Welcome to Arlington, Texas for round seven of Monster Energy Supercross, continuing to hold steady as a parity-filled championship battle. Two points are all that separate Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb, Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac at the top of the 450SX standings, the smallest margin ever for the top four at this stage of a season. Every years starts with a wide-open field, but ee’re getting darned close to halfway through this one, and the unpredictability remains. That’s exciting.
As for specifics in Arlington, it’s cold outside in the pits again, but the roof on the massive AT&T Stadium solves all problems. The track also features fresh dirt, and it looks prime. The dirt here varies year to year, we’ve seen rock-hard dusty power, concrete-like dirt or perfect, tacky soil. This 2019 version looks tacky, and ex-pro Jason Thomas tells us it’s about as good as he has seen it here since 2012.
The track features a few unique, ahem, features, like a split lane which leads to two different jumping rhythms. That’s cool, but alas, the teams will study the data and figure out which line is best. The other side of the stadium also offers two rhythms, but the fastest one is tricky, requiring a launch over the back of the berm where the track hooks onto the start. We’ll see what rhythms survive as the dirt begins to get rutted.
In 250SX East, Austin Forkner swept the proceedings at last weekend’s season opener, clocking the fastest practice times and then leading every lap of his heat and the main event. So he’s the rider to chase this weekend for round two. A rider to watch could be Justin Cooper, who was third last week. In the free practice early today, Forkner was pushing hard, but Cooper ended up notching the fastest time. Cooper is really good at timed practice, indoors and out. Also watch for Jordon Smith, who was second last weekend. It’s early so several names are also ready to breakout in the East championship chase.
We talked to Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy this morning. He led a lot of last week’s main event but made a few mistakes and went back to fourth. Joey told us that he’s learning how the tracks develop in the 450 class. He says for about six or seven laps, the tracks are pretty fresh, and then the ruts start forming, lines change, and plywood gets exposed in ways they don’t in the 250 class. He wishes he would have changed his line in a rhythm last weekend, and not rushed one other section, and those two things might have made a big difference in his results.
We'll have more as timed practice begins here in Texas.