A1 Press Day Photos | Strikt
By Billy Rainford
A1 coverage is brought to you by Strikt. Be sure to check them out.
We’re just one sleep away from what is going to be an extremely competitive Supercross season. As we sat at the Press Conference this afternoon, someone mentioned that there were 11 top factory 450 guys sitting up on the stage together and pointed out that someone wasn’t going to make the top 10. That kind of sunk in. It’s going to be very difficult to get yourself into the mains this winter.
As we pulled up to get our credentials, we were pretty impressed with how the program has progressed. The credential process is now don on a tablet. The new Supercross logo looks fresh. The conference itself was very professionally run and moved along smoothly.
The whole thing had a nice new and improved feel to it. Some of the other photographers were as cranky as ever, but I expected nothing less.
Here’s alook at what went down between 12-2pm at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, today.
It was super cool to talk briefly to David Bailey and Ricky Johnson heading into the stadium at the same time I was. I hope they weren’t fibbing when they said they knew Direct Motocross.
My first stop was the balcony of the Diamond Club to check out the track. If the rain holds off, it should be good…
They had 14 of the 19 A1 winners in attendance. This is the 45th year for Supercross and the 73rd time in Anaheim.
See what I’m saying about how clean it looks?
They had a few bikes in the room for effect.
Ralph Sheheen making some notes before going up to talk about the new crew.
A little group meeting before the start of the presser.
It was a Who’s Who of American Motocross in the crowd.
Dave Prater got things started by welcoming everyone to another season of Supercross.
They pulled up some former winners. That’s Donnie Hansen.
David Bailey. I had a nice chat with David about the Hawaii Ironman. He was there watching it the 2nd year I did it way back in 1997. He came back and raced it in 98, 99, and 2000. He said he took some time off and then went back in 2009. He has no desire to do it again.
I really enjoy David Vuillemin’s insight on the racing these days.
I also had a good chat with Johnny O’Mara about his recent knee replacement surgery. I’m not too far from needing the same thing so we talked about knees for a while and how he says he should be back to 100% as far as his cycling power is concerned.
Ralph took the podium and introduced the team.
Ricky Carmichael moves up from the floor and into the booth. It was great when he asked Chad Reed what’s different for him now compared to when he first started. He replied, “I like you sitting there better!” Everyone laughed.
Daniel Blair seemed really happy to have gone from his part-time gig to full-time on the broadcast team. He’s a great addition, I think.
Will Christien will be the voice on the floor.
The riders ready to take some softball questions from the crowd.
It was a nice crowd on hand for the opening round.
#4 Blake Baggett said he “hibernated in Florida” during the off season to avoid any of the “he’s looking really good at the practice tracks” hype this year.
#3 Eli Tomac avoided the question about his back injury in the off season and just said he feels good and is “ready to rip.” I tend to believe that.
#10 Justin Brayton is coming in relaxed because he said “this isn’t round 1 for me, it’s round 10!” He’s had a busy and successful off season racing around the globe. He also joked that he wants to hold onto his crown as oldest to win a Supercross main but added that Chad Reed is “gunning for me!”
#25 Marvin Musquin said he needs to stay injury free. He added that last year his shoulder hurt him for 5 rounds.
#94 Ken Roczen was the only one there with a suit jacket on again. He took some time off after the MXON and said that his arms feel better than ever and that he’s 100%.
#17 Joey Savatgy said he’s much more prepared now since his great showing in the 450 class at the MEC last year.
#7 Aaron Plessinger will make his 450 debut tomorrow night.
#51 Justin Barcia said his personal life is in a great place now after getting married this off season. He said he had a great off season and just did his normal training.
#1 Jason Anderson still feels like a bit of an underdog even after taking home the title last year. He was seated beside Eli and admitted that Eli had smoked him too often.
When it was done, they headed out to do two sessions on the track in 2 groups. Here are a bunch of photos for you to check out their new bikes and gear.
They rode from 1-2 and then we headed out into the pits to see who we could find. Here are a few shots from the pits.
#64 Jimmy Decotis is coming in under the radar this season.
Chris Blose will race the west on the team with the new Gas Monkey Energy title sponsor.
I saw FXR’s Andy White for about 30 minutes today. He was on the phone for 29 of them.
It was nice to see Cade Clason at the races. He’s picked up his gig alongside Andy.
That’s our old buddy James Roberts from Michigan out here on a riding trip with his buddy. He’s hitting all the tracks he’s always heard of and loving it.
I did the classic, “Oh hi Heath Harrison” with my hand out and he walked right past on his way to shake Andy’s. It hurt a bit but we straightened things out.
Cheyenne Harmon will be #118 in the 450 class this season. He said he’s on the brink of signing with a new team to race in Canada in 2019.
Dean Wilson’s ride. I’m told Husky Factory wanted him to fill in for Zach Osborne but that he couldn’t because of his commitments to his other sponsors. He’s got a great set up for 2019 and seems happy.
On the other hand, his dad, Andy Wilson, said he’s getting too old and was crustier than ever! We staged the anger. He’s as happy and carefree as ever.
Then we went to find #160 Jess Pettis in his KTM USA Sprinter.
Matt Deroy was having a slight issue getting through sound, but they were getting it all sorted out.
This is the view Jess has from the back of the van. He actually took this shot for us.
That’s going to do it from Press Day at 2019 A1. They are still calling for rain tomorrow night, so do whatever dance you think you need to stop it. I’ll leave you with this classic shot of James Lissimore scraping dog poop off his shoe that he somehow managed to step in INSIDE the stadium! Thanks for looking and we’ll see you at the races…