I’m more sleep deprived than I have ever been in my life; sounds like the perfect time to knock out the first Swizcorner of 2014.
Photos by: THE James Lissimore
Lets get down to brass tax. The Mike Alessi crying “issue”.
Was it weird? Yup.
Was it uncomfortable to watch? Yup.
Was it warranted? Well, that is where things get mucky. On the PulpMX Show last night Matthes stated that I thought it was awesome. That’s a fabrication which stems from a tweet at the time of the crime where I twatted, “Nothing wrong with Alessi tears. Put yourself in his shoes, 10yrs of overhype, pressure, not reaching goals…”. That’s all. Nothing about it being cool or justified, let alone awesome.
It was clear, painfully, that that 6-lap heat race win triggered something in Mike that had been building for years. About 10 years to be exact.
My tweet was framing that mindset within 152 characters.
This guy was bred, by his fathers own admission, to be an elite motocross racer. Think about that for a second. Your Father is forthright, on public television, that his motivation for creating your life, was predetermined to fulfill a dream of HIS. That’s eff'd up. Think about the pressure that alone puts on you. Before you even have an inkling of what life has to offer, it is not only impressed upon you, your surroundings and structure are all formed with your fathers intended destiny, for you.
This moment says a lot about the last 10yrs for Mike Alessi.
Throughout his amateur career, Mike cashed in on his fathers dreams and those dreams no doubt became Mike’s as he never knew any other way of life. Coming into the pro ranks, Mike was decidedly the most hyped amateur racer ever. Flash-forward to today, where Mike has been forging ahead in pro-racing for 10 years, has no titles, has always struggled in Supercross and been associated with a bakers-dozen of incidents which leave the Alessi’s the runaway winners for “things that make you go hmmmm” in moto. The contrast between Mike’s amateur accolades and pro results is so stark, you’d have to be a cyborg to be unaffected by the decline in dominance.
With 2014 came a big change in Mike’s program. I won’t go so far as to say Tony gave Byrner the keys but Byrner is indeed in Mike’s ear and program, in a very positive way. And in the first competitive instance since that union, Mike saw his most successful result in Supercross in his career. Sure, it’s a heat race but with the pressure since birth, frustration (failures) over the last 10-years and such a big change in his program, Mike clearly emoted what he believed to be an epiphany. He had no control over it. When you are making that “try not to cry face”, it’s bad. All of us guys have done it, we all look ugly doing it. It is what it is.
Do I think it was awesome? Absolutely not.
Do I think it was called for? When you consider all that Mike has dealt with that I outlined above and put yourself in his frame of mind, I can at least understand it. That’s why I still say there is nothing wrong with it.
It was raw emotion bred from a genuine belief that something profound had changed in his program and resulted in a success he had never seen in 10-years as a pro. Does the fact that it was merely a 6-lap heat race make it less profound? Hell no, it’s just less of a sexy storyline. The affect it had on his psyche is what matters.
I was very impressed with the Fox production of their first Supercross broadcast. It truly felt like a whole new network, production staff and creative crew. Perhaps it is but I honestly expected this to just be a rebranding which employed all the same dudes who have been putting the package together for years. That Millsaps piece was stellar! If I didn’t know better (and I don’t so this may be the case), I’d say the Millsaps piece was done top to bottom by Troy Adamitis. It had that thoughtful, relevant feel. Adamitis or not. MORE PLEASE!
I don’t get all the digs at Krista Voda. She was here doing Supercross years ago and moved to Nascar. She knows her shit and has pedigree for moto. I could give two shits if she meets the hotness scale which every woman in moto is judged by. Maybe it’s just because I’m happily married? Are you using the Supercross broadcasts to compile your spankbanks? Bro’s, get a life. We watch the races for the action, results, and legitimate introspection on this sport we love. Get your sex elsewhere. Preferably your bedroom, not your television.
