Supercross history has seen plenty of wild nights, but in 2017, one of the most eventful evenings in racing played out in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Of course, the race is best known because Marvin Musquin pulled over on the last lap while leading to aid teammate Ryan Dungey, while Dungey’s title rival Eli Tomac was struggling to an eighth-place finish.
As crazy as that main event was, though, there was actually more absurdity that took place before that. See, while the likes of Dungey and Tomac battle for race wins and championships in Monster Energy Supercross, there’s an entirely different tier of riders working just as hard just to make the mains.
We see and hear all about the title fights, but the Musquin-Dungey mashup on the last lap wasn’t even half as wild as the fight to get into the East Rutherford SX main event.
To get a better picture of exactly what it was like, we spoke to the riders who put on one of the greatest shows in the history of supercross qualifying races.
I don’t know what was going on that day—it must have been a full moon or something. I remember the crew chief for the Tedders had taken my bike to the race for me, and when they found out, they were pissed. They were like, “We’re not taking his bike back home.” I was there by myself. I didn’t have a mechanic or anything, and I was pitting out of a rental vehicle. And I found out after the race they weren’t going to take my bike back home. Well, I’m in New York, and the next race is Vegas! I was walking around asking Kawi, Dunlop, a bunch of people if they could transport my bike. Everyone was just trying to pack up and get out of there. I have no clue why they wouldn’t take my bike back. I think they were just pissed that he didn’t ask, but that wasn’t my fault. Thankfully, Christina Denney at CycleTrader [Rock River/Yamaha] took my bike, so that was nice.
Dakota’s mechanic, Damon Conkright, had without my knowledge brought a bike for Deven Raper, one of Dakota’s competitors, to the track from California. Well, when it looked like Raper maybe was going to get into the main instead of Dakota, there was a Greyhound bus ticket about to be purchased!
There were so many sketchy moments throughout that whole day, you can’t pinpoint just one thing. It was sketchy all day. From the first practice on, it was chaos.
I was in a hurry to get to the track, and they wouldn’t let me in at first because I didn’t have my credential on me—it was in my bag. So I popped open the back of the rental and grabbed my credential out of my gear bag. I thought I closed it, but it must have opened back up. When I sped off, my gear bag fell out, and when I got to the pits I was like, “Where is my gear bag?” I couldn’t find it, but finally a security guard told me someone found it. I was already scrambling. Thank God they had my gear bag, because I wouldn’t have been able to race and I would have just been in New York by myself. It changed my outlook on the day. Everything was going to shit, so I was just like, “Screw this, I’m just going to go for it.”
I didn’t feel good on the track all day. It was raining, like, the week before, and it was pretty soft. The track, it was gnarly the whole day. It was coming down to the last couple rounds, and it was one of those tracks with weird obstacles and that long rhythm section. It was just kind of a funky day all around.
I was super nervous going into that race because of how rutted it was going to get. I’m a West Coast guy, and we don’t get a whole lot of ruts. I flew out early for press day, even though they told me I couldn’t do it. I just showed up anyway and decided I was going to roll down and act like I knew what I was doing. I got there and it turned out a couple people didn’t show up for press day, so they let me ride.
Nick Wey was telling me to figure everything out on the track right away. Do all the jumps, all the rhythms, in the free practice, so on press day I did everything right away. Usually I like to take my time and warm up. I hate when I see guys get hurt in free practice because they change the track anyway. Guys jump stuff they don’t even have to. It’s pointless to get hurt on something they’re going to change or on something that gets so gnarly nobody ends up doing it anyway. But this time I did it all early when the track was fresh, because I knew later it was going to be so jacked up.
It was such a crazy day, so eventful. The track was so soft and deteriorated so much. There were so many sketchy moments throughout that whole day, you can’t pinpoint just one thing. It was sketchy all day. From the first practice on, it was chaos. The track builders did the best they could, but there was rain and it was just super soft. It’s always soft when we go up there anyway. All day, people were cross-jumping each other and getting pissed off. But you couldn’t help it! The ruts were so bad, and we were all out there with stiff supercross suspension. The bikes are super fast, and we’re just lawn darting everywhere.
