A Matthes Report: Tampa

Steve Matthes checks in with insight

· 6 min read

Somehow, it is round nine this weekend out of seventeen in the Monster Energy Supercross series. Wait, wasn’t Anaheim 1 just three weeks ago? Wow, time flies. Anyways, it is Atlanta this weekend and that means a couple of things. One is the debut of a brand new sparkly dome called the Mercedes Benz Stadium, a state of the art facility, and two is it is the second round of the Triple Crown series, which is the most significant change to the supercross format in, well, forever.

The length of time for the first main event has been changed from the first round. It was very short and for such an important race, it seemed like a few minutes added on would not be such a bad thing. So, the first main events for the 250SX and 450SX were extended by two minutes.

All in all, and maybe I’m jaded because I have been basically going to every race since 1996, I enjoy this new format. I think we as a sport have to look towards entertainment value for the sport and if it takes away from the sanctity of the competition, then so be it. I am not saying the next step is fireballs and shark pits, but if we can tweak the format to provide closer racing, more passing and different winners, then let’s try it, yeah?

The days of having the same winners in a march to the end should be over. We need format changes to keep things exciting and this is one of them. I can’t wait to see what happens.

The triple-crown format will be tweaked slightly this weekend (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

With the legend Chad Reed setting the all-time main event starts record at 228 this past weekend in Tampa, I thought that I would ask some other riders about racing Chad and him setting that record. Here are some responses that I got.

Malcolm Stewart

MX Vice: I think you’re an interesting guy to ask this question to. Chad Reed set the all-time starts record tonight. You’ve often probably hated Chad; he diced with your brother for a long time. But, at the same time, I imagine you could admire a guy like that. He is the all-time record holder. Thoughts on that?

Dude, Chad’s awesome. When he did race James that had nothing to do with me.

You were probably angry at him sometimes!

At the end of the day, of course. Chad’s a hell of a racer. Anytime both of them were going back and forth at each other, of course I wanted James to win, but at the end of the day Chad’s still cool. Believe it or not, I rode at his house last year and I threw up an Instagram post and people were like, “oh my god." It was like, “let it go." The past is the past. Moving on. Chad can come around to our house if he wanted to. He’s more than welcome. All that drama is definitely way in the past. Huge shout out to Chad – that is awesome. One hell of a guy. I hope I’m as good of a man as he is.

Eli Tomac

MX Vice: Chad Reed set the all-time main event record tonight. You haven’t raced him that much. You raced him a little bit though. It’s a pretty amazing record when you really think about how long it is. 131 podiums or something!

Yeah. The stats are just crazy. The wins, the podiums and the starts. The funny part is I used to watch those guys from the stands. Those guys were my heroes. I watched them. I tried to learn technique from them. Ricky [Carmichael], James [Stewart] and Chad, those were the three guys. I always loved watching Chad. I felt like he was the guy with the technique. So, going back to the starts, it is unbelievable. I don’t think I’ll be making it that long, so props to him. That is gnarly.

That was my next question. Are we going to see you here?

No. I won’t be breaking Chad Reed’s start record.

Eli Tomac will not be around as long as Chad Reed, he said (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

Luke Renzland

MX Vice: Chad Reed set the all-time start record tonight – he is a legend. What do you remember and what do you think about him setting the record?

They actually came and did a Fox photo shoot at our place last year and Reed was there. He told my brother to get on the water truck, because it was getting a little dusty. He kind of had a little bit of a mean way of saying it. That’s my biggest memory of Chad Reed. It’s pretty personal. It is good. 

This question and answer didn’t go the way I thought it would.

No, not at all. It’s El Dozer, man. That is why we show up to the press conference. Give you some different answers.

The Alta bikes may appear in the 250SX class in the near future (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

I saw with interest that Harley Davidson had invested in Alta, the E-Bike company to share technology and help HD work on an e-bike of their own. I am very interested to see how this Alta thing plays out over time. I was skeptical of the bike, because I had ridden the KTM e-bike and although that thing is fun, it is hardly ready to be raced. Even when Kris Keefer, my co-host on the PulpMX Show, told me he had been testing with the company and it was a legit bike, I still had my doubts.

Then I rode one and I’m all-in! Seriously, it is amazing how good the bike is and, more importantly, how much fun it is! It’s got power comparable to a 250F and it is heavier than any 450 out there, but you do not feel it. The lack of parts moving inside the motor makes it seem light. There are four ignition maps on the bike and I enjoyed three, the ultra-aggressive map four was too much for me. It really pulled hard!

It is super weird to not have a clutch and a shifter, but that allows you to not worry about that (which takes ten minutes before you stop moving your foot by the way) and have more fun. The fact that all you can hear is your chain slap and people talking alongside the track is also super weird.

I’m telling you though, there’s something here with the Alta. What? I’m not exactly sure. The other OEM’s that pay into professional supercross and motocross have to play nice and allow the Alta into their playground. If you do allow them in, what class are they in? I know Alta wants to be inserted into the 250SX class and I guess they could do that, but I’m not so sure. The other companies would all have Alta’s by now and have broken them down to see if they want to offer an E-bike up and I’d guess they do. So, maybe there’s an Alta-only class for a few years while the other companies play catch up? I don’t know – I’d definitely like them to be included in pro racing. They are that good.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Octopi

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