While my official dirt track racing season won't start until March 24 (at Winston, Missouri for a USMTS event), I have become an addict of another kind of dirt racing. For the past several weeks, I've become a fan of AMA Supercross. For those who may be unfamiliar with the sport, it is dirt bike racing held at football or baseball stadiums. There is also Arenacross, which is the same bikes but competing at basketball or hockey arenas.
Supercross is telecast live on the SPEED channel typically on Saturday nights with replays airing later on. While watching last night's event in St. Louis, the announcers mentioned that one of the drivers is originally from Fort Dodge, Iowa. That driver is Justin Brayton, who had his best finish of the season with a third place podium finish. Brayton started off the night by taking the early lead in his heat race, but soon found himself in the familiar position of following Ryan Villopoto (who happens to be the point leader). Villopoto went on to take the heat race win ahead of Brayton, and then backed it up with his sixth victory of the season already.
St. Louis was round 9 of 17 on the circuit. Next Saturday night's event will be held at Daytona. Villopoto takes a 13-point advantage into that event over Ryan Dungey, who finished in the runner-up position in St. Louis. Dungey hails from Belle Plaine, Minnesota. Justin Brayton ranks seventh in the point standings, 89 points behind Villopoto. However, he only sits twelve points out of fourth place with that fourth place rider Chad Reed sidelined with an injury.
A couple other riders were mentioned as being from Iowa as well. Gavin Faith also resides in Fort Dodge. He just missed the final transfer position in his heat race Saturday night, but was able to bounce back in the LCQ (last chance qualifier) and advance to the main event. Faith garnered a 17th-place finish. Faith sits 29th in points out of the 35 drivers listed as he's only managed to qualify for three main events.
The other rider is Cody Gilmore from Blair, Iowa. He finished twelfth in the same heat at Faith and ran the LCQ as well, but finished seventh in that with only the top two riders advancing. Gilmore has yet to qualify for a main event on the season, but he too got some air-time from the SPEED announcers.
While I can honestly say I've never heard of any of these three riders, I find it impressive that they have made it to the "big time" of their sport. I look forward to following their progress in second half of their short Supercross season. For more information with the Supercross, be sure to check out their website at http://www.supercrossonline.com or check out the appropriate link on the SPEED website.