McThoughts | East Rutherford SX | 450 Class
By Jeff McConkey
What a crazy race! Eli Tomac went into the 2nd-to-last round of the season as the sole points leader, up by 3 points on Ryan Dungey. Dungey had to go for the win, no more Mr. Consistency, he needed every available point. There are always thoughts of team tactics, when championships are this close at the end of the season. The big question was… “Will KTM do whatever is needed for Ryan to win?” The answer, “Hell yeah!”
Jason Anderson grabbed the holeshot and then hit the dirt early on. Tomac got by Dungey and then the unthinkable happened – Eli pushed the front end out of the rut and went down. It seemed like an eternity before Eli got up and going again. Just when you were expecting the usual Eli super powers and passing clinic, it didn’t happen. More mistakes were made and to be honest, the only reason Eli got to 8th was that a few riders crashed and he got the easy pass.
A lot of people are making a big deal about Marvin Musquin‘s “Let Brock bye” moment. Marvin “won” the race. It is very clear that he was the best man on Saturday evening, and in my opinion, he did the right thing. Red Bull KTM is out there to win a championship, that is the main goal. You do everything in your powers to meet that goal.
People don’t get mad in hockey, when a player has 2 goals and his teammates try and do everything for him to get that 3rd goal for the hat trick. Or pretty much any time a player is close to reaching a milestone, they go above and beyond and try to get that player the goal or assist or whatever the case may be. It’s the same thing. I just hope Marvin got the bonus money he gave up when Ryan went by.
In the end, if Dungey does win the title… I hope the 3 points he gained by passing Marvin have no bearing on the championship at all.
1st Ryan Dungey: Too many people were doubting Ryan and his performances in the 2nd half of the season. But realistically, he’s been the all around best out of anyone. His worst two finishes are a pair of 4th’s. That is amazing in this stacked class. I believe he will win this title (the 3 points gained from passing Musquin won’t make a difference), battle for the Outdoor crown, and retire after a dominating performance at Des Nations.
2nd Marvin Musquin: Marvin was the real winner of the race. People may bag on him for letting Ryan by, but he was just doing his job. He’s been riding great lately and he will finish the season 3rd in points.
3rd Jason Anderson: Anderson could have won this race. After crashing while in the lead, Anderson put his head down and rode a great race. He has really turned around his season after a not so great start. Jason will finish this season 4th in points, and that is after being suspended for a round due to an incident at A2 with Vince Friese.
4th Davi Millsaps: For a guy that is riding hurt and going in for wrist surgery after Vegas, Davi has been riding great. He is getting great starts and hanging in there with the sport’s best. Definitely a turn around season for Davi. He looks great.
5th Blake Baggett: Baggett had a good ride, and has really looked great for the last half of this season. He is by far the most improved rider in SX, and he will do some damage in the future.
6th Justin Brayton: Great ride for Brayton. If he’s going to be SX only, he needs to be in and around here every weekend.
7th Josh Grant: Good ride for JG. You can tell there were no team tactics with Kawi, as Tomac just couldn’t get by Josh. Some people were pissed at Josh after he cleaned out Malcolm Stewart earlier in the night. Yes, it was intentional, yes, it was dirty, but it was Josh’s way of letting Stewart know that he cross-jumped him. I watched the video over and over and both of Stewart’s wheels left from the same rut. No, I don’t think Stewart did it intentionally, but it still happened.
8th Eli Tomac: Eli just couldn’t find a good flow. He looked awkward, and it more than likely cost him the championship. I was kind of shocked that it took him so long to get back up and going after crashing while leading. You’ve got to feel bad for the guy, he looked devastated after the race. He’s going into the final round down by 9 points, it’s not impossible to pull it off, but for all of the people doubting Dungey over the last 6 weeks or so, would you guys bet against Ryan?
9th Justin Barcia: Barcia looked good early on, and had a good ride going, and then he went backwards. They say he pumped up. Still a good ride for Justin, who hasn’t had much for results after joining the series late due to injury.
10th Dean Wilson: Solid top 10 for Dean. I know he wants more, but top 10’s and being healthy is the big picture. Deano is 8th in points going into the final round.
Biggest Stud: Marvin Musquin is my stud. Marvin’s fantastic rides as of late have been overshadowed by the championship buzz between Dungey and Tomac. Marvin has been so good, KTM awarded him with a 2-year extension.
Biggest Dud: Poor Tomac. Just because I called it, doesn’t mean I wanted to see poor Tomac ride that poorly. Like RC said, “To be the man, you have got to beat the man.” Unfortunately for Tomac, I’m willing to bet that Dungey retires after Des Nations this season and he won’t get a chance to take the 450 SX title away from Dungey straight up.
Biggest Surprise: I personally wasn’t surprised as I predicted it in my Frid’Eh Update, but most are surprised by Tomac’s “off night.” He had been almost perfect for so long, something had to go wrong.
MC’s “G’d Up from the Feet Up” Award: Justin Bogle was best dressed, in my opinion. Unfortunately, he weeded himself and didn’t line up.
Thanks for reading, see you in Vegas!