Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner began his 2019 Eastern Regional 250SX championship campaign with what many would consider a perfect day at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Forkner began by qualifying fastest in practice. During the night show, he captured the holeshot in the second heat race and jumped out to an early lead, opened a gap on the competition, and crossed the finish line in first place. In the main event, Forker once again grabbed the holeshot and led wire to wire in the 20-lap main event to achieve his first victory of the 2019 season. Forkner heads into the next round at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a three-point lead in the championship standings and the point leader’s red plate.
“Today was like a dream come true,” Forkner said. “You put in a lot of work all off-season and you come to the first round never sure of where you will stack up compared to [the] competition. I would have never believed you if you told me I would come here today and be fastest in qualifying, holeshot my heat race, win my heat race, holeshot the main event, and then win the main event. It’s just crazy and I can’t thank my whole Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for giving me the best possible equipment to accomplish what we did today. I am excited for [Arlington] and ready to keep this train rolling!”
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith began his night by winning the first 250SX heat race. During the sighting lap prior to the main event, he got a flat tire, which his mechanic finished fixing just moments before the gate dropped. Smith pulled a top-five start and climbed his way into second by lap five. He went down on lap seven and dropped back to fourth, but was able to fight his way back to second by the halfway mark, where he stayed for the remainder of the race.
“[They] got that [wheel] changed so fast and I can't thank my mechanic enough,” Smith said. “Christian, Wayne [and] all of them to get that wheel on and get it switched, that was unbelievable. Then I had time for about one deep breath before I took off, and off we were.”
Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper qualified second early on in the day and in the night show, finished third in the first heat race. In the main event, Cooper made a pass just before the beginning of the last lap to take over third place, his first 250SX podium of his career.
“The bike was awesome all day and the team made adjustments to fix anything I was uncomfortable with,” Cooper said. “I was able to predict exactly what the bike was going to do throughout the race, even with the track conditions getting worse. I had a terrible start, but felt great on the bike the whole main and just had to maintain the race as best I could with all the chaos around me. Everything about the day went smooth except a little first-race jitters in the heat race. First podium at my second Supercross race ever—what more is there to say? It’s a great feeling!”
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin and Geico Honda’s Chase Sexton rounded out the top five, respectively.