It’s good to go to a new city in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. And it’s always cool going to a rad city like Nashville as opposed to St. Louis (sorry, Anton). First time the championship has had a SX in Nashville and the people were jazzed for it.
The stadium was pretty full, it appeared the crowd was into it and having a great time. The press box was a gong show, though. I’m not going to be some sort of elitist guy here and say these people shouldn’t be in there but sweet Jesus, it was a little much with crying babies and the yelling. I know, first world media problems but we are there to work.
Okay, hey, the track. Generally we’ve seen some better tracks this year on the circuit. We haven’t had too many duds this year and I attribute it to the phone call between Feld Entertainment, Dirt Wurx, and some retired riders before the season where the riders (Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard, Tim Ferry, and Nick Wey) offered some suggestions about track design and obstacles. I don’t know what they talked about specifically but it’s been a good year for tracks and Nashville was more of that. It had good-sized whoops and different rhythms that worked out about the same. Somehow, Nashville was hard packed though? Who knew? They did some good work to make it much better for night show but most of the day it looked like the Vegas SX out there.
Heartbreak for Austin Forkner as a knee injury suffered in practice kept him out of the race and might cause him to lose championship. It looked pretty grim as he put it down in the third practice and had to be carted off. Forkner’s been amazing this SX season but has shown a tendency to crash in practice. He pushes it hard every lap he’s out there and it bit him… or we think it did. Hard to see how he’s going to be ready to go in two weeks but stranger things have happened. And even if he is ready, his lead is down to three points so that means he doesn’t just have to show up, he’s got to actually beat those guys with a bad knee. Bummer for him and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki guys.
Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?
Marty looked like Marty this week! He’s been battling a neck/nerve issue and told me (yes, we do talk) that he had surgery to get some relief from numbness in his arms that he’s been suffering from. Well, it worked! He was great all day and yeah, he benefitted from the Chase Sexton/Justin Cooper collision, but still, he rode great and fully deserved the win. In the most un-Marty-like season to date, he proved that he can still Marty. And if Forkner holds onto this, Marty stealing points away from Sexton and Cooper will be a big reason why.
2ND | #23 CHASE SEXTON | CLERMONT, FL | HONDA CRF250R
Sexton was NOT happy with Cooper after the race but took the high road. I admire that, he could’ve blasted him and been somewhat justified. He rode great to get a second which, without the “pass” by Cooper would’ve been the worst position he would’ve gotten in my opinion. Sexton’s the favorite to win this title but he hasn’t won a race yet with two chances to go.
3RD | #32 JUSTIN COOPER | HUNTINGTON, NY | YAMAHA YZ250F
I’m sure Justin will look back at his pass attempt on Sexton and understand that it wasn’t smart. It was too early in the race and either him or Chase were going to win so why push it at that moment? Yeah he was a bit pissed at Chase for sneaking by him earlier but that wasn’t anything. It’s amazing that even with two crashes Justin was able to get to third—shows something about the depth of the East Region I think.
4TH | #55 KYLE PETERS | GREENSBORO, NC | SUZUKI RM-Z250
Ah, man, Peters had a podium in his grip but lost it late in the race to Cooper. He rode well all main event long but I’m sure he and the team are going to regret giving up the podium.
Brandon had a good race and is getting hot at the right time as the after a rough start. Would you hire Hartranft or Jacob Hayes for 2020 250SX? That’s something that I think a couple of managers are thinking about.
6TH | #66 MITCHELL OLDENBURG | GODLEY, TX | YAMAHA YZ250F
Freckle’s whole race went sideways when he slid out early in the main. He rode well to work up from the back but he was frustrated with his speed in the whoops and his race as a whole afterward.
7TH | #37 KYLE CUNNINGHAM | WILLOW PARK, TX | HONDA CRF250R
Kyle’s been solid all season long. He’s got to be a bit frustrated that he can’t get into the top five but he’s beating a lot of riders that make more money than him and have better bikes than him. Like Chris Blose on the West, he’s making the most out of the least.
Sipes raced Daytona a few weeks back but this was his first “regular” SX since 2013! What? Really? Yeah, I guess so. Who knew? Anyway, he rode pretty well all day long and I mean, he’s a veteran and knows what he’s doing out there. His fitness looked better than it did at Daytona also.
9TH | #123 MITCHELL FALK | COSTA MESA, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Falk was third and looking great and you don’t expect him to be on the level of Sexton or Cooper but he’s a factory rider on a factory bike. Not sure how he can drop so far back without a crash. He looked VERY tired out there, not sure what was going on.
10TH | #26 ALEX MARTIN | CLERMONT, FL | SUZUKI RM-Z250
Bad race for us, the less said about our race the better we’ll be. “We” didn’t have the starts, the speed, or really anything. Not sure what happened. We’re onto New Jersey…
11TH | #52 JORDAN BAILEY | ORLANDO, FL |HUSQVARNA FC 250
Bailey’s been just ok this SX season, I thought Daytona was his best one of the year but on a traditional SX track, he hasn’t had any shining moments. He’s been steady though, so there’s that.
Lorenzo was supposed to be racing for Bud Racing Kawasaki in MX2 but couldn’t get his passport situation figured out so he’s back in the U.S. and Mitchell Harrison got his ride.
13TH | #63 JOHN SHORT | PILOT POINT, TX | HONDA CRF250R
Short’s pretty solid, he’ll never cheat you for effort out there.
14TH | #101 FREDRIK NOREN | WEST FARMINGTON, OH | HONDA CRF250R
Noren was going to the LCQ when Justin Thompson, all alone in ninth, ate crap in the whoops about 10 feet before the finish and threw it away. Noren happily took a spot into the main and then rode pretty well in it.
15TH | #81 JOSHUA CARTWRIGHT | TALLAHASSEE, FL | YAMAHA YZ250F
Cartwright was good all day long and easily made it into the main. It does seem, although I’m no Josh Cartwright expert, that when he’s on, he’s on.
Moranz is a bit like Karnow in the West where he’s now getting past the “I hope I make the main” phrase and into the “I belong in the main” phrase.
20TH | #70 JOSHUA OSBY | VALPARAISO, IN | YAMAHA YZ250F
Bummer night for Osby, who had been riding well. He got a rock stuck in his brake or something and called it a night.
21TH | #65 ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ | TALLAHASSEE, FL | HONDA CRF250R
I don’t know what happened to A-Rod. I’ll have to ask my A-Rod whisperer Dan Truman about his deal.
22TH | #511 STEVEN CLARKE | STOURBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM | HONDA CRF250R
Clarke was in third at one point! Adam Wheeler, On Track Off Road’s own, was very stoked for his fellow Englishman until he crashed out.
Great race for ET3 even though his bike broke in the heat and he had to go to the LCQ. He didn’t start well either so this was even more impressive. Moved into a second-place tie in the points also so… yeah. What if? I know, I know. I can’t go there but what if he gets hot here? There’s only one guy that could rip off three straight wins and it’s this guy. I was talking to his dad John in the airport and he told me that he thought going to the LCQ helped a ton because it kept Eli loose to which I said maybe you guys should go to the LCQ every weekend? Not going to happen though I guess.
2TH | #4 BLAKE BAGGETT | GRAND TERRACE, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
BB4 rode great to get second and I thought he was being a little careful with Cooper Webb in trying to get by. Blake’s hot and cold each week so if I’m Rocky Mountain KTM Team Manager Michael Byrne over there, I’m not reacting to BB4’s bad nights with drastic measures; not saying that’s the request, just saying that whenever things go sideways for Blake it doesn’t mean it’s a bike issue. He’s been more up and down this year but it’s still been a good series for him. Does that make sense?
3RD | #2 COOPER WEBB | NEWPORT, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
When it’s your year, it’s your year. Webb collides with Mike Alessi in the heat and crashes early on. He’s way, way back but oh look at that, a red flag comes out. Webb gets a re-start and finishes second! Coop didn’t have the smoothest day in qualifying but yet again, he made it work in the main event and stretched his points lead. Life is good for Cooper Webb, folks.
We’re at the point where Dean just gets a fourth and we’re all ho-hum about it. Crazy to think about how far he’s progressed this season and on thing to think about is while I’m not ready to start a GoFundMe for Deano, I would bet he’s not making much base salary from the team as he was a fill-in. No matter, that will come next year if he keeps this up. As Jake Weimer said on Monday night when we had Dean on the show “Dean’s Dean.”
5TH | #16 ZACH OSBORNE | ABINGDON, VA | HUSQVARNA FC 450
Nice steady race for Wacko. I was watching Marvin Musquin catching him at the end of the race and wondering if he was going to make it easy for Marv to get him, but he didn’t. Zach’s starting to get a hang of this 450SX stuff.
6TH | #25 MARVIN MUSQUIN | CORONA, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
Rough night for Marvin, a couple of crashes in the whoops forced him to dig deep to salvage this position. Although he rode great last week to get a second, we all saw that race go rough for him also. Not a good time for Musquin to suffer these crashes (one of last week’s was forced).
7TH | #14 COLE SEELY | SHERMAN OAKS, CA | HONDA CRF450R
Seely was fifth last week and that was an improvement. It was Triple Crown, though. This week it was seventh but a good race in my opinion.
Man, are the motocross gods serious? Roczen was fast all day long and my pick to win the main event but he got collected in Joey Savatgy’s crash while in third. It’s just another disappointment for Roczen in a season that saw him twice have the points lead. This is getting unbelievable really, it’s like he carried a black cat under a ladder while breaking glass. Roczen’s got to get a win here in the last three.
9TH | #19 JUSTIN BOGLE | CUSHING, OK | KTM 450 SX-F
Bogle was the first guy to go 3-3 in the rhythm after the first turn, he was top five for a long time in the first timed practice, he beat his teammate last week, this week he was inside the top 10. He’s starting to feel better and look more like himself although I have to admit it’s taken longer than I thought it would. I know the team is committed to Benny Bloss for MX but it would be cool if they could fit three bikes under there.
