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Speed TV seasons starts off with AMA this weekend
A new race season starts on SPEED, Saturday, Jan. 8 with the biggest Monster Energy AMA Supercross event of the year, Anaheim 1; live from Southern California’s Angel Stadium of Anaheim at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. To set the table, an encore presentation of Bubba’s World – Season Two of James ‘Bubba’ Stewart’s hit reality series – kicks off the evening with five episodes leading into the broadcast starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 P.T.

  Anaheim 1 also represents the first of seven live AMA Supercross races in 2011, the most in network history. Those SPEED broadcasts include Phoenix (Jan. 15), San Diego (Feb. 19), Atlanta (Feb. 26), Indianapolis (March 12), Seattle (April 16) and Las Vegas (May 7). In addition, the March 5 Daytona show is a same-day delay presentation with both Supercross and Lites.

  The on-air team is once again led by veteran motorsports and motorcycle play-by-play announcer, Ralph Sheheen, with color commentary provided by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, Jeff Emig. Roaming the pits is leading SPEED AMA Supercross expert, Erin Bates.

  “There’s a vibe in the air that’s just mystical about this event,” said Sheheen, the voice of AMA Supercross on SPEED. “I’ve been to a lot of other big, ‘first of the year’ motorsports events, and I can tell you as a race fan, I put Anaheim 1 in the top three of season openers. It’s amazing, and even if you’re not a Supercross fan, it’s a ‘bucket list’ type of event you need to experience at least once.”

  It’s more than just a happening, however. The rigorous and intense Supercross schedule often places a greater emphasis on each round, so getting off to a good start has become an imperative for those vying for a championship.

  “I know so much can happen in the early rounds of the season, but Anaheim 1 is a statement race,” Sheheen said. “On paper, this is an incredibly strong opening gate. What you’re going to see in Anaheim 1 is which (racers) are for real. In other series, it’s become a long-distance race. In Supercross, it’s 17 races in 18 weeks, but when you come out of the gate at Anaheim 1, if you make a statement that says, ‘I’m the guy’ and show everybody; speed, endurance, strength and that everyone is going to have to run at ‘my pace,’ it can really set the tone for the remaining 16 races.”

  Add in the impending points race that could play out in 2011, and you have a mix that portends to significant drama. Last year’s champ Ryan Dungey is gunning for a second-straight Supercross title over the likes of a healing Ryan Villopoto, veteran Chad Reed and the aforementioned Stewart, who’s returning to action after injuries has put his dominance on hold. Stewart captured the 2007 and 2009 AMA Supercross championships.

  “This year’s Anaheim 1 is the beginning of one of the most highly anticipated Supercross seasons in recent memory,” Sheheen noted. “You start looking at Ryan Dungey, coming in off a rookie season that’s unmatched in winning the Supercross championship, the (Motocross) outdoor title and a Motocross Nations Championship. You’ve got Ryan Villopoto coming back. He suffered massive injuries (in St. Louis), but took Dungey right down to the wire, and there are a lot of people whom thought had he not gotten hurt, he might have beaten Dungey. We have Chad Reed, a two-time champion, coming back to the sport with his own team, trying to prove he’s not done and that he still has that competitive fire. Then you have James ‘Bubba’ Stewart, a two-time champion, who’s been away now for a good year. He has a lot to prove if he’s going to retain being ‘the fastest on the planet.’”
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