When the 250SX East Region race went off the starting line on Saturday night, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle would soon be crowned champion. Early title contenders Adam Cianciarulo, Blake Baggett, and Martin Davalos—all race winners and all Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates—were out with injuries, leaving the door wide open for Bogle to ride into the record books as a champion, joining Travis Preston, Trey Canard, Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac, and Wil Hahn as title winners for the Mike LaRocco-managed GEICO Honda team (even if Justin does have to wait until this Saturday night and it’s technically official). Bogle’s a great kid who’s had his share of bad luck along the way, but through it all he’s persevered. And now his name is about to have a 250SX East Region Championship next to it.
So please don’t think I don’t like Just Bogle when I say I was pulling for someone else to win Saturday night. And don’t think I’m anti-Jeremy Martin or Yamaha when I say I didn’t really want to see him win either. Because I think both Justin and Jeremy will get plenty of chances to win big races like the MetLife SX, or even Las Vegas this coming weekend, or nationals this summer and 250 SX races next year and so on....
Jimmy Decotis, on the other hand, probably won’t get many of those chances. But when the Rippa won the first heat race of the night at MetLife, it was incredible to hear the crowd cheering for the fast New England privateer who just keeps on trying. His heat-race win—his first ever—was probably the emotional highlight of the night for many of the 62,000 fans there, and certainly the highlight of Jimmy’s own career.
And Saturday’s third-place finish was the highlight of Vince Friese’s career, too, though he doesn’t have the local attachment that Jimmy D. had. But he’s a privateer too, and so are Matt Lemoine, Alex Martin, Kyle Cunningham, Mitchell Oldenburg, Jackson Richardson, Gannon Audette, Justin Starling, and several others who were out there on Saturday night.
True privateer wins don’t happen much in our sport anymore. With this championship having pretty much been decided, how cool would it have been to see something special like Jimmy Decotis or some other long-shot winner on Saturday night in front of a massive crowd like that?