It was my first race back from getting off the 250F. I was bouncing back and forth. I remember getting on the 450 for practice and just felt like it was way too fast. I felt super uncomfortable all day. In the heat race I got taken out by Vince Friese, so I was kind of pissed off about that.
We were coming down to like three laps to go, then Raper totally takes out Angelo Pellegrini before the finish. Just completely cleans him out. It was the gnarliest thing.
New Jersey is always a fun race because somehow all the industry people you only see in Southern California suddenly have an expanded travel budget and can fit the race next to New York City into their schedule. Imagine that! Leads to a lot of extra bench-racing conversations, especially up in the press box where the VIP types hang out.
This one was exceptional, though. Through all of these conversations, one guy emerged from the crowd and asked if I knew who he was. I did not. He then explained that he was Doink the Clown from World Wrestling Entertainment fame. Me being an old-school wrestling fan, I was intrigued, but this guy really didn’t look like the Doink I remember, and not just because he wasn’t dressed as a clown. I explained to everyone around that the wrestling world is well-known for having many Doink characters. Heck, one time Doink came to the ring with a midget Doink named Dink, and then several more Doinks and several more Dinks came out to the ring to totally confuse the works. It was … I would like to say awesome, but really just more childish.
But this Doink was adamant that he was the real Doink. Also, he was in the press box at a supercross race. I have no idea, but he claimed he knew a lot of the riders and goes way, way back with the sport. The night was turning strange, and Doink would not go away. He even sent me a Facebook friend request from inside the press box.
I mean, the night started off with this Doink guy coming up to Weege and introducing himself. One thing you need to know about Weigandt is he talks to everyone for a long time. He’s really nice like that, whereas I’m more like, “Hey, I’m working, and this conversation isn’t really helping me in my job, so I gotta go if this lasts longer than two minutes.” But Weege is not, so he carried on this conversation with Doink, but I could tell that he wasn’t all-in on the conversation. Which I thought was weird, because he loves wrestling. But this Doink guy wasn’t having it. He loved moto and loved Weigandt, although I think this guy thought Weege was someone else. I don’t know, things started off weird and got worse.
You knew that Tyler was ready to go when he starts throwing gang signs or having a seizure while the camera was on him before the race.
He hit me so hard. I was already leaning to the right, and he just took the wheels out from underneath me and I fell into him.
I got a pretty decent start in that semi, maybe seventh or eighth, and everyone kind of panned out. I was behind Raper the whole time, and we were coming down to like three laps to go, then Raper totally takes out Angelo Pellegrini before the finish. Just completely cleans him out. It was the gnarliest thing.
I remember in Seattle I was about to make the main. I was fourth in the LCQ, and Tyler Enticknap took me out. It was in this rutted corner that was not a good place to T-bone anyone because everyone would go down. He ruined my chances last night, so I was fired up. Then in the heat race in East Rutherford I think I finished like eighth, so I knew I had the speed to make it in the semi. I think I started in seventh and passed up to sixth, and I could see fifth right in front of me. It was that Italian guy, Pellegrini, and I straight cleaned him out. It wasn’t clean, but it was just racing. He left the door open, so I took it. After that I just tried to keep it together, but then Tyler put in a really good lap.
I’ve had a bike hang up on my bike, and it just feels like dead weight. That’s what it felt like, but turns out it was live weight and it was Deven Raper.
We crossed the finish line and there’s two laps to go, and I’m like, “Shit, I’m only one spot out of this thing right now. I can do this. This is going to be my first main event ever!” So over the finish I took a deep breath and told myself to push and be as smooth as possible. I sprinted that first lap and caught him, and when that last lap came around I was like, “Oh, I’ma gitchu! I’m going to lay it down, bro.” I took another deep breath, nailed the rhythm and whoop sections, and was pretty close.
