2018 AMA SUPERCROSS, ROUND 16 REPORT.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT. APRIL 28th.
As the old saying goes: it ain’t over until it’s over. So, as it nearly always is with Supercross, while heading into Salt Lake City Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson looked to have a very fair chance of sewing up the championship a round early, so fate decided otherwise – while contrarily dealing his closest rival, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin the best hand possible. Likewise in the 250s, Yamalube Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger could have also mathematically taken the title a round early, but instead there too, the points have closed up. Nothing in this game is for certain.
It kind of all happened in the first turn. Storming into the first corner, Anderson was half a bike length back when he needed to be bar-to-bar and as the gaps closed up it would seem the footrest on Eli Tomac’s Monster Energy Kawasaki went into Anderson’s front wheel, causing Anderson to fall, while ripping several spokes from his wheel. Anderson had to pit for a wheel change, losing virtually two laps, then started a fight back. There was too much to do, but Anderson fought nonetheless and – all credit to the man – eventually caught the backmarkers and made the passes to pull in six points for 17th. Every one of those points being so important.
Meanwhile at the front, Blake Baggett (Rocky Mountain ATV KTM) was allowed three laps in the lead before Musquin powered past to take a lead he that never relinquished. Behind Baggett, Christian Craig (Geico Honda), Justin Barcia (Monster Energy Yamaha) and Justin Brayton (SmarTop Honda) filled the lower leaderboard, creating something of a mobile chicane for not-so-fast-starting Tomac to weave through. Chicane or minefield? Passing can get tricky, but it wasn’t until Tomac finally reached Baggett that he came unstuck, losing the front just as he was making the pass. He lost five seconds there, and a place, so it was all work in that last five-plus-two for Tomac to take second at the flag, never having got close to challenging Musquin.
Musquin summed it up: “What happened to Anderson – that’s racing. I was looking for Eli, but sometimes it’s not the fastest guy who wins the race, I went out to be consistent and get the job done. It was tough for me tonight, but being tough it’s made me stronger.”
Yeah, Anderson doesn’t need Musquin to be any stronger right now. The championship lead has more than halved, down from 34 to just 14.