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Abu Dhabi WSX thoughts – drama, confusion, carnage and anger!

Abu Dhabi WSX thoughts – drama, confusion, carnage and anger!
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Before the season started at Villa Park, it was presumed Ken Roczen would absolutely dominate the series, and, while Roczen’s pace is on another level, the unique format of WSX has brought drama, tension, take-outs and, at times, utter confusion!

Roczen had to work through the field at Villa Park as Anstie, Lopes and McElrath put on a high quality show for the fans but Abu Dhabi was a different kettle of fish from the start.

First of all there was the bizarre decision to have the four heat races and superpole in the afternoon with no fans present, robbing ticket payers of four races, and a timed qualifying format that is always good to watch and makes WSX unique. A real shame as freestyle and 80’s going around the track in the night show isn’t as exciting – let the fans see all the racing that the pros do!

Having a supercross race in the middle east is something very different for this sport but the track was more like Arenacross, and, after the heat races, where passing was nearly impossible, there was concern for the night’s action – but we need not have worried!

With Roczen starting from row two and Friese being a holeshot machine there was almost guaranteed drama. And that’s exactly what happened, with Freise again the lead villain – in the eyes of just about everyone!

Friese cleaned Wilson out in race one then held onto the win as Roczen went down hard ending his chance of the overall win. Friese again got into it with Wilson who wanted revenge in race two with Wilson eventually winning and Roczen accepting third after coming through the field with that man Friese second.

Roczen somehow made a drama free Friese pass but Savatgy got forced off the track by an aggressive Friese who, for the third main in a row, went tight everywhere as everyone caught him but were basically afraid to make a pass in case they got blasted!

Friese creates drama but he also creates danger, the WSX format is really fun and fast paced, six gate drops and bar banging races, but when Joey Savatgy (who won the GP) says he was glad to get out healthy due to Vince Friese’ riding style, it’s probably going too far and could get to the point where top riders may not want to come because of Friese.

It’s a balancing act for sure because Friese creates drama but he needs to walk the line better or it will get out of control. This series is a great idea, the format is fun but six starts is enough excitement and risk without riders awaiting a Friese slam that could wreck their WSX and upcoming AMA season.

Credit too to Paul Malin and Grant Langston who did excellent while, unbelievably the wrong results were on screen for SX2 race two for the whole moto. The camera followed a rider who had went down in the first turn and even the fireworks went off when he crossed the line – a complete shambles rescued by Malin who had to commentate from what he could see in the arena and not off the TV screen, just to keep everyone right!

Things can definitely be improved, but there is a place for this series, if the timing of the series can be worked out and the likes of Friese can walk the line of aggressive not dangerous, this isn’t a destruction derby, it’s racing and world class racers want to race.

Roczen’s team boss, Dustin Pipes, said of Friese: “I have a lot of respect for what Mike Genova and Tony Alessi have built Motoconcepts into. They’ve won races, had multiple podiums, build great bikes, have a clean look, and a great staff. It takes a lot of work, sacrifice, and money to achieve those things. But it’s disappointing they continue to support and defend Vince Friese. He doesn’t race safely and he hasn’t for 15 years. He routinely puts his other competitors in unnecessary harm and is a danger to everyone he’s racing. Take outs, track cutting, cross jumping, brake checking, swerving in straight aways- just a normal night for Friese tonight. Enough is enough.”

Article: Jonathan McCready

Image: WSX

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