Thursday May 3rd my (now) fiancée, mom, dad and myself headed for the Halifax airport to catch our plane to Las Vegas we had a lay over in Montréal which proved to be a close call when our original flight was changed and we only had 40 minutes to land, clear customs and get on out next plane. The four of us, as well as about 25 other people, had to run from one end of the Montréal airport to the other and got bumped to the front of the Customs line in order to make our flight, but in the end we made it just as they were getting ready to close the gate.
We landed about 10:30 Las Vegas time and we decided to ride in style from the airport getting a stretch limo to the Mirage Hotel and Casino where we would be staying. Once we got settled in our room on the 25th floor, overlooking the mountains, we decided to go for a walk and start the one of many trips down the strip to take in the different sights and hotels along the famous stretch of road. After a long day and being up for almost 24 hours when you factored in the time change we crashed at about 10:30 on the first night.
On Friday we did some more sight seeing after an enormous buffet breakfast at our hotel and then I attended something I never thought would catch my attention as much as it did. My fiancé and I went to the Circ-de-Sole “O” performance at the Belagio. A lot of people say MX racers are crazy but after watching people dive from the rafters about 100 feet above the stage into a pool 15 feet in size I am questioning who the crazy ones really are. After that we went to the Paris and took a trip up the Efile tower where I popped the big question to my girlfriend at the top of the viewing platform.
Thank god she said yes since there were quite a few people standing up there with us…hahaha.
On Saturday we got up early and headed to the Sam Boyd Stadium for the SX finals. At first glance the track looked very technical and after watching the Lites riders out in first practice it was evident that it was. Many of the riders including the top guy had trouble getting over the 1st triple after the sky jump until a good line got formed in the corner. Thankfully there were no injuries that came out of the entire day/night of the finals in a season that was plagued with some bad ones.
The afternoon qualifiers showed who was going be battling for the lead in the night show with all of the top runners laying down some sick lap times and making the track look easy. After the first round of practices we decided to take a tour through the pits. I ran into fellow Canadian National rider Bobby Kiniry who says he is looking forward to hopefully running the Canadian circuit again and be in the championship hunt.
The MotoConcepts rig was welcoming after running into the owner and manager staying at our hotel and them being one of my team’s sponsors here on the East Coast. After about an hour of touring the pits it was getting real hot and with not much for shaded areas being set up in the pits we headed back inside to grab a drink and some lunch at the stadium.
The first race of the night kicked off with a explosion of fire works and pyrotechnics as the lites West Coast finals stormed into the stadium wide open off the ski jump and into the 180 degree turn, in true SX fashion there was multiple people go down in the turn due to some aggressive block passing for the top spots. As per usual the Geico Honda and Rockstar Suzuki team riders' Yoshimura motors put them out front and they quickly made time on the rest of the field. Dean Wilson didn’t get the best of starts but battled through the field for a strong finish. Eli Tomac proved he deserved the #1 plate taking the victory.
The East lites finals was just as exciting; once again the Geico Honda and Rockstar Suzuki bikes leading down the start stretch. The racing was unreal with block passing and new rhythm lines continuing to evolve all over the track. The Geico team proved there dominance again with the #1 bike of Justin Barcia coming out on top.
The SX class was one of the best races of the night. Ryan Dungey pulled a big lead and ran away with the win, while the battle for the remaining positions in the top 10 was unreal. Davi Millsaps finished second, while Justin Brayton charged through the field but ran out of time to challenge Davi for the runner up spot in the both the main event and the championship points standings.
All in all it was an awesome night of racing and a great experience that I cannot wait to go back and do again. The night ended with us realizing how hard it would be to get a cab back from the event hosting 37000 people lol. After waiting in a cab line for over two hours we grabbed an empty limo and rode back to our hotel in comfort and style. Our limo driver was one of the best we had our entire trip and offered to give us a lift to the airport on Monday. By the time we got back to the hotel it was going on 2:00 am so after a long day in the sun and heat we crashed for the night.
On the last day in Las Vegas we decided to take a trip to the Stratosphere which from the top of its 109th floor you could see the entire city of Las Vegas. On top of the building there was an amusement park with rides extending out over the top of the 109 story building, I wanted to try some of them out but with the long lines and me being the only one in my group wanting to try it I decided to pass. I will defiantly be going back there on my next trip to Vegas.
Special thanks to Wide Open Racing sponsors: Estabrooks Bracing Solutions, CTi2, Ossur, Kermaxx Performance Accessories, Printwerx.ca, Pro Wheels Racing Components, IMX Magazine, MD Distributions, Forma MX Boots, Deft Family MX Gloves, PODIUM 1 Suspension, Pro Cycle, Motovan.com, Motoconcepts riding accessories and goggles, PRMX.CA, Golden Tyre Canada, Annapolis Pizza, Dajan Excavating, CVO, and Moto Hose USA