There is a lot to unwrap when it comes to the Minneapolis Supercross last weekend. We’re coming off the #Limegate controversy in San Diego and many of the teams and riders were stretched to the limit trying to get healed up (riders) and get the bikes ready to go (teams). And amid all of this is the fact that the racing in the series has been fantastic; plenty to talk about on and off the track.
I was included in a group text started by Tyler Bowers and about 30 riders mid-week in which Bowers was trying to get some more dialogue going between Feld, the AMA, and the riders. Lots of ideas thrown out there in the text thread and Bowers managed to get a meeting going with the powers that be Saturday before track walk. I was a bit bummed that some of the more powerful riders in the sport that were on the text didn’t show up, because in my opinion they’re needed, but Chad Reed and Cooper Webb did show. Maybe the other guys were stuck in the snow, not sure, but to make some changes and get things going, you need total buy in by the stars of the sport and they didn’t quite get that.
There were talks of how Feld’s offer of $5,000 for the damages to bike and body from the lime in San Diego wasn’t good enough and it seemed that Feld agreed to look at it on a case by case basis so that’s good. There seemed to be commitment to get together every now and then to talk things out and find out what the other side is thinking. This is all a good thing in my opinion. Believe it or not, this is my 23rd year of being in the pits as a mechanic or media guy and I can’t believe that the riders and/or teams don’t have more of a committee or association or whatever to get their concerns out there. The guys at Feld are businessmen but they also want to make sure the group that’s putting on a show are happy. I hope this is the start of a beautiful relationship between the riders and promoters, but I have my doubts that the riders will continue to push for these get-togethers, although they should.
Ok, with that said let’s take a look at the results, shall we?
Forkner had a rough practice and it seemed he hadn’t learned anything from last year in terms of learning the famed saying: “slow down to go fast.” He crashed three times and got lucky one of them wasn’t worse. But for the night show he was flawless as he won the heat and led every lap of the main event. It was a perfect start for Austin and if he can calm down, he can rip off a bunch of wins here before his competition knows what’s up.
2nd | #28 Jordon Smith | Belmont, NC | KTM 250 SX-F
Kristian Ortiz was the real hero of Smith’s night. He noticed a flat rear tire on the line, changed out the wheel and got it done with like, five seconds, to go. Talk about pressure right there! I’ve been a part of some of those starting line fire drills and they’re not fun. You really have to focus on what your hands are doing and take your time while hurrying up. As usual, the mechanics are the real heroes. Smith rode great though and even with a fall, took second.
Lot’s of “Cooper is flying at the test track” talk going in and he did nothing to disprove that talk. He and Chase Sexton both showed a ton of raw speed all day long and with the white flag waving, he took the last spot on the podium by stuffing Alex Martin. Second SX race ever and the kid is on the box! By the way, I know he’s biased but I was talking to Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha team manager Wil Hahn in a recent podcast and he was telling me how ridiculous the Star Yamaha bikes were. And I agree, they’re insanely fast.
4th | #26 Alex Martin | Clermont, FL | Suzuki RM-Z250
Martin looked good all day long and as he told me, this was the best start to a SX season for him so he’ll take it. Sure, “we” didn’t like the pass right before the last lap to lose a podium but hey, we’ll build on it from there. The new Suzuki seems to be really impressive in the chassis department and not so much in the motor department, according to Martin and Jimmy Decotis. Oh yeah, that pass on Marty? Worthy of one of those cringe emoji’s, right? Martin said he went to Marty after the main and apologized. Which he should’ve.
5th | #23 Chase Sexton | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF250R
Sexton was fast all day but he gets the “2018 Austin Forkner Award” for this year as he just couldn’t stay on two wheels to make it work. He’ll get it figured out, maybe as soon as this weekend, and get some wins. Two thousand nineteen Chase Sexton is better than 2018, no doubt about it. He’s just got to calm down. Is it just me or did Chase grow six inches?
6th | #66 Mitchell Oldenburg | Godley, TX |Yamaha YZ250F
Freckle came out in one of the practices swinging, he’s got that speed that you can’t acquire, you know? He’s been out of the SX game for a while and so this is an important championship for him to stay healthy and grab some podiums.
