San Diego Supercross Friday Practice Update

| January 23, 2004

The story of the day at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium today was the elevated start that Dirt Wurx built. Elevated starts aren’t anything new to supercross, but until now they’ve always featured a gradual downhill slope. As you can see, the start that was built for round four of the AMA THQ Supercross Series is anything but gradual. Bobby Moore actually pointed out that it may be an added advantage for four-strokes, as they may be able to start a gear higher than their two-stroke competitors and roll over the gate, using the downhill to achieve momentum and maybe never having to shift. One thing’s for sure, though, the riders have never started on a gate like this one.

As expected, Team Suzuki’s Sean Hamblin will miss the San Diego Supercross because of the chest injuries he suffered at Anaheim II last weekend. However, some expected that, if Suzuki privateer Tyler Evans wasn’t going to get a chance to ride injured Sebastien Tortelli’s bike before, he may have gotten a chance this weekend, since Team Suzuki is down to only two riders: Nick Wey (250) and Brian Gray (125). That’s not the case.

“No factory bike for me yet,” Evans said today. “They aren’t going to give me a bike after a race like I had last weekend. I mean, 16th place isn’t good enough for factory status.”

On a high note, though, Team Yamaha’s Timmy Ferry is giving it a shot this weekend, after injuring his wrist in first practice last week. Red Dog (although not red anymore) is sporting an Allsport Dynamics wrist brace on his left arm in order to stabilize his wrist. He said his wrist was pretty sore after first practice, but he is hoping it will loosen up a bit more tomorrow, since it’s been in a brace all week.

Red Bull KTM’s Joaquim Rodrigues is also racing tomorrow. He rode both practices today, but said his injured right shoulder is still a bit weak after a few laps. He says his goal is to just make it through tomorrow night’s racing unscathed.

Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Eric Sorby, who had hoped to make his 250cc debut last weekend but suffered a minor wrist injury in practice, was back on a KX250 today. He looked strong, throwing whips over many of the track’s larger jumps. Apparently, his wrist isn’t bothering him much anymore. He said last weekend that he’s looking forward to demonstrating his skills in his 250cc debut.

Also, Amsoil/Chaparral Honda’s Chris Gosselaar is back on his bike this week. He says he’s feeling fine and he’s looking forward to tomorrow night.

And, on a sorry note, it looks like ECC Suzuki’s rider/manager is back to just a manager again for a while, as he had a wicked get-off in second practice today.

“My bike cut out on the face of a triple out there,” Craig said. “My arm is broken in like five places or something.”

Obviously, this puts an unfortunate end to the Mike Craig comeback. Speaking to him last week, he said he was really looking forward to his hometown race in San Diego, as he’s yet another top rider from nearby El Cajon.

Everyone else, including all of the other main contenders – Kevin Windham, Chad Reed, David Vuillemin and Mike LaRocco – made it through practice clean, with Vuillemin putting the top lap time in, at least in the first of two practices on the day.

By Freelance