Steve Matthes on 2019 Houston SX


NRG Stadium Houston, TX Houston Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship

The last of the Triple Crowns this past weekend in Houston provided lots to talk about when it comes to Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Things are heating up in 450SX; the same could be said for the 250SX as well.

I like the Triple Crown format, it’s pretty good. How long until we have a few more added to the schedule? And if you’re in a city that had a “regular” supercross and now you had a Triple Crown, let me know in the comments below which format you prefer live. 

I know you people are talking about the Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb stuff that happened in the first race of the night. I get it, they’re teammates, they’re one and two in points, and they’re training partners, so the potential for drama is there. We hadn’t seen much happen all year, but that all changed in Houston. In the press conference, Coop admitted that his emotions got the best of him.

It was Musquin that, in my opinion, “started” the whole thing by diving to the inside of Webb which sparked Webb’s emotions he spoke about in the PC. To me, this is supercross. There’s a 40-year history of teammates going for championships, a history of aggressive, but fair racing, and neither Musquin or Webb are doing anything that we haven’t seen before. Weege and JT seem to think it wasn’t smart of Webb, but to me, they were normal SX moves that resulted in Webb pushing Marv out of the way. This isn’t a team sport, right? You’re allowed to be aggressive and make passes, right? 

[Editor's note: I didn't say the move wasn't smart, that was JT. I think the moves were fine, but I think Marvin and KTM won't. That's their opinion, not mine. -- Weigandt]

The move that Marv pulled on Tomac last year in Foxborough? Yeah, not cool. Nor was Tyler Bowers “pass” on Justin Barcia a few weeks ago. There are many examples of t-bones and slams that aren’t cool and especially aren’t cool between teammates but what I saw in Houston was good, aggressive, clean racing. There’s a lot at stake here for both guys and they both went for it at different times.

Musquin came out the loser in these situations and honestly, outside of Foxborough when he dirtied Tomac, I can’t think of too many situations where Marv has come out ahead. As one racer told me yesterday, you don’t think Webb knows that Musquin is sort of easy to push around on the track? 

I asked a couple of top racers in the sport about the moves that Marv did to Webb and then Webb did to Marv and both of them had no issues with anything that happened. One of them remarked that it doesn’t take much to piss Webb off but he’s been like that his entire career (I came down pretty hard on Coop when he was in the 250 class and losing his mind on other guys in practice that accidently got in his way on a heater) and that Marv has to know that. Another remarked, and I quote, “they’re all p***ies now,” which made me laugh out loud.

I got another text from a 1980s guy that was pretty damn good. He told me he couldn’t believe anyone would ever have a problem with anything either guy did. Okay, so these racers all agreed with me, why the outrage?

What Aldon Baker has to do, or Ian Harrison has to do, is tell both guys that they can race each other hard but don’t do anything dumb. Let’s keep the “super” in supercross, yeah? What’s super about this racing stuff is the aggression, the hard passes, and the fact it’s not a team sport.

So everyone calm down, mmmk? 

One week after winning his first career SX, the Frenchman does it again with some great rides. He’s tightened up the 250SX West Region with the win and it’s a shame for him that there’s now a week off before the series resumes in Denver. He’s got some serious momentum going right now.

2nd | 3-2-4 | #31 RJ Hampshire | Wesley Chapel, FL | Honda CRF250R

Hold on, this is RJ’s second podium in his career? Really? I went back and looked, and the TV crew was right. Wow, that seems a bit low, right? He has scored five fourth places, though, so he’s been close. Anyway, Hampshire rode well all night long with, wait for it, good starts! That usually doesn’t happen for him. 

3rd | 5-4-1 | #39 Colt Nichols | Muskogee, OK | Yamaha YZ250F

Nichols is a problem for Adam Cianciarulo in that he’s out of this points race but has the speed to get into the mix and if need be, help out Ferrandis. That’s not good for the green guys. Colt was solid in Houston despite some crashes that were out of the ordinary. 

Rich Shepherd

Adam’s gonna make this thing go down to the wire, although I like him to hold onto this. Like we saw in the first race, he’s got enough speed to beat anyone at anytime. I loved his push off on Sean Cantrell in the air—that was sweet. 

5th | 6-5-6 | #64 James Decotis | Peabody, MA | Suzuki RM-Z250

Jimmy D didn’t have a great first race—he got shuffled back quicker than he would’ve liked to—but he was still consistent all day and killed it in the whoops. As he told me afterward a couple of years ago he would’ve been stoked with a top five and now he’s just shrugging his shoulders. 

6th | 9-6-5 | #44 Cameron McAdoo | Chesterfield, SC Honda | CRF250R

Next time you’re at a race, just watch Ol’Cam. He’s pure entertainment because he has no fear. His emotions are connected to his right wrist and he sends it and thinks about what’s going to happen later. Lot of heart with Cam and on the PulpMX Show Christian Craig told us he’s been working with McAdoo on his starts. He had two first turns where he was laying on the ground and worked himself well into the top ten. This was a good night for RAM IT.

7th | 12-8-8 | #60 Justin Starling | Deland, FL | Husqvarna FC 250

Good night for Starling who should get the monkey skull from the team for top rider.

Rich Shepherd

Pretty good showing for Sean, who I heard isn’t really ready to race yet due to a wrist injury, but the team is down to one rider on each coast and they have to have someone out there racing. Because, you know, Shane McElrath’s got a back injury and stuff. 

9th | 10-3-19 | # 61 Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Kawasaki KX250

I was asking Ivan Tedesco, who works with Garrett, how he was feeling and how everything was going before the night show. Nick Wey was like “You’re only asking this because of fantasy SX” and I couldn’t deny that fact. Also, both Ivan and NYK said they’re in for Hawaii SX after Vegas for some start money and a free trip to Hawaii. Shocking.

10th | 8-19-7 | #111 Chris Blose | Phoenix, AZ | Husqvarna FC 250

Blose was again balls fast in qualifying and again killed the whoops. He was leading the second main—race, whatever we’re calling them—when Ferrandis took him down and out of the race. It was an aggressive pass, but a fair pass in my opinion. Blose, in his typical never-say-die riding, probably should’ve checked up.

Rich Shepherd

Castelo crashed in the LCQ and threw his hands up and slowly got back to his bike. I mean, it’s four minutes plus a lap, normally he would be done. But thankfully for Martin the LCQ only had ten riders in it (entries were low for the furthest West Coast race on the schedule) and he somehow worked his way from near last to the last spot into the main! It was a great ride for the Ecuadorian. NEVER GIVE UP, KIDS.

12th | 4-18-14 | #36 Michael Mosiman | Menifee, CA | Husqvarna FC 250

Mosiman’s been better lately in his qualifying and racing, he’s also pushing it pretty hard out there to try and get better which is causing some sketchy moments. Still, it’s cool to see him getting better. 

13th | 7-20-10 | #156 Jacob Hayes | Greensboro, NC | Yamaha YZ250F

I didn’t ask his super agent what the deal was with Hayes this week. I know he’s got an injured hand which is hurting him a bit, but his early season great rides feel like a while ago now. I feel like Hayes and Blose were pretty close early on and now Chris has gotten a bit better.

14th | 16-9-12 | #170 Michael Leib | Temecula, CA | Husqvarna FC 250

Leib? Huh? Michael Leib? What the hell? He’s back and he’s back in Houston? Wow, cool deal. I didn’t know what happened to the vet. A ninth (in the second main) right off the couch? Wow. Who knew?

Leib is back?!
Leib is back?! Rich Shepherd

Karnow’s an interesting guy (he quit the sport for a little while as a kid). He had sort of a breakthrough in Seattle and rode perhaps the best he ever has. This week he qualified great and finished a bit worse than he did last week. He’s got some momentum for sure.

16th | 13-11-20 | #54 Dylan Merriam | Corona, CA | Husqvarna FC 250

Merriam’s a good dude, I was stoked for him to get the Gas Monkey ride. He’s done okay, he’s had to deal with an injury, but I have to admit I thought he’d do better. Maybe he’s more of an outdoor guy? I mean, he’s #54, he wears FXR on a Husky… maybe he’s really becoming the new “Filthy” Phil?