Kyle’s going to just be there. He’s a vet in this class and will be there to be in the top ten and he’ll grab a podium if it all works out. At this point, Kyle’s a professional racer and he’s the Chiz of 250SX while last year Kyle was the Chiz of 450SX because Chiz was in 250SX. Got it?
8th | #45 Brandon Hartranft | Brick, NJ | Yamaha YZ250F
Hartranft missed two out of the three practices with bike issues and I asked Alex Ray on the PulpMX Show how that would be as a rider and he said it would be scary. Hartranft qualified pretty decent all things considered and then grabbed a top ten, which considering how his day started, has to be a relief. Sleeper alert right here.
9th | #52 Jordan Bailey | Orlando, FL |Husqvarna FC 250
Bailey, like Mitchell Falk, raced his first ever SX, and finished inside the top ten. That’s pretty good, yeah?
10th | #55 Kyle Peters | Greensboro, NC | Suzuki RM-Z250
Peters is solid, he’s a veteran and will be inside the top ten more times than he’s not. Why some people thought they should bet me that he’d beat Martin, I’m not sure.
11th | #112 Thomas Covington | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 250
Big Air Tom didn’t look good. Like, I don’t know how he managed this 11th. He told Weege that he was hoping to make the main and I laughed at this, he’s a great rider after all. But yeah, I guess missing SX for all those years means you have a steep learning curve. I thought he’d be better. If you’re Tom and the team, you’re stoked on this finish cause his whoop speed needs some work badly. He’ll figure it out, but it might take longer than we thought. I realize that I’m driving the Wacko train but seeing Tom out there made me appreciate Osborne’s foray into SX on his Yamaha when he was over in Europe, although to be fair to Tom, Wacko had a lot more SX experience than Covington.
Dan Truman is president of the Lorenzo Lucurcio fan club and I think this is a good finish for Lorenzo as he’s a total privateer out there. Truman is worried about his Hoosier tires, wants to make sure they’re good enough for Lorenzo. He’s on the fence right now. I talked to someone who’s running them and they were very happy with how they worked. A great front tire in SX is very important.
13th | #70 Joshua Osby | Valparaiso, IN | Yamaha YZ250F
Osby’s good, bro. He qualified inside the top ten, showed speed all day, and he’s on the new CTR Motorsports Team, which is a merger of the ClubMX/Traders Racing/Redemption Yamaha teams, so his bike should be good. You watch him out there and you can see he’s got speed, just has to figure things out. Years from now people will still talk about the LCQ that he won and how many people almost died in it.
14th | #49 Henry Miller | Rochester, MN | KTM 250 SX-F
Henry’s on a privateer KTM after riding for HEP Suzuki on a 450 last year. I honestly didn’t notice him that much but look at the guys in the main ahead of him and pretty sure he’s the second highest placing guy out of his van.
15th | #93 Blake Wharton | Denton, TX | Honda CRF250R
PURPLE RAIN!!!!! Wharton came out of retirement last year and was pretty good. This year he’s on TiLube Honda and taking this racing thing seriously again. He looked great in the heat race getting second (avoiding a HUGE crash) and in the main he went down right away and had to work up from last. We didn’t really see what he could do; he’ll be top ten and creep into the top five as the weeks go on.
Marty got taken down by Alex Martin in the main and it wasn’t very nice of Troll to do that. But seriously, where was Marty’s blazing speed? Seventh in qualifying, he had a good heat but had nothing for Forkner. After he got up it was a terrible race for him although I heard he had some bike issues that I can’t confirm.
17th | #123 Mitchell Falk | Costa Mesa, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Falk had a crash in the main while inside the top ten and for his first ever SX, looked pretty good until then. He’ll have his ups and downs like any rookie and hopefully stays healthy.
18th | # 96 Chase Marquier | Newcastle, OK | Husqvarna FC 250
A few years ago, Chase was very good as a privateer rider, then last year we didn’t see as much great riding from him for some reason. Well, he’s back and looking better to start 2019.
19th | #81 Joshua Cartwright | Tallahassee, FL | Yamaha YZ250F
I’ve always liked Cartwright’s skills out there. I liked him even more because he paid off for me in PulpMX Fantasy. You don’t want to know what I think of Jayce Pennington by the way.
