Muddy Creek - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Aaron seemed to be feeling much better this week after injuring "it" at High Point. He grabbed both holeshots–yes, BOTH holeshots–and won the first moto pretty comfortably. He didn't win the second moto, but he did hang on for second, which was enough to claim the overall victory. This is big for both Aaron and Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha. Aaron's year has been much less successful than he was expecting, and Star Racing as a whole has struggled to find the podium through the first half of this championship. Aaron has hit it a few times and Dylan had that great ride at Glen Helen, but other than that it has been nothing like the past couple of years Star Racing has had outside. This could be the win that lights a fire under Aaron and propels him to multiple overall wins over the course of the rest of the season. I still don't think a championship is necessarily in the cards for Aaron or Star Racing this year, but multiple wins is still a strong possibility. I'm gonna go ahead and pick him to win Red Bud, too. Heck, if he doesn't win, I'll give $100 to...well, no one, but I can guarantee you that I'll sit here and think about how bad I am at predicting things.
The Bad: Jeremy Martin | 9th Overall
One of Jeremy Martin's nightmares came true at Muddy Creek. This was bad, folks. Bad for Jeremy's confidence, bad for the team, and most of all bad for the championship. He came in 18 points down. That's not too bad, definitely doable. Well, after leaving Muddy Creek he's 36 points down. He doubled his points and not in the right way.
The first moto was at least partially not Jeremy's fault. He went down in the first turn. Sh*t happens, and it's par for the course with how Jeremy's luck has been this year. The off-track excursion and second crash that followed were all Jeremy, though, which gravely hurt his chances of salvaging a top-ten finish. He ended up coming home in 13th, not good. Then the second moto rolls around. He gets a not great (but not bad) start, couldn't really make any inroads on getting by Adam Cianciarulo, and ended up finishing in sixth. That just goes to show you how hard it truly is to compete for an outdoor championship at the professional level. One bike malfunction? You're in a 25-point hole. And even if you start to claw your way back, one bad weekend and bam...you've doubled your points deficit.
Now, Jeremy is still technically not out of this championship. But with that being said, his chances are slim now. He's going to have to win multiple overalls, get a little assistance from Osborne, and avoid anymore bad (and even mediocre) rounds. And honestly, I don't think all three of those things will happen, but Jeremy has to keep his head up and roll on to the next race. We'll see if the GEICO Honda rider can rebound at one of my favorite rounds of the year, Red Bud.
The Ugly: Dylan Ferrandis | 12th Overall
When Dylan won the second moto at Glen Helen, I thought that we were witnessing the beginning of something. Not a win streak, but I was thinking that maybe he'd find himself on the podium at least a couple of times over the next few rounds. Nope. Dylan hasn't been on the podium since. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's because he hasn't had the speed, but he's been struggling a bit with bad starts and fading some towards the end of the motos. The latter of which is probably because this is his first year racing in the U.S. full-time, and learning the tracks while adjusting to the heat and humidity here is not easy. Anyway, it was his starts that really killed him at Muddy Creek. There was a first turn crash (along with Joey Savatgy and Jeremy Martin in moto one), and he also got tangled up with Justin Hill at one point. So yeah, not a good weekend for Dylan. Hopefully he gets some better starts these next few rounds and gets back onto the podium.
The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Overall
Eli was able to stay upright at Muddy Creek and came away with his second overall win of the season. And with Baggett getting Suzuki-walled in the first moto and a bad start the second moto, he closed up in the points chase as well. The gap is now only four points. Everything is lining up perfectly. We're about to witness one hell of a championship battle, ladies and gentlemen, so prepare yourself. The crazy thing is that there's really no favorite out of the two of them. They're both aggressive, they're both extremely confident, they're both very fit, and they're both insanely fast. It's truly going to come down to which one of them wants it more, and makes the least amount of mistakes. That is the kind of championship we want, and it looks like we're gonna get it. Red Bud is gonna be good, y'all.
The Good Bonus: Weston Peick | 4th Overall
The tide has turned! Weston and JGR Suzuki had some good luck! One week after Weston re-injured his wrist and Justin Barcia was forced to sit out, Weston puts in his best result of the year and Justin rides very well in the first moto. Not only was Weston riding well, but he was hauling the mail for the majority of both motos. At one point, I thought that he was going to end up on the podium! It was truly an awesome turnaround weekend for him and the team. Of course, Weston getting better a week after re-injuring his wrist defies all logic. It doesn't make sense, but I'm sure no one is complaining over in the JGR truck. Barring any more crashes or hiccups, Weston should find himself on the podium sooner rather than later.
The Bad: Cole Seely | 40th Overall
Cole didn't ride poorly, but unfortunately he crashed out of the first moto and didn't return for the second. The good news is that it sounds like that he wasn't injured and will be back next week. The bad news is that he took a big fat zero in the points column for the day and dropped outside of the top ten in the standings. It's not the end of the world, though, as there's still plenty of time for him to work himself back up. He just needs to stay injury-free for the remainder of the series... That alone would be a huge step in the right direction for Cole as far as motocross goes.
The Ugly: Marvin Musquin | 14th Overall
It was another rough round of racing for Marvin Musquin. He toughed out seventh in the first moto but had some brake issues in the second moto and decided to pull out. Now, a couple of guys on the forum were pretty quick to call him "weak" for pulling out because Tomac didn't pull out at Glen Helen when he had a brake issue. Well, guys, not every mechanical problem is the same. We don't know what exactly was wrong with Marvin's bike/brakes, so going straight to calling him "weak" is, well, pretty weak on your part. You also have to take into account that he is still riding with a torn meniscus. Combine a painful injury like that with a bike problem, and I can't blame him at all for pulling out.
Even after the big zero that he scored in the second moto, the championship technically isn't over for Marvin, but at this point I really think that he should just let his injury heal. He's 30 points behind Tomac, and 34 behind Baggett. And even if he toughs it out over the next few rounds, he's going to lose even more points...which means by the time he's actually healthy he'll probably be 50 points in the hole. He won't come back from that. Marvin was great this season before he got injured, but he will not be able to close down the 30-to-50 point lead that Baggett or Tomac will have on him with less than half of the series left. So yeah, take some time and let your injury heal, Marvin. You can come back and win a couple of more races when you're completely healthy again.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson