3 on 3: Questions After Muddy Creek

3 on 3 Questions After Muddy Creek

June 28, 2017 12:30pm

1. No overall win yet, but he keeps getting closer in points. Can Jason Anderson win this title?

Jason Thomas: I'm not ruling anything out! This 450 Class has surprised me at every turn so to say that Anderson can't win the title seems foolhardy. He will need to put some overall wins together, as the question states, but he is riding at an all time high. His confidence seems to be right where it needs to be against Eli and Blake. The top three all believe that they are the best guy, which should make for great racing. I am just waiting for them to all start in the top three and really battle. We have seen glimpses of what that could look like but one of these motos HAS to turn into an all out war. PLEASE.

David Pingree: I think it is a distinct possibility. Jason is doing the work during the week and if he can parlay that into some wins here and there along with the consistency he's shown so far, he could find himself with the red plate. I don't think any of these guys are going to win this title easily—there are a lot of motos left and the top three aren't going to let it go without a fight. Get your popcorn.

Jason Weigandt: He’s done a great job closing in on points by avoiding the first lap and first turn crashes that have plagued Baggett and Tomac. But is he fast enough? Tomac and Baggett have also shown otherworldly speed, and I feel like they’re a little faster than Jason when they’re at their peak. They got the better of him in High Point’s second moto, for example. That will make it tough for Jason to beat them consistently, which is what he needs to do to keep making up points. Right now, the margin for error is a bit too close—if he gives Tomac even the slightest gap early, like he did at Muddy Creek in moto two, he can’t beat him.

So right now I say no, but we have a whole second half of the season looming. Anderson has every other part of the game dialed right now—even his starts are good. The next three tracks are good ones for him, better than the more rutty, technical places like Colorado and High Point. If he can find a little more pace, then it’s on.

Can Anderson still win the title?

Yes 1177 votes - 53.9%

No 1008 votes - 46.1%

2. Big points lead for Zacho now. Is there a crown or #thereisnocrown?

Thomas: There is no crown! With a 31-point lead, Zacho is certainly in the driver's seat but we aren't even to the halfway point yet. The 250 Class has so much variance that I still think we will see a bit of chaos. But, if he stays the course, this title is his to lose. The big unknowns are the mechanical DNFs that seem to strike everyone in the 250 Class at some point, and any sort of freak mishap like Marvin is dealing with. The outdoor series is so much more demanding on bike and body that I never rule anything out until the deal is sealed.

Pingree: Between mechanical DNFs, weather, injury, lappers and just the occasional crash, this title is far from over. Zach is definitely "the man" right now, but that could all change in a blink. These guys all just need to take it one moto at a time and stay focused. Lots of motos left to run.

Weege: Very dangerous to talk title this early, but I really like him for it. I know, sounds like Captain Obvious, but sometimes in the 250 Class, no lead is big enough. I think this is enough for Zach, though. The class is close on speed and everyone else steals points from each other, but Zach has a slight edge week to week, which means he can come through the pack and minimize the damage. The last two weeks are the perfect example—he didn’t win either overall, but he won two of the four motos and stretched it out. When you’re fast enough to pull out a moto win at any time, it’s hard for anyone to make up any ground. When you’re fast enough to get a bad start, still make passes and grind out a decent finish, it’s hard for anyone to make up big ground. No one has been able to win as consistently or come through the pack as consistently as Zacho.

I think it will take some bad luck to derail this. But unlike supercross, he has 24 motos to work with, so even one bad race won’t hurt him too badly.

Crown or no crown for Osborne?

Crown 1073 votes - 56.1%

#Thereisnocrown 838 votes - 43.9%

3. Expected rain and storms at Muddy Creek led to the track being rolled and sealed, so it wasn't as deep and rough as the previous races. Is that good or bad for racing?

Thomas: Well, there is no hard and fast answer here. It's going to vary in everyone that you talk to. My opinion is that neither the extreme ruts of High Point nor the sealed style of Muddy Creek are ideal. I think the happy medium is ideal. It's tough to nail that ideal condition but I know it when I see it. If you have any old VHS tapes or access to YouTube, go take a look at races like High Point 2002, High Point 1998, Troy 1998, Budds Creek 2006, among others. The weather was good, the tractors were dropping the discs deep, and the riders genuinely enjoyed riding the tracks. Giving riders more traction and the ability to form lines mid-moto is always going to be a plus in my book. 

Pingree: This just depends on whom you talk to. Those who like more of a hard packed surface are going to want it like Tennessee and those who like soft, rutted conditions will enjoy the opposite. I think the key to perfect track prep is traction. You can have good traction without having ruts all the way to the handlebars, but you can't leave it rock hard and think you're going to get water to soak in to the soil between motos. So, depending on the soil type, track owners need to find their own track prep methodology. When there is plenty of traction, riders are able to push hard, create and develop new lines and that makes for good racing. So, to sum up, all we're asking for is perfect traction. Comply with this request, please and thank you. 

Weigandt: I didn’t think it was good. For the 450s it worked out okay. From what I can tell those bikes are challenging enough to ride that even on a slightly less technical track, the good guys can find a way to make up time and separate from the field. But the 250s? There was nothing they could do except all run the exact same speed. I contrast the 250 motos at Muddy Creek to those at Colorado. Thunder Valley had an unbelievable amount of passing and action as riders made mistakes, picked new lines and got hung up in old ones. Muddy Creek really only produced one pass in the top five of either 250 moto. Same guys, same bikes, same everything, but different track, and suddenly a completely different style of racing.

Now, here’s where everyone says: “If the track was hard to pass on, how did Blake Baggett pass 37 guys in the second 450 moto?” Cool. That’s one example of a guy making passes. I can give you about 20 examples of guys who couldn’t. Maybe 40. I’ll take those odds. 

 What did you think of the racing at Muddy Creek?

Follow the leader. 596 votes - 36.2%

Did you see Baggett? It was awesome. 1049 votes - 63.8%