McThoughts | Daytona SX – 250 East
By Jeff McConkey
Photos by Billy Rainford
Can anyone in the East beat Austin Forkner? I honestly think he can only be beat by himself. He rides over the edge in practice and hits the dirt a lot, but he’s been lucky and keeps getting up. Then he passes for the lead by launching a quad and clipping a hay bail, and somehow looks good doing it. It’s a shame for guys like Cooper and Sexton because they are having great seasons as well. Only time will tell if Austin Forkner will let them have a chance at winning a race this season. Let’s see the results and my thoughts from Daytona.
1st #24 Austin Fortner: The kid is hot, he looks like a new rider, but he also looks like he’s on the verge of disaster. Austin has said that he pushes the limits in practice to see how far he can push it, and that is why he crashes a lot in practice. It has been working for him so far, but it’s a scary line to walk. One of these crashes could end his night, or even worse his championship run. He didn’t get into the lead right away, but in Austin Forkner style, he quad-ed into the lead and ripped off his laps. It was very impressive, but he drifted a little too far to the left and clipped a tuff block. Surprisingly, he rode out of it, and he got off very lucky. He now has a 23 point lead and looks unstoppable.
2nd #23 Chase Sexton: If there wasn’t an Austin Forkner, we all would be talking about how great and consistent that Chase is riding. It’s almost like Austin is RC, and Chase is K-Dub. It’s not a bad comparison, but we all know that Chase wants his first win and wants it soon. He has been starting well, and riding well, but there are a few minor mistakes here and there. He’s having a great season, and is getting better every weekend. The win will come. Chase is tied for 2nd in points with 102 points.
3rd #32 Justin Cooper: Justin isn’t riding like a rookie. He has great speed, but keeps it controlled for the most part. I’m shocked that he hasn’t won yet, but don’t worry, he will get quite a few. His starts could be a bit better, and that will definitely give him a better chance for the first win. Cooper is tied for 2nd in points with Sexton, only 23 points behind Forkner.
4th #66 Mitchell Oldenburg: This has been Mitchell’s best ride in quite some time. He has always had the raw speed, but he has always been one to have some big crashes at times. He started 8th, so the starts are there, but this ride and new confidence should help for the remainder of the season. Oldenburg is now 8th in points with 69 points.
5th #26 Alex Martin: Like always, Alex looked good, his speed looked good, but I just think he doesn’t have it in him to match the pace of a Cooper, Sexton or Forkner. His start average is 7.5, so he will have to put himself in better position off the start to contend for podiums. Alex is 4th in points with 78.
6th #45 Brandon Hartranft: This was a great ride for Brandon after he started 7th. He usually starts outside the top 10, so he actually made it a little easier on himself. SX looks like a good fit for him, he will have to find a bit more speed, but he looks to have good control on the bike. Tied for 5th in points, and coming off his best finish of the season, you can bet he will be thinking top 5 at Indianapolis.
7th #55 Kyle Peters: Great start for Kyle, and he looked very solid leading 2 laps. He’s a hard worker and with the right start and a bit of luck, a 3rd place isn’t unreachable. Kyle has 62 points and sits 10th in a very competitive 250 East.
8th #70 Josh Osby: Osby has speed, and he’s seriously pretty good at SX. But he also has some of the shittiest luck I have ever seen on the track. Sure, he needs to put himself in some better situations, but it’s not all his fault. His average starting position of 15.5 sucks, and is the majority of the cause of poor luck. Fix the starts, eliminate the bad situations.
9th #37 Kyle Cunningham: What a ride for Kyle. He was dead last for more than a lap! With all of his years of experience, you’d think his starts would be better. An average starting position of 19.0 is horrendous. Somehow, Kyle is 9th in points with those awful starts.
10th #73 Martin Davalos: Martin was having a solid Daytona until he went down. He said that his issues are not bike related, and that they are all him which kind of makes sense. Your two teammates are leading and winning their respected Coasts. Martin is a very quiet 5th in points.
Biggest Stud: It’s got to be Forkner, yet again, the guy is pretty much perfect this season. Yes, he got 3rd in the Showdown, but he was the highest finishing East rider. His starts are great, fitness is not an issue, and he’s just full of confidence right now.
Biggest Dud: The start. It was pure carnage all night. That second turn was just not fun to watch.
Biggest Surprise: I thought Thomas Covington would be a bit better. I know it’s his first season indoors, but the dude better kill it outdoors. If he makes it there safe?!
MC’s ‘G’d Up from the Feet Up’ Award: Chase Sexton is my pick once again. That Shift kit was pretty hot. He just needed the matching Fox boots like Lil’ Hanny had at Montréal SX.