Craig had two days on a SX track before Minneapolis and was in pain all day from his hand injury. He’s going to miss a few weeks here while he tries to get stronger and ready to win… and I agree with that, why ride around at 70 percent, right?
21st | #367 Hunter Sayles | Merrill, WI | KTM 250 SX-F
Sayles crashed out early on in the race so tough to say much about him for me, but not for my buddy Josh Woods. He gives us this about Hunter’s main event: “With a few setbacks in training I knew Sayles was a little behind the ball as far as being totally prepared for Minneapolis but he showed he’s a gamer and rode well to put it in the main through the heat race. I think he’ll race himself into shape and get better as the season goes on.”
22nd | #98 Wilson Fleming | Cairo, GA | Husqvarna FC 250
I don’t know anything about Wilson Fleming but my buddy Josh Woods does so I asked him to tell me about his race: “I wasn’t at the race but just from the few clips I saw of him in practice and the race he was clearly riding really tight. After talking with him on Sunday, that was confirmed. I think he would have rode better and found his groove in the main but he went down on lap two breaking his subframe. He’s much better than 22nd place he got in Minneapolis.” Ok then. Thanks, Woodrow!
He did it again. Webb won his third race of the year and moved closer to getting the red plate back. He rode pretty much a perfect race and used a mistake by Joey Savatgy to make the pass. Webb was the picture of controlled aggression out there and man, we’re just all going to have to accept this world we live in now where Webb is one of “the guys.”
2nd | #94 Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R
Roczen took too long to get by Savatgy otherwise, like Baggett, he could’ve won the thing. He probably could’ve forced it in there at some point, but Ken’s been very vocal about how he doesn’t want to do that this year. And you know what? Hard to argue with him because he’s got the red plate again. WHEN IS THE WIN COMING DOE?
Marv rode well but his heat race was the most anti-Marv thing ever. Crashes and a drop back to eighth was so unlike him. Anyway, he didn’t get the start he needed otherwise he could’ve won. Yes, I’ve said that about a lot of riders and will keep saying that.
4th | #17 Joey Savatgy | Tallahassee, FL | Kawasaki KX450
This was a breakthrough for Savatgy even though he just got a fourth after leading 14 laps. He qualified fastest (?!?) and he looked great all day. Yes, he was holding Roczen and others up, but he’ll get some experience from this and be better the next time. This was the ride we’ve been waiting for. By the way, in the 2019 rookie class that Weege made us all talk and write about, Savatgy’s been the best, right? Even though he’s behind AP in the points, he’s been more impressive than Aaron, Justin Hill, and Osborne (who’s yet to race).
5th | #10 Justin Brayton | Mint Hill, NC | Honda CRF450R
I heard Brayton wasn’t stoked on racing one of the teams practice bikes last week as it was so different from his race bike. That’s an odd decision by the team if that’s true and his results last week showed how comfy he was feeling. Anyway, back to JB10’s preferred soil this weekend and he won a heat and this was a strong finish in the main. I was surprised to be honest that Musquin dropped him as fast as he did but either way, fifth and a heat win is a nice rebound from a DNQ.
6th | #3 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Kawasaki KX450
With the track being challenging to do the rhythms due to the ruts and at the same time not being that hard, Tomac’s entire race was effed when he got a crappy start. I watched him off the gate and Dean Wilson just got the jump and then his bars in front. He worked hard the entire main and just slowly ground the guys down in front of him to salvage this spot. I was asked for my title pick before the season and Eli was it. Six rounds down and only one win, I STILL BELIEVE!!!!
7th | #22 Chad Reed | Dade City, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450
It was quiet, but this was a good race for the 22. He’s probably not happy with it but he passed Bogle, Barcia, Wilson, Seely (some of them fell, but still), and only got passed by Tomac. I mean, that’s good, right? Must’ve been the dinner we went to on Friday night that inspired him.
Dean’s still using the 48mm WP forks he had as a privateer but I’d look for the 50mm ones to be slapped on as soon as he can get some testing down with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team. His result wasn’t much better in his first race in the factory truck, but I mean, his bike was pretty much factory anyway, so what did you expect? He’s an impressive fifth in points though. I saw him Sunday morning and he was on a Spirit Airlines flight, which his girlfriend works for and he flies on these buddy passes all the time which are cheap but that means he gets middle seats or gets bumped or whatever and I just had to ask him… WHY???? He explained that he likes saving money so he puts up with the inconveniences. This just in, Dean Wilson is now Jason Weigandt’s favorite rider.
