Welcome to The Weekly Dirt, the place to go each Wednesday to catch up on the latest happenings in the realm of off-road motorcycling.
If Ryan Villopoto ends up winning the 2011 450 outdoor title, he can look back on his pass on Ryan Dungey in the final turn of the opening moto at Steel City as a critical point in the title chase. That one bold move accounted for a six-point swing in the championship chase and it thwarted what would have been a huge boost of momentum for Dungey had the Suzuki ride gone on to win the race. Personally, I think Villopoto’s winning pass took the wind out of Dungey’s sails and therefore Villopoto was able to runaway with moto two.
Mike Alessi told me after the Steel City round that he would not be back with KTM for the 2012 season, and that team manager Roger DeCoster had informed him that he was bringing Andrew Short back for next year and that there would be no spots open for Alessi. Of course, DeCoster is saving a spot for Ryan Dungey (or another top rider), if they can come to terms. And now for a some total speculation on my part: I think Alessi will look to a some sort of ride with Suzuki for next year, since he was at his best on the yellow bikes a couple of years ago and had it not been for an injury he most likely would have won a national title… just my thoughts.
Some of you may think this is off base and some may disagree with me, but I think it’s incredible what the Smage Brother’s Riding Show on NBC’s America’s Got Talent is doing for motorcycling… think about who watches this show. People who would never be exposed to any kind of motorcycle competition and who never dreamed it took any skill at all to ride one are pulling for these guys from Wisconsin. When I was getting my haircut the other day (at my wife’s beauty salon), I heard an elderly lady telling the young girl applying bluish tint to her hair that she was pulling “for those Smage boys”! If anything, you have to appreciate the skill level these guys are at. In their element, which is incredibly wicked and gnarly trials stuff, they are amazing, and to be able to come up with some sort of an act to demonstrate what they do for television and to be able to do it on a tiny (and slippery, I’m sure) stage is even more amazing. Not sure if they will make it all the way to the finals, but Go Smages!