Who’s got Triple Crown fever??? Round three of Monster Energy AMA Supercross took place back at Angel Stadium and it was round one of the Triple Crown series (a trophy will be given to the rider who does best at the three Triple Crowns races). Besides the actual format itself, the highlight of the series last year was Eli Tomac’s confused look when he was awarded the trophy for “Best Triple Crown Rider.” I doubt he knew this award existed.
Before the season started the track guys at Dirt Wurx got on the phone with Trey Canard, TIM FERRY, Nick Wey, and Ryan Dungey (there may have been more but that’s what I confirmed) and discussed the different layouts round by round. I don’t know what was changed, what worked and what didn’t, but I can say that I was surprised by the Anaheim 1 track and how good/tough it was. Glendale was its usual great track and this weekend was also tough. Some of the lanes were too short but there was some imagination put into the thing in certain sections. Did the call with these riders help with the first three rounds of tracks? Not sure but it can’t be a bad thing to have reasonable, sane riders talk about what works and what doesn’t. The most amazing thing out of the whole deal was finding a time frame that worked with all these guys.
By the way, if you think that typing out Tim Ferry’s name in this column didn’t give my brain a tiny bit of the same endorphin rush that a drug addict gets, well then you just don’t know me.
And now my complaint. Tuff Blox. We saw Blake Baggett get a cover stuck in his rear wheel at Anaheim 2 and by the time Vegas hits, approximately 583 riders will have hit a Tuff Blox that got kicked out onto the track and crashed. Tuff Blox came in sometime around 1998 and they are the same now as they were then. We can’t get ones that are triangular like they have in Europe and stay somewhat out of the way of the shifter and brake pedal? We can’t get better straps to hold the covers on? We can’t get super long ones so that they’re harder to move? Nothing we can do? I mean we have this device in our hands that can order a pizza, call Iraq, measure a coffee table, and buy a car but we can’t do anything about this 20-year issue of Tuff Blox and how to hold them in place? I don’t get it.
Yes, I had the net idea for five or six years and it worked AMAZING last year. It saved some dudes from serious injury and improved the racing. Did we get more nets? Nope, just the one still. One of the 180-degree turns at Anaheim was begging for a big berm, but instead it was flattened out because the first net was used on the other 180 on the other side of the stadium. I don’t understand. Am I the crazy person just yelling at the clouds here?
Well, he did it. Cooper Webb won a 450SX. In what he called his “rebuilding year” Webb came out at Anaheim 2, went 1-1 in the first two races and then cruised home in the third with an easy overall. This is a beautiful disaster of a supercross season right now. We have three winners we never really expected and with Webb being the latest, we don’t even have a win from Roczen, Tomac, Musquin, or Anderson. It’s nutty and I love it so much.
Back to Webb. He’s talked to us about how this bike suits him better and the “Yamaha is better for bigger riders” people have a bit more ammo now with Webb’s improvement. Remember, he came from dead last to fifth at A1 with the fastest lap of the race. Last week in Glendale he qualified second fastest and didn’t quite have the main he would’ve liked. Now this. A series with Cooper Webb in the mix is an interesting series.
I spoke with Aldon Baker a bit at Anaheim and he said he and Cooper got off to a bit of a rough start (for reasons I’ll outline below). Webb himself told us that he wasn’t good enough shape when he started the program. Now everything is fine, it’s working well and the results have been positive.
By the way, I still love the Triple Crown format and love the fact all the mains are the same now. It seems like the perfect amount of time for the race to sort out yet still be tough enough to “earn” it, you know? You don’t have to make all 17 rounds Triple Crowns but at least give us more than three please.
And now, let’s check out the results.
1ST | 3-2-1 | #12 Shane McElrath | Canton, NC | KTM 250 SX-F |
Shane got better as the day went on. Fifth in the two timed practices, third in the first race, then second, and then first. We “experts” were saying Shane wasn’t as balls out fast as last year, but he found that speed again by the third Triple Crown race in Anaheim. He talked about just finding a setting he liked and leaving it after the race. Whatever it is, it worked and McElrath looked great. Not sure how much him and I talking about training during track walk helped out, but I’ll take some credit.
