Glen Helen - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I figured that Dylan Ferrandis would do pretty well this outdoor season, but I never expected him to win a moto by over 20 seconds. That was an absolute ass-whooping by the Frenchman. He got the holeshot and just motored away from everyone, including Zach Osborne, who I thought would be able to reel him in as the moto went on. It's too bad he didn't score any points at Hangtown, because otherwise he'd be right in the thick of this championship. Things like that happen, though, and at least now he doesn't have any pressure to contend for the championship in his rookie year. It'll definitely be interesting to see how many more motos he can win this year. I'm thinking at least a couple more, and maybe even an overall win.
The Good Bonus: Colt Nichols | 5th Overall
I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of Colt after a mediocre outdoor season last year, but man, he has proven me way wrong. His moto results so far are 5-6-5-4...that's pretty damn impressive. And it's even more impressive when you consider that he has been hurt multiple times this year. He broke his femur not long before Supercross started, but was able to line up for the East Coast and still go very fast until he got injured again. Of course, that set back his preparation for nationals a bit, but that doesn't seem to matter. He's still put in some great results. Honestly at this point I'm convinced that this dude is not human. On another note, I believe that this is a contract year for Colt. If I was Star Racing Yamaha, I'd get him re-signed as fast as possible now that's he's proven he can be a dual threat. Plus, he's definitely going to be a title contender in Supercross next year, so to pass up on a chance to sign him back to the team would be pretty dumb. I'm feeling a fourth overall for Colt at Thunder Valley. Let's see how close I was this time next week.
The Bad: Aaron Plessinger | 7th Overall
Aaron Plessinger has been anything but extraordinary during these first two rounds of motocross. He didn't ride terribly at Hangtown by any stretch of the imagination, but he also got very tired and never really challenged for the win. This week he got a decent enough start in the first moto and worked his way up to third place, which is where he ended up finishing. Second moto didn't go so great, though, as he had a pretty hard crash and was only able to come back to 13th. Honestly, even if he hadn't crashed and maybe turned in a 3-3 performance, he wouldn't be where many expected him to be this season. He's a veteran now, and a rider who is expected to excel outdoors. As of now, he still has a shot at the championship if he starts winning at Thunder Valley, but there's no doubt that his chances are slowly slipping away with each disappointing moto finish.
The Ugly: Team Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
I don't think we're going to be seeing any Kawasaki ads this week bragging about how well their bikes performed at Glen Helen. Because it was truly a horrendous day for the team and the riders (besides Adam Cianciarulo). Justin Hill logged 40-12 finishes with a bike problem, Austin Forkner logged 38-6 finishes with a bike problem, and Joey Savatgy logged 2-29 finishes with a bike problem. Lots of problems for the team there. Lots of reasons for the riders to be pretty damn frustrated at the end of the day, too. Austin Forkner's title hopes have been dashed for the time being with that DNF, and Joey Savatgy's hopes have really been diminished as well (also, I should mention that Joey performed very well in the first moto, so maybe his disappointing performance last week was a fluke). The team says that the bikes locked up due to a new part that they put on the bikes for Glen Helen. Regardless, I'd bet some serious money that the team is going to do whatever they have to do to ensure that they will have zero DNFs at Thunder Valley.
The Good: Marvin Musquin | 1st Overall
Marvin did what he needed to do at Glen Helen and now look at him; he's the points leader! Of course, it helped that Tomac got a bad start in the first moto and had a bike problem in the second moto–but at the end of the day Marvin is the one holding the red plate. Now the question is whether or not he'll be able to hold onto it until Indiana. The jury is still out on that one, but we will no doubt see some great battles between the #25 and the #3 as the season rages on. Bring on Colorado.
The Good Bonus: Jason Anderson | 2nd Overall
Hey, Jason Anderson won a moto! That was unexpected. Top-fives and podiums? Totally expected, but a moto win is something I didn't see happening for Jason this year. But this is the outdoor nationals, and the unexpected tends to happen when we go outside. Also, Jason has come a looooong way from his early 250 days, eh? Hell, this is a completely different rider even compared to the Jason Anderson we saw outside in 2014 (which was the year he won the 250 West Supercross title). He's fit, extremely fast, and not afraid to hang it out–although that last part has never been in question. Now I'm interested to see whether or not he'll be able to put two great motos together at a round and maybe walk away with his first career overall win. That'd be pretty awesome.
The Bad: Cooper Webb | 17th Overall
It was a pretty frustrating day for Cooper Webb. His 10th-place finish in the first moto wasn't terrible by any means. We do have to remember that he's a rookie in the class and should get better as the season goes on...and it's also worth noting that he may not be super-pumped on the bike he's riding right now. The second moto went pretty poor, though, as he had to pull in with what we hear might have been a tweaked back. Rookie year or not, this has not been the year that Cooper was hoping for. Injuries, crashes, mediocre finishes, and issues with bike setup; it's been a year filled with frustration for the new #2.
The Ugly: Eli Tomac | 9th Overall
What were the only two things that many of us thought could prevent Tomac from winning this title? Crashes and mechanical issues. The latter of which struck Tomac at the second round of the championship. Let's not forget that he already lost three points to Musquin in the first moto when he got a bad start and couldn't get up to the Red Bull KTM rider. But that second moto hurt a whole lot more than the first. A reported rock dent on the front side of the master cylinder caused his front brake to start locking up, to the point where he could hardly ride the bike. So he had to slowly roll his way to the mechanics area where they eventually snipped the front brake. He then rolled back out onto the track a whole lap down. Can you imagine taking on that track without a front brake? No thank you! Eli clearly wasn't afraid, though, as he pushed through the entire moto and salvaged two points. It may not seem like a lot considering how much he had to risk to get them, but those two points could be very valuable at the end of the season. So yeah, Eli is no longer the red plate holder, but the good news is that he's only 15 points out of the lead with 20 motos left. He's by no means out of this, but he's got a lot of work to do. Now, who's the beneficiary in all of this? Us fans. We could be getting ready to witness another charge to the red plate by Tomac, or we could see Musquin weather the storm and win the title. Either way, it's going to be good.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson