Supercross headed east last weekend, picking up a new field of 250 riders – who typically shot out of the gate wild with energy. But in the 450s – aside from the propensity of burnt family jewels (thanks to the lime at San Diego) – it was pretty much business as usual. And boy are the points tight at the top!
Cooper Webb. Mr Webb has the wind on his back, having just sailed to his third victory this year. Most could see him stepping it up this year, given the team he’s now in, but he’s gone way better, now he’s the strongest rider in the series. He followed his old classmate Joey Savatgy for half the race, gently worrying the Kawasaki rider, but once he nipped past he was gone, straight off putting a second and half buffer into the following gaggle. Webb rode confident, practically unchallenged. Alarm bells are no doubt ringing around the paddock.
Ken Roczen. Gentle Ken will be relieved to have pulled a podium result this week and no doubt delighted to have the red plate returned; but for his fans, as happy as they are to see him challenging for the championship, this steady-away approach to the season feels so wrong. Roczen got a good start, slotted into the number three spot but after that he just held station only passing Savatgy once the Georgian’s energies faded.
Marvin Musquin. Another podium is good news for Musquin, he’s right in there for the championship. But Webb’s third race win seriously challenges Marv’s number one status at KTM – in fact that’s probably already gone. At best these guys are now considered equal in the team. It tests friendship too, this kind of thing. Marv had to battle to make the podium in Minneapolis and no doubt would have loved to have ambushed Roczen again at the finish, but he’d run out of fight by then. Possibly it’s time for a Marv start-to-finish masterclass of speed.
Joey Savatgy. Some recompense here for Savatgy after his bike broke in Oakland. Savatgy – a class rookie let’s not forget – again showed he can ride with the best. Only it would seem not for an entire race. That’s harsh, heck he led a quality four-bike freight train for a long time there and it was only after Roczen got by that Savatgy lost his rhythm allowing both Musquin and Blake Baggett by in the next two corners. Otherwise a sterling ride and one that suggests he’ll be a 450 rider of some quality!
Justin Brayton. Old Guys Rule. Kind, of. But the second oldest rider in the series (after Grandpa Reed) – and winner of the Daytona SX last year – put in some nice rides in Minneapolis, winning his heat, then hanging around the edge of the top five in the main, scooping up the fifth after Baggett crashed out with five laps to go.
Taxi for Mr Tomac! Jeez, Eli Tomac’s season is not looking anything like we expected. Buried in 16th off the start it was a long night and not exactly a blazing ride either, making it back to 6th. Not the follow-up he’d have wanted to his San Diego win. Still, even that result keeps him right in there in the championship battle. And Justin Barcia could have done without a 9th – that’s costing him precious points and he’s losing touch with the championship leaders.
Race of the night
Top tip – if you only watch one race from Minneapolis, make it 450 Heat 2. Brayton in great form, Musquin playing up-down-up-down and great battles between Barcia, Savatgy and the Rocky Mountain ATV duo of Bogle and Baggett – cracking stuff! More of this please AMA SX.
RUST’s predictions for Arlington: Last year this ran Tomac–Musquin–Baggett. We could see those three doing that again. Only the championship this year is TIGHT. So Roczen is in there, Webb too, while Savatgy’s coming up to speed. And some class rookie by the name of Zach Osborne is due to ride too (will he smoke or get smoked?). What we’re missing so far is a real duel. Everyone’s playing nice, too nice. Like we said, Osborne’s coming…