I had this line on the 180-degree turn going into the sand before the finish. Instead of going way outside, I would cut to the inside. That’s how I made a pass the lap before, so I went for that same line again and protected the inside. But I got hooked in a rut and it took all my drive, which left an opening for Tyler. He saw it and pinned it. I should have just let him go, because I don’t even think he would have made the corner.
He went inside, so I knew I had to rail the outside and fully send it. But from my angle I was still way too far out from even being close, so I knew I just had to send it. I came around the outside and he messed up in the sand and got a couple tank-slappers. I saw my opening and just stuffed it in there. I sent it so hard.
He hit me so hard. I was already leaning to the right, and he just took the wheels out from underneath me and I fell into him. From there it was like, “Oh shit.” I’d had this same thing happen before at a local race when I fell into a rear wheel and it sucked my torso in. I had to get skin grafts. I had third-degree burns on my stomach because I was pressed against the exhaust. I immediately knew this was happening on live TV, too, because it was the final transfer spot. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. It was like, “Here we go again.”
I thought I had it! I saw the finish line, saw that checkered flag, and I just pinned it. Then it was just like, “Why am I not going anywhere? What the heck is going on here?” I looked down and Raper was stuck in my back wheel.
I was just hoping my leg wouldn’t break. He didn’t even know I was stuck, and he wasn’t going to stop. I was tapping him and yelling, “Dude, stop! It’s not going to happen!” I just wanted to make that main so bad, and after that, I just wanted to hurry up and get out of there and at least finish so I didn’t have the last gate pick in the LCQ.
I had no idea it was him stuck in there. I thought it was his bike until I looked down. I’ve had a bike hang up on my bike, and it just feels like dead weight. That’s what it felt like, but turns out it was live weight and it was Deven Raper. I looked back up at the checkered flag and started yelling, “Get it out, get it out!” But that was it. All my hopes and dreams were lost, and I rolled over right before the finish.
I don’t think he knew until I started hitting him. I don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe he thought he could just drag me up the finish-line jump because we were so close. I don’t really blame him—the guy has never made a main. He wanted to make it in.
Tyler is a super nice dude, but he had never made a main event ever, so I think if I was him, I’d just be clutching the shit out of my bike to get the last 50 feet, Raper’s foot be dammed.
I wasn’t mad at all, I was just extremely bummed. I was literally five feet away from making my first main event. It was crazy. When I was lining up for the LCQ, I saw him and asked him if he was okay, and he was like, “Yeah, I’m okay.” I told him I thought he kind of left the door open, and he agreed and said he messed up the sand section. It was all good after that. It’s the last spot to get into the main, you know?
Later he said he was sorry and that he didn’t even know I was stuck in his wheel, but I just wanted to put it behind me. Everyone wanted to talk about it, but I just wanted to focus on trying to get it into the main. I wasn’t wanting to kill him or anything. It was the last turn and I understood. It was just an unfortunate deal. I still think about it to this day, because I didn’t make any mains that year. It was actually one of the last semis ever. It was the second-to-last round, and in 2018 they got rid of them, so I guess I went out with a bang! I gained over 1,000 followers in a couple days after that. It was on all the highlight reels.
I got a lot of feedback from being on the highlight reel. So many people come up to me now and talk about that moment. Part of my fan base really likes talking about that moment.
Oh my God, everyone was going nuts for Enticknap. Of course he gets the extra hype and sympathy because of the connection to his brother Adam, so everyone wanted to see Seven Deuce Tres get into a main. Also, I think fans see these semi and LCQ privateers as pure entertainment, as opposed to actual people. They’re always just rooting for the carnage. So when Raper was stuck in Enticknap’s wheel, the press box was yelling “Go! Go! Go!” and imploring Tyler to keep it wide open and dump the clutch and just drag poor Raper across the line. I would imagine that, if this were Jason Anderson with Ken Roczen’s leg caught in his wheel, people might feel differently. “Perform for me, privateers!”
He should’ve just went for it—450SX main events don’t come around all that often for Tyler.
One of our favorite traditions at the New Jersey race was watching all the fans lined up in the stands for Ronnie Stewart. He’s a local product and always creates this giant cheering section at this race. We call them the Candy Man Fans, because Ronnie used to ride for the Dirt Candy racing team. The fans all wear bright yellow shirts, too, so they’re easy to spot. On this night, they had the yellow shirts, inflatable noisemaker things, towels, and more.
I hit him so hard I knocked him way off the track. When I got off the track, I saw his parents and I was like, 'I’m so sorry!' If they were anyone else, I probably would have been in a fight that night.
Weege is right: literally with every pass, the Candy Man section would react either way. It became almost as interesting as the race itself to watch these people lose their minds. I wish every rider had fans in an entire section wear color-coordinated shirts. It would be epic.
I’d been fighting the whole year just trying to get into the main events. It was all boiling down to the final two events, and I needed to make something happen. I remember I got a good start—I was second or something like that—and I was just saying to myself, “This is my shot.” I’d come so close in so many semis that year. I remember [Dean] Wilson or [Jake] Weimer passed me, and I was sitting in fourth. I was holding on as hard as I could, and I remember looking back and not seeing anyone. I thought I was good.
People will say something was hilarious or funny, but how often do they actually mean they were laughing out loud for real? Well, when Ronnie Stew skimmed the whoops backwards, we totally lost it.
The semi was wild. There were a few of us who were all fast enough to be in the main event that evening. When it started, I was probably sixth, and Dakota Tedder was right in front of me. I made a pass on him on the first lap, which was a little bit aggressive, but the stakes are high and you don’t want to go to the LCQ if you don’t have to. We were all riding aggressively.
Each time Ronnie Stew got involved in some action, our attention immediately shot toward his cheering section of yellow shirts. When he passed Tedder, they were going crazy. It was like the student section of a college football game over there.
I started making stupid bobbles, and I noticed Ronnie Stewart was behind me. He passed me cleanly and it was all good, but what a lot of people don’t know is, he did me super dirty a couple weekends before that in St. Louis. He jumped the corner and just absolutely grenaded both of us in, like, the second lap of the LCQ. We were both in qualifying position, and he went damn near backward on the track. I remember thinking, Oh, he’s going to get it back for that one.
I’d accidentally murdered Dakota in St. Louis. I did it by accident—I didn’t mean to at all. We were all being aggressive. I was trying to protect the inside, and I jumped to the inside. I hit him so hard, I’m surprised I didn’t get docked or fined for it. I didn’t mean to do it, but I hit him so hard I knocked him way off the track. When I got off the track, I saw his parents and I was like, “I’m so sorry!” If they were anyone else, I probably would have been in a fight that night, but they’re very level-headed people. There was really no bad blood going into East Rutherford, but Dakota definitely remembered St. Louis.
In East Rutherford, I didn’t really mean to do anything but take [Stewart’s] line away, which is kind of what happened. But he ended up getting pushed off the track and into the whoops. I was so focused on myself, and my heart rate was jacked. I didn’t even see him going backward through the whoops.
After I passed Tedder, I crossed the finish line, made that left into the rhythm section, and thought I had the pass completed and done. But halfway around the left-handed bowl turn, he just came straight into me, which sent me off the berm and into the next lane and going the wrong way down the whoops. I looked up and saw Jake Weimer and just tried to get out of his way to avoid the head-on collision. It was really awkward, and I wasn’t sure what to do.
It shouldn’t even be possible for something that happens in a serious sporting event to incite actual laughs. Like, people will say something was hilarious or funny, but how often do they actually mean they were laughing out loud for real? Well, when Ronnie Stew skimmed the whoops backwards, we totally lost it. Really. Our whole press section was just laughing so hard, and I really, really did have tears in my eyes. What’s strange is that in my mind, I picture him skimming, like, the gnarliest whoop section ever backwards, like James Stewart speed, not Ronnie Stewart, but in reality it was like four whoops. But the vision was just astounding. And then what the heck was Weimer thinking, seeing a dude coming at him head-on?