9th | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
I didn’t see it but I guess Barcia crashed at some point out there. Not a great night for Bam Bam and I haven’t seen a lot of flash from him lately; waiting to see the A1 Justin here shortly.
10th | #7 Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | Yamaha YZ450F
AP was steady all day long and rode a good race. He’s been avoiding “that moment” in 450SX which is a good thing. He’ll get it all sorted and figured out for next year (or maybe sooner), but for now, he’s just looking around and soaking it all in.
11th | #14 Cole Seely | Sherman Oaks, CA | Honda CRF450R
Seely’s entire race went to poop when he went down while close to the top five. On this track, there was no way he was going to do much. He did pass a few guys after he picked his bike up though.
Didn’t notice Vince that much if I’m being honest. Quiet weekend for him out there.
13th | #19 Justin Bogle | Cushing, OK | KTM 450 SX-F
I talked to Bogle in the morning and told him that even though Wilson might’ve cost him a podium last week in the mud, that his recent rides were cool to see. Bogle had nothing before the season (besides a bunch of injuries) and had to jump on a KTM with basically no time on it. He’s fought through the adjustment and can now work on being in the top ten every week. I hope he keeps it going, neat story.
14th | # 43 Tyler Bowers | Lake Elsinore, CA | Kawasaki KX450
Bowers needs to be commended for getting the riders together and spearheading the meeting before track walk. Nice work, Bear. As far as his race went, I didn’t notice a lot of Bear out there.
15th | #11 Kyle Chisholm | Valrico, FL |Suzuki RM-Z450
The Chiz is gonna Chiz. That’s what he does, people!
16th | #62 Alex Ray | Milan, TN | Suzuki RM-Z450
Ray’s finish was good but he was still bummed because he can’t seem to beat his teammate Chiz. He’s got more speed than Kyle but can’t be consistent like Kyle is. At this point when Chiz comes up on A-Ray and gets around him, I have to laugh. Vets are going to always have it over the kids.
LaMay, like Ray, can’t be just happy with main events (not saying they are), they have to start working hard to get into the mix.
18th | #393 Daniel Herrlein | Bethesda, OH | Kawasaki KX450
I had Daniel on my fantasy team until there was like, 10 min to go, and pulled him off for 722. I hate myself.
19th | #118 Cheyenne Harmon | Dallas, TX |Yamaha YZ450F
Harmon made his second career 450SX main event with an LCQ win and he’s still in the honeymoon phase of making a main and not knowing what the hell to do when he’s in it. The next step is to just expect to be in them and ride hard for the entire thing. Hometown Arlington race for him this weekend, he’s got to be stoked.
20th | #383 Casey Brennan | Albuquerque, NM | KTM 450 SX-F
Don’t know anything about this guy but good work by Casey. He rides in Oklahoma so that’s cool, I need to ask Jericho about him. UPDATE: I did ask Jericho about him but he knew nothing. Must be another group of Sickos out there.
21st | #4 Blake Baggett | Grand Terrace, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
Oh man, Blake was one of those guys that could’ve won the race. He was all over Roczen for third while Ken was all over Webb for second while Savatgy was leading. He could’ve gotten by those three and taken off for the win, he was that good. Instead he drug some pegs, went over the bars, and it was a DNF on the night. Oh, the drama of racing.
22nd | #330 Aj Catanzaro | Reston, VA | Kawasaki KX450
The Cat makes the main and therefore puts Maxxis tires into the main as well. That’s the first time Maxxis has made the main since the Moto XXX days! Also, while we’re talking tires, how about Pirelli, Maxxis, and Hoosier tires all making mains. Since Bridgestone pulled out of pro SX/MX years ago it’s been an all-Dunlop show, but look at that, we’re seeing some different brands in main events which is a cool thing.
Thanks for reading, appreciate it. We’re onto Arlington this weekend which means a cool dome, warmer weather (hopefully), and more good times trying to figure out what in the hell is going on with this beautiful mess of a supercross championship. Email me at [email protected] if you want to chat about this or anything else.