McThoughts: Oakland SX
By Jeff McConkey
Hey, guys. For the fourth week in a row, we were treated to another great Saturday night. In 250 action, we saw another first-time winner in Malcolm Stewart. Nearing the end off the off-season, Malcolm had nothing on the go. He was forced to fund his own efforts for Red Bull Straight Rhythm and the Monster Cup and it paid off with a fill-in ride with Gieco Honda. It has never been a secret that Malcolm is a tad bit big for a 250f. That didn’t stop James ‘Bubba’ Stewart‘s little brother as he rode a great race on the way to his first 250 SX win.
In 450 action, we saw a scary incident with points leader Ken Roczen. After making a nice pass on Chad Reed, Ken just didn’t have the drive out of the corner, and ended up coming WAY short on a triple. Roczen was able to rejoin the action and make it to a 15th place finish. As always, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was there to capitalize and leave Oakland as the new points leader, 4 points up on the young German.
The track in Oakland looked good; it was pretty technical and offered good traction. Let’s hope the dirt isn’t too slippery for Round 5 at A3. Let’s take a look at the results and my thoughts:
1st Malcolm Stewart: Great ride for Malcolm. He rode great and it was nice to see him get his first win. Let’s hope he can keep it going and finish the West strong.
2nd Cooper Webb: Wow, this guy is just so full of confidence right now. The only thing bad I can say about Cooper is he needs to be a little smarter in traffic. His incident with Tyler Bowers could have resulted in a DNF and killed his title hopes. Luckily, it didn’t, but in no way was Bowers at fault there.
3rd Alex Martin: I’m super happy for Alex. He has looked good all season long and proved you don’t always have to have the best equipment. This guy works hard and he got rewarded for it.
4th Tyler Bowers: Tyler seemed to be a little off the pace here. He is still having a great season and will be there if Webb falters.
5th Zach Bell: Finally! This is the type of results we have been waiting for from Bell. This kid is fit and fast and should be up here every week. It’s looking like Zach slowed down a little to go faster. Whatever the case, it worked.
6th Zach Osborne: Average ride for Osborne. He should be better come outdoors.
7th Aaron Plessinger: Good ride for the rookie. After the first 2 rounds he had us expecting a lot. He is still going to have those rookie moments, but I bet he will podium after the break.
8th Josh Hansen: I really thought ‘Hanny’ would be faster this season. It really does show that you can’t afford to take time off from racing at this level. Either way, he has to be proud of his season so far and the hard work he has put in.
9th Justin Hill: Hill threw one away here. He tried to double into the sand section and it bit him. He will win one before this is over.
10th Jesse Nelson: That crash at A2 has cost him this championship. He now sits 15 back of Webb, and 10th place finishes aren’t helping his cause. Maybe next year will be Nelson’s time?
Biggest Stud: I have to give this to Malcolm Stewart. It has got to be tough to have James Stewart as your big brother at times. Not bad for a kid who had no interest in racing and wanted to be a fisherman.
Biggest Dud: Chris Alldredge is my dud. He has the speed, but he is riding like a squirrel out there. Maybe a weekend off would clear his head? I don’t think I’ve seen the same PC bike on the ground this many weekends in a row.
Canadian Connection: Former Canadian MX2 Champion Austin Politelli finished 17th and Nico Izzi and his Canadian wrench Luc “Frenchie” Caouette finished 20th.
1st Trey Canard: Trey came from outside of the top 10 and clinched his first win in what must have seemed an eternity. He has clawed himself to within 14 points of the lead and back in this title fight.
2nd Ryan Dungey: ‘Mr Consistency’ leaves Oakland as the new points leader. He is going to get a win soon and will be hard to beat with how well he has ridden every week.
3rd Chad Reed: Nice to see Reed back on the box. He didn’t have anything for Canard, but without that late mistake he should have had 2nd. With a few more good starts, Reed’s confidence and speed will grow.
4th Eli Tomac: Solid ride for Eli. I can see him reeling off a win or 2 soon and being right back in the hunt.
5th Cole Seely: Great ride by Seely. I really didn’t imagine him finishing this well. I do think he will struggle as the series heads East, but I have been wrong so far.
6th Justin Barcia: When are we going to see the real ‘BAM BAM?’ I think Barcia needs to get a good start and he needs to start banging bars with the others and get fired up.
7th Davi Millsaps: What is up with Davi? He just looks like he is riding around out there. His Monster Cup victory made people put him on the list as a serious contender. He has been far from that.
8th Andrew Short: ‘Shorty’ is getting Mike Alessi-like starts and riding great. He is flying the flag well for the BTO Sports team, with teammate Justin Brayton on the sidelines.
9th Blake Baggett: Blake has been pretty good so far this season. A top 5 is definitely possible soon.
10th Jason Anderson: ‘La Flama Blanca’ Jason Anderson had a solid race going in 5th place, when he came up seriously short in a section and front-flipped with his bike. He was very lucky to avoid injury and still salvage a 10th. Watch for him to bounce back with a solid 3rd in the next round.
Biggest Stud: Dungey is my stud this week. His amazing consistency could win him this title.
Biggest Dud: I’m a huge fan, but what the hell is going on with Josh Hill?
Biggest Surprise: I was shocked to see Ken Roczen come up short and kneel hurt on the side of the track. Very impressed to see Kenny dig deep and salvage as many championship points as possible.
Canadian Connection: Former MX1 Canadian Champ Brett Metcalfe finished a solid 12th. 2014 Canadian National Winner Kyle Chisholm had a nice ride for 13th. And Quebec’s favorite Yankee Vince Friese had a nice 16th place finish in his first 450 ride of the season as Mike Alessi sat out due to injury.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week after A3…