Sign of the (Lap)  Times: Phoenix

Sign of the (Lap) Times Phoenix

January 14, 2014 2:00pm

By Jason Weigandt and Chase Stallo

Never good to start the day with injury news, but that was the case in Phoenix, as Eli Tomac bowed out after suiting up and trying to ride practice—his GEICO Honda team manager Mike LaRocco said Eli basically rode to the first turn and realized it wasn’t going to happen. "If I was able to ride tonight I would have been able to hopefully earn some points and keep any championship hopes alive, but it wasn't even close," Tomac said in a team statement. "I need to let this thing heal, and I need to ride before I race again to get my fitness back. I couldn't ride at all during the week. Today was the first time I got on the bike. Now when I come back I'll be at full strength." Tomac has said that round four in Oakland would be his earliest possible reentry into the series.

About 30 minutes later, GEICO Honda’s news went from bad to worse when Zach Bell crashed in a rhythm section and broke his collarbone. Today, the team announced that Bell is officially out for the rest of the 250SX West Region following surgery to repair the collarbone.

Josh Grant had an MRI on his shoulder yesterday. We should know soon if he will be ready for A2.
Simon Cudby photo

JGR/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant went down in the same rhythm section that claimed Bell and was expected to be out for the night—until he decided to suit up a few hours later and give it a try. But after riding around during opening ceremonies, JG realized his sore shoulder wasn’t going to let it happen. By the way, Grant didn’t complete a timed qualifying lap, but, riders ranked in the top ten in points (Grant was seventh entering Phoenix) get a provisional 21st gate pick in their heat race in they chose to race but don’t make it through timed qualifying.

We know what you’re thinking now. Grant’s hurt, what about Phil (in) Nicoletti? Grant got an MRI on Monday to determine the shoulder damage and if he can race Anaheim 2. As a precaution, the JGR team will fly Nicoletti out to California so he will be ready if needed.

Let’s get to the lap times:

450SX Class

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 55.952 5 56.892 Ryan Villopoto
2 3 56.336 9 57.321 Ryan Dungey
3 6 56.397 3 57.792 Ken Roczen
4 4 56.513 7 57.422 James Stewart
5 56.581 2 57.646 Justin Barcia
6 2 56.755 16 57.239 Justin Brayton
10 56.910 13 58.005 Wil Hahn
8 11 57.061 3 59.304 Matt Moss
18 57.112 10 59.721 Jake Weimer
10 8 57.122 4 58.460 Broc Tickle
11 7 57.405 10 58.293 Andrew Short
12 12 57.598 11 59.223 Ivan Tedesco
13 9 57.677 8 58.662 Chad Reed
14 13 58.005 4 59.639 Nick Wey
15 17 58.284 10 1:00.575 Mike Alessi
16 21 58.497 4 59.774 Weston Peick
17 15 58.599 9 1:00.656 Matt Goerke
18 16 58.926 4 1:00.823 Kyle Chisholm
19 14 59.057 11 1:00.287 Vince Friese
20 19 1:00.561 6 1:02.579 Kyle Partridge
21 20 1:01.021 6 1:03.159 Nick Schmidt
22 22 DNF DNF DNF Chris Blose

250SX Class

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2 55.711 5 56.784 Cole Seely
2 1 56.068 7 56.584 Jason Anderson
3 3 56.997 4 58.341 Zach Osborne
4 4 57.173 4 58.890 Dean Wilson
12 57.237 4 1:00.400 Shane McElrath
6 8 57.245 9 59.123 Justin Hill
6 57.260 3 59.016 Cooper Webb
8 5 57.997 6 59.728 Malcolm Stewart
9 9 58.578 4 1:00.328 Jessy Nelson
10 7 58.975 5 59.985 Dean Ferris
11 17 59.697 7 1:01.340 Dakota Tedder
12 10 1:00.053 4 1:01.647 Cole Martinez
13 14 1:00.239 6 1:00.980 Darryn Durham
14 13 1:00.861 5 1:02.218 Austin Burns
15 11 1:00.977 4 1:02.057 Scott Champion
16 20 1:01.342 3 1:05.226 Killian Auberson
17 16 1:01.472 5 1:03.477 Colton Aeck
18 15 1:01.658 6 1:03.157 Chris Plouffe
19 18 1:02.106 4 1:03.521 Aaron Siminoe
20 19 1:02.416 6 1:04.196 Ruben Alanis
21 21 1:02.789


1:05.841 Conner Elliott
22 22 DNF DNF DNF Jake Canada

Ryan Villopoto served up a strong warning to the field on Saturday: Anaheim 1 was an aberration, and he can claw his way back from a bad start if he so feels. Let’s take a look and see where RV made up the most time on Justin Brayton and Ryan Dungey down the stretch:

