Back-to-back Midwest stops lead Monster Energy AMA Supercross into Indianapolis. In my racing days, this was one of my favorite rounds. It was the site of my first supercross race back in 1997 and always had dirt that I found favorable. Back in those days, the dirt was much softer and would become incredibly rutty. Those ruts would slow the race down and make it very technical for the main event. Go back and watch a mid-nineties Indy round and you’ll see what I mean. It was a different type of racing back then, but onward and upward we go, right?
This year’s track design is a bit of a standard template for supercross. When I look at it on paper, it has the signatures of years gone by: long start, long whoops, two main rhythm sections, crossing the start to pass the mechanics’ area, and a 180 after the finish that leads back onto the start straight. It might seem strange to the casual fan, but as I have studied these track maps for 20 years or so, similar patterns definitely emerge. As track designs go, this one is a bit more vanilla than Atlanta, for example.
The long start has two quick left turns before a right leads into the first rhythm section. This setup is very similar to Glendale’s start and first straightaway. I expect the main line to be to double across the inside line and then step over the tabletop. That will allow for a triple up over the big single and then an easy double out. The 250 guys may have to settle for a slower 2-3 out of the section, but the end result is basically the same.
A bowl berm leads into a whoops section, and Indy whoops typically break down significantly. They will probably resemble the whoops from last week in St. Louis in that there will be a main line that is knocked down. Most riders will opt for that line, but some others will try to hop just next to that line and blitz. Coming out of the berm, look for block passes before and after these whoops.
A standard supercross triple is up next, followed by some small roller jumps into a 90 to the left. A step-up double sends riders past the mechanics’ area and into another 90 left. Look for riders to stay inside and double out of the turn, then possibly triple onto the next tabletop. If they can flow through the downside, they could then try to triple up the next section and single into the turn. As always, these combinations are dependent on the angles and heights of the build, but on paper there could be some big options.
The finish line jump is next and wrapping up the lap is a small set of small roller whoops, but look for this to be a spot they could slightly change. There is a 180 back onto the start straight. Similarly to Atlanta, look for block passes and a lot of passing attempts here. Many riders will want to go outside and slingshot back across the turn, but opening the door here could be costly. Riders on the inside will have a tougher exit but they also protect their line, too. It’s give-and-take in corners like this, and riders have to remain keenly aware of where the riders are around them. Watch for riders to take a peek behind them over the finish to decide if they have enough room to go outside.
Is this 250 East/West going to be as good as I think it will be?
Can anyone force Jason Anderson into a big mistake?
With a long break for the 250 West Region guys, who will be rusty and who will be sharp?
Do the 250 teams use any tactics with so many variables in play?
How does Eli look unbeatable at times and very vulnerable at others?
Zach Osborne won the St. Louis main event and capitalized on Austin Forkner’s mistake, netting him an eight-point gap in the points race.
Kyle Peters rode up front all night and left Missouri with a fourth-place finish.
Justin Brayton backed up his Daytona win with another heat race win and a strong fourth in the main event.
Eli Tomac dominated the main event last weekend, winning by 20 seconds.
Brandon Hartranft has been quietly solid in his rookie season (minus Tampa).
Jeremy Martin has two second-place finishes in a row, and that was following a Triple Crown win in the third main event in Atlanta.
Monster Energy Yamaha had no one healthy for the St. Louis race after Cooper Webb went down in practice. Webb is a “game time” decision for this weekend.
Martin Davalos had yet another big crash in St. Louis and appears to be sitting out for a few weeks to heal up.
Chad Reed is still struggling to find his best form and suffered a DNF in St. Louis after a run-in with Tyler Bowers.
Aaron Plessinger wins a rutty main event.
Chad Reed breaks the main event record at 232 starts.
Austin Forkner, after a tumultuous St. Louis, brings the Dalai Lama to Indy in hopes of a calming weekend.
Josh McDaniels buys tickets for his family to attend the race but backs out at the last minute.