I am apparently out on an island with this one. The majority of people feel like this is clearly Tomac’s fault (unless you’re Tomac, then it’s @#$ing @#$ Weimer’s fault #$@!! @$*%). In my mind though, I see this as a total racing incident with no one at fault, just a bad result of two riders doing opposing rhythms in traffic and at the worst point of the race; right after the start when EVERYONE is bunched up still. Weimer was doing the more common rhythm while Tomac was doing the off-rhythm led him to veer to the inside. Certainly not the smartest time to execute said line so if you want to split hairs, I would agree that Tomac was at fault but only due to the timing in the race when he chose that route.
Eli never had a chance to show what he had at A1. Most people believe he was to blame for that.
It was great to see the 2012 Zach Osborne back out there. Last year Zach just put too much pressure on himself from the start. It was his re-entry into American Supercross and on an elite team, a ride he had earned in an abbreviated 2012 stint. This is a guy who regularly honks before his moto’s and visits the “sitting room” a handful of times as part of his “pre-race prep”. Hey, the guy cares and expects a lot from himself. He learned a lot from the pressure, struggles and perspective that last year brought him. Knowing Zach, you just knew those factors would not be debilitating as they were in his rookie Geico campaign. This guy is smart and calculating. More importantly, he’s got serious skill and serious drive to accomplish the goals he sets for himself. Zach could very well secure this title. I think many people were a little shocked to see the 2012 Zach back, but don’t be. This is what he intended. This, and more.
Jason Anderson has obviously begun to settle into pro racing and believes in himself. Even after Cole got around him, Anderson hounded him and you could just tell he was sizing up Cole’s lines and preparing to make a move. With two corners to go, Jason brought it up the inside and made it just physical enough to stick. Cole clearly didn’t think that move was coming at that moment. He got a little whiskey as he tried to retaliate instantly and somehow let up in the last corner when he totally could have repaid Anderson with the same favor. On the TV interview, Cole mentioned the lappers. Just save that stuff. It’s never gonna change, it is what it is. Lappers are like another obstacle on the track. Obstacles that move. It makes them trickier to navigate but if you’re fast, they’ll be at every race.
This one pains me to address. Not because I’m a huge James Stewart fan and the crash sent my emotions sprawling into the face of the whoops. Nope. It’s because I actually share the same opinion as Matthes on this crash. And also like Matthes, I can’t explain why I feel this way! It goes against everything I have ever reasoned. To always have a sensible justification for why I hold the opinions I do. It’s senseless but much like the salmon of Capistrano, there’s just this will inside me that says James’ crash in the whoops is not the same old James. He looked stellar all race. Controlled and calculated. Then with one off-square rear-knobby on the whoop face, shit got sideways, and then upside-down. Even Mrs.Swizzle said, two-laps earlier “he’s gonna do what he always does” and even though I knew history was on her side, I said something was different. I still think something is different. I just can’t explain why. Infuriating.
Looking so right, just before it went so wrong. It's not the same deal, I swear.
Raise your hand if you thought Chad Reed would podium A1...
Oh wait, I see a handful of the TwoTwo crew with their hands up. It’s 2014 and once again Chad Reed was underestimated. In other news, the sun came up today and I’m over-worked. Yes, just like clockwork, a new season kicks-off and Chad is counted out before it begins. Man, how many years can moto-fans get duped into this nonsense? I mean, you really thought 2013 was representative of Chad Reed? Think back to Chad in 2012 at Dallas. He was all over RV like white on rice (first cliché of 2014) and was riding the best he ever has indoors. It pains me to say that as I never thought he’d look better than he had on Yellow in ’09. Then we come to 2013 and Chad’s return to racing but whoops; he’s on an all-new bike that he likes about as much as his 2010 Kawi but also has to deal with learning the new feel and how to setup the air fork. For 2014 he chose the bike he wants to race, he prepared better and has just as much “fan-doubt” fuel as he ever has.
Keep underestimating him. Each doubter is good for a HP or two.
2013 was the anomaly, people.
It’s 2012 again and I’m telling you, Reed will make many of you look silly.
Thanks for reading people. Hit me @swizcore to call me an idiot, an ass-kiss or whatever. Just keep reading.