Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Detroit
Austin Forkner continued to dominate the first part of the 250 East series in Detroit by taking all three Main Event wins, and as a result he secured his third straight victory of the season. If Chase Sexton hadn't topped him in timed qualifying, Austin would be undefeated in almost every category possible: timed qualifying, heat races, and Main Events. Apart from him being straight up faster than his competition so far this year, his starts have also been a vital part of his success. I believe the worst he has started all season (in either a heat race or Main Event) is second, so he has stayed away from any drama or mistakes that mediocre starts facilitate. After how much he dominated as an amateur, his results aren't a huge surprise as we all know what he's capable of. But it is interesting to see the drastic improvements he has made in his consistency and race craft from last year. It's a completely different Austin Forkner out there. The upcoming East/West Showdown will prove to be a challenge for Austin, but with the West guys coming off of a break and Austin on a roll...I wouldn't bet against him in Atlanta.
The Bad: Chase Sexton | 3rd Place
Chase's results haven't been bad, but they could be much better. He has made mistake after mistake in each of the first three rounds that have cost him valuable positions and points. This year he has reminded me a lot of 2017-2018 vintage Adam Cianciarulo, in that he has the speed, and he has the race craft, but he consistently makes small mistakes that have big consequences. He wants to win so bad that he's pushing himself to the edge, and perhaps a little over. So yeah, I'm basically sitting here typing that he needs to calm down during the races, but I also understand that that's not easy for these guys to do. I hope he is able to find a way to settle in more during the night show and eliminate those small mistakes that have been hindering him, as he could make this championship into something other than the Austin Forkner Show. Also, it's going to be harder for this to happen in Atlanta, but I'd like to see Chase start right up front with Austin sometime soon and see what happens. The rivalry between them has been burning for a long time, and it'll be interesting to see how their first "real" battle as professionals goes.
The Ugly: Kyle Peters | 8th Place
Kyle Peters also hasn't been doing bad by any means. He's been...fine. Nothing flashy, but top ten finishes have been the name of the game for him so far and maybe he's satisfied with that at this point. I do believe that he has more in him and could get closer to the top five assuming a couple of things (such as starts) go his way. I'm also pulling for him to start showing a little bit more, as he's at a point in his career where I'm not sure if a season full of top ten finishes will be enough for JGR to consider re-signing him. We'll see where he's at a few rounds from now and re-evaluate.
The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Place
Would you look at that! The Eli Tomac we know showed up in Detroit after having an incredibly weird weekend in Arlington. He put on one hell of a charge in the first Main Event and did much of the same (albeit with a better start) in the second Main Event. He was absolutely buried in the third Main Event and had to pass a lot of fast dudes on his way to sixth place, which gave him the overall win by one point over Cooper Webb. Is he back?? Has the inevitable Eli Tomac charge begun?! I wouldn't be so fast to jump on that wagon. Eli's weirdness has been upped even further this year when you consider his last few weeks, and I think at this point it's fully possible for him to dominate one weekend and struggle the next. He's going to have to string together a few wins (or a combination of wins and podiums) before I think we can take his charge back to the red plate seriously.
The Bad: Marvin Musquin | 6th Place
Marvin hasn't quite been the rider that we would normally expect him to be this year, but he came into the season with minimal bike time (at one point he wasn't even sure if he'd race Anaheim 1) due to a knee injury he picked up during the offseason. So with that in mind, his season has been solid so far. No wins, but several podiums and still well within title contention. However, it's getting close to the point in the season where he needs to start winning or risk falling too far behind. Of course, I also have no clue how his knee is feeling or how close to 100% he is, so it may not be as much in his control as I'm assuming. But the fact remains: if he doesn't start stealing points away from Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen soon, his championship hopes will start to slip away.
The Ugly: Cole Seely | DNS
The official word was that Cole Seely took a rock to the chest during timed qualifying in Detroit and wasn't able to line up for the night show. After everything he's been through getting back to where he is, it was a bummer to see him have to sit a race out, not to mention the fact that he was looking pretty good up to that point in qualifying. But at least it doesn't seem to be a serious injury and he's hoping to be back behind the gate in Atlanta.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson