By Billy Rainford
Welcome to the Monday after the Storm! Whew, that was a wild one out in Anaheim! The 250 main has people divided as much as the American political landscape does. I’m not sure if either is healthy, but they’ve both sure got people talking.
I’m not here to discuss the political situation, so let’s quickly forget I even mentioned it and focus on the Supercross racing.
The top 3 riders in 250 West are defending champion 1W Dylan Ferrandis, almost 2019 East champion #52 Austin Forkner, and next in line #32 Justin Cooper.
Forkner crashed at A2 and finished back in 17th position. Ouch. He drops back to 4th place in the standings and is 22 points out of first place.
Cooper has kept his nose relatively clean and finds himself with a 12-point lead after 3 rounds. That’s going to be difficult for the others to close in on, since he’s been able to do this after having to charge through the pack.
Now let’s talk about last year’s champ, Ferrandis.
He’s been frustrated so far this season with poor starts. He’s shown he can be the fastest rider on the track, but has had to make passes to move his way forward.
He was a one-man highlight reel last week at A2 and he’s taking heat for it. Supercross fans love to boo a French rider. The last one to hear it was Marvin Musquin after his crunch pass on Eli Tomac. I think it really affected him and we’ll see how Dylan responds this week in Glendale, AZ.
Here’s my take on that pass:
You’re in the heat of battle, you’ve again had to pass your way forward, you’re the defending champion and feel like you deserve to repeat.
You squeeze pass your way up to third place and are so full of adrenaline that you’re looking for anywhere to square off a corner or block pass your way into second before the leader gets too far ahead.
That 90-degree corner looks like a place to establish position on the inside. In hindsight, he has to ask himself why that line wasn’t the “racing line.” Oh, because at that angle there’s no way you’re not going to slide out and slam into the tuff blocks and probably crash.
However, if there’s a rider on the actual race line, you’re going to slide right into them and risk both of you going down.
As a rider, you know you’ve got to protect the inside in the usual 180 turns, but this one was a little different. Like I said, there’s really no way to run up the inside of that flat turn and make it out. Ferrandis found that out the hard way.
#62 Christian Craig was looking good, but was feeling the heat from the French rider. He was on his way out of the right-hand turn when Dylan slid both wheels after hitting a pretty slick patch. They were both committed.
I think a block pass is perfect until the contact is made on the exit. I don’t think it’s fair game to dive bomb someone who is accelerating out of the corner, it’s just too dangerous. You may as well cross-jump someone in a sketchy rhythm section, if that’s how you’re going to make passes.
I’m not a wimp and I love to see some good rubbing, but we don’t need to make the sport more dangerous than it already is. Expect to get slammed heading in or rounding a corner, but not on the way out under full acceleration. There’s just no respect in that, I don’t think. But, on the other hand, 4 fingers and a thumb…
Those kind of moves are like bar fights: you don’t go in thinking they’re going to happen, but then, next thing you know, someone is throwing punches and there you are with sore hands or a sore face.
I have to believe that, in hindsight, Dylan wishes he’d closed in on Christian for another section or two and then made a pass when he was closer. He was the faster rider and would have gotten around, but we all know the decisions that get made in the heat of a motocross battle. He knew he’d done something a little over the top, and you could tell.
I’m sure he had that “Oh shit!” moment as he slid in there, but, at that point it’s all too late and you just know you’re going to find yourself apologizing. If you race or ever have, you’ve been there and probably will be again.
Christian was knocked out of the race and it drops him to 15th in the points and out of this championship battle. That’s the part that sucks in all of this. We want to see a 4th rider in the mix, capable of winning, and now we won’t. And we also won’t see a 5th…
Christian’s young teammate, Australian #83 Jett Lawrence, is out for a while with a broken collarbone. He was leading the race and was looking amazing for a 16-year-old!
Unfortunately, his youthful exuberance got the better of him and he just didn’t want to get 2nd place out there. His day will come, and I’m sure he’s sitting at home thinking about how good that podium finish would have actually felt. Hindsight = 20/20.
Now Justin Cooper has a 12-point lead in the series and is going to be difficult to push off that top spot. Ferrandis didn’t get docked any positions for the move, but is now on 12-month probation. He’ll need to be careful on his way through the pack from here on out. I’m guessing he’ll be spending a lot of time working on starts this week.
Benefitting from the chaos at the front is #30 Brandon Hartranft. Brandon landed himself on the podium for the second week in a row. I think he’s a pretty low-key and shy guy but he’s getting an unexpected, crash-course in podium speeches this season. He now sits in 3rd place and is only 2 points out of 2nd!
By the way, how about Cameron McAdoo heading back out to try and ride before deciding something was wrong?! Turns out he was trying to ride with one fully collapsed lung and the other partially collapsed! I guess only someone as highly-tuned as a top MX racer would be able to function on half a lung! Wow.S2F1PRESS-2
In the 450 class, I’d like to start out by using the old David Attenborough line and say, “And once again, peace returns to the delta.”
Eli Tomac came out and did what so many people think he’s going to do every week, and this is to dominate. He started outside the top 10 and managed to make a ton of passes, get out front, and win it.
It’s on nights like this that you have to ask yourself how that doesn’t happen every week?! He looks so in tune with his bike that he seems to be able to do whatever he wants. All you can do is sit back and enjoy the show.
Other riders must feel the same way on these nights. However, he’s shown that he’s not going to do it every week, so riders cling to that or risk getting disheartened, taking the ball and going home.
Ken Roczen takes over the points lead and defending champion Cooper Webb has to feel good about the pace he’s showing.
They were both pretty close to Tomac at the flag and Cooper even mentioned how close he was in his speech. He’s got to realize that Eli was able to manage his lead and is only fooling himself if he or anyone else thinks they had anything for the big #3 at A2.
But again, you have to cling to those positive thoughts or risk being mentally broken.
Justin Barcia had the red plate heading into A2, but finished back in 9th place and drops to 2nd in the standings.
The way things looked this past week, you have to wonder if his days at the front are behind him for the rest of this season, but we’ll wait and see what he brings to Arizona before making any claims like that.S1F1PRESS-2
Mini McThoughts | Anaheim 2
- #1W Dylan Ferrandis YAM – Dylan showed a lack of patience at A2, crashed while trying to pass Christian Craig, regrouped, and passed Jett Lawrence for the lead and win. That’s showing some serious speed! The Boo Birds came out in force when he was on the podium, so let’s see how he rebounds this week in Glendale.
- #32 Justin Cooper YAM – Justin was outside the top 5 off the start and slowly made his way forward. I didn’t really notice him too much, but he crossed the line 2nd and is now 12 points up. He will be tough to take down now.
- 30 Brandon Hartranft KTM – I’m really happy for Brandon to be right there in the mix in this series. No disrespect, but he’s getting lucky. Having said that, he’s putting himself where he needs to be to receive this “luck.” If he can ride fast and keep his nose clean, he may just stay there in 3rd place.
- #28 Michael Mosiman HSK – A poor start made the main tough for Mosiman, but he managed to pass his way up to 4th and received a couple gifts from the Geico Honda riders.
- #26 Alex Martin SUZ – Alex was in 5th and then fell with just 2 laps to go. He managed to remount and cross the flag in 5th place. He only qualified 20th, so he should be happy to be where he was.
- #3 Eli Tomac KAW – What can you do but sit back and try to keep your jaw off the floor on nights like these. What a performance. The question is, which Eli shows up this week in Arizona?
- #94 Ken Roczen HON – Ken came in off his high from the week before and looked good again. He finished 2nd to a spot-on Tomac, so he should be happy to leave with the red plate.
- #1 Cooper Webb KTM – Cooper was feeling better and it showed with his late pace. He was closing in on Roczen, so he’s got to take that positive result into Glendale this week and go for the win to show the rest of the 450 class that he’s here to defend this title. PS Did everyone see him accidentally “skim” that rhythm section?! Yikes!
- #16 Zach Osborne HSK – Zach was in a good 4-way battle in this one and crossed the line in 4th, ahead of his teammate. A podium should be coming, but that can be said about a huge group of riders this season!
- #21 Jason Anderson HSK – The 2018 champion is forcing himself to keep things light and have fun. That’s always been his style, but he’s going to have to step onto the top of the box to convince me it’s going to work.
Team PRMX Update
The Canadian PRMX Kawasaki team had some good and some bad this past week in Anaheim. Let’s have a look at how their riders did.
#221 Mathias Jorgensen
Q – 24
Heat 1 – 11
LCQ – 5th No main.
#88 Logan Karnow
Q – 15
Heat 2 – 9
Main – 15th
#86 Josh Cartwright
Q – 34
Heat 1 – 16th
LCQ – 19th – Josh got taken out and limped his way off the track. He’ll be back this week.
#280 Cade Clason
Q – 35
Heat 2 – DNF. Cade ended up with a broken tip of his thumb and was out for the night.
Have a great week, everyone. We ran a contest Saturday night. Anyone who could guess the podiums for both classes would win a 3-pack of FXR tee shirts.
With a night like that, nobody called it so we’ll carry it over to this week in Arizona.
Winter has finally decided to show up in my area, but there’s no way I can complain after seeing what people are dealing with in Newfoundland! Stay safe out there, everyone.