Here’s one for you. Imagine you’re a race promoter – now tell me what’s your biggest asset? Sponsors with big pockets? Pit-popsies with more after-market parts than a factory bike? Snow Leopard steaks in the VIP marquee? Maybe I’m a bit old-school but to me it’s got to be the riders. If you ain’t got the riders you ain’t got Jack.
Just check out what’s happening in AMA supercross. James Stewart’s serving a ban for testing positive for amphetamines (from an Adderall prescription, not because of a cheeky recreational whizz habit), Ryan Villopoto is racing GPs and Ken Roczen’s more fragile than my 95-year-old granny.
I’ll be lying if I didn’t admit to popping a woody when Chad Reed won in Atlanta but the ageing Aussie keeps making mistakes and with Trey Canard just off the pace and Eli Tomac running hot and cold – although can you believe his wheelie through the rollers at Daytona – it leaves Ryan Dungey comfortably out in front. Which could all get a bit zzzzzzzzzz…
Anyway, I’m wandering off topic – after all, AMA SX always has a high rate of attrition. What I’m concerned about is what Youthstream is doing to its riders. The standard of the tracks so far has been profoundly piss-poor with man-made circuits, unpredictable dirt and sub-standard jumps that have punished some of the best riders in the world – and that’s if they’re not being nailed by heat exhaustion.
Remember, these are world-class athletes and for a champion like Jordi Tixier to be so fecked he can’t pick up his bike after crashing says more about the conditions he’s being forced to race in than his physical fitness.
Then there’s the countries themselves. Qatar and Thailand. Both traditional MX hotspots. Sorry, I meant both nations willing to fork out the folding for their own slice of the GP pie. And next year Youthstream plans four Asian rounds – which means twice as many piles of poop for the riders and fans to suck up.
Luckily, we’ve only got to wait until April 19 when the series lands in Europe and the GPs hopefully hit their stride.
Okay, time for a bit of a news update…
Red Bull KTM’s Tommy Searle is back in the UK nursing a compression fracture to his T7 vertebra. The Brit had a huge crash over the finish line double in the first MXGP race in Thailand. How big? Well using the traditional cojone scale Tommy Gun chalked up a Sperm Whale – and those suckers have some big old balls on them! It’s unsure how long he’ll be out but six to eight weeks seems like a realistic bet.
Jordi Tixier has been slapped with a 5,000 Euro fine and a one-race ban for allegedly sticking a French fist on the doctor who attended to him when he crashed in Thailand. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider says he was confused because of heat exhaustion but denies he swung a punch and plans to appeal. With Monster Energy also sponsoring the whole GP shooting match I reckon he’s got a chance of success.
Double British MX champ Elliott Banks-Browne – who broke his tib and fib at the Glasgow arenacross round last month – is making good progress and should be back on his Geartec Suzi by May.
After topping The Tough One on Saturday, Red Bull KTM’s Jonny Walker shot off to Spain for the 16th Enduro Indoor de Barcelona where he was disappointed to finish fifth. The event was won by Jonny’s team-mate Taddy ‘The Daddy’ Blazusiak who is pretty much unbeatable at this kind of thing.
Switching now to the world of men in lycra and Toni Bou took another X-Trial win on the same bill as the Barcelona indoor enduro to inflict yet more hurt on arch-rival and fellow Spaniard Adam Raga. The Honda rider holds a 13-point lead with two rounds remaining.
That’s yer lot for now but check back on Friday afternoon for a preview of what’s on the menu this weekend…