17th | 19-14-15 | #68 Brandan Leith | Eagle Mountain, UT | Husqvarna FC 250

Leith and Lionnet are like the same dude to me, I always get them mixed up even though one is from Africa.  

18th | 14-16-18 | #83 Killian Auberson | Winchester, CA | KTM 250 SX-F

Switzerland’s best SX’er ever maybe?

Rich Shepherd

For sure Jorgensen has to be Denmark’s best SX’er ever, right? Wonder if he knows Freddie Anderson who’s a Dane and plays goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

20th | 18-17-17 | #122 Chris Howell | Spokane Valley, WA | Husqvarna FC 250

Howell struggled in the whoops but got it into the main event.

21th | 21-21-21 | #321 Bradley Lionnet | Menifee, CA | Yamaha YZ250F

Lionnet is the rider from Africa, FYI.

22th | 22-22-22 | #141 Robbie Wageman | Newhall, CA | Honda CRF250R

Robbie crashed out early in race one and SOME people were upset at that because he was a solid PulpMX Fantasy pick.

Wageman. Jeff Kardas

No need to apologize Coop, you’re fine. There’s a lot at stake here and you rode well within the rules of the sport, nobody is gonna care or remember the “terrible” things you did in Houston when you’ve got the #1 plate, the cash, and all the perks that come with it.   

2nd | 5-3-1 | #25 MARVIN MUSQUIN | CORONA, CA | KTM 450 SX-F

Marv’s been very good for a while here and the last time he wasn’t great was the last Triple Crown. He had a rough night with the Webb thing and crashing on his own a couple of times. When he got the start in race three, he was gone. If Marv finishes second this 450SX season, he might be excused for wondering when he can get on the top spot—he’s finished second in points in three out of the last four series. I think it’s going to be four out of the last five. By the way, when was the last time Marv passed Eli Tomac twice in a race??? 

3rd | 3-2-5 | #15 DEAN WILSON | CLERMONT, FL | HUSQVARNA FC 450

Yeah, Deano! Great ride for Wilson who’s now won a heat race, qualified fastest, and made his first podium of the year in the last three weeks. Things are coming together for the 15 and although he did look a bit gassed late in the races, he was very solid. Great starts and whoop speed also.

4th | 6-7-2 | #3 ELI TOMAC | CORTEZ, CO | KAWASAKI KX450

I don’t know, bro. I still don’t know. He rode great all day in qualifying and the third race but the first two were not so great… but at times in those individual races, he did look great. I’m so confused. I made the comparison to Damon Bradshaw in 1993 this week in regard to Tomac’s season and I hope I’m wrong, but it smells a bit like that to me.

Rich Shepherd

A first top five for Seely this year and he rode well all night long. Well, the third race wasn’t great, but we’ll forgive that one. Last week he was very fast for half the race, this week he sets a season-best result. Might he finally be coming around a bit?

6th | 10-6-4 | #16 Zach Osborne | Abingdon, VA | Husqvarna FC 450

I don’t know why Wacko tells me he started in third gear in the last race and it worked great and then when I bring it up in the post race interview he gives me the look like he’s being held hostage and I just gave away the escape plans. I mean, unless you have a factory Husky 450 with the exact motor and ECU settings he has, and you weigh the same as Osborne, does it really matter? #weirdoriders

7th | 8-5-7 | #19 JUSTIN BOGLE | CUSHING, OK | KTM 450 SX-F

Great ride for Bogle all night long and his starts were back. Then I saw him in the pits, and I don’t know what in the hell he was wearing for pants at the end of the night, though. Seriously, what’s wrong with these kids? Why can’t they understand that you can’t beat a good pair of cargo shorts?

8th | 9-9-6 | #4 BLAKE BAGGETT | GRAND TERRACE, CA | KTM 450 SX-F

Not a good night for Blake, he was sort of invisible to be honest. I did get to talk to his dad Tom this weekend which is always a treat and makes me laugh.

Rich Shepherd

Joey was sick all week and it showed in Houston. He didn’t have his usual jam and also went backwards at times. Ehhh, it happens.

10th | 1-21-8 | #94 Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R

Roczen looked SO good in the first race when he took off with the win. It was vintage #94 and does this sort of count for breaking his SX winless streak? I say it sort of does. Anyway, he hit the deck hard in the second race and toughed out the third one. Again, he’s got to wonder what black cat he carried under what ladder at this point? I’ve heard that he’s been riding a lot of outdoors lately and also that his tests came back fine in terms of having a virus or something. Please motocross gods, let Kenny win a main before the end of the year.

11th | 14-8-10 | #46 Justin Hill | Yoncalla, OR | Suzuki RM-Z450

One top ten this year and we just lost two riders that beat him all year. This is not going well.

Here’s a live shot of J-Bone thinking of Hill’s season:

The Bear loved the whoops in Houston and it showed. He wasn’t AS dominant in them like he was in Seattle but it was a good race. Tyler’s 15th in points and yeah, he’s got some good stuff on his bike from the guys at Kawasaki, but he’s as much of a privateer as anyone out there.

13th | 15-12-13| #11 Kyle Chisholm | Valrico, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450

Chiz is gonna Chiz and that’s what he does, everyone. Solid veteran giving you solid performances every week. He’s like goldfish crackers… everyone loves Goldfish crackers. Are they your first choice for a snack? No, but everyone would take them if they had to, they’re very likable.   

14th | 16-13-14| #41 Ben LaMay | Anchorage, AK | Honda CRF450R

LaMay’s on the Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda team and qualified very well this weekend then put in three consistent main events. If Chiz and LaMay raced each other, who would ever give up first? I guess the Suzuki has a smaller tank so Kyle would run out of gas first and therefore Ben would win? 

LaMay. Rich Shepherd

The #97 rode very well this weekend and it was good to see. Main number two on the year and with the injuries to some top guys in recent weeks, Adam’s lead in the Yamaha LCQ Privateer Challenge could go away. YIKES, ADDY!

16th | 17-14-9 | #62 Alex Ray | Milan, TN | Suzuki RM-Z450

Would J-Bone the dog be happy with this result? I think so—that’s all that matters to Alex.

17th | 11-19-20 | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | Yamaha YZ450F

A good crash in the whoops in race two spelled an early end for the #51. He’s had some concussion issues in his career; I hope he didn’t suffer another one as it was a bad crash. The team said Barcia aggravated a previous shoulder injury.

18th | 20-15-16 | #99 Austin Politelli | Murrieta, CA | Honda CRF450R

At one time, Austin had a bright future in the sport, at least I thought so. He’s got some serious skills and although age and injuries have sapped some of that potential, he’s still able to make most main events. That says something for him, no doubt about it.

Politelli. Rich Shepherd

I’m bitter that Gardner has ridden so well this year but in Indianapolis when I picked him for PulpMX Fantasy, he had maybe his worst race of the year. That’s where I’m at with Carlen.

20th | 13-20-21 | #33 Joshua Grant | Wildomar, CA | Yamaha YZ450F

Oh wow, this comeback to SX hasn’t gone very well so far for JG and Yamaha. With Barcia’s injury there were zero Yamaha’s in the main event for the third race.

21th | 21-18-18 | #224 Charles Lefrancois | Folligny, France | Suzuki RM-Z450

I’ve seen Charles race over in France but don’t know what in the hell he was doing in Houston but it’s cool to see. I also know that Dan Truman picked him in PulpMX Fantasy because he gave Charles some CR22 goggles to get through the night, some JGR Suzuki parts, and perhaps a full race motor, one can’t be sure.

22th | 22-22-22| #800 Mike Alessi | Hilliard, FL | Honda CRF450R

The 800 was taken out by an out of control Alex Ray in the first main and was too banged up to continue on. Insert your own joke in here.

Thanks for reading, onto Nashville this weekend which is exciting. Anytime a new venue is on the circuit, things are always pretty interesting. Back to 250SX East Region as well! Email me at [email protected] if you want to chat about this or anything else.