By Billy Rainford
How’s everyone feeling after getting back to some Supercross racing?! I hope you have the Supercross Video Pass because I heard there may have been a problem watching the racing on NBC Sports. Something about a new episode of Heidi or something? (If you got that reference you’re either old or a history/trivia buff)
However, I saw that they replayed the racing later in the evening, so I hope you got to see it either live or later. We don’t even have cable at our house, so I was glued to the video pass all day.
It was great to be watching some racing again, but I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to see all of the qualifying sessions. With a couple Canadian-based teams racing, it would have been nice to see all of their runs on the track. Yes, I’m a choosy beggar (Already made the tee shirt).
I know I bored you with the fact that I lived in Salt Lake City for 8 months back in the day. I mentioned that I tried to race a 5k the very first morning I was there and completely blew up. If you’ve never tried to exert yourself at altitude, believe me, it makes a huge difference!
Obviously, all these top teams and riders knew about the effects heading into these final 7 rounds, but you could still tell that it was taxing them even more than usual.
Also, SLC sits on the eastern edge of a huge desert. It’s actually a really cool area, as far as geography goes. Head west from the city 5 minutes and you’re out in the desert looking over the Great Salt Lake. Head east up one of the two canyons (Big or Little Cottonwood) and you find yourself up in pine trees in the middle of skiing and mountain bike heaven.
The University of Utah (Go Utes!) sits up on what they call ‘The Benches.’ It’s at altitude and is dessert dry. As you could see, they had a battle keeping moisture in the track, and there’s no way they’re going to win that fight. Unless they were to rip the track and water it before every race or practice, it’s going to get hard and dry.
Throttle control and the ability to push yourself in the this air are going to be key as we run out this championship.
Also, I read online that people were questioning the point of having everyone get tested for the coronavirus and then still have them staying apart. Come one, people?! Let’s just do whatever it takes so that we don’t get shut down!!! Everything isn’t a conspiracy!
OK, let’s do a little ‘McThoughts‘ for this latest race, shall we?
The east has come down to a nice battle between defending champion Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath.
1st #12 Shane McElrath YAM: Shane grabbed the start and didn’t look back. Things got a little close as he and Chase hit lapped traffic, but Shane kept his cool, didn’t slide out on the slippery track and took the win, narrowing the points to gap 7. He’ll need a big mistake by Sexton, but that’s not his M.O. so I wouldn’t count on it happening.
2nd #1E Chase Sexton HON: Chase just looks so damn solid on the bike. Not only does he look solid but he also seems like he’s solid between the ears when he’s out there. Fast and smooth is a tough combination to beat. I assume he’ll take the wins when he can or settle for top 3’s to repeat as champion.
3rd #36 Garrett Marchbanks KAW: Garrett has been in the spotlight his entire MX life and he now seems to believe that the attention was warranted. He’s riding like he belongs up front, and that’s half the battle at the top level.
4th #6 Jeremy Martin HON: Jeremy Martin got a great start in the main and held his ground. He ended up a bit behind Marchbanks and then had a big gap back to 5th place. I guess with that great start, he ended up right where he belongs. Not sure he can run with the top couple riders this season.
5th #163 Pierce Brown KTM: Brown was the top amateur rider to come out the fast crop of amateurs and so it shouldn’t be any surprise he’s got the speed to turn heads at the Pro level. Yes, I’m saving more praise for another award. Read on…
Biggest Stud: As I just said one second ago, Pierce Brown gets this award. He was basically dead last at the beginning of the race and passed just about everyone on the track. Let’s see if this gives him the confidence to go for podiums as we move forward. Amazing ride!
Biggest Dud: The word “dud” is always a little harsh, but it’s what Jeff always used. I’ll give dud status to Jo Shimoda this week. He looked fast and was hoping to finish up with the top guys, but that early problem in the Main sent him to the mechanics area and he could only muster a 21st place on the day. Jo is one of the nicest guys on the circuit, so hopefully he bounces back.
Biggest Surprise: See Biggest Stud.
The 450 class looks like a 2-man battle between Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, but Cooper Webb isn’t going out without a fight.
1st #3 Eli Tomac KAW: I don’t know how anyone could argue that Eli isn’t the fastest dude out there. Yes, he’s thrown it all away in years past, but he’s still the guy to beat, in my opinion. He got passed by Eli and Cooper early, after a mistake, and then passed them both back and pulled away for the win. The rest of them should be very concerned because of the track conditions and Eli’s ability at altitude.
2nd #1 Cooper Webb KTM: This guy is a fighter, and he will never hand anyone a win or a title. You really have to admire that in a Pro racer. I just read that no matter if you lose, you should always feel like you should have, but that you just ran out of time. That sums Cooper up to a T. He always thinks he should win, and that’s a mental edge. I just think his big crash in Dallas set him back too much to repeat.
3rd #94 Ken Roczen HON: Say what you want but I think this race was a mental blow to Kenny, as far as keeping up with Eli goes. He had the chance to get it done and didn’t. It will be interesting to see if he can find the extra pace needed to dirt track around at the same pace as #3.
4th #21 Jason Anderson HSK: The 2018 champion didn’t get out to a very good start and should be happy that he made it up to 4th by the flag. They were a fun group of riders to watch come up. He sits 5th in the title chase and it looks like that’s probably where he’ll finish.
5th #16 Zach Osborne HSK: I like watching Zach race. He has a way of making an aggressive style look clean. He’s another rider who never settles.
Biggest Stud: I’m giving it to Eli this week. He was ahead then behind his two biggest rivals but managed to repass them and take the win.
Biggest Dud: This one is a tie between Adam Cianciarulo and Broc Tickle. Yes, I realize “dud” sounds terrible but it also means bad luck and that’s what I mean here. Get well soon, guys.
We’re back to racing on Wednesday night. Check the times out. We’ll be staying up pretty late here in the east.
I spent most of my morning trying to load and, more importantly, understand a new Content Delivery Network for DMX so I don’t crash the server again. I couldn’t get it all figured out. I need to get more in touch with my inner geek and take another run at it this afternoon.
Have a great week, everyone.