By Billy Rainford
Good Monday Morning from the highway. Yes, it’s time I pointed the #DMXVan east and headed home. What a trip it has been – over 4 weeks on the road out in California for Supercross and then to Aspen, Colorado, for the Winter X Games.
If you don’t like having too much time to yourself, maybe motocross journalism isn’t for you. Although these are very busy road trips, the time you have sitting behind the wheel while your mind wanders can be scary times.
I heard a guy being interviewed on the radio saying the difference between the homeless people you see on the streets and the so called “normal” people is the fact that those on the street don’t filter their thoughts and just blurt them out for all to hear.
Seriously, just imagine if everything you were thinking came out of your mouth as words and not just thoughts! It’s so close to the same thing, it’s frightening. Scary times, I say.
I pulled over last night at around 1:00am as I made my way past Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. It was around 5 degrees Celsius, so I climbed into the back for a short nap and woke up 7 hours later…it was -12!
The temperature has plummeted and the wind is blowing cars into the ditch along I-80. Between Omaha and Des Moines, Iowa (where I am now), I must have seen 10 vehicles off the road. It kind of makes you wonder why everyone doesn’t pack up and live somewhere with palm trees and warm weather all year?
Anyway, my trip ended with another gold medal performance by Canadian #111 Cody Matechuk at the Winter X Games in Aspen.
It wasn’t easy and he had to get around 2017 gold medal winner #2 Brock Hoyer and #42 Jesse Kirchmeyer in the process.
Jesse actually qualified 2nd fastest to Cody and so it was no surprise he did so well in the final. He actually led most of the race!
You should recognize his name because he has raced a bunch of our Canadian Nationals and had Mitch Goheen on the man-friending duties in Colorado.
He said he felt great out front but that his hands started to get so cold that he couldn’t really feel his clutch anymore. Next year, he promises to have bar warmers.
Brock Hoyer was moving his way toward the front 2 riders when he hit some ice and fell in the left-hand sweeper before the finish straight. Cody had to be extra careful not to get caught up in the fall and got around after slowing down to not hit him.
It gave Jesse a bit of breathing room out front but Cody quickly closed in and went for a nice outside-in move on Jesse in the left bowl turn to take the lead late in the 14-lap race.
Jess commented that there was no halfway flag or anything and he wasn’t really sure how much was left. Either way, a silver medal in your first X Games is a pretty big deal.
In the end, the podium was Cody Matechuk, Jess Kirchmeyer, and Brock Hoyer.
In the somewhat volatile motorized sports side of X, hopefully the excitement the racing created is enough to keep the event coming back.
I have to assume they have long-term goals with the Snow BikeCross, since they added Para and Adaptive to the list of medal sports this year.
Speaking of the Para racing, #7c Blair Morgan was back and had a lot more time on the bike this year. He got out to a 3rd place start and looked much more aggressive and fast on the course this year.
Unfortunately, a couple falls took him out of medal contention and he crossed the line in 7th.
Out front, it was #19 Doug Henry again with #71 Will Posey looking really fast and competitive in 2nd.
My favourite non-moto event of the entire program was the Knuckle Huck snowboard competition on Saturday night.
Like I always say, I’d much prefer to watch Axel Hodges hold a crazy ‘oppo’ than see someone do a double back flip, any day. Same with downhill sports. I’d rather watch a guy do an upright combo trick on skis than see a lay, tuck, tuck, triple or something like that.
With the Knuckle Huck, riders hit a small ‘knuckle’ over a table and then to the regular drop off landing area. This event really rewarded creativity and the crazy jump that won was well worth it.
And check out our old friend #474 Jake Anstett taking bronze in the Harley Davidson Hill Climb:
All in all, the Winter X Games is a great experience from a media person’s point of view. They treat us very well and the media centre is just a short walk to all the events. It was great to see Allison Davies again this year.
We went for a tasty beverage after our main events were finished and then wandered into the crowd to watch all the crazies trying to out do each other in clothing and attitude.
It’s funny what people will do when you have a couple nice cameras and a media credential!
Anyway, see you next year, X Games.
Now let’s talk a little bit about the Oakland Supercross.
Unfortunately, my time in California had come to an end and I wasn’t able to be at Round 4 in person. #160 Jess Pettis headed in and had a great showing.
He made a pass for the lead of Heat #1 and got a ton of TV time and comments from the announcers. Unfortunately, they kept talking about him as he slid back a few places and kind of called him out a little.
Jess is doing amazing and looked comfortable running that pace out front. He made a couple mistakes and was unable to do a section and a couple guys got past him in that heat heat. He still went straight to the main.
We haven’t spoken to him about the event yet, but we’ll be sure to give him a call later today to get his full take on what happened in the main.
He said that he went down early and had to go from last place to 11th by the flag and that’s a really good performance.
Jess is now tied for 11th place and it really seems like he could get that position no matter how the start goes. What’s next for him is to get a start and stay up with the heavy hitters. It’s coming…soon. Also, he’s going to have factory teams sniffing around his Sprinter van with the way he’s showing potential.
Watch for our podcast interview with him later today.
OK, I’ve got to hit the road and try to get home before the next snowstorm hits, which it looks like I’m heading straight into.
Oh wait, let me tell a little story about the one thing that really shows my maple leaf..the angry side.
So, I’m sitting in the media centre getting some content up on the site late into the evening on Saturday. I finally pack up my stuff and head for the exit. Of course, this is exactly the time when the final half pipe event finished and the rest of the crowd was also heading for the exits and the buses that take people into town and down to the parking lot.
I find myself walking into the corral behind a handicapped guy who wasn’t able to walk at the pace most people were trying to reach to get as close to the front pf the bus line as they could.
So, we’re now into the corral and moving slowly forward and it’s busy.
We go back and forth through the turns and up to the back of the line. Next thing, an early-20’s girl pushes her way around me and drags her 2 friends with her.
I assume she’s catching up to some friends so I don’t pay much attention. Nope, she just keeps walking along the edge of the rope and passing people on her way to the front of the line as she giggles and talks way too loudly.
What upsets a Canadian, you ask? Inconsideration, that’s what. I was seeing red. This is the kind of thing that gets me into trouble. I will not let this kind of thing go.
She gets pretty far forward but not far enough to get on a bus ahead of the one I get onto. We’re going to be on the same bus, after all. Perfect.
Now, in this kind of situation, as you enter the bus they herd you to the back and start filling the bus from back to front. Not this idiot. She walked in and sat in the sideways seats near the front and everyone had to trip over her things to get to the back like polite, respectful individuals. I was fuming.
I slowly walked in front of her and her group and stand with my butt right in her face and my over-full camera back pack and laptop shoulder bag awkwardly in her lap and her and her friends’ faces. It was blissful and I watched as the others on the bus all wore a collective smile on their faces.
I held my position for a beautifully inappropriate 20 seconds or so. The 3 of them fell silent and you could tell they just didn’t know what to do.
I finally relented and looked back at her guy friend and said, “That girl is an idiot and, mark my words, is going to be the reason you get punched in the face for as long as you do things with her.”
I just pointed at him and headed to a seat near the rear of the bus. I put that whole thing in the win column for me, but she’s just one of those self-entitled and spoiled youngsters that is ruining the world, but will likely succeed as she steps on people to get where she’s going. It’s a character defect on her part, but one that society will probably reward.
As a Canadian, THAT is what pisses me off.
I’ve got lots more to say, but I really need to keep hammering out the miles. Have a great week, everyone.