I kept going backward, cut left at the end of the whoops, and turned around. I was disconnected from a transfer spot at that point, so all I could do was just put in my best laps.
I had no words. Things were happening everywhere you looked, and it was all nutty. This was like if Road Warrior met supercross and they filmed it.
I’m not sure what happened, but somehow Dakota ended up railing A-Ray off the track. He completely punted him off the track. His bike was gone.
After the backwards-in-the-whoops incident, we of course looked over to the Ronnie Stew cheering section, and suddenly they were barely even moving. I remember Matthes saying, “Oh, the poor Candy Man Fans! Look at them! They’re so depressed!”
Tedder’s move on Stewart, that’s something I would have done too. I don’t think it was bad. He slammed Stewart, which somehow put Ronnie going in the wrong direction in the track.
It was aggressive, and I happened to go over the berm, but it wasn’t that dirty. And taking into consideration what I did to him a couple weeks prior to that, I pretty much deserved it. All of us were riding aggressively.
After that, Alex Ray came up on me! It’s so frustrating sometimes. You’re so focused on what’s going on, on people coming up on you, that you’re only worrying about what lines you need to change when people are catching and passing you. I should have just focused ahead instead of behind.
I’d gotten a bad start and was working my way up pretty quickly. I got into a transfer spot, then I went off the track jumping a rhythm and went between the lanes. I was running over fireworks, Tuff Blox, everything. I ended up battling for the last spot, and I passed Tedder, and he got me in the next turn pretty good. It sent my bike flying. Man, I was pissed, but that’s part of it. It’s the last transfer spot.
Ray ended up passing me straight up as well, and I was like, “There’s no way I’m going to let this go without a fight.” I ended up just trying to run him up high in the turn, and it looked way worse than intended. He might have a different view, but the way I looked at it, I just ran him up high. He might have thought I was just going to tuck under him. I rode over a couple ruts to block pass him, and I think he was already falling over on top of me. His throttle landed on the back of my seat and it held the bike wide open. It absolutely catapulted his bike down the side of the track. At first I thought he tried to tackle me, because I felt something on me and my bike pulling my leg. When I saw it later I was like, “Whoa, that was intense!” He took it super personal, and it was like, “Sorry, but not sorry.” It was just a block pass that looked a lot gnarlier.
I’m not sure what happened, but somehow Dakota ended up railing A-Ray off the track. He completely punted him off the track. His bike was gone.
It obviously sucks when someone punts you into the next lane, but if it’s for the last transfer spot, I get it. That’s the name of the game.
[Tedder] was slamming everyone that day. He was out to get us that day. I don’t know if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed or what, but he was out to get us. He was doing everything he could to make it in that main. I don’t think we ever had words about it later. It was for the last transfer spot, so that’s how it goes.
[Alex] told me his whole mission was to come back in the LCQ and get me. It was like, “I’m sorry, but whatever.”
He’ll go wide, I’ll roll the finish line and take the final transfer spot. That’s how I saw it playing out anyway.
Dakota struggles with a bad wrist, and when he gets fired up, he forgets about the pain and you can see the real Dakota. He recently got his wrist fixed after struggling with it for seven years.
Nick Wey has worked with Teds for years and always tells me how fast he is during the week, but he can’t always bring it to the race on the weekends. I don’t know if Dakota shot himself up with a bunch of HGH or something, but he was very unusually aggressive on this night. Wey must’ve really given him a hell of a speech.
People love that type of stuff. For us, it obviously sucks when someone punts you into the next lane, but if it’s for the last transfer spot, I get it. That’s the name of the game. You gotta do it.
I had gotten a mediocre start and just did what I do in semis or LCQs and started moving up. Then I was kind of just throwing it away. I think I got passed by Ronnie Stewart and Dakota Tedder, and they both started pulling away. At that point I’d all but given up. But then I remember seeing Stewart coming backward down the whoops section, and after quickly doing the math in my head, I realized all I had to do was catch Tedder. I think there were two laps left, and I just put in a charge. I didn’t have anyone behind me, and I wasn’t nervous anymore. I just had to catch one guy.
It’s not like I meant to take us both out. I would do that, but I’d do it in a much safer manner.
After the incident with A-Ray, AJ Catanzaro started catching me. I think I missed a triple or something, and he ended up pulling in right behind me. It was right before the finish line, and I thought the best thing would be to take the inside as tight as possible. Worst-case scenario he hits my back tire and he goes down, right? He was a full bike length behind me, and there was no way anything could go wrong if I just went as tight as possible. No way was I going to make the mistake of going way wide and leaving the door open for him to hit me. He’ll go wide, I’ll roll the finish line and take the final transfer spot. That’s how I saw it playing out anyway.
I think he saw me coming. I ate him up quick. In two laps, I caught him from pretty far back. You could tell he was in self-preservation mode. He knew he had the last spot, and he knew someone was coming. Generally, I’m pretty nice, but if it’s the last turn and the last transfer spot, I don’t care who you are, I’m going to do what it takes to attempt to make a pass. That said, I didn’t plan on doing what I did.
He ended up cutting the track, in my opinion. He skipped two Tuff Blox and rode over one and absolutely T-boned the crap out of me. It’s really weird when you’re focused forward and something hits you that you didn’t even know was coming.
[Dakota] was lollygagging in those last few turns thinking he was in the main from the semi and then got stung in the last corner. After that, he was on fire.
I had nothing to lose and was going to just hit the sand section as fast as I possibly could to open up a passing opportunity in the last turn. I came in wide open and railed the turn, but when I came out, I hopped out of the rut and ended up on the far right. I started skimming Tuff Blox. I skimmed one, then two, then both feet came off. Simultaneously, he took the far, far inside. It was like 50cc style down the inside. I had nowhere to go, and I just plowed into him.
I heard him on the throttle, but I suspected he’d be going around me. I was just being cautious on the inside, and next thing you know I’m getting laid out! I was so heated.
It’s not like I meant to take us both out. I would do that, but I’d do it in a much safer manner. I wouldn’t hit someone that hard. I hit him hard. I would never purposefully create a total do-or-die T-bone situation like that. The speed at which I hit him, he could have gotten hurt. I’ll put you on the ground, but I’m not going to risk breaking your leg or something like that.
Cat says, “It’s not like I meant to take him out.” I love the Cat, but c’mon!
He was probably out of control because he hit a Tuff Block, which knocked him off balance and messed up his aim. There was no time to brace for impact or anything. Luckily I didn’t get hurt.
Most people usually say anything goes for a transfer spot, but the Cat’s move wasn’t even a pass attempt—it just looked like a straight-up tackle on a motorcycle. We had barely recovered from Ronnie Stew going backward in the whoops, and now we were laughing again. Yes, real laughing!
The Candy Man section all needed therapy after this night. No human being could have so much emotion on one night without needing to talk to someone and work out how the rest of their lives should be.
I just don’t know what Cat was thinking. Like, he blew through a Tuff Block and KO’d a rider, taking them both down. There was no chance this pass was going to work. Even if, on the 2 percent chance he stayed up and took the last spot, you think the officials would just think cutting the track to knock a guy down was going to be okay? I mean, it was awesome for sure, but at this point, we’d seen everything.
Once we ended up on the ground, it was basically who could get up first. I didn’t think Ronnie Stewart was even close enough to make anything happen. But when I got up, I heard another bike coming, and it was like, “Okay, here we go.” I got on my bike as quick as I could. I wasn’t even all the way on it yet, and I just pinned it, again without even having my feet on the pegs. We locked bars as he was going off the finish-line jump and I went into a full endo. I was planning on rolling it anyway, because I didn’t have the speed to jump it, but I just went into a full endo with my feet off the pegs over the finish line and he ended up with the final transfer spot.
When I was on my last lap, I thought to myself, Wouldn’t it be crazy if the same thing happened in the second semi? Because in the first semi there was an incident for the final position too. Then all of a sudden, as soon as I thought that, I went into the left-handed bowl corner and I heard something different with bikes, and then I heard the crowd. Halfway through the corner, in my peripheral vision, I saw them down in the next corner. I just had that gut-wrenching excitement. I didn’t freeze, but I was like, “Oh my gosh, they’re down! Two of them!”
I went into the corner and tried to go around it as fast as I possibly could. I saw AJ getting up, and he was trying to get going. When he did, he went on a 45-degree angle to try to cut me off. There was just no way I was letting off, though. I wasn’t even thinking about any potential consequences at all. Our handlebars hit, and if we would have locked bars, I would have crashed so hard off the face of the finish-line jump. I kind of whiskey-throttled off the finish-line jump and was in kind of a weird position. Some people made fun of it when they did the replay because I looked like Ronnie Mac in the air and ended up overshooting it.
It was so close, we didn’t even know who got it, but once I got off the track, I saw on the scoreboard he’d officially gotten it.
I was screaming, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as I went off the jump, but I still knew it was very close. I ended up beating him by less than a tenth of a second. It was nothing. I landed and had the biggest adrenaline rush. I wanted to celebrate, but I still wasn’t sure if I’d for sure gotten the spot. Then I looked and saw 606 on the board, and that was a pretty cool moment.
As we were cracking up over the Cat’s tackle-pass, we realized the next rider in line was Ronnie Stew, who, yes, had been riding backwards in the whoops just a minute earlier. Now we were screaming and laughing all at once. The stadium was really loud because people were paying attention. Then the Ronnie Stew cheering section started to get amped up again. It was hard to watch them and their rider at the same time, but suffice to say at the moment Ronnie got the spot, you could see his cheering section explode. Matthes is like, “They’re back! Look at the Candy Man section! They’re so happy!”
The Candy Man section all needed therapy after this night. No human being could have so much emotion on one night without needing to talk to someone and work out how the rest of their lives should be.
It was probably the most eventful semi possible. Afterward it was so surreal. It was awesome. Just the excitement of doing it at my home race and having everyone I knew there. There were over 600 people in our fan section, all wearing yellow shirts! You want to put your best foot forward with everyone watching. It was definitely a feeling I’ll never forget. It was special, one of the most exciting races of my career.
So riding backwards in the whoops is fine? No one noticed? Hey, more power to Ronnie Stew!
I punked Ronnie and I took out A-Ray. I get it. I was on a mission to get in the main. If I left the door open, hit me. If you want to block pass me and I end up falling like A-Ray did, it happens. But in that situation, I felt cheated. I was so heated afterward. I’ve never been so mad in a race before. I worked so hard for that main, and I felt cheated. Then Ronnie ended up coming around and beating us both! Good for him, too, he stayed in it. But man I was heated, and I got in AJ’s face afterward.
Tedder came up to me screaming in my face and I got back in his face. I know my character, and I know I wouldn’t do that to somebody intentionally. I tried to explain it to him, but when he didn’t want to hear it, I started getting pissed off. I was yelling at him and his posse, and then the AMA came over and told me I was going to get docked and given the last gate pick for the LCQ. That’s when I really got fired up. They said I’d attempted to cut the track, which didn’t make any sense. I told them to play it back. It was a mistake, and both feet were off the pegs. I don’t know what they would have wanted me to do.
I had the far outside gate. I don’t remember much, but I do know that on the last lap in the final turn I passed Tedder again and he just let me go. He knew I was behind him, and he didn’t want it to happen again, the poor kid. He basically just let me by, but I think we both qualified anyway.
After that, the AMA gave AJ the last gate pick for the LCQ. I ended up holeshotting the LCQ, and I think AJ was second! He ended up passing me on the last lap before the finish line. I was third and I think he was fourth and was so afraid of him hitting me again I was just like, “You can have third as long as we both get in. Don’t do something stupid!” That was a cool night for sure.
Some justice was served in the LCQ, as Nick Schmidt took the win but Pelligrini, Tedder, and Catanzaro qualified with the final three spots. The biggest heartbreak was for Tyler Enticknap, who ended up fifth, just short of the main. Ray and Raper, who were in contention throughout the night, also didn’t make it in.
Poor Tyler. He was also in a qualifying spot for his first-ever main event in Vegas a couple of years ago and broke his lower leg. See, you just never know. He should’ve pinned it and ripped Raper’s foot off.
I don’t think Dakota was too pumped about it for a while, which I can understand, because he thought it was on purpose. But we talked about it a little bit, and I’m sure it’s fine by now. He hasn’t retaliated, so I think we’re safe.
Seriously, if you’re Feld, bottle this race up and sell it. This is exactly the type of stuff you want people to see.
Later someone sent me a message and said I probably set a record for being involved in three different slow-motion moments in one race. I don’t know if that’s good or bad since I didn’t make it out of the semi, but it’s kind of cool! It shed some light on the guys who aren’t winning championships but are still out putting on a show.
I got a lot of reactions on social media afterward. A few people posted videos, including Brian Deegan. He took a video of the broadcast and posted it kind of making fun of me for going up the face looking like Ronnie Mac. He was like, “Look at these friggin’ guys,” all of us just punting each other, then that crazy final turn. He got a kick out of it. Every now and then it still surfaces too. Like a month ago I got tagged in it.
The memories are good. As long as nobody left on a stretcher, you can’t be too negative about it.
Seriously, if you’re Feld, bottle this race up and sell it. This is exactly the type of stuff you want people to see, because the entire press box—and I mean Doink the Clown also—were losing it. One thing about the new Triple Crown format is I cannot believe they don’t start with the 450SX LCQ to get into the main event. The LCQs are the best race of the night approximately 80 percent of the time. You have to show the fans this stuff. It’s all anyone was talking about, and although you’re probably not going to top this night of racing, you can see some bizarre things when the privateers are trying to get off the island.
I got a pretty positive reaction on social media. I don’t remember getting any negative feedback at all. Typically you’ll get at least a handful, but everyone was pretty pumped on it. They just thought it was the most chaotic and hectic semi they’d ever seen. It’s a cool memory. Being a pro supercross racer has always been my dream, and seeing highlights from that race still pop up, it’s cool. I guess maybe I’m a little embarrassed because it’s me being a knucklehead, but at the same time, it was a cool race. We’re still talking about it and it’s almost 2019. The memories are good. As long as nobody left on a stretcher, you can’t be too negative about it.
I think A-Ray was the only one who was mad at me. Even on social media, I was shocked that nobody was really mad at me. Everyone was kind of pumped and excited about how hard we raced. Nobody got hurt, and people loved watching us try so hard. I think a lot of people take for granted how hard all of us work. Me, A-Ray, I’m sure Stewart, and AJ try hard too. We’re trying so hard. Just because we’re not winning doesn’t mean we’re not putting out the same effort. I did some dirty things, but it was just racing. I even had a bunch of people come up afterward and tell me how cool it was to see guys fighting so hard just to make it to the main.
Later a friend of mine tried to get into a Monster Energy party. He was trying to get a pass to get into the VIP section, and he saw someone coming down the stairs and asked the person if he could have their pass to go upstairs. The person started pulling it off his wrist, but as he was doing so, he asked my friend who he was and who he was with. He told him he was AJ Catanzaro’s friend, and the guy goes, “I’m Dakota Tedder’s dad,” took the pass back, and walked off. I don’t know if this is true, but I sure hope it is, because that’s hilarious.
Hell yes it’s true.