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Dances with Wolves: A1 2019

200 years ago the American Frontier was paving its dusty way into the forefront of history. The great horse culture of North America was what made the world go around, as they say. There is something about the bond a man and a horse have. Through time and shared experience the two beating hearts become one in the heat of battle or the moment. The pounding of the horse’s hooves, the strength of the man’s hands and legs staying atop. The two central nervous systems begin to work in unison. Whether hunting for food, or going to war, mankind and horse were a singular system. They understood each other. They knew every inch of each other. They knew their moods and tendencies. 200 years ago mankind went to war aboard 1000 lbs of muscle. On a certain windy field in Kansas or Oklahoma you can close your eyes and still hear the thunder of the charge. The cacophony of the hooves pounding the hard grass and dirt. In eight days Angel Stadium of Anaheim will deliver a different, but equally powerful sound. Equal energy. Anticipation, fear and thrill to maximum capacity.

On January 5, 2019 the thunder will return. Monster Energy Supercross is back.

This is the year that Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac should bring it home. Owner of 17 450SX Main Event victories in the past two season and 90 days removed from winning $1 million at the Monster Energy Cup, it is time for him to finish the game. What may become of the No. 3 in 2019? Arguably the most versatile motocross racer on the planet, he has to win the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross an FIM World Championship or the season will be a failure. Period.

Enter defending champion, Jason Anderson. “El Hombre” won four times in 2018 and if it wasn’t for a broken front wheel at the penultimate round of 2018, he would have wrapped a week early. Protege of 4-time champion Ryan Dungey, Anderson is a wild model of consistency. Wild with his jersey hanging out the back of his pants. Wild with aggression and block passes. Be that as it may, he’ll rack up a series of top 5’s before you can blink an eye. Perhaps an introvert, which is uncommon among the alpha males of Supercross history, Anderson is his own man. Count him out to defend? Think again.

Second in 450SX Points in 2018 was Frenchman, Marvin Musquin. Stealthy in his attack, Musquin can put laps down with brilliance like no man on the starting gate. Save for a banged up shoulder at round two in 2018, Marvin was your champion last time around. His Achilles? The whoops. Musquin has spent his off season working on this one lone chink in his armour. If he perfects it, watch out.

Then there is always the underdog. How many times can they rebuild Ken Roczen? How many times can he rise? The German has already accomplished the greatest comeback the sport has maybe ever seen when he blasted out and became fastest qualifier at A1 last season. Can Kenny truly come back from his multiple demises and win this championship? What is true is he believes he can. He believes it in his heart. No. 94 will fight and he will be heard.

Every once in a while something special happens to the premier division. 2019 will see four rookies enter the 450SX class with blood in their eyes. All are winners in the 250SX class. All four have a chip on their shoulders. Joey Savatgy, Aaron Plessinger, Justin Hill and Zach Osborne make up the nastiest crop of freshmen in Supercross history. It’s a hell of a thing in competition between rookies and veterans. How will this thing play out? That my friends is why we run the races.

So, go back to the dust and the pounding of hooves of the American Frontier. Go back to the pure unison of man and horse. That special bond between them. In perspective it is not unlike man and machine in Monster Energy Supercross. The boys and their race bikes are one with each other. They have a bond through suspension, engine mapping, handlebars and more. They know each other. And when they are working together it is a magical combination where you can’t really tell the two apart. It is one working unit of power, precision and forward movement. When a cavalry of soldiers were on horseback in a battalion going to war the ground shook. When Chad Reed pounds the whoops you can literally feel the ground shake beneath his wheels as he passes. It is equally violent and beautiful.

As we approach the onset of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross an FIM World Championship the storm clouds are gathering. It is a very special thing. The dawn of a new year and a new season. 22 of the best in the world. The best athletes on the planet. The pounding of the wheels across the dirt. The sound of the charge. All of the passion, hard work and love comes down to 20 minutes in Angel Stadium of Anaheim. It’s crazy to think that they all believe they can win. They believe it in their hearts.

It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. A1 is here.

 

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