2019 AMA SX, ROUND 8: TOMAC SPEEDS IT UP

Having fallen 16 points off the championship lead it was time for Eli Tomac to pull the pin. And in Detroit, motor city, he did just that…

Monday 25th February 2019

After last week’s disaster, Eli Tomac had to come back swinging – and boy did he! But for a last race disaster (off the start) it was simply a case of ‘which way did he go?’ Meanwhile in the 250s the green machines were again out front, in fact in taking three wins from three Austin Forkner managed to close the deal exactly where Tomac had faltered – becoming the first rider to win all three triple crown races in one night.

  

450SX

1

Eli Tomac. 1-1-6. Tomac was the fastest man all night. He wasn’t the quickest out of the gate though – yeah, he still hasn’t got his starts dialed. In main 1 Justin Brayton took off, while Tomac started in 11th. That made for some kind of a race as Tomac just rocketed past everyone. His launch out of the corners was superior to all and this allowed him the speed in the straights (be that flat, whoop or rhythm) to make his passes pretty easy. Tomac was still miles off a holeshot in main 2, but was quickly up into third position and from there it was easy for him to pick off Joey Savatgy and Cooper Webb for his second win of the night. In the last race he started even worse, then ran off the track and had to do a serious bout of mental regrouping to get back into his groove and start pushing forward. He did just enough, no more no less, to take sixth and win the night by one point over Webb. So Tomac showed that he is, on his night, the fastest rider, but he needs those starts sorting so desperately…

2

Cooper Webb. 8-2-1. Webb had a down then up night – that’s the right way to do it. Qualified a lowly eighth, then faded in the first moto for eighth again, but then hit his stride going second in the second main before winning the last. And not once did he look like he was over-extending himself. He’s looking solid.

3

Chad Reed. 3-5-7. Grandpa had a great night out. He qualified 14th but a great start in the first moto set him up for the night. From third he nipped past Blake Baggett to be running second for a while there, behind Justin Brayton, and made a point of not fading. Reed stuck to his job, only submitting to one man – the blazing Tomac. Hard work done, Reed then placed 5-7 to secure his first podium since 2017 (Glendale). First podium for Suzuki in a while, too. Good to see.

4

Ken Roczen. 5-6-5. Gentle Ken had a quiet night. Not really – but 5-6-5 is a consistent scorecard not a dazzling one. It keeps him in the fight, for sure, but he’s either holding back still, or just we got to get used to new Ken’s steady-away ethic.

5

Blake Baggett. 4-11-2. Baggett’s results look strong on reflection – but on the night he was a stealth rider, kind of overlooked. He’s certainly on form this year, he had that win at Glendale, but he’s shown top-three speed many a time since, and but for his disaster at Minneapolis he’d be rounding out the top-five in the championship right now. As it is, if he carries on like this he’ll be there soon enough.  

 

The others

Marvin Musquin 9-4-4 had an odd night, at times super-fast, at times not. He could have been second in the second main but following Joey Savatgy too close cost him dear when the Kawasaki rider slipped and Musquin ran into the back of him – and fell down. Musquin is fast, but he’s failing to assert himself so far this season. Justin Barcia 10-7-3 got stronger as the night went on, and revived his Bam Bam persona when he heavily block-passed Baggett in the final moto. Barcia was fast and loose, how he should be.

 

RUST’s predictions for Atlanta: In so many ways this is a very even year. In Detroit at one time we saw two works KTMs duking it out with two works Kawasakis. Then Bam Bam came to play on his Yamaha. And Roczen is there on his Honda. Heck, even Dean Wilson plays top three every now and again on his Husqvarna. And of course Reed put his Suzuki on the podium for the first time in a long while. The bikes themselves are showing no signs of advantage. So its coming down to the riders. Week-in week-out its Webb who’s consistently quick, and he’s able to salvage strong points even when things turn bad for him. He’s not hanging in there, he’s just smiling and waving, enjoying the ride. Tomac has the speed to beat everyone, but his yo-yoing up and down the field is costing him dear. He needs to get his starts dialed, the Kawasaki is rocketship fast. But this points deficit is putting his championship in jeopardy. Roczen on paper can do it – in the past he’s monstered everyone – but he’s refusing to fight, just picking up whatever’s on the table week to week. From a fans perspective this is frustration, we know what he can do, but he’s dancing around with his gloves around his hips. Musquin needs to find the loose wire and reconnect it. He can fly, he’s immensely talented, but right now he’s a bit Tomac – up and down and never with quite enough gas in the tank to make the finish line first. So in Detroit, we’re calling Tomac to win, Webb comfortable in second, Roczen easing home third.

 

250SX

Welcome to the Austin Forkner show! The Kawasaki rider is simply in a class of his own. His Kawasaki KX250F, like Tomac’s KX450F, looks blisteringly fast, only Forkner is totally dialed into his, making no mistakes beginning to end. Of course this is killing the 250SX East championship, where’s the suspense? In Forkner’s wake it was Jordan Smith versus Chase Sexton – each took it turns to look fast and loose, but Sexton looks the most aggressive, while Smith is playing the experience card and that experience paid off giving the KTM rider the runner-up. But we like Sexton’s fight for sure. Oh, and of course there was Justin Cooper in there, too – pulling a sneaky late pass on Smith in the last main, the kid’s got talent. Meanwhile Martin Davalos and Alex Martin shared a name and near-identical performance – fast enough, but unable to keep it consistent enough for even the shorter triple crown races.

 

RUST’s predictions for Atlanta: If there was a cloning machine available it would be Forkner 1-2-3. But there’s only the one of him, so it’s just 1. Behind him, at a respectful distance will follow the Famous Five scrabbling over the lower podium positions. But (last week’s) history keeps repeating itself in the 250SX East, so expect Smith and Sexton to be the Atlanta bridesmaids.

 

 

 

Results

2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross

Round 8, Detroit, MI

 

450SX

1. Eli Tomac Kawasaki 1-1-6

2. Cooper Webb KTM 6-2-1

3. Chad Reed Suzuki 3-5-7

4. Ken Roczen Honda 5-6-5

5. Blake Baggett KTM 4-11-2

6. Marvin Musquin KTM 9-4-4

7. Justin Barcia Yamaha 10-7-3

8. Joey Savatgy Kawasaki 8-3-11

9. Justin Brayton Honda 2-12-9

10. Zach Osborne Husqvarna 11-8-10

 

450SX standings after eight rounds

1. Cooper Webb 173 points

2. Ken Roczen 167

3. Marvin Musquin 161

4. Eli Tomac 160

5. Dean Wilson 122

 

 

250SX East

1. Austin Forkner Kawasaki 1-1-1

2. Jordon Smith KTM 2-2-4

3. Chase Sexton Honda   4-4-2

4. Justin Cooper Yamaha 3-5-3

5. Martin Davalos Kawasaki 5-7-5

 

250SX East standings after three rounds

1. Austin Forkner 78 points

2. Jordon Smith 65

3. Justin Cooper 63

4. Chase Sexton 60

5. Alex Martin 51

 

 

 

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