St. Louis - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Jason wasn't too pumped on the night in St. Louis, but it was a step in the right direction after the rough night he had last week. He padded his points lead over Marvin Musquin a bit more, and he was the best guy besides the alien known as Eli Tomac. And, well, it really is starting to look like Jason Anderson will be holding up the championship trophy at the end of the season, barring some sort of injury. Yeah, yeah, "it's still early", but look at the numbers: St. Louis was round 11, so we only have six rounds left, and Jason's championship lead is now 42 points. With how he's been riding this season, and with how depleted the field is, does anyone think that he'll lose 42 points in six rounds? I don't think so. Now let's hope that I didn't just jinx him.
The Bad: The Racing Action
As a disclaimer, I enjoy watching Supercross regardless of how the racing actually goes. It's just how I am, but that doesn't mean that the racing is always great, and St. Louis was frankly pretty lackluster in the action department. The heats had a few passes, but for the most part they were pretty quiet, and both Main Events saw a rider get to the front and secure a healthy lead by the mid-point. (Although we at least got a tease of a battle in the 250 Main Event). And it's a shame that the night turned out how it did, because the track layout was solid and from what everyone has been saying the dirt was incredible. Add in the fact that all of the big hitters started up front in both Main Events, and all of the pieces were there for a great night of racing, but it never came to fruition. Sure, there is something to be said about witnessing a rider absolutely obliterate the rest of the field like Eli Tomac did in the 450 Main Event, but as Eli said in his interview with GuyB, "It's not probably good for the fans when someone runs away." And it seems like the fans agree, considering shortly after the 450 Main Event there were a few threads on our forum calling the night boring and wishing that the Triple Crown format was used for every round of the championship. I don't think that's the answer, because nights like St. Louis are bound to happen in any sport, not just Supercross. Not every football game is exciting, not every NASCAR race is a classic, and not every basketball game is a barnburner. Blowouts, boring nights, whatever you want to call them happen in every sport regardless of what format each one uses, so changing the format of Supercross isn't going to magically fix it. They just happen occasionally, and the only thing we can do is look forward to the next weekend and hope it's better.
The Ugly: Cooper Webb | DNQ
Boy oh boy, typically we talk about how a black cloud has been hanging over a certain rider or team, but at this point I think it's safe to say that a black cloud has been hanging over the entire sport this season. We've seen a consistent string of riders getting injured almost weekly. And it happened again this past week when Cooper Webb had a practice crash earlier in the week, and then went down hard in practice. Luckily, it sounds like Cooper isn't going to be out for an extended period of time, but he does have an injured shoulder so even if he does come back soon I'm not sure he'll be 100%, which stinks because he was finally starting to find the form that we all expected him to be in from the start of the season. Unfortunately, this sport can be so brutal.
The Good: Zach Osborne | 1st Place
Despite riding well at every round leading into St. Louis, Zach's season had not gone how he expected. Bad starts and other small things had held him back bigtime, and as a result he was forced to share the red plate with the youngster, Austin Forkner, on Saturday. Even early in the Main Event, it was looking a little worrisome as Austin took the lead early and started to stretch out a bit of a gap over Zach. A few laps in, though, Zach started to turn the handle on his fishing pole and reel the green machine in. Eventually he was right on Austin's rear tire, and Austin made a mistake and went down. That gave Zach the lead and a clear track, and he took full advantage and rode on to take the win. Now, Jeremy Martin was not far behind him the entire way to the checkers, but he never really seemed to be a threat despite being so close. With his win in St. Louis, Zach has regained sole possession of the red plate and holds an eight-point lead over Austin, which while not huge, is a nice little cushion to have heading into the 250 Showdown that is coming up in Indianapolis. Speaking of which, aren't you excited about the combined 250 class that we'll see next week? I sure am.
The Good Bonus: Kyle Peters | 4th Place
Er, this was unexpected. Kyle Peters has been slowly climbing up the ranks following a rough start to the season, and he put in one heck of a ride in St. Louis to claim fourth place. The JGR crew has clearly put together a solid package for the RM-Z250, and it's showing as every rider on their 250 team has had strong rides this season.
I'll admit, I was fairly skeptical when JGR announced that Kyle Peters was getting one of the spots on their factory-backed 250 team. He was coming off of a not terrible, but not great, stint in Australia racing their motocross and Supercross series in the 450 class. But, here we are. I was wrong, and so far Kyle has been the surprise of the season in the 250 East division. Heck, if he continues to snag results like these, he may have an offer from JGR for the 2019 season sitting in his inbox by the end of the season. Keep it up, Kyle.
The Bad: Austin Forkner | 5th Place
Heading into the weekend, I figured that there were a few different possible outcomes of Austin's first race with the red plate. Honestly, I thought the most likely one was that Zach and Austin would find themselves at the front of the field and start banging bars, resulting in one of them hitting the ground. A rivalry has been a brewing (regardless of what the two of them say), and this was the perfect time for it to explode. And, shucks, we almost got it about half way through the Main Event! It was right there in front of us...and then it was snatched away when Austin went down. Was it a simple brain fart, or was it the pressure from Zach starting to set him up for a pass? Who knows, but that wasn't the end of the Austin's Main Event woes. First of all, his side number plate came loose in the crash (this seems to happen a lot to Austin) and started flapping all over the place, slapping him in the leg and wherever else in the process. So I'm sure he really loved that. But the Main Event undoubtedly turned to poop for him when he got together with a lapper as he was trying to move past him. Was it Austin's fault? Was it the lapper's fault? I'm not going to get into that debate (....they were both at fault) out of fear of the forum mob coming over, but regardless of who's fault it was or wasn't the fact of the matter is it ended any chances Austin had of coming back to fourth or possibly third. And thus, Austin is eight-points behind Zach heading into the 250 Showdown. It'll be intriguing to see how he responds in Indianapolis.
Also, it seems like Austin has been getting quite a bit of flak for generally being "cocky", his hand motions of frustration after getting together with the lapper, and his post-race tantrum. Are we really going to fault a 19-year-old for first off being cocky, and then being frustrated after a nightmarish Main Event? He's 19, folks. Are you going to seriously tell me that you weren't ultra-competitive at that age, and damn near ready to rip someone's head off after you had a rough race? C'mon now. He has plenty of time to mature, and I'm sure he will.
The Ugly: Marvin Davalos | 22nd Place
Back to the subject of hard crashes, how about another for Martin Davalos who was apparently already barely being held together by scotch tape following his acrobatic performance in Arlington? The dude cannot catch a break, and it sounds like he'll sit out of this coming weekend's 250 Showdown. I think that's the right decision, too, as he just needs to heal up at this point. He's not in the championship hunt, and he was already riding hurt, so there's no reason to risk it anymore. Get healthy and come back strong, Martin.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson