Moto Mondays: Glen Helen Recap

A lot of riders were quoted as saying that Glen Helen is a true “man’s track,” as it has more uphills and downhills than any other track on the Lucas Oil Pro MX circuit with almost no even ground. The nationals haven’t been held here in a few years, and mostly everyone was excited to see it rejoin the series, especially as an opener. Here’s a highlight recap of what went down on Saturday at this legendary motocross park.

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Motocross and TV – When Sponsorships Have Gone Too Far

LOPMX

This past supercross season, Monster Energy Supercross took a big step towards expanding exposure by having all but three of their races broadcast on the now popular and widely available Fox Sports 1, with the remaining three races broadcast on Fox Sports 2. This was a welcome shift from the supercross broadcasts on the now defunct Speed TV, and most fans were happy with the coverage.

Outdoor motocross coverage however, has been a different story. The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series over the last few years has been broadcast mostly between NBC Sports and NBC, but many races (including most first motos) weren’t available live or could only be accessed through the Alli Sports online stream. With the sport growing rapidly in popularity, fans have been asking for Lucas Oil Motocross to work out a better, more consistent television schedule with all races being aired live and on the same channel.

Instead, Lucas Oil Motocross will now air their first motos on the new MavTV, a channel that most people do not even get (unless they have DirecTV and the standard sports package). That means that Comcast users will be left out of the mix. To make matters even worse, NBC Sports, which usually broadcasts the second motos live, will be broadcasting the second motos for at least four of the races after they actually happen, some in random times such as 1:00am… meaning that most fans will already know the results hours before they get a chance to watch the races.

This is a horrible step back in live coverage for the sport of motocross, and many fans are very unhappy about it. Instead of using the opportunity of broadcasting live on a standard channel that mostly everyone gets, therefore increasing popularity and growing the sport, Lucas Oil is pretty much holding the motocross coverage hostage for the sake of MavTV, attempting to give the channel a boost in popularity instead of the sport.

What is important to realize is the motive behind this; Lucas Oil, the main sponsor of the pro motocross championship to the point where they’ve branded their name into the title of it, also owns MavTV. That’s right, Lucas Oil is more concerned with promoting their own channel than giving the fans a fair and widespread television coverage of the sport they love.

What’s ridiculous is that this may have potential to hurt both the brand of the outdoor motocross championship and Lucas Oil’s reputation. Lucas Oil is already the leading oil product company in the United States. They already get their name attached to the name of the motocross series. They even have the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts Stadium named after them, which has been regarded as the best stadium in professional football for the past 3 years in a row. They don’t need more exposure, they’re already winning the damn contest. But somehow instead of thanking the fans that have supported them, they are using their unique positioning to be selfish and hold the MX season for ransom in order to promote a television channel.

There’s not much the fans can do except complain to their current cable/dish providers and request for them to add MavTV (which is what Lucas Oil wants you to do) or to go to a place that has DirecTV to watch the channel. Me, I’ll just call around town to find the nearest bar with MavTV and pay for a couple beers instead of paying a cent to get that channel myself. Between all the energy drinks that these riders don’t even drink themselves, the “I’d like to thank (insert 10 sponsors)” speeches after a victory, and now this television coverage chokehold, I think we can officially say that the sponsorships that once helped build this great sport have gone too far.

 

For now, you can still watch all the races via the live steam on the Lucas Oil Pro MX website: http://www.promotocross.com/motocross/live

For the complete list of the Lucas Oil Pro MX television coverage, visit here: http://www.promotocross.com/mx/tv-schedule

Wing Review: Between the Buns

BtB Wings

Between the Buns is a great little local restaurant chain in the central-north Indiana area, known for it’s decor featuring the local sport teams from high school to college. They have always had a reputation for great food and strong drinks such as their Papa Smurf, of which customers are allowed a limit of two per sitting due to their alcohol content.

