Last year at this exact moment, we sat at the Anaheim 1 Press Conference hyping up the “greatest AMA Supercross season ever.” While in the background, track workers were scrambling to put tarps over the built sections of the track under the steady rain outside. A few more inches of rain in the following days turned A1 into a quagmire. The “Perfect Storm” we were all waiting to see was ruined by a not-so-perfect storm. Ah, the beauty of irony…This year, we’re again awaiting the start of what promises to be an amazing season. And this time, Mother Nature looks like she’s willing to cooperate—it’s currently 80° and sunny here in Anaheim!James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham and Jeremy McGrath were the star guests at the press day—again, the exact same panel as last year. One big change, however was the cast on Kevin Windham’s arm.It was a small crash; he lost the front end on a little double coming out of the whoops, but ended up with a compound fracture, two plates and eleven screws in his arm! It’s always those little ones that’ll get you… “Maybe I should just start going big,” Windham joked.Needless to say, he’s disappointed that he won’t be racing the first rounds of the series. Up until the accident, he had been recovering well from his hernia surgery, and talked about how great his new CRF450R was working.”I’m disappointed I can’t be out there showing what the bike can do,” he commented today. A doctor appointment later this week will indicate how soon K-Dub will be returning to the series.Jeremy McGrath will be racing the first six rounds of the series. But just like his race efforts in 2005, Jeremy says (in the poignant words of L.L. Cool J), “Don’t call it a comeback.”Jeremy’s race efforts with Honda are modest and limited. “I’m not going to go out there and make a fool out of myself,” said McGrath. His training and preparation are even better this year than last, but still, he maintains he’s out here for fun and to meet his own challenges. He also has a role in helping Honda with their race development, and mentoring the younger riders. “It’s not about me anymore,” said the 7-time Supercross champ, “It’s about the team.”McGrath recently added another title to his already impressive resume: Dad! He and his wife Kim celebrated the arrival of their first child, a baby girl, on December 9, 2005. Congratulations to the entire McGrath family!The first thing Chad Reed brought up was his dissatisfaction at his performances in the Canadian World rounds. “It’s obvious Canada was a pretty pathetic performance for me,” the ’04 Supercross Champion said. Reed didn’t make any excuses for his sub-par finishes, but has declared he is ready and eager coming into Saturday’s race.But being the seasoned champion he is, Reed also recognizes the need for patience and consistency. “You can’t win the championship in the first round, but you can lose it.” Cool consistency has always been a strong point for the Aussie, and it’s that very characteristic that brings home championships. It will be interesting to see what Chad Reed will put together this year.It’s a “New Beginning” for James Stewart—as the seat of his pants clearly denotes. Stewart admitted to having learned a lot in 2005 during his tumultuous season, which he’d probably like to forget.The transition from 125s to 250s (er… Lites to Supercross) has proven tough for nearly every top rider. No champion, it seems, has ever made a seamless transition, and Stewart was no exception to this rule.Now in his sophomore year in the premier class, with Kawasaki’s latest and greatest motocross weapon under him, Stewart is a serious threat to the title. After bringing home two wins from Canada already, Stewart’s 2005-’06 Supercross effort is off to a healthy start. While others have their eye on the AMA Series, inside the scope of the World Supercross GP series, Stewart calls Anaheim 1 the third race of the season, not the first.2005 was a simply incredible year for Ricky Carmichael. The five titles he amassed were beyond his expectations and now feels that he has “nothing left on the table.”"Anything from here on is just icing on the cake,” said Carmichael heading into ’06. He’s looking forward to fun and great racing—more of what fans saw in Canada. “I want there to be great racing,” said Ricky, who enjoys a close race as much as fans do, “It’s what the sport needs.”Ricky also likes to smooth out the hype that is always so focused on Anaheim 1. All the riders reiterate the fact that it’s a long series. It’s not just one shootout.”The series really starts in Daytona,” Carmichael has said on several occasions, “So don’t draw conclusions [after one race].”Seven-time Supercross/Motocross champion Rick Johnson, now a team coach for Makita Suzuki, commented on today’s conference, surprised that he didn’t hear one specific question: “With the majority of riders now on four-strokes, have they considered how many times a rider in the lead has stalled the bike, not been able to get it re-fired, and consequently finished out of the top ten, and do they anticipate that as being a factor in this year’s series?”It’s apparent that Johnson anticipates that as being a factor this year. Coming from a former champion and top Supercross team coach, his words are almost ominous. It will be interesting to see if this “sleeping factor” does, in fact, impact results.After the conference, riders got suited up and headed to the track. The Anaheim 1 Press Day reminds me of the first day of school. You get to check out all the new equipment, gear, and the “new kids.” Check out some photos of today’s practice.Visit our Supercross Page at Dirtrider.comhttp://www.dirtrider.com/news/supercross for all the goods on the 2006 Series!