Spring Creek - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Good: Joey Savatgy | 1st Overall
One thing Joey has kept consistent all year is how inconsistent he has been all year. One week he'll show up and be on absolute rails, and then the next week he'll show up and cruise to a seventh place overall. It's weird. But hey, apparently they made some big gains during the off week and has a bike setup that he's pretty happy with now. It definitely showed at Spring Creek as he went 1-2 for first overall. I gotta admit I was pretty shocked to see him motor away from the majority of the field in the first moto, and then I was still surprised to see him almost do the same thing (Zach Osborne caught him late) in the second moto. Of course, Joey winning by a decent margin shouldn't be a surprise considering his stats sheet, but with how this year has gone for him I had about given up any hope I had left that he'd return to his 2016 form. So with the championship way out of his reach, nothing to lose, and a bike that he's finally happy with, I'm interested to see how he fares over this last four rounds of the championship. Is the Joey Savatgy of 2016 back? We'll find out soon.
The Good Bonus: Steven Clarke | 17th Overall
Oi, there's this English lad named Steven Clarke who's been looking pretty damn impressive at the rounds he's shown up at. He's also improved almost every time he's been in attendance. He went from only scoring a point at High Point, to nearly finishing in eighth place at Spring Creek! That's quite an improvement in performance in only a few rounds of racing. Now if he could just keep it together for the second moto, he'd end up with a nice overall result as well–and that would definitely catch the attention of some of the teams who may be looking for some new talent for next year. Keep an eye on the number 105 the next time he lines up, because he may very well end up inside the top ten at the end of the moto. And yes, we remember him from his Suzuki City days when he raced here before.
The Bad: Kyle Cunningham | 19th Overall
Kyle was brought on as a fill-in rider for Matt Bisceglia when he got injured while testing before the season started, but when Matt was ready to return the team decided to keep Kyle on and send Matt over to RCH Suzuki for the remainder of the season. Alright. I'm not really sure what led to that decision, but I would have definitely brought Matt back and maybe sent Kyle over to RCH. Nothing against Kyle, he's had a long and impressive career, but Matt is arguably the better rider these days. But sometimes decisions that seem weird to us make a lot of sense to the team. For instance, I bet that Kyle probably formed a good relationship with the team and they didn't want to take his ride away after he'd been with them for over half the series.
Anyway, Kyle had another rough weekend in what has been a very rough year for him in general. He had some good rides in Supercross but also some trying rounds, and the same could be said for motocross except that he's had more bad rounds than good. It's been a combination of him having some rough rounds himself and then also having some rounds where he's had bike problems (like the first couple of rounds of the season). And I've kept thinking that one of these weeks everything's going to finally come together for him and he's going to grab a couple of top ten finishes, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe, hopefully, that will happen at Washougal.
The Ugly: Jerry Robin | 40th Overall
Jerry seemed pretty excited for Spring Creek and was actually hoping that it'd stay muddy for the motos. It didn't, but that's not what caused Jerry's frustrating day...bike problems did. GuyB and I were walking behind the start gate after the first 250 moto blasted off and Jerry came by with Chad Sanner pushing his bike trying to bump start it. It wouldn't fire and Jerry sat there looking extremely pissed off (as most of us would be) that he wouldn't even get off the line at his hometown race. He did eventually get it fired up and went flying down the start straight, but the pack was long gone by then and his chances of scoring points were slim. I don't know what exactly caused his DNF in that race, whether the bike finally expired or a crash forced him out, but it didn't get a whole lot better the second time around as he ended up with a DNF in the second moto as well. It always bums me out to see guys get so excited for their hometown race and then have a rather disappointing day. It should have been Jerry's most memorable round of the year, but instead it's going to be one he'll want to forget. He'll be looking to have a better weekend at Washougal, but he, Chad, and Broc Schmelyun are trying to scrape together the cash to do the remaining rounds after receiving a letter letting them go from the Slater Skins team before Millville.
The Good: Marvin Musquin | 1st Overall
Remember when Marvin Musquin couldn't even take his feet off of the footpegs due to a torn meniscus? You should, because it wasn't that long ago. He didn't look like a man who was still recovering from a rather painful injury on Saturday, though, as he absolutely whooped the rest of the field. He spanked 'em so hard everyone's going to still have red asses by the time the gate drops at Washougal.
Sadly, the championship is a bit out of his reach now unless something happens to Eli Tomac or Blake Baggett, but that doesn't mean he can't win the final four rounds of the championship and put himself in the best position possible. Anything can happen...this is motocross after all. Another bit of good news for Marvin is that he typically hauls the mail at Washougal, so we could very well be in for another day of Marvin domination this coming Saturday. I know I wouldn't bet against it.
The Bad: RCH Suzuki
Not a terrible weekend for RCH Suzuki, but not a good one, either. Justin Bogle had some issues in the first moto and only managed a 16th, but he was able to lead some laps of the second moto before pulling out. I'm not sure if he crashed or perhaps tweaked something, but no matter what the issue was it was not a good day for the #19. He's shown flashes of brilliance, but he's definitely had an up and down outdoor season.
RCH also had a new rider under the tent this week in Matt Bisceglia. He's subbing in for the injured Broc Tickle, and will be with the team for the remainder of the season. His day was a bit better than Bogle's, but not by much as he wasn't able to finish the second moto. Like I said, it wasn't a terrible day for RCH, but it's hard to go home satisfied when both riders DNF'ed the second moto and the team's best moto finish on the day was 10th. They'll be expecting a better round at Washougal.
The Ugly: Jason Anderson | 40th Overall
Jason's season has taken a turn for the worse over the past two rounds as he hasn't been able to compete in either of them. He had to pull out of Southwick because he was still too sore after crashing during the week, and he ended up pulling out of Spring Creek due to some serious road rash he got in a road bike crash. So over the course of two weeks, he went from being a title contender to fifth in the standings and over 100 points down from the red plate. That's gotta sting. But on the bright side, he's shown that he's now able to contend for outdoor wins. His Motocross of Nations moto win was no fluke; he's the real deal. So while this season may not have turned out the way he wanted, he should be considered as a legitimate title contender next year. Let's hope that we see him back on the line at Washougal.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson