By Steve Matthes and Jason Weigandt
Jason Anderson | Rockstar Energy Husqvarna | 4th in 450SX
Racer X: Were you aware that it was the 30-race podium streak for Dunge that was hanging in the balance as you were battling him?
Jason Anderson: [Laughs] No, I didn’t think about that at all. I was just trying to get a podium! I felt like it was going good. Me and him were battling. I went in on that 90-degree corner and then I went double, three on-off and my front brake just went out and I just went straight. I think I hit a rock or something and bent my rotor, and then after that I had no front brake.
And this was after you had third? You were ahead of him?
While I was passing him! So I went into that 90 and my front brake was there, and then when I passed him onto that three on to the table top, I landed and there was no front brake going into the next 180. I just went straight.
But you were riding good. You actually pulled away a little bit after you passed him.
It was tough because the track was good but then once it started getting more rutted I was struggling with no front brake. I had a couple sketchy moments and I didn’t want to mess up his streak. I felt like it was the curse of the streak. [Laughs] No, I’m kidding. But I ended up pulling it off and getting a fourth place. Top five’s not bad but I definitely feel like we could have kept pace with [Eli] Tomac and tried to get into that battle.
You felt you could have done that if the brake hadn’t happened?
Yeah, that was what I would have wanted to do. I’m not saying I would have actually executed it and done it, because those guys were riding good.
But when you got around Dungey you were trying to go forward and just think about who’s ahead of you?
Yeah. If you’re within three or four seconds and Tomac makes a mistake—and that track was tough tonight—it could have easily happened.
You had two wild rides in the whoops. Does that take energy out? Are you tired after that? I’m sure you have to hold on so hard when that happens.
Yeah. I would come in off the triple and I’d come to the corner. I usually drag my front brake a little bit through the turn, and I’d be like ahead of myself. I’d come in and I felt like I was hitting it faster than I normally would have because I couldn’t drag the brake. Those whoops were tough as is. Then I’d come in a little bit off line and there was ruts through them. It was a tough track.
Starts have been pretty good lately. They’ve definitely improved.
Yeah, I was third that time coming around the second corner. My heat race I was second. Last weekend I was fourth.
Way better than it was the beginning of the year.
Yeah. But it’s not like I’ve really done anything different.
It’s not like a bike change?
Obviously we try repetition to do starts, starts, starts during the week. We do our motos. We do our 10-20 starts or whatever, but it’s not like I wasn’t doing that at the beginning of the year.
And there’s no huge bike change, clutch change?
We changed the height of the fork guards [holeshot device] but other than that… we tried a mapping deal but I felt like we were maybe making it too complicated. We did the mapping deal and I was on the gate when we first had it and I was like, I just need to figure it out myself, and I never even really touched it on the gate. – Jason Weigandt
Malcolm Stewart | GEICO Honda | 3rd in 250SX
Racer X: How’d it go? I thought you were going to win.
Malcolm Stewart: I think everybody thought that. I thought it myself too. Overall the day turned around for sure. It was real muddy and then obviously the change was amazing for the heat race and how the race went. The heat race went good. Won that one and that was amazing. We get a heat race win again. Then we went into the main event and I got the lead really quick. I started kind of pulling away a little bit. I think I started making a couple mistakes. The track got worse and worse and I think the mistakes, it was more of the track getting to me. I let [Jeremy] Martin and [Martin] Davalos get around me. It was one of those races that you can’t do anything but think positive because the way last weekend was, crashing three times and nearly losing the points lead and stuff like that… I could say a third is a considered a win with how last weekend went. There’s nothing but positive energy leaving from this. We’re going to be good. We’re going to take this thing. It’s going all the way to Vegas. There will be two champions crowned there.
How hard was it? How much were the lines changing? How much was the track changing throughout the fifteen laps?
The track was changing constantly. I felt like you got to a point you couldn’t even take the same lines every time. Fifteen laps, I think you took fifteen different lines! The track was tough. It was tough for everybody. Actually I felt like it was one of those times where you just had to realistically just ride. Just ride your race. Obviously I felt like I made a couple mistakes and didn’t do that, but I salvaged third. It is what it is. I’m glad I can go out here and be like, you know what? I extended it [the points lead] to five, instead of being like negative five, or ten or whatever. So overall I’m happy. We’ve got 30 laps left.
Everybody knows you’re fast. The question is always: can he be consistent? So you can’t get a third and then be mad.
It’s all about consistency. From here on out it’s all about staying on the box, not letting the wrong person get ahead of you. That’s what it really comes down to. – Weigandt
Shane McElrath | Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM | 4th in 250SX
Racer X: I thought your whole race kind of changed. Hung up behind Mookie. Couldn’t jump the finish line I think, and then didn’t jump a triple. It was a great race for us watching it, but maybe you’d like a couple of those laps back?
Shane McElrath: Yeah, that’s what we learned tonight. We just missed a lot.
We learned we’ve got to get by guys faster!
We learned not to be so patient, which a lot of times I’m a little impatient but in other areas. So just missed opportunities tonight and that’s what cost me the race. I just felt like it was my night to win, but that’s all on me.
It was a good race up front. You guys were all pretty evenly matched. Where’d you think you were doing well at?
I felt good everywhere. The track was tough. It was really rutted and the whoops were beat up. It was hard to pass without messing up and without being really physical. That’s what I didn’t do. Take what it is and we’ll come into next weekend already ready. – Steve Matthes
Trey Canard | Honda HRC | 5th in 450SX
Racer X: I thought we were in for a mudder, and it turned out they actually ended up having to water the start straight.
Trey Canard: That was wild. They did a great job. That was pretty awesome to see the work that they put in and how good it actually turned out.
That was tough, though.
It was gnarly. I think the hard part was the dirt was really hard and slick underneath. Just trying to figure out when to do what. There was a lot of ruts. They weren’t forgiving, either.
Does it jack you up a little bit because you ride practice, it’s muddy, slippery, sloppy, then you come out and… bike setup-wise and everything else, does it jack you up at all? It’s the same for everybody.
I definitely had to make a lot of changes in-between the heat race and main. But they did the right thing and the bike actually felt really good for the main.
Got an all right start. For you that’s all right, we’ll take it.
I made some progress this week. My track position was just terrible. One, I’m not used to being up close enough to actually… I shut off really early which I should have maybe drove it in a little bit. I think maybe I got some stuff figured out and we’ll just keep moving forward with it. – Matthes
Cole Seely | Honda HRC | 7th in 450SX
Racer X: You’re back. When you come back you want to have a stress-free day, just chill, grab a result. Instead you had to go to the LCQ. You crashed in the first turn. That sucks.
Cole Seely: It was tough for sure. It was one of my worst comebacks ever. I had a pretty good day during practice. I was feeling like I was flowing pretty good. I’m still pretty stiff but at the same time it almost makes me be a little more smooth. Just horrible heat race. Got passed by Eli [Tomac] there and then went down. Semi somebody’s spoke went in my front wheel. Snapped three of my spokes. There was no real point in rushing after that.
You were far outside for the LCQ.
Far outside for the LCQ. I was able to win that. Got a super extra lot of track time before the main!
Were you stressing about sitting on the line though?
I was actually stressing before. When I fell in the first turn in the semi I landed right on my shoulder that I had hurt and my neck. Everything was firing back up so I was like, do I even want to race tonight? But my body was saying, no, don’t. But I just wanted to kind of show some heart and get out there and finish out the LCQ at least. And then came back, was right back in the same amount of pain. Just kind of had to let the adrenaline take over. The laps went by so slow. I was really fighting for every lap and every position. – Matthes
Luke Renzland | Cycletrader.com/Rock River Yamaha | 10th in 250SX
Racer X: Sort of near your hometown. Next week you’re in your real hometown. I was surprised at the results, to be honest, that you were tenth because you were way far back. So that means you rode pretty well.
Luke Renzland: Yeah. Start wasn’t great.
Then did you fall?
Yeah, I fell after the first lap. I fell in the first turn on the second lap. Then I was literally dead last.
[Dakota] Alix was dead last.
I was dead last out of the guys that were active on the track I guess.
That sucks, but nice job climbing back into tenth.
I’m just so tired of starting with a deficit. We were working hard, though. After last week, after that performance in St. Louis, we were working hard on starts and getting off the gate. Shaved the beard off, trying to get aerodynamic. Just trying to put stuff together.
Do you have a section out there where you thought you were killing it and catching a lot of guys?
Not really. All day we were comparing me to Jeremy [Martin] and it was a like a four second difference in practice. It was really a technical track. It had the deep ruts, you had the loam, and then certain spots were just like glass with the rocks sticking out. It was really technical. Hard to put laps together. I saw a lot of guys make mistakes. I just honestly went out there with the mindset, I don’t care if I crash. Which is probably the reason that I did crash. But I just wanted to find that intensity and be proud of at least a couple laps out of the race. I rode well in the middle and came out tenth. – Matthes