Red Bull Straight Rhythm
"Go hit a bunch of jumps in a straight line on a two stroke on live TV? Absolutely!"
That's basically what went through my head when I got the call to come out and do Red Bull Straight Rhythm. I've always watched the event on TV and thought it looked like fun. Supercross is my background, and I figured maybe that skill is still in my body somewhere, so why not?? We had a weekend off from GNCC, so I jumped on the opportunity. The exposure alone was enough reason for me to give it a shot.
I flew out to California the day before the event to break in the bike. I've never ridden a Husqvarna TE250 two-stroke, so I wanted some time to get used to it. I needed every minute of practice they gave us! Supercross obstacles are one thing on a four-stroke; a whole other kind of feeling on the two-banger! The bike is amazing, don't get me wrong. But the range of power on a two-stroke is a lot smaller than the FC350 I ride in GNCC, and it took some getting used to. I got the rhythms down in practice and felt good going into qualifying.
When I did Supercross full time, it was common for me to be top qualifier in practice. After a five year layoff from it, I thought I might be a tick off the top guys at Straight Rhythm. But I qualified first in both classes! Pretty cool considering it was over Ryan Villopoto in the Two-Stroke class and guys like Alex Martin and Shane McElrath in the Lites class. I was hitting a quad-quad rhythm section that a lot of guys weren't hitting and that helped me for sure.
In the night show, I got through the quarter finals pretty easily and into the next round. In the Two-Stroke class semi finals, I was paired with Ronnie Mac. The dude is no joke! We split the first two races and went into the win-or-go-home third race tied. I made a mistake on the quad-quad and that was all she wrote. He moved on to the final and I moved into the third place round with Ryan Villopoto. I won two races against him to finish third place in the Two-Stroke class.
In the Lites class semi finals, I was paired against one of the top up-and-coming riders in Sean Cantrell of Troy Lee Designs KTM. I won the first race, he won the second. In the third race, I kind of brain farted and didn't get the quad-quad I'd been doing all day, and he beat me. I was pretty mad at myself for messing it up! I definitely had the speed to win it. Oh well, I guess I can't be too mad for coming straight out of the woods and racing with these guys.
All in all, it was a super fun experience, and I can't wait until next year! Huge thanks to Husqvarna for building me a bike and letting me do the race, as well as all my sponsors for their support!
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