Lap Ryan Villopoto Justin Brayton Ryan Dungey
2 58.119 57.182 57.890
3 56.449 56.898 56.877
4 56.949 56.903 56.784
5 55.952 56.892 56.753
6 56.531 57.706 57.773
7 57.001 57.143 58.258
8 57.773 57.537 56.838
9 56.016 57.115 56.336
10 56.263 56.981 56.718
11 56.280 57.184 56.667
12 57.017 57.289 58.444
13 56.387 57.000 56.763
14 56.981 58.234 57.466
15 56.471 57.560 57.229
16 57.011 56.755 57.071
17 57.510 56.827 57.481
18 57.309 57.681 58.096
19 57.390 57.205 57.190
20 57.556 57.458 58.476

Justin Barcia used a fiery attack early to reel in Justin Brayton and challenge for the lead. Barcia’s first four laps were all in the 56-sec range. But was Barcia too aggressive too soon?

“I felt good all day and put myself in a good position at the start of the main, but I just rode too aggressive in the beginning and kept making mistakes. Once I made those mistakes I got tight and wasn't riding as well,” said Barcia in a team statement. He compounded a big mistake on lap 6 (59.392 lap time) with a 57.717, 58.796 and a 57.827 before getting back to form with a 56.620 on lap 10.

It was déjà vu in 250SX as Jason Anderson reeled in Cole Seely for the second week in a row, using a dramatic last lap pass to seal his second straight win. Let’s take a look at the charts and see how the two matched up over the final seven laps.

Lap Jason Anderson Cole Seely
9 56.985 56.707
10 57.088 57.108
11 56.438 56.55
12 57.106 56.358
13 56.699 56.778
14 56.166 56.797
15 56.209 59.886

But Seely was fast all night. Need proof? His 55.711 was the fastest lap set all night… of any class! Ryan Villopoto’s 55.952 was the second fastest lap of the night. Jason Anderson’s 56.068 was the third fastest lap, putting two 250SX riders in the top three.

Weston Peick said he plans on racing this weekend following a big crash in Phoenix.
Simon Cudby photo

Motosport/Suzuki backed Weston Peick had a huge, massive, big crash in the 450SX main, coming up way short on the first jumps after the start straight, and endoing something fierce. Considering Weston’s toughness, the track is probably hurting as much as he is. Check it out here. Peick said he does plan on racing his weekend.

When Ivan Tedesco was picked up by Rockstar Energy KTM to fill in for the injured Davi Millsaps, most thought the veteran was up to speed because he had been testing bikes for KTM through the off-season. Or was he? “I wasn’t riding as much as I was telling everyone,” admitted Tedesco to us after the Phoenix main. “I did some testing, but for about a week. That was it! It’s really only been about three weeks since I really started riding consistently.” IT is safe to admit the truth now because he’s riding well, making both 450SX mains and finishing 12th in Phoenix. After that, he wasn’t afraid to say it: “I got tired.”

Broc Tickle was noted for being one of the first to jump the difficult triple-triple-triple rhythm near the finish. But it wasn’t his idea. Broc told us he was right behind Justin Brayton in practice and as soon as Brayton jumped it, he knew he’d have to. And even earlier in the day, Tickle knew all about it. “On track walk, RC [Ricky Carmichael] told me we’d have to jump this. I was like … man it’s big!” Tickle had no issues with the obstacle in route to an eighth-place finish, backing up his eighth place from the previous week.

Kyle Chisholm decided to race Phoenix and finished 16th.
Simon Cudby photo

51FIFTY Honda's Jake Canada had a big crash early in the 250SX main after colliding mid-air with another rider. “Jake will sit out a few days of practice but is expected to make a full recovery and be ready next weekend for Anaheim 2,” explained 51FIFTY team manager, Jeremy Coker.

Who the heck is Cole Martinez? The privateer took a solid tenth in the 250SX main. We plan on ringing him up for a Privateer Profile piece later in the week.

Team Cycle Trader/Rock River Yamaha has already had quite the revolving door of riders this season. Ben LaMay was expected to be the lead 450SX rider, until he crashed a few days before Anaheim 1—he’s just now out of surgery to get some plates in his face. Ouch. In came Kyle Chisholm as a replacement for Anaheim 1, but Chizz was expected to head to Germany for the final round of the supercross series over there and skip Phoenix. So Les Smith was brought in to replace Chisholm, except Chisholm and the Rock River team decided to race Phoenix anyway. Smith stayed on as a second rider, and the team will keep him on as a second rider at least through the end of the California SX swing in San Diego in a few weeks. By the way, Les doesn’t own a 2014 Yamaha so he had to borrow one to prepare for Phoenix—he rode it all of 20 minutes before heading to the airport. Unprepared, he missed the main, but Yamaha is giving him a bike to practice on out in California, so things are looking up. As for Chisholm, the veteran put his YZ450F into the main and finished 16th.