McThoughts | 250 West SX Report Card
By Jeff McConkey
Photos by Bigwave
With the race this week being an absolute mudder, I figured we’d try something different. It’s darn near impossible to give thoughts and opinions when you can’t even tell who is who. Like, I could totally be shit-talking the wrong guy.
So instead, this week I will give a report card-type ‘McTHOUGHTS’ on the season so far. Let’s be honest, you can’t really judge much on a race track like Saturday night’s, so it’s not fair to praise somebody and bash somebody else due to the extremly poor conditions.
Sure, some guys can go fast on just about any track and any conditions, like a Ricky Carmichael, but then you have some serious princesses that can barely make it a lap around in the mud. No disrespect to the guys that did well, but let’s see if they can back it up when it is dry. Here are my thoughts on the season up to this point.
1st Adam Cianciarulo 114 points: Adam has 3 wins out of 5 starts. When he is on, I don’t think any present 250 rider can match him. But Adam has had 2 not-so-great weekends, and he should count his lucky stars that he has an 8-point lead. Erase those two not-so-good weekends and AC has an 18-point lead. I give Adam an A-.
2nd Shane McElrath 106 points: Mr. Consistency, Shane hasn’t been dangerous fast like previous years, but he has been there each and every weekend if someone falters. Yes, he has 1 win, but he still isn’t the same guy he was last year or even the year before. He doesn’t have the raw speed, but he will be there if AC brain farts himself out of the title. I give Shane a solid A.
3rd Colt Nichols 104 points: Colt has been extremely good up until round 5 — Great speed, great starts, and very smart rides. I think he was in control until the most recent mud race derailed him. This is the first season where he hasn’t entered injured, and it shows. I feel he may be out of this title fight, but anything can happen. I give him an A .
4th Dylan Ferrandis 102 points: Speed is not an issue, luck and crashes are. By luck, I mean bad luck. Dylan has put in some fantastic rides, but he just hasn’t got it done yet in 2019. 2020 will be the SX year of Ferrandis, I’m calling it now. Dylan gets a B+.
5th RJ Hampshire 75 points: Mr 4th Place is now sitting 5th in the standings. RJ is doing very well, but he just doesn’t have the speed to win races or contend for race wins. I don’t know if he needs to hang it out and go for podiums and wins, or stay consistent and hover in the top 5 and finish every race? Either way, RJ is flying the flag well for the Red bikes, but he needs to pick up the speed. RJ gets a B-.
6th Jimmy Decotis 73 points: Jimmy D has honestly stepped up his game in SX. Watching him during his qualifying and heat races, and he looks legit, very legit. He looks so in control and his speed is good. I think his starts are what’s holding him back. He needs to improve his average starting position of 7.3 if he wants to take the next step. I’m giving Jimmy a B.
7th Cameron McAdoo 72 points: For a fill-in rider, Cameron is doing great. He had been training and competing on a Yamaha expecting to race East, so this is all new for him. His starts haven’t been too great, so he needs to work on those, and he needs to eliminate the late race mistakes. I’m giving Cameron a B.
8th Garrett Marchbanks 71 points: I’m still not sold on Garrett. His podium and his good ride at Round 1 were both in mud conditions. I still stand behind what I said earlier this season: I think Garrett is the slowest PC rookie I have seen in SX. I’m going to give Garrett a C. You really need to be better when riding for PC.
9th Chris Blose 70 points: I’ve been impressed with Chris all season long. This is a guy most people thought was done, including myself. He raced AX up here in Canada, and then raced a few seasons of US AX, but he has really ridden well and been getting consistently good results. Mr Blose gets a B+.
10th Jess Pettis 66 points: The humble Canadian who seems to be our ‘Most Improved’ every damn year, just keeps on getting better. The thing that separates Jess from other riders trying to make the jump into the next level… Jess isn’t afraid to get a great start. He has been getting them and running with them and learning each time. This guy is a huge sponge, and he is taking every thing in and learning so fast. I’m giving Jess an A.
Biggest Stud: Adam Cianciarulo is my stud because when he is on, nobody can touch him. He’s that good.
Biggest Dud: Sorry, but PC rookie Garrett Marchbanks is my dud. He just hasn’t shown me anything on a dry SX track that makes me think he should be on that bike.
Biggest Surprise: Jacob Hayes is my surprise. Yes, we knew he was going to be decent, but he really doesn’t look like a rookie. I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Hayes get a 3rd. Yeah, he is that good.