Last fall when we rolled into Salt Lake City, teams and riders were a much different picture. Webb was not with RPM, Roberts was not injured, Taddy was still here, and Haaker was on a Honda. Rolling into Round 2, it's Webb's game to lose as he took Daytona, and the rest of the podium is still to be rounded out. Haaker did come in second in Daytona, and you can be sure he is going to be pushing for the win in SLC. That third step of the podium, whether 1st, 2nd or 3rd is still a question. There are many in the top end of the pro field that could make the podium theirs in 2015, so whether you're a Brown fan or Palmer people, 2015 has the potential for a lot of people's hopes this season. I hope yours is on top.
To highlight a few this week is hard because so many rode strong in the off season. Here are a few of my favs for SLC.
Mike Brown is the man, but was not on the podium at the end of the Geico endurocross season in 2014. He was battling every week and halfway through the season, led Team USA into an emotional ISDE and continues to push his career higher. What's in store for Mike Brown in 2015? That's still to be seen, but he's climbing higher!
Brown sat in the middle of the top ten consistently during the 2014 season. Every week Brownie was in the mix. That being said, Mike Brown is in a position few men have had the opportunity to be in. His skills and finesse on an endurocross course are on the next level. He's 43 years old and consistently schools guys half his age. SLC could be "Browns Town".
Mike Brown made the move to Husky in the 2014 Geico EnduroX season as the Captain of that team, but battling every weekend along with the majority of the pro field. Mike Brown delivers on course, frequently turning in the fastest hot laps, getting hole shots, and finishing in front. However, the podium was elusive in the 2014 season for Brown. I'm hoping Brown can stand on the podium once again this year, I think this weekend could be his.
Colton Haaker finished on the podium in 2014 and finished his best season ever in the Geico Endurocross. Since then, he has moved over to Husky and is running the Rockstar in blue and white. In Daytona the Husky put him into second on the podium, so he seems to have adjusted well to the setup thus far. He is hungry for that title and is a real challenge for the overall for 2015. Haaker's solid technical skills and work ethic give him a solid chance for a #1 plate at the end of the 2015 season.
If we are going to throw one more wild card out there, how can we not bring up showman Wally Palmer? He is on good form this year. If Palmer can just touch town and ride away smooth. He is a contender, but half the time, Wally is like a fuel injection program on constant wild mode. One word for Palmer...breathe. I hope to see Palmer on the podium in 2014. He certainly has the talent and is putting in the time..
Whoever you like, get out to one of these world class venues. You can start on Saturday in Salt Lake City. See you there.