The largest and most televised and publicized spectacle in “extreme sports” is known as the X-Games. For the first time in its 13-year history, Moto X (known traditionally as Supercross) was added to the event. 16 of the fastest riders in the world were invited to compete for a coveted X-Games medal in front of an estimated 750 million households worldwide.I was fortunate enough be included in the inaugural event which featured a unique format to emphasize the close racing and excitement that is Supercross. The format featured four separate heats of four riders with only the winner advancing to the main feature. The remaining riders were broken into two semi-qualifiers with six riders, with again only the winner advancing to the six-rider main event.Practice: The riders were given one hour of practice on Friday and one on Saturday morning. I was happy with my bike set up right away and felt very good on the track despite having not ridden much Supercross since the final event of the 2007 AMA Supercross Series at Sam Boyd Stadium back in May. We were given transponders for practice, but I never did see a printout of my lap times during the weekend. I felt comfortable and fast, and I had a feeling that it was going to be a good weekend for me.Heat One: I was in the first of four heats. The other riders in my heat were Kevin Windham, Jason Thomas and Grant Langston. When the gate dropped I spun a little bit but used a low line in the first turn to emerge with the holeshot. I led the first two laps before succumbing to the pressure of Kevin Windham in the whoops. A lap later Grant Langston got the better of me, although I managed to square him off and get him back. On the next lap he made it stick and set off after Kevin. I finished 3rd in the six-lap race and would have to ride in the semi qualifier.Semi-Qualifer One: The riders in my semi included Langston and Thomas, along with Josh Grant, Eric Sorby and the ever-talented Travis Pastrana. I had a much better jump off the gate this time and went high in the first turn. I emerged in second place hot on the heels of Grant Langston. I did everything I could to keep pace with Grant, but he pulled out about two seconds on me by the second lap. At one point, I closed back in slightly as I could feel the pressure of Travis Pastrana and didn’t want to let him get too close. At the end of the six-lap race, I was about two seconds back from Langston in a comfortable second position.Summary: My overall finishing position for the weekend was 7th, one spot shy of main-event qualification. Considering the company, I was extremely pleased with my performance, although I would have definitely liked to be in that main event with Carmichael, Windham, Byrne, Reed, Langston and Vuillemin.Other notes:
X-Games is televised with over 14 hours of live coverage around the world on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN International, EXPN.com, ESPN Classic, ESPN360.com, SportsCenter and ESPN2′s X Center. Check your local listings for re-airs. The whole vibe of this event was incredible. To be with such amazing athletes from a whole variety of sports was just awesome. The Athlete’s Lounge was catered, had drinks, games, television, pool tables, a smoothie bar, couches, indoor golf and all the free swag and goodies you could fit in your backpack. We were treated like superstars. Since we didn’t even plan on doing this event until the last minute, Jesse Black and JR Boyd (our two technicians) were actually moving into a new house this weekend. JR stepped in to wrench while my usual mechanic, Jesse, stayed back and did the heavy lifting at home. Jesse came in on Saturday morning to assist, but JR did a great job on the bike and we had a lot of fun working together. Two additional people who made this weekend possible were Mike and Melissa Battista of MB1 Suspension. Mike did some last minute suspension for which worked just awesome. The Battista’s also let me use their race transporter as our semi is on the way to Millville, MN for the national this coming weekend. A very special thank you goes out to them for their hospitality throughout the weekend. Thank you for your continued support and see you at the races!Ryan Clark
Owner/AthleteTeam Solitaire/Kingdom/FLY Racing Honda is an independently owned and operated professional Supercross and Motocross race team based in Phoenix, AZ. Our 2007 marketing partners include: FLY Racing, Kingdom Clothing, American Honda, Dragon Optical, WPS, Dubach Racing Exhaust, RideNow.com, MB1 Suspension, HoyFox.com, Michelin, Vortex, Team Hawg Racing, ASV, Coachseiji.com, Polisport Plastics, Enjoy Mfg., Ride Engineering, Boyesen, Pivot Works, Ready Filter, Sano Systems, Pro Honda Oils & Chemicals, RK Chain, Excel, Group D, DC Auto Wraps, Champion Tool Storage, Motion Pro, OGIO, Ron Davis Radiators, Crank Works, Hot Rods, CP Pistons, Barnett, Sidi Boots, QTM/Brembo, Pro Grip, Hammerhead, USA Sport, Cytosport, Cometic, Flyin’ Kolors, IMS and Lakai.