Welcome to our weekly web-exclusive column, Transmoto USA Insider Presented By Answer. Penned each week by our man on the ground, Transmoto's US Correspondent, Jason Weigandt, USA Insider presents the story-behind-the-stories of the AMA supercross and motocross scene.
This Monday afternoon at the Joe Gibbs Racing MX shop, Team Manager Jeremy Albrecht pulled out the team photo from the squad's win in Oakland two weekends ago. In the photo, the team is on the podium celebrating James Stewart's win, and they're all smiling. J-Bone brought the photo out to remind everyone it's a long season, and good things can still happen—in fact, good things actually happened quite recently.
So the team will keep on working and digging, doing more testing down at James' house in Florida this week. Anyone who went through last year's crazy Monster Energy AMA Supercross title fight knows points can swing big in all directions, so it's too early to count anyone out. Certainly the team and rider want to win, but so far, things are just not going their way.
Similarly, Ryan Dungey and his new Red Bull KTM crew have lost a little luster after following a pair of fourth-place finishes with a distant third over the weekend in San Diego. RD's KTM just couldn't get on top of the whoops for whatever reason, and Stewart, Chad Reed and Ryan Villopoto left him in the dust there. We're now seeing the ups and downs expected with a first-year all-new effort like Dungey and KTM are working on.
Which leaves Villopoto and Reed at the top of the heap for the moment. Both look on point, both are motivated, both clearly have the desire and fitness to fight for 20 laps. Villopoto made have the edge on raw speed and aggression—a lot of riders are commenting on his ridiculous corner speed—but Reed can put his veteran experience and smarts up as a counter to that. Is it turning into a two-man race? Last year's wildness tells us to stop jumping to conclusions quite this early.
One other big trend sweeping the pits: drug testing. Since the supercross races in the U.S. run under both AMA and FIM sanction, the FIM's WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) tests are in effect. WADA reserves the right to test any rider at any time during the season, and last week Reed got a knock on the door early one morning, and Villopoto got a knock last week one night. And after the San Diego race, Dungey, Stewart, Justin Brayton and Lites riders Matt Moss and Dean Wilson were chosen for testing as well.
So far WADA has only asked for pee tests, which can only detect recreational drugs like marijuana. It takes blood testing to detect Performance Enhancing Drugs, and WADA hasn't subjected any riders to those yet. But perhaps all of the pee tests are just a setup for blood testing in the future? Either way, the riders should be nervous, because there's a huge list of banned substances on the list, including things like common cough medicine (which could be used as a masking agent to prevent the detection of actual Performance Enhancers). This may only be the beginning of the World Anti Doping Agency's effect on supercross in the U.S.