Blake Baggett had his best finish in more than a month in Santa Clara Saturday. Baggett, who was buried outside the top ten after the first lap, fought back to take sixth—his best finish since a third at Daytona. “I felt good in some sections tonight,” Baggett said in a team release. “I just got tight in the main. I came up on [Justin] Barcia and got behind him and couldn’t really find a good opening to get around him. Then I made a mistake in a rhythm lane and the guys behind me caught me. It was what it was; I’ll just have to go back and work on my race craft and get ready to do battle next weekend. I’ll be doing some outdoor testing as well and see what we can do next week in New Jersey.”
Broc Tickle’s streak of consecutive top-tens ended at nine in Santa Clara. Tickle was in position to record a tenth consecutive top-ten, but he tangled with Barcia while battling for seventh late in the race. He finished twelfth. “I got something like a twelfth-place start and was able to pass some guys and get up to eighth,” said Tickle. “But I ended up tangling with [Justin] Barcia and I went down and ended up eleventh. It wasn’t the result we wanted. It’s frustrating each week to keep saying we need more, but that doesn’t change the fact that we want and expect more.”
Speaking of Barcia: Santa Clara was very Jekyll and Hyde for the AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGR Yamaha rider. The good news: he led three laps and was battling at the front, albeit briefly. Barcia had been struggling with starts this year so that holeshot is a good sign. The bad news: he got shuffled back to seventh before tangling with Tickle, leading to a DNF and sixteenth-place finish. In only his second race back after missing eight rounds, fitness could have been an issue for Bam Bam.
Jason Anderson had a crazy night at the last race in Houston, so his quiet fourth was probably a good thing. He was on the cusp of his second podium in three rounds, but wasn’t able to get Weston Peick for third late in the race. He started in tenth. "Today was good overall. I just worked through the day,” he said in a team statement. “It was better than last weekend; I felt patient throughout the night. In the main I didn't get as good of a start as I wanted, but I was able to move towards the front with a fourth. Top five is good, but I want to be on the box. My race, the way I managed it, was way better. I was definitely much more calm tonight and I didn't rush anything."
It was a tough night for Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki Saturday night. Chad Reed, who was dealing with a sickness, ended up with a sore back and sore ribs after jumping off the track in practice. He recovered to steal a heat race win when Cole Seely ran into a downed bike (ahem, which was being pushed off the track—right into Seely’s path). In the main, Chad was running in a podium position and saw a chance to pounce and try to get to the lead, before making a mistake in the tricky rhythm section and going down. He rebounded to finish eighth. “Feeling beat up from the feet up On a night where I was dealing with puking , & sore back and ribs I still gave it my all Again we had a chance but wasn't meant to be We'll keep trying to dodge the punches! 2 to go,” Reed wrote on Instagram following the race.
At least Reed got to race at all. His teammate Josh Grant felt like he was having problems with his bike on the parade lap and elected not to line up for the main—jumping SX obstacles when you’re afraid your bike is about to lock up is scary, and Grant’s been there, done that (Google his 2009 X Games crash). We heard his bike actually checked out okay, but discretion was the better part of valor here.
Nick Wey is nearing the end of his illustrious career. He’s expected to retire after the Monster Energy Supercross season finale in Las Vegas. It’s good to see such a great ambassador for the sport end his career on a good note. Wey had his best finish of the season Saturday night—his first top-ten of 2015—and even won his semi race. “And then the semi I won, which was cool. My son is going to think that I won everything. I’m running with it,” he joked with our Steve Matthes after the race.
Number of riders who made a 250SX West Region main event in 2015 after Austin Ullrich, Morgan Burger, Cody Church, and Kevin Weisbruch all made their first mains of 2015 in Santa Clara. Spreading the love!
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More news and notes:
The 250SX West Region finale in Santa Clara created one of the worst first-turn pile-ups in the history of Monster Energy Supercross. “I looked around and I was amazed at how many people were just lying on the ground everywhere. Inside, outside, off the track, everywhere. It was hectic…” GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia said to Racer X’s Aaron Hansel. Through team press releases and interviews conducted by Racer X, we have seven viewpoints of the crash. (You can watch the video below.)
Cooper Webb | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | Main event: 1st
“It was definitely crazy. I got caught up in Shane [McElrath] and Malcolm’s [Stewart] bike and went down. My bike was still running and I had it wide open, clutching it and trying to wheelie it over the other bikes to try to get out. I muscled my way out and was able to pass [Justin] Hill and Malcolm, and that definitely saved me some time. A wild one, though.”
Justin Hill | Red Bull KTM | Main event: 2nd
“It was difficult to come back from that crazy first-turn pile-up. Even though I didn’t get the win, this was a great ride for me. I’m glad to end the season on a positive note and am thankful for all the support my team has given me.”
Shane McElrath | Lucas Oil/TLD KTM | Main event: 5th
“It was a crazy main event for sure. After having a good heat race, it was disappointing to go down in the first turn. Once I got up, I really tried to focus on putting in good laps and picking off riders. It was pretty chaotic, but I think a fifth was okay considering the start.”
Malcolm Stewart | GEICO Honda | Main event: 4th
“That start was pretty gnarly. The next thing I knew, everyone was down. That’s racing though, man. I don’t know who started it. Some people say [Chris] Alldredge, some people say someone else, but it looked like everybody got up, so hopefully nobody got hurt. I just tried to ride my own race after that. I got up to fourth, Alex Martin was right there, but then a lapper got me. I couldn’t redeem myself, but that’s racing and I’m just glad I didn’t get hurt. Everything else is going all right. Just going to look forward to Vegas and having some fun.”
Matt Bisceglia | GEICO Honda | Main event: 8th
“That was one of the gnarliest first-corner pileups I’ve ever seen, and definitely the gnarliest one I’ve ever been involved in. Somebody cut across the outside, and there was also a pileup on the inside. Once I shook it off and got up, I had to look around for my bike. It was crazy. I looked around and I was amazed at how many people were just lying on the ground everywhere. Inside, outside, off the track, everywhere. It was hectic, but I got up and for whatever reason, it took me like ten kicks to start my bike. I finally got going and got back up to eighth. I felt like I rode well; it just took me a while to get up.”
Chris Alldredge | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki | Main event: 22nd
“Mitch [Payton] told me I need to be more aggressive and stay on the throttle. I was right there as we got to the first turn, but then I got cut off and had to get on the brakes, which sent me to the ground. I felt really good and I think I could have run with the leaders during the race.”
Zach Osborne | Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna | Main event: 20th
"I pulled a great start in the main event and then I just got plowed from behind and there was not much I could do. It pretty much destroyed my bike, and I was pretty banged up as well. I ended up third in the championship, but it's a little disheartening. It's just been one of those years where it seems like I'm doing all the right things and the pieces are not coming together. It's tough to swallow for sure."