Welcome to Detroit, Michigan, for round eight of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, where we will get the second Triple Crown format of the season. Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb will bring the red plates to the starting gate for the second time this season, as he has a two-point lead of Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen. Webb’s teammate, Marvin Musquin (six points behind Webb), Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac (16 points behind) and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Dean Wilson (40 points behind) round out the top five in the 450SX points standings. Last weekend's race was simply incredible, with Webb edging Roczen by the smallest recorded margin since at least 2003. Combine that with the close standings, and we're looking at some of the most intriguing mid-season racing in a long, long time.
As for specifics in the Motor City, the teams are dealing with cold temperatures outside of the stadium yet again. The track takes a turn away from the recent football-field-style tracks we have seen in Glendale, Minneapolis, and Arlington, mostly with the hard 90-degree left-hand turn into the holeshot. Starts will be key tonight in all three races, as this kind of start results in inside riders bumping outside riders off the track. While the track has a split rhythm section that some riders will quad through, it’s tough to say which line will be faster come the night show.
In the 250SX East Region, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit’s Austin Forkner swept the class last week for the second straight time, qualifying fastest during the day and leading all laps of his heat race and all laps of the main event. Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper sits eight points behind Forkner after getting his first two podiums in his career in back-to-back weeks, and Troy Lee Designs KTM’s Jordon Smith sits in third 10 points back. GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton sits 13 points behind Forkner after fifth and third place finishes in the first two East Region rounds and Cooper’s teammate Mitchell Oldenburg sits 18 points back in fifth place in the standings. Although Forkner has been perfect in the first two rounds, the 250SX East will see its first Triple Crown format of the year. We will see how each rider responds to the Triple Crown format tonight.
Here's a quick primer on that format: the 250 riders will race three races at a length of 10 minutes and 1 lap each. The 450s will run 12 minutes and 1 lap in each race. Daytime qualifying is key here because it seeds 18 spots on the gate in this format (there are no heat races in a Triple Crown event). After daytime qualifying, a pair of LCQs will be held to determine the final four spots for each class in the night show. For more details on the Triple Crown, click here to read about the changes from last year's format.