Oakland provided some vintage supercross. At one point we even had a Roczen-Musquin-Tomac freight train (this is what the fans pay their ticket money to see) – only led, surprisingly, by Joey Savatgy, and this wasn’t for the lead… No, start to finish it was one man, Cooper Webb, a winner reborn.
Cooper Webb. Wow, not much to say here. Webb (who had sixth gate pick after placing third in his heat) took the holeshot and was simply never headed. That’s not to say he wasn’t challenged – and it was his KTM team-mate Marvin Musquin who did that – but Webb managed his race well for back-to-back wins, and to his obvious delight came away with the series-leader red plate as well.
Marvin Musquin. Musquin had seventh gate pick and converted that into second place at T1. It sure looks like the KTMs have rocket-start potential (consider, too, Justin Bogle on another KTM, with 20th gate pick, slotted into third…). Musquin was threatening, only he had a bobble on the 10th lap and dropped two places, but impressively he fought his way back past Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac to charge after his team-mate, putting in the fastest lap of the race on the way. And he nearly had Webb, at the flag he was under a second behind having run out of time to make a pass. But with one more lap…?
Blake Baggett. Ahh, Baggett got his groove back, proving his Glendale win wasn’t a flash in the pan. This podium came by stealth though, buried in 11th after one lap, Baggett quietly worked his way forward – never on the radar, but just picking them off one-by-one. And again, you have to count in successful passes on Roczen and Tomac in there.
Eli Tomac. Well, we got parts of our race prediction right. Tomac was fast (he won his heat and had first gate pick) – and he got buried at the start (again). And, again unlike last season he didn’t mount a blazing comeback. He took his time and when challenged he took second best. He’s third in the standings as a consequence, and only three-points off the lead, but his fans will long for those Blazing Saddles rides he put on last year. This is not the Tomac we know and love.
Ken Roczen. Another Top Gun playing it safe, or playing the long game, or is it they’re just plain struggling? Roczen got up to second when Musquin bobbled, but he didn’t advance from there, didn’t zero-in on Webb. Now, maybe you’d allow him letting Musquin past, as the Frenchman was on fire, but Tomac and Baggett? No podium – no red plate. Still, as the riders keep reminding us, it’s a long season.
Before the night even started we’d lost Jason Anderson, acrash in training left Husqvarna’s reigning champ with an arm broken into two places and a fractured rib. Surgery awaits, anda long layoff.Not thathis absencechanges much, as he confessed, ‘I was struggling to find my groove’. Joey Savatgy shone for a while there, together with Aaron Plessinger. The two rookies held fourth and fifth off the start but both succumbed at the Wall Jump – Plessinger crashed off it, possibly having stalled his motor on take off (and dropped to the back), while Savatgy mid-scrap with Roczen, Musquin and Tomac saw his Kawasaki plain quit off the same jump, rolling to frustrated halt. Dean Wilson picked up a good haul of points with sixth. He’s not yet stepped into Anderson’s boots in the factory Husky set-up, but Ando’s mechanic (Chris Loredo) joined Wilson for the night, so watch this space.
RUST’s predictions for San Diego: We almost got it right for Oakland, but then we did use a scattergun strategy. Still, we had Musquin for second and we alluded to Webb and Baggett’s potential success. So next week? Try betting against orange. Can’t do it. While the steady game continues to work for Tomac and Roczen in the points standing, chances are they’ll continue to place top five, so we’ll set our alarm clocks for round ten to see if these two come alive. So Webb versus Musquin it’ll be in a real test of their friendship, which should make for a sparky night.