Written by Nick Thiel
When I think of Texas, a lot of things come to mind, like sweet tea, Southern hospitality, and of course the grandiose mind-set that Texans have. Then there is Freestone, Texas, in which only one thing comes to mind, and that’s blistering hot! In comparison to the other nationals of the year, it has a relatively dry climate, but being early in the season, it can wreak absolute havoc on the riders. Even the most physically fit have fallen victim to the Texas heat in the past, and after a glance at the weather, I imagine this weekend will be no exception.
After walking around to a few of the rigs here on Friday, I noticed that quite a few of the riders are trying new base layers, as well as cooling vests to try to beat the Texas heat. The new products, along with iced towels and ice baths, is just what the doctor ordered to make it through the weekend in Freestone.
Blake Baggett stuggled at Freestone last year, despite a stellar ride the week before at Hangtown. Can he stay on track this time around?
Both Blake Baggett, or “Shake-n-bake,” and James Stewart are coming off very dominant 1-1 weekends in Hangtown going into Freestone. Will they have the same type of success in the Lone Star state? Baggett had a rather rough weekend last year in Texas, finishing 9th overall on the day. After speaking with the team, they were all very confident that he would be able to better his finish substantially compared to last year. Of course teams have to be optimistic, but after last weekend's performance, it’s hard to doubt him.
Then there is Stewart, who rode smart and in control throughout the day in Hangtown. He never looked like he was riding on the edge, nor did he look like he was fatigued. The question is, will he be able to go 1-1 in the Texas heat? The brass tacks is that JS7 is a past outdoor champion, and he knows what it takes, so I don’t see him lining up unless he was ready to win. This being said, I think he’ll be upfront all weekend.
JS7 will have to conquer the heat in order to go 1-1 again this week.
Freestone, along a handful of the other outdoor nationals, brings some real speed out of the local boys. So I expect the likes of Kyle Cunningham, Kyle Regal and both Wil and Tommy Hahn to be up front this weekend. There’s nothing quite like having everybody from your hometown and every family member at the track to help you twist the throttle just a little bit harder. Regal has had another week on the JGR Yamaha and hopes to better his disappointing 21st-place overall finish from last week. Let’s hope that all of these hometown boys can put it up front for their fans this weekend.
After a rough start to the season, local boy Kyle Regal looks to bounce back at Freestone.
That’s all we have for this week's Friday Preview, as everyone is trying to hide away from the heat in their rigs and hotel rooms here in Texas. Hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you’re headed out to Freestone, make sure to stay hydrated. It’s going to be a hot one! Also be sure to follow us on twitter for updates throughout the race day tomorrow at @allisports and @AmericanMX.
Coverage from Freestone starts at 2pm ET and can be seen live on AlliSports.com. 2nd motos will air Saturday night at 11pm ET on NBC Sports Network in the U.S. Click here for more details on how to watch this weekend.