AMA SX 2018 RD11: TOMAC'S CRUISE

Eli Tomac put in a command performance at St.Louis, but Jason Anderson keeps the title chase under his control

Wednesday 21st March 2018

2018 AMA SUPERCROSS, ROUND 11 REPORT.
ST.LOUIS, MO. MARCH 17th.

St Paddy’s day saw the ME-SX circus roll into St Louis, Missouri in the mid-west for Round 11 of the championship. What to expect from round 11 was anyone’s guess. The 2018 season has thrown up its fair share of surprises.

In the premier 450 class, Justin Brayton having taken his first win in 131 starts at last weekend’s race in Daytona would no doubt be on a high, and the in-form Brayton should be running up-front. Marvin Musquin has failed to impress over the past few weeks, after his impressive start to the season, and shoulder injury notwithstanding the likable Frenchman has flattered to deceive. Although second in the points behind Anderson, he just hasn’t had the pace to be a real threat. Jason Anderson has been Mr Consistent and so long as Eli Tomac hasn’t been in blistering form or had a bad night, Anderson has been able to capitalise and stretch his points lead. Tomac came into the weekend 60 points behind Anderson after a disappointing start to the season and a shoulder injury which put him out of contention for the championship early on.

So, while we’ve waited each week willing on Saturday for the next race, hoping for the brilliance and excitement SX has to offer, the premier 450 class just hasn’t delivered. The 450 class in 2018 seems to be a season of attrition with plenty of the top riders out with injury, or riding injured, or simply out of form. The silver lining is that we’ve seen some of the rookies (Kyle Cunnigham, Tyler Bowers) stepping up along with the old boys (Brayton’s name is now in the record books as the oldest rider to win a SX main event at just a few days shy of this 34th birthday). The surprise of the season has to be Weston Peick who has been on the gas every race – tough, resourceful, consistent and FAST! He’s obviously loving life on the Joe Gibbs factory Suzuki. He gets the RUST award for most improved rider of the year.

Winning championships is all about taking advantage of opportunities, and while the field has been watered down considerably we have to give credit where its due, Anderson has stepped up this season and has been aggressive and determined. But Tomac has his number and in RUST’s opinion is the fastest guy on track. Gotta wonder how the relationship between Anderson and Musquin is going at the (Aldon) Baker’s Factory given some of the antics on track between the pair. Is this the cause of Musquin’s lack of fire? Has Anderson gotten inside his head?

 

450 Main

The race itself was over in the first corner, Tomac then blitzed the first triple, gapped the field and put on a master class of speed. He loves it out front with no pressure, while Anderson had no answer and settled into second having passed Musquin, leaving him a long way back in third. It was a race of singles up front with the win time of over 20 seconds and another big gap to Musquin in third. Anderson couldn’t have been too unhappy limiting the damage to a mere three points lost to Tomac while extending his lead over Musquin. For the fans, it was all a little boring really, the entertainment coming from the riders fighting for the minor positions.

 

250 Main

The 250 East Coast championship races at St Louis were nail biters and the split E/W format and competitiveness in this class makes this class super-exciting to watch. Before we get to next week’s triple crown format and the first East /West showdown it was all about which of the two riders sharing the red plate was going to wrestle it away from other and take a grip on the championship. Would it be youth over experience, Forkner or Osborne?

The two heat races in the 250 class set the stage with Forkner and Osborne each winning their heats. The main event start was frenetic, both Forkner and Osborne exited the first turn side by side but it was Forkner with the line and the cajones (or just youthful lack of fear) that saw him triple the first rhythm section out of the first turn and take the lead while Osborne settled into second place.

Zach Osborne has to be one of the most complete riders out there right now, he’s poised, confident and aggressive but mostly he’s smooth and fast. His ability to adapt his pace and hunt down his competition is legendary. Osborne is known for his ability to come from behind and tonight would be no different. At the start it looked like Forkner was simply too fast and riding confidently, but Osborne was trying new lines, exploring the track and slowly he began the reel Forkner in. Once he had Forkner in his sights the game was up and, as so often is the case, the pressure forced Forkner into a mistake and a trip over the bars.

Once Osborne got out front the red plate had found its home as he stretched out a comfortable lead. Forkner on the other hand was to have a nightmare, stuck behind and then ‘stood-up’ by a lapper who was ignoring the blue flags. In the end Forkner finished fifth behind Jeremy Martin, Jordon Smith and Kyle Peters.

That’s two podiums in a row for Martin, the multi-time champ seems to have regained his mojo but needs a little more yet to be able to run with Osborne and Forkner. Both Smith and Peters continue to impress each week and the depth of talent makes the racing tight and competitive.

Osborne ended the night eight points clear of Forkner as they head into the combined event next weekend, and while in the 450 class we can only hope for some scintillating racing we suspect that the excitement and adrenalin will again come the ‘lites’ class, stacked as it is with talent and will to win.

2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship

450SX championship standings

1 Jason Anderson Husqvarna 246

2 Marvin Musquin KTM 204

3 Justin Brayton Honda 189

4 Eli Tomac Kawasaki 186

5 Blake Bagget KTM 181

6 Weston Peick Suzuki 171

7 Broc Tickle KTM 147

8 Cooper Webb Yamaha 146

9 Cole Seeley Honda 124

10 Dean Wilson Kawasaki 115

 

250SX East Coast championship standings

1 Zach Osbourne Husqvarna 115

2 Austin Forkner Kawasaki 107

3 Jordon Smith KTM 102

4 Jeremy Martin Honda 93

5 Luke Renzland Yamaha 71

6 Kyle Peters Suzuki 70

7 RJ Hampshire Honda 57

8 Sean Cantrell KTM 56

9 Colt Nichols Yamaha 54

10 Martin Davalos Kawasaki 53

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