2nd | 2-1-3 | #34 Dylan Ferrandis | Murrieta, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
I love that there are numerous people in the pits that still him Dylan “Fernandez”. Like, really? It’s not that hard, everyone! Anyway, Dylan rode well and was consistent in all three races which is what he’s needed after two good crashes in the first rounds. Years ago things got weird with teammates Broc Tickle and Josh Hansen as they went for a title, to the point where Hanny wouldn’t change in his own team’s truck. I can’t see Nichols and “Fernandez” getting that way but stay tuned.
3rd | 1-3-4 | #39 Colt Nichols | Muskogee, OK | Yamaha YZ250F
“Hi, everyone, my name is Steve Matthes and I just want to say that I wasn’t truly a believer in Nichols and his title chances the first two weeks because I was mesmerized by some other riders. I apologize for that oversight and now believe that Colt has a great shot at this championship. Thanks for having me here at the Colt Nichols championship support group.”
I spoke with R.J. a bit before the night show and he told me his starts just haven’t been good enough and he needs to perhaps look at changing some gearing inside his bike. He said this would be the last weekend with his set-up if his starts didn’t come around. I think he’ll be making that change, because his starts weren’t very good again at A2.
5th | 4-14-2 | #92 Adam Cianciarulo | New Smyrna Beach, FL | Kawasaki KX250
Do we start a new “Adam’s gonna Adam” thing on the PulpMX Show? When does this become just part of the lexicon with us? I’ve never seen someone ride a bike like they would a snowmobile through powder like AC did while leading the first main event. How does he crash like that? Why wouldn’t he straighten his bars? Please Adam don’t make us start saying “Adam’s gonna Adam” weekly.
6th | 9-5-6 | #44 Cameron McAdoo | Chesterfield, SC Honda | CRF250R
Nice work for Cam, it’s his best finish of the year. He didn’t make a lot of noise out there in getting this sixth but he was right there, a tick off the elite dudes. And of course, he’s still signing “Ram It” for fans at the races. #PulpNation
7th | 6-7-9 | #156 Jacob Hayes | Greensboro, NC | Yamaha YZ250F
I saw Jacob and his super agent Daniel Blair at Starbucks the morning of the race. After they no doubt talked about Blair’s outrageous commission fees, they spoke about Hayes getting into the top five. It’s coming I think but I’m not sure when. He puts himself into good spots, he just has to close the deal. Could it be the gloves?
8th | 10-6-7 | #36 Michael Mosiman | Menifee, CA | Husqvarna FC 250
If you’re Mosiman, you know this is a big year for you to stay on a factory effort. So far, he’s been improved over last year. Is that enough to stay on the factory gravy train? Stay tuned.
I have this idea that the Gas Monkey Energy/AJE Motorsports team should award a monkey skull to the top rider on their team each week. Doesn’t need to be a real monkey skull but I suppose that would be better. Anyway, if they did do this, out of Starling, Merriam, and Blose, it’s no contest. Blose would have three monkey skulls already on his mantle.
10th | 12-9-11 | #35 Mitchell Harrison | Murrieta, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Harrison’s had a garbage start to his season but he did finally log some finishes. It’s a positive step in the right direction.
11th | 11-13-10 | #160 Jess Pettis | Prince George, Canada | KTM 250 SX-F
Another good ride from the Canadian. Jean-Sebastian Roy, KTM Canada’s team manager and second best Canadian rider ever, was at the race to watch his star rider and we chatted for a while. He’s very excited about Jess’s potential for 2019 in Canada and if Pettis keeps this up, he will say see ya to Canada very soon.
12th | 13-10-13 | #40 Sean Cantrell | Murrieta, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
OMG did you see Sean get the holeshot then just about die in the third main when he jacked up that rhythm? Wow, that could’ve been SO bad.
13th | 7-20-12 | #64 jimmy Decotis | Peabody, MA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Jimmy D was very upset with Marchbanks for a take out. I didn’t see it but JT said it was bad. Turned out it was accidental. By the way, Phil Nicoletti was very upset with Jimmy for seat bouncing the triple in the rhythm lane and was losing his mind every time Jimmy did it.
I helped Lopes carry in his boots from the parking in the morning and we were chatting a bit. He sounded a bit frustrated at the start of his year; he has been crashing quite a bit. He’ll figure it out but it will take some time. I mean, I don’t think Brazilian’s grew up on any SX tracks, you know? Lopes crashed at one point and Phil started yelling “Hit the button” over and over. This just in, electric start is the new VHS, kick starters are Beta, the war is over.
15th | 14-12-16 | #72 Martin Castelo | Murrieta, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Castelo is pretty good, man. Every single rider ahead of him is getting a salary and some factory equipment.
16th | 16-16-15 | #60 Justin Starling | Deland, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Justin will get himself a monkey skull or two before the year is over.
17th | 20-15-18 | #141 Robbie Wageman | Newhall, CA | Honda CRF250r
I spoke with RJ Wageman, Robbie’s brother, on track walk. He told me about the family’s jerky business and how people tell him all the time they picked him in PulpMX Fantasy when they meant to pick Robbie. Weird deal. Are people asking him, “Hey, bro, I meant to pick your bro and not you because you aren’t as good as him” or something like that?
18th | 21-18-17 | #910 Carson Brown | Ravensdale, WA | Husqvarna FC 250
Brown’s a rookie and getting his feet wet in SX. I’d love to see some sort of AMA rule where Carson can ride a TT-R110 in SX because I bet he’d finish right around where he is now.
19th | 19-17-21 | #194 Jerry Robin | Corcoran, MN | KTM 250 SX-F
Look, Jerry may not have put the entire main event thing together just yet, but he’s gotten the “get into the main event” thing down and for Jerry, that’s a positive step. He’s fast, man, and he’s sort of putting it all together. Yes, “we” can work on doing better in the mains but this is all good. Jerry’s switched coasts, Jerry’s switched bikes, Jerry’s got a new attitude, Race Tech is helping him out and this is where we’re at with Jerry. TEAM JERRY.
20th | 19-22-19 | #773 THOMAS DO | SAINT-ROMAIN-EN-VIENNOIS, FRANCE | SUZUKI RM-Z250
Does Do do supercross well? Yes, he does.
21st | 17-21-22 | #61 Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Kawasaki KX250
You knew this was going to happen, right? The rookie had a terrible race in Anaheim and yeah, it’s a rite of passage to have this happen to you. Hopefully Jimmy D doesn’t extract revenge this weekend!
22nd | 22-19-20 | #122 Chris Howell | Spokane Valley, WA | Husqvarna FC 250
Howell had heartbreak last week and lost the last transfer to the main late. This week he benefitted from a crash and cruised into the main event with ease.
1st | 1-1-3 | #2 Cooper Webb | Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Webb was on the PulpMX Show and again he gave us a great interview. He spoke about how he sort of stood up in front of Musquin, Osborne, and Anderson and said that he respects them, he’s there to work, and they might think he’s a punk kid but he’s not. Then he went on about how he always practiced during the week at 75 percent or so but trainer Aldon Baker was not having that, he wanted more intensity. Also, he was struggling bad to find a magic bike setup in the whoops, and then finally Thursday before Anaheim 2 he just decided it was on him to ride better, and asked to go back to his original settings. Great stuff from Webb, check out Pulpmxshow.com.
2nd | 3-2-2 | #25 Marvin Musquin | Corona, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
I was talking to someone close to KTM and they were telling me that they were initially scared to death of my buddy David Vuillemin working with Marv. DV can be, uhhh, pretty direct and that’s not always a good thing. But this person told me David’s doing an excellent job with Marv, he’s been a big asset to him, and it’s going well. Afterward they told me, “Man, can DV pick lines!” as I guess something out there worked well. Don’t look now but Marv’s getting back into his groove. He also jumped through the whoops and passed Tomac so there’s that.
Tomac admitted that having Musquin pass and drop him in the first main wasn’t good. “I was losing my mind before the last race in that Triple Crown, but then the last one I got my mind back.” And yeah, the last one he was the old balls out Eli. He won it, got a spot on the overall podium and oh yeah, check it out: Tomac’s two points out of the lead. A bit weird he hasn’t won one yet but it’s coming.
4th | 2-5-4 | #94 KEN ROCZEN | CLERMONT, FL | HONDA CRF450R
Roczen lost the first race with two turns to go and yeah it’s not an official main event but still, he has to be wondering when this dam will break and he’ll win a 450SX. He’s got the red plate, he looks good, and we’re waiting for the win to come. It’s funny because at times he gets a start and doesn’t ride that great; other times he rides great but doesn’t get the start. He’s 96 percent there for a win.
5th 9-8-7 | #15 Dean Wilson | Clermont, FL | Husqvarna FC 450
Fifth overall? Yeah, I have to admit when I saw the overall standings I was surprised that Dean was this high up there. But that’s the beauty of the Triple Crown, you know? Be consistent and you’ll be surprised at where you finish. Great work by Wilson who I will think will be in the factory truck riding Anderson’s bike next weekend. It worked, Dean! IT WORKED!!!!
6th | 5-7-13| #14 Cole Seely | Sherman Oaks, CA | Honda CRF450R
Quietly a pretty good race for Seely but I didn’t like these Tweets of his:
I’m thankful I have such rad fans and there’s something like social media— bad at words (@coleseely14) January 22, 2019
Because the media in our sports can sometimes suck— bad at words (@coleseely14) January 22, 2019
(ANGRY RED FACE AT COLE)
7th | 12-9-6| #7 Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | Yamaha YZ450F
I was talking to the Yamaha guys about Aaron and they just love working with him. Does he have that killer instinct though to be an elite 450 guy? It’s hard to explain really but Weege knows what I’m talking about. Don’t take this the wrong way, elite 450 guys, but you have to be a bit—I don’t know—weird to be so dedicated to do what it takes to win. Is AP there yet? No, he seems to laugh at everything and anything. Most of these guys get a fourth and they’re boarder-line depressed. I hope that never leaves him though.
8th | 8-13-8 | #17 Joey Savatgy | Tallahassee, FL | Kawasaki KX450
Joey had a crash in the second main while he was in the top ten. If he hadn’t fallen, he would’ve gotten fifth overall-ish and we’d be more stoked on his night. His 8-8 finishes in the first and third mains are good I think.
9th | 6-6-17 | #1 Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Husqvarna FC 450
Bizarre night for Anderson and of course, now he’s out with a broken arm. The last main event he barely looked like he was trying for some reason. The title defense will go down to a broken arm and we’ll kind of forget the odd start of his season, but it was strange.
10th | 7-3-22 | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
Bad crash for Barcia in the last main and not surprising really. The ruts in that rhythm lane were kind of gnarly and Phil Nicoletti was in the press box next to me and yelling about the dozer operators not fixing that section. Musquin mentioned in the press conference he thought it was odd it wasn’t fixed.
11th | 13-11-9 | #46 Justin Hill | Yoncalla, OR | Suzuki RM-Z450
We’ll get “Tampa” Hill at some point. Nobody, including Justin, probably knows when but it’ll come out. And when “it” does, “it’ll” be glorious. For now, though, Hill’s got it on cruise. He makes it look easy.
12th | 11-12-10 | #42 Vince Friese | Cape Girardeau, MO | Honda CRF450R
Friese had a quiet night in Anaheim. His starts weren’t really there and he needs that to finish really well. He doesn’t have the blistering pace to rip up through the pack but he can hang in there if he gets start.
