Brainstorm | Salt Lake City SX |250 West
By Billy Rainford
The 250 East Main was a great battle up at the front. There were 3, and sometimes more, riders who could have won the thing at any time. We cover the top 10 in these articles, and I honestly don’t know how a couple of these riders made it in after where they were halfway through the event! There were some impressive late charges, for sure.
With one round remaining in Las Vegas, the points chase is down to 13 points between #23 Aaron Plessinger and #92 Adam Cianciarulo. Jeff McConkey was unable to do his ‘McThoughts,’ so here’s a look at the top 10 and what I thought of the rides.
1. 28 Shane McElrath KTM: What a great ride for Shane. He now sits 4th in points, just 2 behind #17 Joey Savatgy. Shane looked like the smoothest rider on the track. He made some aggressive moves to get to the front and his whoops speed was better than the rest. His outside line in the rhythm section that set him up for the inside line in the option corner really helped his lap times. It will be interesting to see if he can get that 3rd place next week in the overall points.
2. 92 Adam Cianciarulo KAW: AC looked like he really wanted this win. He also made a few aggressive passes to move forward and pushed points leader Plessinger high in a turn to make the pass. They all seemed aggressive but nobody went for a cheap take-out, and I thought that showed some class. Adam was right on Shane’s rear wheel at the finish line, as #28 chose not to jump the double. Adam will need some help if he wants to take this title home next weekend.
3. 17 Joey Savatgy KAW: Joey had the speed to win this one but made a few mistakes that opened the door for others to get by. With everyone so close in speed at the front, sometimes that’s what it takes to make the difference between winning and falling out of contention. He led the race in the early stages and looked good. Will he let Shane make a familiar move on him to take 3rd in the points next week? I’m guessing he’ll guard the inside line like a Brinks driver with a bag of money in Las Vegas next week.
4. 23 Aaron Plessinger YAM: Arron was up in 2nd place early in the race. He looked good, but at times appeared to be trying not to lose instead of going for the win. Je’s got some wiggle room with 13 points on AC, so it will take a major mistake to lose this one.
5. 40 Chase Sexton HON: I’m impressed with this rookie Pro. I like the way he carries himself, and he’s already there as far as being a guy who could win these races. He closed in on Plessinger and made the fight for 4th interesting. There are a ton of wins in this kid’s future.
6. 54 Phil Nicoletti SUZ: They didn’t really show Phil very much at all in the Main, but taking 6th at the flag is a great ride for the veteran. If you look at the lap times, he actually had the 2nd fastest one after McElrath. He was doing something right in SLC, so let’s see if he take this momentum into Las Vegas. He could have fallen a few times before 7th would have caught him, the gap was so big.
7. 42 Dakota Alix KTM: Dakota was outside the top 10 off the start, but made moves to get up to 7th. He was in a good battle with #11 Kyle Chisholm early and lost touch with the riders ahead of him. 7th was his best finish of the season heading into the final race.
8. 30 Mitchell Harrison HSK: I wish they showed what the heck happened just outside the top 10 late in this one. Harrison was dead last at the end of lap 1, and was back in 17th place with 10 minutes to go. He was 13th at the half! What happened out there?! Whatever it was, apparently, he kept his cool and passed his way up into 8th spot by the checkered flag in what must have been a memorable ride for the youngster.
9. 11 Kyle Chisholm YAM: Kyle had a pretty good start and then messed up lap 2 and dropped back to 14th. He was making his way through the chaos back there and got all the way back up to 8th until Harrison got him on the last lap. This is about where Kyle has been finishing each week so there are really no surprises here. He’s 7th in points and pressuring Hill for 6th.
10. 137 Martin Castelo YAM: OK, we also needed a helmet cam on Martin. How did he make up to the top 10 so late in the race? He was shown as last across the holeshot line in the Main and 15th at the halfway mark. Whatever he did out there, he should be very proud of that ride!
Stud: This week’s Stud is Mitchell Harrison. What a great ride for this young rider.
Dud: This week’s Dud is Justin Hill. It sounds like he hurt his foot out there, but seeing the #1W rolling around in the Main is never cool.
Biggest Surprise: That dirt was sketchy. It was dry and slippery and we even saw dust. Every rider said it could easily catch you off guard. They had to fight to keep moisture in it all day as it was sunny and 80 degrees. I lived in SLC for a winter, but that is neither here nor there…