picking partiers who don’t have the heart, dedication, and longevity to make it past 2pm before passing out in their lawn chair and calling a day. It also helps to pick finely tuned athletes who have a goal to chase; whether that is a chance with a fine looking brunette, a bonus check, or a ride for 2021.
Location, location, location. Luckily this desert oasis that is holding the final round is nearby most of the race teams and even many riders, but before you assume everyone will just be strolling down the street to the final bash; remember many riders re-locate to the humidity of the Southeast for their summer training. The Star Yamaha squad in the 250s still grind out their motos in SoCal during the week (as if their monster horsepower machines aren’t already enough of an advantage), and typically some fast privateers show up to the California rounds. Look for the locals to be comfortable and trying to steal the fast lap times and your girlfriend both right out of the gate.
These are the homies who know how to have a good time, but will always keep it just inside the limits to prevent breaking sh*t or having the cops called. You don’t want a majority of your party guest list to be these guys. The must-invite list.
#32 – Justin Cooper - $709,841
The season is coming to a close, but Justin Cooper clearly knew putting his dog beside his first place trophy on top of the podium at Colorado for his Tinder profile pic was a guaranteed way to get into the MXD360 afterparty. Add in the fact that he’s been swiping profiles at Pala during weekly training all summer long and you can bet he’ll be hanging out with the trophy girls Saturday afternoon making Justin Cooper your ultimate wingman for Saturday.
#1 – Eli Tomac - $786,199
I can’t believe I’m saying this because Tomac doesn’t strike me as the partying type in 2020, but I think he drank just enough champagne on the podium in Colorado to have the courage to go steal his chick and all the clout at the Kawi truck back from Adam Cianciarulo…at least for the day. Besides a great race in Colorado and the fact that Tomac dominated with 1-1 motos in 2019 (which I weigh lightly this summer), but the fitness test like we saw in moto 2 in Florida is a benefit for Tomac. Finally, unlike the rest of the top 5 in points, he hasn’t been in the sandy Florida swap all summer and the harder-packed, faster-paced track will benefit Tomac. I look for Eli to capture one more trophy before handing off his number 1 plate to either Osborne or his teammate.
We all have (or have at least witnessed) those friends who can turn meeting up for “a couple beers” into a night of ordering shots by the tray full and watching them stumble out of the backroom of the strip club as they swipe their credit card for more than you can get a CRF50 for at Storm Lake Honda. These guys can put your MXD360 party on the All-Timer list, but invite carefully…they’ve also been known to get you kicked out of every place in town, puke in your backseat, and cause your head to hurt for a week after.
#84 – Joe Shimoda - $398,755
If you invite Joe Shimoda to your MXD party, you know he’s bringing plenty of Sake which is a recipe for a wild ride. He’s been on a streak of good behavior netting top 10 finishes in 6 of the last 7 motos. However, before you mail that invite, you must also be aware that in 25% of the motos this summer he’s scored 3 points or less. Given that he’s been based in California for quite some time and has the motivation of needing to secure a ride, I’m ready to party with Joe Shimoda.
#60 – Mitchell Falk - $0
Nope, that’s not a typo; Mitchell Falk will cost you nothing more than a click of a button to add him to your 8-man roster for Fox Raceway. Coming off 14-14 finishes for 14 points in his only race thus far this summer, the Costa Mesa, CA local comes into his backyard looking to earn some attention from a team for 2021. Granted, he is a privateer and isn’t invested into season points; so if things start to go sideways he may load up his boxvan with all the babes and your chances at MXD360 glory.
#75 – Coty Schock - $87,669
Prior to the season, Coty Schock relocated to Southern California and has been adapting to the west coast tracks. After taking a couple of weekends off from the races to regroup, look for Schock to put it all on the line at the final. He has blazing speed that can score big, but sometimes he goes a bit too hard and trips over a gas can causing him to ignite your championship hopes and your favorite pair of shoes.
The Banned List
Unless you like burnout marks across the living room floor at your mom’s house, don’t invite these guys to your MXD360 party.
#16 – Zach Osborne and #14 – Dylan Ferrandis
Plain and simple, roasting a rear tire at the end of the party is the only thing these guys have on their minds. The championship pressure will surely have these guys awkwardly circulating until the checkered flag flies and they light up their rear tire until something blows up. Steer clear!