13th | 10-22-5 | #22 Chad Reed | Dade City, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450
Reed’s third moto was strong, he got hit a bit by Anderson and pushed out of the way. He responded by doing the same to Jason in the next corner. That might have gotten him going because he rode well all race. A new rule this year for the Triple Crown says you can have two bikes in case something happens and you don’t have time to fix your bike. JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki was pretty much the only factory team that didn’t have second bikes (they aren’t based in California so that makes it harder for them to build ‘em and get ‘em to Anaheim.) Of course, they needed a second bike when Reed had a clutch issue and couldn’t race. It’s Murphy’s Law, right? Years ago you couldn’t leave the starting line with your bike, but these new Triple Crown rules allow a team to go bring a bike down from the truck. By the way, I thought Chad was going to lose him mind when the crew was watering the track after track walk.
14th | 14-14-11 | #10 Justin Brayton | Mint Hill, NC | Honda CRF450r
Wow, this was almost as bizarre as the guy below him. Brayton looked to have stalled his bike one time in the first turn, his starts sucked, and on a track that he could’ve done well on, it just never worked out. Might the cable clutch be back on his bike for this weekend? In more Filthy Phil stories, Justin told me on track walk that Nicoletti accosted him this week on his starts and riding in general. Phil says it was just about the starts but Brayton made it sound like it was an overall critique of Brayton’s SX skills. Stay tuned.
Well this isn’t what he or anyone thought would happen after Baggett’s first career win, huh? Just a bad night for Baggett, bummer for him and the team to not grab any momentum from his amazing ride in Glendale. Of course he got a Tuff Blox cover caught in his bike that haunted him. It’s 2019, there’s no possible way to secure these covers I guess.
16th | 15-15-16 | #43 Tyler Bowers | Lake Elsinore, CA | Kawasaki KX450
The Bear seemed a little upset about being in unseeded practice this weekend because he missed round two for a race in Germany. If you’re out of the top 20 you don’t get to be in seeded practice unless you’re coming back from injury or someone decides you’re good enough to be in it—it’s a grey area. He’s 20th in the points now so he’s in for this weekend. Don’t make the Bear angry.
17th | 16-18-14 | #19 Justin Bogle | Cushing, OK | KTM 450 SX-F
Bogle’s gotta just slowly get better, work on testing and getting used to the bike, and build back up. It’s not going to come easy but you know how I think Justin knows all of this? He’s not pulling starts yet. When he is, you know he feels better.
18th | 18-16-15 | # 41 Ben LaMay | Anchorage, AK | Honda CRF450r
LaMay is solid, bro. Like I’m not sure how many people watch him but he’s a good rider still and easily makes mains every week. That’s not easy to do. He’s TPJ’s lead rider!
19th | #17-21-18 | #941 Angelo Pellegrini | Brescia, Italy | Honda CRF450R
There was WADA testing after the race and Pellegrini was one of the guys they grabbed. He was probably so confused. Does he speak good English? I need to talk to him about my Italian food theory.
20th | 19-17-21 | #62 Alex Ray | Milan, TN | Suzuki RM-Z450
A-Ray and I were talking about his starts and how they’re not where he would like them. I made a comment that he’s not on the drag race winning Yamaha anymore so that’s got to hurt but he said he loves his motor and it’s great. Anyway, Ray pointed to me that he and Vince Friese were the only ones in the top 18 in qualifying that had never won a 250SX or 450SX race before and that “there should be a bonus for that.” I mean, I guess he’s got a point.
21st | 22-19-19| #99 Austin Politelli | Murrieta, CA | Honda CRF450R
Politelli has some supercross skill, he’s a good rider who’s a journeyman at this point but can ride well enough to make mains which tells you how good he is. There are probably dudes putting in WAY more effort than Austin that can’t sniff a main.
22nd | 20-20-20 | #606 Ronnie Stewart| East Waterboro, ME | Husqvarna FC 450
Ronnie Stew is getting a little better each week. He passed and held off Carlen Gardner in the LCQ to get the last spot and Gardner had been riding pretty well.
Thanks for checking out the column, appreciate it. Email me at [email protected] if you want to chat about this race or anything else on your mind. See you in Oakland!