Phoenix SX Update

| January 9, 2004

There are a few things to talk about after the first day of practice at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona – round two of the THQ AMA Supercross Series.

First, the track features a couple of interesting sections. There’s a rhythm section up the first-base line that kept riders guessing experimenting to find the fastest line throughout both practice sessions. Some would double-double-quad the eight-jump section, while others would triple-triple-double it.

Two straights later, another rhythm section offered less variety, as it featured a six staggered-size jumps. The fastest technique all day appeared to be double-triple-single, until Timmy Ferry changed that thinking. The factory Yamaha rider waited until he was the last rider on the track on the last lap of the last 250 practice session to triple in, then double-single out, which looked much faster. The top 125cc guys (or 250cc four-stroke guys, judging by the amount of four-stroke entries) were doing most of the same jumps that the 250cc guys were.

One other interesting section is a three-turn (two left, one right) switchback section that crisscrosses the start straight. It’s all about corner speed, and there looks to be plenty of opportunity for passing there.

Now for some team news: Red Bull KTM went into Anaheim I with three 125cc Western Region riders and Grant Langston on a 250. Just one race later, all three 125 riders – Joaquim Rodrigues (shoulder), Casey Lytle (wrist) and Josh Woods (ribs) – are out. In their place is Ryan Morais (160), who rode for Suzuki last year (and as a support rider at Anaheim I). Morais said that he really likes the bike and hopes to make a splash in Phoenix.

Besides KTM’s injury woes, Mach 1 Yamaha’s Ezra Lusk is also ailing from his crash at Anaheim I. His wrist injury from last week turned out to be just a sprain (early accounts were that he had broken the navicular), but he said that he didn’t get to practice all week, and he likely won’t practice next week either in the hope that the wrist will heal more quickly. However, he will be racing in Phoenix, where he won last year, and he said his plans are to race next week as well.

With the conclusion of practice, many fans ventured across the street from The BOB to check out the Supercross Fan Fest. The festival featured many of the normal pit vendors, but also a rock-concert-quality stage where numerous bands played. The Sano Systems XR50 Stunt Team (right) was also on hand, hitting a ramp-to-ramp jump on their mini Hondas.

By Freelance