Observations: Mid-Season Report

Observations Mid-Season Report

June 28, 2017 10:50am

I didn’t go to Muddy Creek this weekend. In fact, I haven’t been there two years in a row now. Nothing against Muddy Creek other than expensive flights, long drives, and in my opinion, not a great track. That’s like saying “with all due respect” and then trashing a dude.

I missed my second race of the year (Daytona being the other) but like Daytona, I was glued to the TV all day watching it—this time with the NBC Sports Gold App. It worked flawlessly by the way.

(Side rant: I don’t understand how, if you’re a moto fan, you don’t buy an Apple TV for $100 and then the app for $50 and you’re set for an entire season of motocross. But even if you don’t want Apple TV, get the HDMI cable to connect from laptop to TV and watch it that way. I am FAR from rich and to me, I waste $50 bucks in SO MANY worse ways than buying an app that lets me watch 48 motos with no commercials, including practice. I will never, ever understand those that say they can’t afford it but then again I will never understand the people that say they can’t handle changing the channel from the first motos to the second. It’s like these people have never changed a channel before. They have no comprehension of something called a TV remote. Anyways, I digress.)

Since I wasn’t there and since I lose a day this week due to a trip to Boise, Idaho, for the Fly Racing guys, I thought I’d recap the points standings one week shy of the halfway point of the series. If this is called mailing it in, then go ahead and do just that.

Let’s do a deep dive into that this week.

250MX Points

1 16 Zachary Osborne 207- Not a surprise he’s leading the points at all but with over a moto lead 10 motos in? Yeah, that’s a tad surprising. Since the first East Coast Supercross, Osborne’s been a new man this year. Trainer Aldon Baker has him on a program and I think in the past he’s always searched for something to help him with his (diagnosed by me) moto-ADD and find the right combination of everything. Baker’s been the key to his success in my opinion in that he’s taken the guesswork out of Zacho’s program. If Osborne pulls off the double 250 title this year, I think he’ll be the most unlikeliest to do that (and probably the oldest) since Ivan Tedesco did it in 2005.

2 26 Alex Martin 176- Winner of one moto and now second in the points, Martin’s not going to wow you with his speed but he’s very consistent and in shape. Think of him as Osborne-lite. He’s a short dude so sometimes he gets a bit of a weeble-wobble going but overall, he’s not going to hurt himself week to week. I think this is exactly the season I, and TLD team manager Tyler Keefe, thought he would have. I know it’s INSANE to think about the Alex Martin from Eleven10 Mods winning an effing national title but he could do it.

Zach Osborne holds the points lead in 250MX after five rounds.
Zach Osborne holds the points lead in 250MX after five rounds. Rich Shepherd

3 6 Jeremy Martin 171- He’s got an overall win, a DNF and plenty of crashes this year and J-Mart’s still third in the points. It hasn’t all gone to plan but if you give him top five points for that moto where his bike blew, he’d be right there with Osborne. He’s definitely not the same guy he was on a Yamaha in the sense that we haven’t seen him yet (key word: yet) just grab the lead and take off outside of one moto at Glen Helen. We’re all still waiting for that and I’m sure Mike LaRocco is as well.

4 23 Aaron Plessinger 165- I didn’t know Plessinger could win outside of Indiana but he just rode great at Muddy Creek. Somehow he’s the biggest dude in the class but he’s pulling starts this year. Tip of the visor to the Star Yamaha guys for giving him a beast of a bike. Aaron still makes the big mistakes you can’t have to win titles but maybe he’s figured that out this year. The big question is if he moves to 450 next year or not.

5 24 Austin Forkner 159- Well, a couple of mechanicals and here he is, fifth in the points. Forkner pulled off his first overall podium of 2017 at Muddy Creek and that’s kind of amazing to think about, right? Like J-Mart, I’m waiting for the Forkner from late last summer to show up but I know he’s dealing with an injury from a few weeks ago that’s probably holding him back a bit. Also, hey, he’s top Pro Circuit guy! Go tell Payton that, then say that it’s fifth. And then duck.

6 36 Adam Cianciarulo 147- PC’s had mechanical issues all outdoors and AC got bit at Lakewood when he DNF’d to go along with his other three teammates from the week before. I think Cianciarulo is still excited to be healthy and that might detract from his focus of going balls-out to win races. He’s got three podiums in 10 motos, not too shabby.

7 17 Joseph Savatgy 144- Crashes held him back this weekend but he’s one of five riders to win a National this year which is really good. Other than that one weekend, though, he’s been a bit hot and cold. Four seventh place motos out of 10 isn’t what Savatgy was hoping for going into the Nationals.

8 39 Colt Nichols 124- A terrible High Point but other than that, a real surprise this summer. I’m one of those guys that can’t stand how much focus is put on the 250SX series in terms of what it means for a riders career. Too many sponsors/fans/teams care all about supercross when it comes to 250s and all they have to do is look at a list of past 250SX title winners and realize that it’s far from a guarantee that you will be a great 450 rider. Ok, rant over. Nichols was in danger of being that sx-only guy last year because his motocross results were terrible. But he’s a new man this year and it’s cool to see. Real men win outdoor titles, bro.

9 108 Dylan Ferrandis 118- Real hot and cold here but when he’s on, like Glen Helen second moto or ripping through the pack at High Point, it’s cool to see. Ferrandis seems so stoked to land on the podium as opposed to some riders that get up there and it’s like they just came out of a root canal.

10 45 Mitchell Harrison 111- Harrison’s been much improved in his second year in the class and although I don’t see him winning Nationals anytime soon, top 10 consistently in a class where chaos reigns supreme is solid. What happened to Mitch the time bomb from last year?

Dylan Ferrandis has been good in his first year in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.
Dylan Ferrandis has been good in his first year in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Kardy

11 38 Shane McElrath 102- Shane says he’s been injured since supercross and that’s the reason for his slow start. I say it’s probably a case of finally getting to eat some grits and gross stuff like that they have back East. Whatever it is, Muddy Creek was literally his only good race this year and I look for him to get better and better from here on out.

12 129 Sean Cantrell 83- Nice start to the season for the rookie, but four out of the last five motos have been his worst ones of the year. He’s now racing tracks he’s never been on before and guys coming off supercross seasons are now getting into their groove for motocross. He can come out swinging at the opening rounds, but no surprises anymore.

13 46 Justin Hill 68- Not good, right? When he showed up last year on the KTM he was very good most weekends but this year, it’s like he’s on cruise control. Justin said he wants to go 450 next year but there’s zero chance a factory 450 team picks him up with motocross results like these. Remember what I said about outdoors mattering when it comes to really getting good results? Justin’s got a SX title ,but maybe too much time in Newps this summer? He’s better than he’s been riding.

14 342 Michael Mosiman 64- Mosiman got hurt which sucks for him. Like Cantrell, he’d been really good to start the year. I keep hearing that the Rockstar Husky team will be Osborne, Mosiman, Anderson, and Wilson next year, so does that mean Marty’s out?

15 50 Luke Renzland 45- Luke’s got more points in the last three motos than the other seven combined. I don’t know who was on his bike to start the Nationals but he’s gone now and Luke Renzland is back I guess. The force was not with Luke to start the season.

16 78 Nick Gaines 44- Nick Gaines has perhaps finally realized that his health and career will last much longer the more he slows down to go fast. Solid results to start the year.

Renzland has bounced back from a slow start to the season.
Renzland has bounced back from a slow start to the season. Rich Shepherd

17 183 Lorenzo Locurcio 43- Love the name Lorenzo. I’m going to name my next Basset Hound that. It sounds exotic, fast, and sexy. All the things that a Bassett Hound is not. As far as his rookie season goes, ehhhh, I’m still waiting. Lorenzo in 2017 reminds me of the guy CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha just got rid of in Luke Renzland in that he’s solid, he looks good, and he’ll grow into it. Or be dumped for the same rider after two years. #amateurMXWorld

18 42 Kyle Cunningham 38- Kyle’s Kyle, man. This is what he does. We all know this. There’s nothing to talk about. Once in a while he’ll pull a great ride out. Other times he crashes. It’s forever Groundhog Day for Kyle Cunningham in the 250 class.

19 31 RJ Hampshire 34- He’s had one mechanical in four motos but for a guy that’s missed a bunch of time, RJ’s looked good.

20 486 Chase Sexton 31- The kid’s got a full taste of life in the 250 class. He’s ran up front, he’s crashed with 20 other riders and he’s eaten more dirt in four motos than he probably did in his entire amateur motocross career combined. I think we need to hold off judging Sexton for a while; he’s missed so much time in the last two years.

Recommended Reading

450MX Points

1 4 Blake Baggett 195- We knew he’d be good but leading the points almost at the halfway point? Uhhh, no. Tomac, Musquin, and Anderson all would have been ahead on my pickss to lead the points going into RedBud. I knew BB Gun would be good but not as great as this. His Lakewood ride was so, so amazing it was something that’ll be with me for a long time. At Muddy Creek, his second moto ride was also something else. Baggett is attempting to be the second privately owned team rider in a row to win the 450MX title after Roczen last year. What BBMX has to hope is that he doesn’t follow the #94’s path and jump to a factory team where he can make more money.

2 3 Eli Tomac 191- Eli’s been self-sabotaging himself this summer but it appears he’s got it figured out. Four moto wins (no one else has more than two) shows that he’s got the most speed, but he’s got to stop the mistakes. Yeah, I know. Breaking news, right? I think the next three tracks (RedBud, Southwick, Millville) suit him very well. He’ll be able to pin it and explode berms all day long, bro.

3 21 Jason Anderson 176- Anderson got his first 450MX moto win at Glen Helen and he’s now got his second from Muddy Creek. Anderson DNF’d moto one of the year with a rock to the eye and if you give him some points from that freak accident, he’d be right there. Jersey flapping out, Anderson’s got to be careful from here on out as he’s gotten two warnings for cutting over the track markers. Any more and the penalties might escalate into taking positions away.

A knee injury has slowed Marvin Musquin.
A knee injury has slowed Marvin Musquin. Kardy

4 25 Marvin Musquin 161- Oh man, what could have been. Moving Marv had only won one moto but he had a nice grip on the red plate before the knee injury and now a front brake issue at MC [that’s my Muddy Creek shorthand]. What remains to be seen is if he stays in the title fight or gets the knee fixed if he has another poor race this weekend. Dammit, this was Musquin’s year!

5 20 Broc Tickle 139- Tickle’s been Tickle this year. Nothing wrong with that and a solid fifth in the points is what he and the team are looking for. Right now, he’s the best of the rest of the guys and has a podium on the year, which is great for him and the team.

6 19 Justin Bogle 137- He won a 450MX moto, bro. No matter what happens from here, it’s all gravy. Seriously though, Bogle’s moved to Florida and apparently he’s now a POW at a motocross camp. So far, that’s paying off.

7 15 Dean Wilson 137- What a season for Dean going back to supercross. He’s started out in a van with his dad Andy, now he’s on basically same bike as Ryan Dungey had and a great team. His starts have hurt him in a lot of motos but again, this is a building year for a dude that raced 14 out of 58 races the last two years. Late in the races you can see he’s still charging, which is a good thing.

8 32 Weston Peick 112- Peick’s still battling his wrist injury and missed a moto. So to be eighth in the points is pretty good for him. His fourth at Muddy Creek is a strong finish and if he can get through the next two weeks, get another week off to heal, he’ll be better. I thought he was going back to JGR next year but some other people have said that’s not decided yet.

9 2 Cooper Webb 112- Well, last year’s national champion in 250MX has kind of continued his 450SX season in that it’s been…ok. Past riders that looked so good in 250s—guys like RV, Dungey, Tomac, etc, etc—have certainly been better than Webb has in their 450 rookie season but it’s WAY too early to start getting down on this guy. He should get some time to figure this thing out before we all just start asking “What’s wrong?” But his 2017 hasn’t met his or Yamaha’s expectations I would think. Also, where are we at when it comes to the YZ450F?

10 33 Joshua Grant 106- Grant’s now the oldest rider out there in the class. What in the heck happened to the time? It seemed like only a few years ago he debuted at Hangtown for FC Honda. I remember it like it was yesterday. Pardon me while I light myself on fire.

11 14 Cole Seely 105- Cole came in injured and now crashed out of Muddy Creek. It’s been a tough go of it for the #14 as he probably feels some pressure from being the guy at Honda now. It’s been so bad for the red riders in 2017, I expect Dan Betley to start throwing wrenches at me pretty soon.

12 51 Justin Barcia 96- He’s missed a race so this isn’t a real indicator of where Barcia stands but after another injury-filled/sub-par supercross season, you would think Barcia would again rebound outdoors. Go look at his results last summer, they were better than you remember. Anyways, the switch to Suzuki hasn’t lit the fire yet.

As a true privateer, Noren continues to impress.
As a true privateer, Noren continues to impress. Kardy

13 30 Martin Davalos 96- Davalos had a very good moto at MC and that’s good to see. All I have ever wanted was Marty to try out the 450 class and maybe unlock that potential that’s in there. Well, the jury is still out on that theory of mine but he’s been respectable this outdoor season. He still looks tiny on the bike though.

14 40 Fredrik Noren 86- Freddie had his best race of the year at Muddy Creek and I bet he starts heating up a bit from here. I mean, come on, the dude is out of a van people! *Although at Muddy Creek he had his Ti-Lube team from SX there.

15 70 Dakota Alix 60- I’ve been impressed with Alix, he’s been very consistent each moto scoring between six and eight points the last seven motos in a row. But where have his starts gone? He’s always been one of the best starters in the 250 class over the years but not so far in 450MX. I don’t know, I’d probably be scared to death to grab a factory 450’s throttle and turn it wide open with 39 other guys six inches from me also.

16 48 Christian Craig 37- Craig’s been very fast but he crashed while leading moto one at Hangtown and crashed again the next week while in third breaking his hand. Then he tried to ride High Point and it didn’t go well. So in short, we’ve barely seen him this year and have no idea how he’s doing. I wonder if Honda picked him up as a fill-in and said “Hey, Christian, welcome to the team. Whatever you do, don’t get hurt, keep it on two wheels and we just need a Honda out there.” I hope not!

17 68 Heath Harrison 31- The YamahDog bit Heath when he hurt his ankle and couldn’t ride as well this weekend on his home track as he did last year. That’s too bad. HeathCliff’s got this ride from CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha and you know he wants to kill it. Maybe he needs his old mechanic T-Bone back to motivate him?

18 111 Dean Ferris 29- No matter what, Ferris will always be able to tell his kids and grandkids that he got second in a moto at a US national. You don’t think Pat Barton tells people about how he got third at Southwick in 1988 after leading the whole thing with three laps to go? I wonder if Roger DeCoster was watching Ferris at High Point thinking, “Man, this kid is good, I should hire him in ’18.”

19 125 Josh Mosiman 24- Mosiman raced 24 damn motos last year in the 250MX class and never scored one point. Do you know how hard and/or frustrating that must have been? Well, he’s got 24 big ones in the 450 class in 2017 so there!

20 41 Trey Canard 21- Nice to see the 41 back on the track. IF he can stay healthy, he’ll just get better from here on out. Is it me or is it weird to see a guy get 21 points and be inside the top 20 after five races? Look at that jump to Alix and you can see there have been 15 consistent riders and then it’s a complete toss-up in the 2017 450MX class.

Thanks for reading, email me at matthes@racerxonline.com if you want to chat with me on this column or anything else.