I always wanted to review the wings at Between the Buns, but they had traditionally been in a wing meal only and would limit the amount and number of sauces I could get them in. However, recently BtB decided to throw their hat into the local chicken wing special pool and now feature wings on Mondays for 39 to 49 cents (depending on the time of year).

With a small selection of flavors, they still have some unique ones. Here is my official review of BtB’s wings.

WING REVIEW (all scores out of 10):

Size: 9

These are among the bigger wings I’ve had, and they consist of plenty of meat. Usually I can down about 16 wings with no problem, but I ordered 12 and could only get through the first 7 in my initial sitting.

Texture: 9

They were as close to perfect as you could get without actually being perfect enough to call perfect. Maybe just a minute more in the fryer and they would have gotten that elusive “10.”

FLAVOR REVIEW:

Sweet BBQ: 9

I wasn’t sure what kind of barbecue sauce they used, or what kind of sweetening mixture for that matter, but the two flavors were blended together with immaculate consistency.

Cajun BBQ: 7

This was a new flavor that I hadn’t heard of from any wing place before, so of course I had to try it out. It consisted of wings in a Cajun dry rub then tossed in traditional barbecue sauce. The Cajun was a little rough and overpowering, but I really did like the concept of the blend.

Thai Chili: 8

I’m pretty sure that 90% of wing places in my area use the same exact commercial sauce for Thai chili wings, but it never seems to disappoint. I would have ranked this higher if it weren’t for the fact that it isn’t made in house, which actually is probably my fault for ordering. But oh well, I’m doing the wing review, which means I’m in charge. We don’t grade on a curve ’round hur.

OVERALL WING SCORE: 8.4

I’m really glad that Between the Buns is now an option for my poor self when I get my wing binge cravings, and I will be sure to utilize them in the future. For anyone in the Michiana area who hasn’t been to a BtB before, I suggest checking them out, even if you don’t get the wings.

Moto Mondays: Whoops I Did It Again…

Photo property of James Stewart.

Photo property of James Stewart.

Remember when I said I hated predicting sports? For those that need a refresher, I am jinxed (or I cause the jinx) every time I publicly make a statement saying who I want to win a sporting event. No matter how much insight I have about a team or how many stats I research, when it comes to championships, I am almost always wrong.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about James Stewart, saying that he deserved more attention than he was getting through the first half of the supercross season. As soon as I wrote that post, the moto world seemed to follow suit, and Stewart has been a centerpiece of SX coverage throughout the rest of the tour. However, I made the mistake of predicting that Stewart would shock the world and come back to win the supercross title.

The exact quote: “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m making it official now: I predict and hope for James Stewart to win this year’s SX title. And I hope to God I didn’t just jinx him.” – Me, February 17, 2014.

I want to personally apologize to James Stewart.

Dear James,

The bike malfunctions that kept you out of contention for the main event at both Daytona and Vegas were likely my fault, an act of the dark lord in vengeance for something I had done in my youth. When you temporarily injured your knee in New Jersey, that was not your mistake but mine. I predicted you to win it all, and cursed you by doing so. I want you to win another title, but I am not sure how to root for you, as the more confident I am of your success, the more likely you are to ultimately lose.

Please forgive me,

Joseph Graf

In all seriousness though, I have never seen such a skilled and premier rider have so much trouble with their bike, essentially losing races based on something they have no control over. The whole reason that Stewart switched from Yamaha to Suzuki this year was because he was worried that the Yamaha malfunctions were holding him back from a title. But then the same thing happened again, on a different ride. Maybe Stewart needs better mechanics, and I can’t imagine there are many out there that wouldn’t jump at the chance to help out the only current rider who isn’t injured that has a legitimate chance to out-race Villopoto.

So with that, I wish Stewart the best of luck in two weeks when the outdoor nationals start. I love the outdoor racing, and can’t wait to see more top-end speed and bigger jumps, as I was getting tired of all the technical whoop sections in supercross. These faster and more open tracks should play well to James Stewart’s advantage, as throughout all the injuries and mishaps, he is still known as “the faster rider on the planet.”