2018 AMA SUPERCROSS, ROUND 12 REPORT
Indianapolis, IN. March 24
The snow in Indianapolis didn’t seem to make any impact on the enthusiastic fans in the Lucas Oil Stadium. Conditions were perfect inside the stadium for round 12 of 2018 Monster Energy Supercross championship. We’ve been featuring the 450s mainly in our reports but at Indy the 250s were expected to create the big news. For this would be the first time 250 East/West riders would meet since Vegas in May last year where Zach Osborne block passed Joey Savatgy in the last corner to win the race on the night – and the 2017 SX title. This would be the first of two showdowns scheduled for this season and with a stacked field of factory riders this was going to either be a night of opportunities or potential disaster as this combined championship format presents the biggest opportunity to gain or lose points.
The West coast riders have been on a six-week break coming into the event so would their intensity be where it needed to be? No doubt they would be keen to get out racing. Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Yamaha) held a narrow lead in the West championship over second place Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki), while Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) held a narrow points lead over Austin Forkner (Monster Energy Kawasaki) in the East championship. Reigning West coast champ Justin Hill (Autotrader Suzuki), who has been showing a good turn of speed and return to form, was out for the night due to an illness.
So, back to the 450 action. Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) got off to a blistering start from a risky inside gate pick to take the holeshot with Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) right behind him. The stage was set for an epic battle between to the two given the similar pace between them in timed practice, but this was not to be. Musquin was smooth and quick and over the first few laps managed to maintain a slim 1.1-second advantage over Tomac – until lap four when Tomac went down hard (he would recover to a lowly 15th at the flag). This left Musquin free of pressure and he put on a devastating display of speed. The gap that Tomac smashed his competitors by last week had been on everyone’s lips (20.7 seconds) and was the biggest winning margin since in SX since 2010. Well, Musquin smashed that with a 28+ second victory, in fact putting himself in the record books for recording the biggest race victory margin in the history of the sport!
Dean Wilson, the Scottish Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider, had a cracking ride to finish second – easily his best result in 2018. Wilson had been passed for second by Blake Baggett (Rocky Mountain ATV KTM) only to come back in the closing laps and put in an aggressive pass that saw Baggett go down – and lose a few positions. Justin Brayton (Smartop Honda) continued his consistent form to come home third ahead of Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) who was forced to put in a hard night’s work, having to pull himself up from last to fourth. Ando was clearly (next to Musquin) the quickest man on track. His poise, line choice and sheer grit was impressive as he made passes on some of the best riders in the sport with his now characteristic ease.
Broc Tickle (Red Bull KTM) seems to be a dark horse in this class and he was charging all night. Tickle has looked to be gaining in both confidence and speed and in RUST’s opinion is a man to watch for the outdoor season, he seems to have settled in at KTM and looks to be getting faster and more consistent each week.
So, after our complaining last week of a lack of excitement in the 450 class this week delivered a corker, not only because it was good to see Musquin unleashing his potential but also to see Anderson’s ride through the field. They say that champions win on their titles on their worst days (and nights) and if that’s true then it’s going to be difficult for anyone to beat Anderson this year.