250 East Main
The first round of this year’s 250 East Championship was suitably wild as all the riders were keen to get racing and make their mark. The start resulted in a huge pile-up but RJ Hampshire (Geico Honda) went for the holeshot, closely followed by Sean Cantrell. Class wild man, Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) initially made a good start but crashed early in the race. Osborne then spent the rest of the race battling to recoup positions. With a few minutes left on the clock he pushed his way through to the lead and there was no looking back as his rivals had no answers. Despite his promising start, Hampshire slipped to fourth. Colt Nicholls (Monster Energy Yamaha) and James Decotis (Geico Honda) rounded off the podium.
Ken Roczen’s injuries from his collision with Cooper Webb at San Diego have proven to be more extensive than first anticipated. The young German had been in the midst of a strong comeback after the near life-changing injuries he sustained to his left arm one year ago. But in San Diego he suffered yet more horrific wounds, this time to his right hand. The HRC Honda rider underwent surgery which revealed extensive damage to ligaments and dislocation of all metacarpal bones. This extremely painful injury has almost certainly ended Roczen’s hopes for the 2018 supercross season, and it is as yet unknown when he’ll be able to return to racing. Even his biggest rivals had to feel for the guy.
Tomac’s not done yet! While the speculation was that Tomac would sit-out the rest of the supercross season, commercial reality is that’s just not going to happen. Kawasaki want to sell bike Monster Energy want to sell pop. Millions are invested, and while a championship would have been nice, picking up wins still works for the PR teams and who know, by the end of the season Kawasaki might be claiming what HRC Honda like to call a ‘moral victory’.
So Anderson had a wobble in Arlington, but he makes Tomac-style recoveries and in a championship that’s so tight on points, a fourth will do just nicely. If Ando is watching anyone right now, it’ll be Marvin Musquin, who like Tomac has the speed to beat him, not just run with him as others do.
Yamaha will be cursing the day they signed Justin Barcia. As a temporary stand-in he’d done a stellar job and without question deserved the contract. Just that deal seems to have jinxed his luck. In San Diego he dropped to his lowest finish of the season, with an 8th, in Arlington he didn’t even make the Main. A mistake on a triple jump saw Bam Bam coming together with Tyler Bowers, resulting in Bowers’ bike hitting Barcia’s hand, breaking it. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider’s injury required surgery and having missed the Main he’s slipped from an impressive second to 6th in the championship, with no word yet on possible return date.
Zach Osbourne has come out in 2018 just as he left in 2017 – on fire! While the West Coast 250SX battle is super-tight between the top-four, could Zach-Attack (we just made that up, sorry) make the East champs a one-horse race?
And a shout out: at Arlington Chad Reed (twice a SX champ) equalled the all time record for most Supercross starts with an incredible 227 gate drops now registered for the popular Australian. Nicely done!