RedBud - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Mitchell Harrison finally had the breakthrough ride we've all been waiting for in the second moto. He was inside the top four the entire race, led some laps, and ended up finishing in second! Pretty great for a guy who has been very solid this year, but not very noticeable. Honestly, his career so far has been very reminiscent of Matt Bisceglia's stint at GEICO Honda. Solid top-ten finishes, with the occasional sixth or seventh, but not much more than that. So yeah, I'd say this was a pretty big deal for him. He finally showed that he can go pretty damn fast if he gets a good start, and that he has the stamina to keep pace with the top guys for an entire moto. This also couldn't have happened at a better time considering he's in a contract year, and the factory teams aren't always willing to sign a "top-ten" guy. So I think that this podium finish will definitely help, although another podium finish or a couple of top-fives wouldn't hurt things any. It'll be interesting to see if we start seeing him up front more often now that he knows he can do it.
The Bad: Adam Cianciarulo | 11th Overall
Yeah, not the best weekend for Adam. I'm not really sure what was wrong, but he seemed off the entire day. He was off the pace during qualifying, got bad starts during the motos, and couldn't really work his way through the pack. He started in 13th and worked his way to eighth in the first moto which isn't great, but I guess it could be worse. But the second moto was pretty bad for Adam. He started 16th, not a great start by any means, but he was only able to work his way up to 13th by the end of the moto. An entire 35-minute moto goes by and someone as fast as Adam is only able to gain three positions? Pretty weird stuff. Maybe something was up that we don't know about, or maybe he was struggling with the track, or maybe he just didn't have the pace. In the end, no matter what it was, Adam's going to want to put RedBud behind him and look to do better at Southwick.
The Ugly: RJ Hampshire | 39th Overall
I was pretty pumped to see RJ Hampshire return to racing a few weeks ago. He'd been off the bike for quite a while and looked like he was going to be a top-five guy for the rest of the season. But he hasn't had a good weekend since his return, and the worst part is that three out of the four bad motos he's had haven't even been his fault. He's had three mechanicals in two weeks. You read that right...my math is not wrong, three mechanicals in two weeks! I'd be pretty angry if I were him, especially when you consider that he was riding very well in two of the races where he DNF'd, but it seems like he's just trying to move on as he posted on Instagram "[I'm] still out there racing dirt bikes for a living, how bummed can I really be?" That's a pretty mature way to approach the situation, and I have to give him props for handling this rough year so well. On the bright side, I'm sure his next podium finish is going to feel extra special after everything he's been through.
The Ugly Bonus: Cameron McAdoo | 40th Overall
Cameron McAddo's rookie season has had some highs and lows, but lately it's been mostly lows as he's been dealing with the injury bug since he joined GEICO Honda during Supercross. Every time it seems like he's finally healthy and is going to get to race, he either crashes or just isn't completely ready to return. You know it's gotta be pretty frustrating for him, and of course it is a tiny bit frustrating for everyone else because we all want to see what he can do. But the main thing he needs to focus on right now is getting completely healthy. Trying to come back too quickly will do nothing but hurt him at this point. Hopefully he waits until he is 100% before giving it another go.
The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Overall
Tomac put the hammer down at RedBud, and took the overall win as well as the red plate. On paper it looks like he had a picture perfect day, but he did have to withstand the challenges of some pretty fast dudes. In the first moto, he was pretty comfortable up front until Blake Baggett started slicing into his lead. That led to him picking the pace back up and fending off Baggett for the win. Oh yeah, he also laid down his fastest lap of the race on the final lap. That's always awesome to see. He got an okay start in the second moto and slowly worked his way past Jason Anderson and Justin Barcia to lead the pack. He'd lay down some heaters for a while before slowly stretching out the lead to nearly 20 seconds by the end. Eli seemed pretty pumped on the day and the idea of having the red plates back on his bike. He'll be looking to keep them all the way to the end, but to do that he's going to have to minimize first lap crashes and bad starts. The speed and stamina is there, as we've seen time and time again, but it's the little things that usually catch Eli out. He'll be looking to keep the momentum rolling as we head to one of his best tracks, Southwick, next weekend.
The Bad: Broc Tickle | 17th Overall
Broc had a rough RedBud after a practice crash left him with a dislocated shoulder. He toughed it out in the motos for 18-17 scores, but I doubt that he was feeling too great by the end of the second moto. Injuries tend to jump up and grab Broc every time he gets some momentum going in a championship. It's really a bummer to see a guy get taken down almost every time he starts putting in some impressive finishes. I hope that this injury isn't too serious and that he'll be back to challenging for top-five finishes soon.
The Ugly: Cooper Webb | 38th Overall
Cooper went flying when he got bucked off of his Yamaha as they headed towards the first turn in the first moto. It was something that we don't see very often, and was actually kind of scary to watch. You never know what will happen when you get catapulted off your bike like that. He didn't finish that moto, or the second moto, and I gotta say at this point it really seems like this was not meant to be his season. Crashes, bad starts, mediocre finishes, and a bike he may not be super-pumped on have put quite the damper on his rookie year. I still think that he's shown that he has the potential to do big things in the big bike class, but this year has not been kind to him. Let's hope that he's physically okay and will be on the gate ready to battle at Southwick.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson