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Friday, August 1, 2008
Updated: August 4, 12:10 AM ET
SuperMoto Seeding Shocker

By Brian Kamenetzky

Death, Taxes, Traffic on the 110, and the Sun Rising in the East.
Mark Burkhart, gunnin' for that number one spot.
All are as shocking as the results from this morning's SuperMoto seeding session, which saw X gold medalist Mark Burkhart and 2006 X gold medalist Jeff Ward secure the top two spots for Saturday's elimination round. Burkhart's fastest lap around the dirt and asphalt course was a brisk 1:12.707, while Ward was right behind, clocking in at 1:12.878. The pair was nearly a half second faster than third seed David Pingree (1:13.182), and a full tick ahead of Cassidy Anderson (1:14.108) in fourth.

Burkhart wanted to go fast enough to secure a good seed, but didn't exactly blow the doors (metaphorically speaking) off the bike. "I think I only did four or five laps as fast as I could while I was out there," he said. Sound strategy, with gas at $4.50 a gallon in southern California. "I was just trying to get the best possible pick that I could, and if I won pole, fine, but it's not really that big of a deal since it's a dirt start. Just as long as I wasn't on the outside."

He isn't, and so he shouldn't have any problems qualifying for the field of 10 riders in the Final. At this point, it's a question of keeping the rivalry with Ward fresh. "We bet $500 on each race," Burkhart said. "Just kidding."

Other Burkhartian pearls:

•The course setup this year? "Pretty gnarly. But X Games is always more gnarly than any other track that we ride on."

•It's also tighter than in years past, both on the dirt and in the asphalt, which slows things down a little.

•The tight course could limit the amount of passing opportunities guys have in the Final... despite the fact that the format change (10 riders, much shorter race) is designed in part to keep everyone together and encourage movement. Mistakes, rather than wide open racing, are more likely to rearrange the field. It makes a good start that much more important.