By Jeff McConkey
Round 5 took place this past Saturday night and it didn’t disappoint. Sure, there was hardly and bumping, but there was another “flag” issue. No, not another black flag, but this time a red flag. Yes, red flags are fairly common in SX, but not on the 6th lap. It’s kind of funny, John Gallagher can make an instant black flag call on Chad Reed in less then a lap, but it took 6 laps for this call. It was very clear from the get go that Zach Osborne‘s gate did not drop and he had zero contact with it before the drop. Every set of eyes in Angel Stadium was focussed on the start and it should have been called after 2 laps maximum. This is where I have to bite my tongue and say, “Good job guys, you’ll get the next call.” The red flag was definitely the right call, just WAY late! There were a few riders that seemed visibly pissed that the race was going to be restarted, but they really need to put themselves in Osborne’s shoes. It wasn’t his fault, so why should he not get a fair start just like everyone else.
Anyway, other than the “late” call , the racing was great. Cooper Webb won again in 250 action and stretched his points lead to 18 points. Jesse Nelson was one of the riders who really benefited from the restart and rode to a solid 2nd place finish and jumped back to 2nd in the standings.
In 450 action, Ryan ‘The Diesel’ Dungey won and pushed his points lead to 11 over Ken Roczen. Let’s take a look at the results and my thoughts:
1st Cooper Webb: I feel this guy could run the table and win the rest. He looks that much faster than everyone else.
2nd Jesse Nelson: Good rebound for Nelson. If it weren’t for the red flag, he would have finished way back. This is the best he’s looked in my eyes. He seemed to be more in control.
3rd Aaron Plessinger: The ‘super rookie’ nailed his first podium. How bout those new Yamahas?!…Short little guys can podium on them and so can tall gangly guys. Great ride for Plessinger.
4th Zach Osborne: It was Zach’s gate that caused the red flag. After the restart, he rode really well to grab 4th and now sits 3rd in points only 24 back of the leader.
5th Matt Bisceglia: Fantastic ride after 2 weeks off due to a concussion. He led for a while before the red flag and bounced back with a nice 5th.
6th Shane McElrath: Didn’t really notice Shane out there, but a 6th is solid.
7th Josh Hansen: ‘Hanny’ just doesn’t have the speed of the leaders. He was away from racing too long. He is still a ridiculous talent and is rocking the nicest looking gear combos every week.
8th Justin Hill: Just not Justin’s year. A big concussion slowed him down. He will win one soon.
9th Alex Martin: Another solid ride and solid top 10 for Alex. Nice to see the privateers getting it done.
10th Cole Martinez: Nice ride for Martinez. I hear he has a Canadian passport. If so, he is my choice for the Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki ‘Mystery Rider.’
Biggest Stud: Webb again is my stud. I feel like he could rip though the pack on an old clapped-out 125. He is riding that well.
Biggest Dud: I’m going to keep bagging on Chris Alldredge. Yes, he finally finished one, but he really needs to be better – much better!
Biggest Surprise: I still can’t believe it took 6 laps to see that the race needed to be red flagged. WOW.
Canadian Connection: Former Canadian MX2 Champion Austin Politelli finished 19th.
1st Ryan Dungey: No better way to debut the fresh new points leader red plate than by going out and laying the wood to everyone. No, Dungey didn’t smoke the field, but he didn’t have to. He went out and rode a fast, smart race and gained more points towards the championship. And dang, that new Fox gear looked good!
2nd Cole Seely: And Cole proves me wrong again. I really didn’t expect him to be this good. I still believe he will struggle on the east tracks, but what do I know?!
3rd Eli Tomac: Eli stole a podium from Ken Roczen on the last lap by never giving up. If this guy can get a holeshot, I don’t think anyone can chase him down.
4th Ken Roczen: Two weeks ago, Kenny looked to be in complete control of the championship. He is only 11 points behind Dungey, but he can’t afford to let the Red Riders in front of him.
5th Trey Canard: Trey was hauling the mail before he pushed the front end in a sandy corner. After a taste of the top step last week, I’m expecting a ‘checkers or wreckers’ week in San Diego.
6th Chad Reed: Good ride for Reed. His speed seems to still be off a tad. He will get a few more podiums before season’s end.
7th Blake Baggett: Although Baggett went backwards, it is still a really good ride. He is improving each week and will hit the top 5 soon.
8th Justin Barcia: Still not the Barcia we are use to. Something just isn’t right? Maybe it is his horrendous Astar gear? God, that stuff is ugly!
9th Jason Anderson: Not a great ride for Anderson and not terrible either. We have got to remember…he is a rookie, and this class is stacked. I think he will bounce back with a top 5 this week coming.
10th Josh Hill: This is around where Hill should be every week. He is way too good to be missing consecutive main events. Let’s hope he continues to ride as well as he did at A3.
Biggest Stud: Dungey is my stud. I’m usually hard on him because I think he holds back too much, but damn he is good.
Biggest Dud: What is up with Josh Grant? I figured, with the great team, great bike, and family atmosphere at the Discount Tire / Team 22, that we would see the old JG. I haven’t seen anything close yet. Let’s hope he gets it figured out real soon. He has way too much raw speed to be getting these results.
Biggest Surprise: Seely is my surprise. He has been surprising me the last few rounds. I didn’t think he was this good.
Canadian Connection: ‘Honorary Quebecer’ Vince Friese had a nice ride for 13th. Sneaky fast Kyle Chisholm finished 14th. And by sneaky, I mean…he isn’t flashy, doesn’t have the nicest style, but the guy has some serious talent and speed. Mike Alessi returned to action after a knee scope to grab 17th, and former MX1 Canadian Champ Brett Metcalfe was 18th.
Thanks for reading. See you in San Diego…