Salt Lake City SX | Round 11 Press Conference Notes
By Billy Rainford
Photos by Bigwave
Instead of the usual ride day/pre-race press conference, we all got together for a Zoom meeting on Friday afternoon to talk with a few 450 riders about the return to racing this Sunday at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I could bore you with hundreds of stories from when I lived near the university campus for 8 months back in the fall/winter/spring of 1994-95, but that’s not why you called.
There were 42 of us on this video meeting and it went pretty smoothly. Daniel Blair took his usual hosting duties and asked a few lead-in questions before opening the “floor” to the media who were online.
I shaved and even put a shirt on for this one. Yes, it was a big day.
The riders who were online were Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb, Jason Anderson, Dean Wilson, Blake Baggett, and Justin Brayton.
I was seated comfortably in the corner of my living room in London, Ontario. A few of the other media members were in their hotel rooms or Air BnB’s for the 3 1/2 week stint to race the final 7 rounds of Monster Energy AMA Supercross.
With only 900 total people allowed in or out of the stadium, it meant a culling of passes being approved. I didn’t even consider trying to be there, with the closing of our border and the knowledge that calling my position “essential” would be a stretch.
First off, Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson are both rocking impressive moustaches for the return to racing. Eli Tomac is still running the beard and is a new father to a baby girl named Lev.
Here is a brief summary of things that were talked about:
-the birth of his daughter has given him a “whole new perspective on life.”
-he lives at over 7000 feet elevation in Cortez, Colorado, so the SLC elevation won’t be an issue for him. You didn’t ask, but when I moved there I did a 5km running race the following day and absolutely blew up. The elevation is no joke when you’re not used to it!
-because they could be forced to stop the racing at any time (if a case of COVID-19 pops up), he said he would treat every race like it could be the last race. If the racing is forced to end early, the points would stand where they are.
-Ken is rocking a pretty sweet moustache.
-he’s staying in an Air BnB and is happy about his accommodations.
-he spends a lot of time in Utah and is ready for the elevation challenges.
-he and Eli seemed to be in agreement on every question either of them were asked. They have a long history of battles with each other but there is a mutual respect between them and they both feel very comfortable racing close to each other.
-this coronavirus break was “great timing” for him to heal up from his Dallas crash.
-but he said he was more “heart-broken than anything” from that crash.
-rocking a nice moustache.
-he was with Aldon Baker for 5 or 6 years and has now moved on.
-he has the help of Darren Stockton in California.
-the break was also good for Deano as it gave him time to heal up from his Monster Energy Cup injury
-Dean is now 28 and needs results because he is in a contract year and is “fighting for a job.”
-he was struggling with some anxiety issues earlier in the season.
-Blake is always great at these things and comes across as a good dude.
-they have been able to practice at Miller Motorsports track and it will be open on Fridays for riders.
-Justin does a ton of off-season racing around the globe so he doesn’t think the ever-changing track designs will be an issue for him.
-he said that they are all usually up to speed by the 3rd lap of practice at that level anyway.
-Justin became the oldest rider to win a Supercross main at Daytona a couple years ago
-Justin was not on the call. Justin won the opening round and sits 4th in points.
-Daniel was asked why Justin wasn’t there and he joked that the media member who asked the question took his place.
And now there’s nothing left to do but get back to racing! They also commented that with Supercross normally being shown live on Saturday nights, many fans may be out on the town and not at home watching their TV’s. Sunday/Wednesday broadcasts may actually be good for ratings. We’ll see.
Let’s go racing!