“It’s pretty much all about the dirt – we finally had some good dirt,” Ryan Villopoto said after his second AMA Supercross win of the season in Oakland last weekend. “At Anaheim, the dirt is really not good anymore. No rain and no moisture plays a part in there, but I think it’s time we got new dirt at that track.”
Although he's not the only one who has complained about the dirt at Angel Stadium, Villopoto is the defending Supercross Champion so his words carry some weight. Maybe not enough to actually get new dirt, however.
“Yeah they do, but they ain’t,” Stewart said when asked if the Anaheim Supercross was in need of some new dirt. “So you gotta deal with it.”
Stewart has other concerns. While he did applaud the efforts of track designers for improving the tracks, he also pointed out his main concern - the steepness of the whoops. It’s also a concern shared by most of the riders.
“I think the tracks have been better than they have in the past, but I think there are certain parts of the track that are a little dangerous,” Stewart said. “For instance, the whoops this year - not like I’m the only person saying it – have kind of been a little sketchy. But they’re trying. I think they are listening, but it’s not easy to go, ‘alright just because you said something we’re going to go find new dirt.’ It is a business. If you’re not smart enough to realize that…
“It’s hard. I agree with Villo [Ryan Villopoto]. I think they should get new dirt, but at the same time I understand why they don’t. And no matter what, whether they get new dirt or not, we’re still going to be showing up racing on Saturday.”
Basically the dirt just doesn’t magically appear by the truckload each weekend. For the Anaheim rounds it is actually stored in the back parking lot at Angel Stadium and it is used for all three Supercross and the Monster Jam events. Once the final Monster Jam is over, the dirt goes back into the containment area. They put a road base over the top of it and it becomes an employee parking lot.
And the dirt is cleaned after each event – especially after the Monster Jam trucks hammer it.
“We actually bring labor in and clean it all up after the Monster Jam comes, because that’s the only debris that would get into it,” said Supercross manager Tim Phend. “And after we load out for every Supercross, we have labor out there picking up any kind of bottles, trash, plastic, zip ties, tape - everything that’s remnants from our event. So it’s totally spotless when we walk out the door.”
As far as Phend’s response to Villopoto’s complaint about the need to change the dirt, he said he needed more details.
“I’d have to ask what he felt was wrong with the dirt,” Phend said. “Because I can’t fix it unless I know what… Is it too soft? Is it too hard? Is it too rocky? Is it too sandy?”
Phend also factored in Villopoto’s concession that there hasn’t been much in the way of noticeable rain in Southern California.
“Yeah, well that’s got somewhat of an impact of it getting hard quick,” Phend explained. “Once we got here and started Tuesday morning, we watered this floor about three times a day. As they’re opening the pile again and laying it out throughout the day they’re watering. And before we leave at night, we’re watering it. So we’re putting a lot of water on it through the build. So it’s inside of the dirt.”
Phend continued to stress the importance of needing the details of a complaint and that there were things that could be done to change it.
“Yeah I have to know specifics to change it before I can do anything about it,” said Phend. “There are all kinds of ways we can change it. We can add sand to it. If it’s too rocky we screen it, which we do in [Las] Vegas and a few other cities we’ve had to screen. We do measures to make it the best dirt we can.”