10TH | #43 TYLER BOWERS | LAKE ELSINORE, CA | KAWASAKI KX450
Like me with a pizza, Bowers has got to be licking his lips when he shows up and sees whoops like we’ve had in Seattle and Nashville. He’s been getting better lately and it’s showing.
11TH | #111 CHRIS BLOSE | PHOENIX, AZ | HUSQVARNA FC 450
Great ride by Blose yet again. There’s some confusion from our review podcast when I said that Blose wouldn’t get a factory ride like so many fans seem to want. My point was we’ve seen the managers in the sport pass over veterans over and over for unproven kids who then prove they can’t beat the vets. At Chris’s age, they’re definitely not going to sign him. Should they? Yeah sure, for SX-only but these team guys usully don’t look at getting outside of their box.
LaMay’s average finishes since being on the Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda team have been better but it’s hard to quantify that because we’ve had riders get hurt from when Ben was a total privateer. But I have the eye test and LaMay passes that, he looks better on the team’s bike.
13TH | #11 KYLE CHISHOLM | VALRICO, FL | SUZUKI RM-Z450
Chiz is gonna Chiz, that’s all there is to it. You people need to realize this.
14TH | #800 MIKE ALESSI | HILLIARD, FL | HONDA CRF450R
I thought Mike’s move on Musquin, pushing him out before the triple, was a bit much to do when you’re a fill-in guy and Marv’s out there racing for a championship but hey, when has Alessi ever done the conventional out there? Overall he’s been pretty good for a guy that hasn’t raced SX in a few years.
15TH | #60 JUSTIN STARLING | DELAND, FL | HUSQVARNA FC 450
I don’t know if I’ve ever watched or talked about Starling like I did this weekend. You see, we at PulpMX Fantasy made a bit of a mistake with Starling’s handicap and he was an easy pick based on qualifying times. But then he had to go to the LCQ and at one point wasn’t in qualifying position. But he came through for all of us “owners.”
Politelli actually passed Tomac back in the LCQ! That was ballsy, I liked it. Austin has talent for sure and he shows it by being in a lot of mains each week.
17TH | #62 ALEX RAY | MILAN, TN | SUZUKI RM-Z450
Hometown hero, Alex Ray! I went by the HEP truck and he was swarmed with friends, family, and fans. It was like MC in Anaheim or something! We were debating Ray’s status on all-time Tennessee riders and we have him third behind Mike Brown and Nathan Ramsey. Anyone else think of someone better than Ray?
18TH | #86 RYAN BREECE | ATHOL, ID | YAMAHA YZ450F
Breece is dealing with an injury that holds him back from practicing during the week and he pulled into the mechanics’ area at one point. Then I think he realized all the dudes that were out of the race and just rolled around from there for more points and more money.
19TH | #51 JUSTIN BARCIA | GREENVILLE, FL | YAMAHA YZ450F
Rough few weeks for Bam Bam. I always enjoy him and Justin Hill trying to kill each other out there by the way. It’s entertainment inside of the race! Anyway, Justin crashed out and the Monster Energy Factory Yamaha team has been struggling lately with crashes from Justin and Josh Grant. It’s so hard when you can’t practice from a crash but then you have to be ready in seven days and then you’re not sharp and you crash again. The cycle just keeps going over and over.
Hill hurt his back in practice, was going to pull out before being convinced by the team to keep racing. He did, but in the main he must’ve hurt it again at some point and pulled out. The JGR team is trying to do everything they can to push Hill toward some better results because this hasn’t been good so far. Him being out after the race (it was captured by fans on social media) wasn’t a good look either.
21ST | #33 JOSH GRANT | WILDOMAR, CA | YAMAHA YZ450F
Oh boy, this isn’t going very well for JG back as a fill-in. He’s gone DNQ-crash out of one main of the Triple Crown-DNF along with a bunch of practice crashes. He’s never been one to be able to back it down so you know he just wicks the throttle up when he needs to. Only now, for perhaps the first time in his career, he’s not able to ride it out.
22ND | #17 JOEY SAVATGY | TALLAHASSEE, FL | KAWASAKI KX450
Bummer for Joey, he won a heat race and was running second in the main. I would’ve bet a lot of money he was on the box no matter what with the way he was riding but he went down, dislocated his shoulder, and I imagine he’ll be out for a bit… or at least maybe he should be with just three races left? In other news, he finally won a PulpMX Lit Kit award after being nominated a bunch of times. He’ll probably carve the “PulpMX” out of the trophy but still, I’m happy for him!
Thanks for reading his week, we’ll see you this Friday night at the Oriental Theater for the PulpMX/Racer X Live Show presented by Yamaha. Tickets start at $20, should be cool. See ya there! Email me at [email protected] if you want to chat about this race or anything else.