By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt
Amazing job by the Durt Wurx crew to transform a muddy track on Saturday morning into a multi-lined, raceable surface by Saturday afternoon. Justin Bogle explained it to us well. “It was so muddy in practice that we literally rolled the whoops and most of us doubled the triple. Then you go out for the heat and it's a completely different track. We were jumping rhythms first lap that no one had done yet so it was definitely a tough adjustment.”
Ryan Dungey’s championship celebration will have to wait a week. Needing to add two more points on second place Ken Roczen to clinch this past weekend, Dungey never looked comfortable within those changing track conditions. Dungey was forthcoming after the race, telling Race Day Live! Jim Holley: “I had a good start and was right there running first, and trying to put the tires to the ground and getting maximum traction and I was just having a hard time doing that. It was just one of those tracks that wasn’t coming as easy as the other ones. I was fighting it a little bit, but it’s racing—no excuses. I just didn’t have much for them tonight. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad night, either.”
It certainly wasn’t a bad night for Dungey. He regrouped after getting passed by Roczen, Eli Tomac and Jason Anderson to push back around Anderson late in the race to extend his podium streak to 31. (Note: Anderson says he lost his front brake.) In doing so, Dungey tied Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time career podium list with 87. He also equaled Carmichael's all-time record podium percentage of 75.66 percent since he has now competed in 115 AMA SX races—which is an exact match for Carmichael's career starts. If he gets a podium in his 116th start this weekend, he’ll move ahead on the all time podium percentage list. Also, Dungey’s path to the title gets much easier this weekend: he only needs to finish fourteenth or better to clinch a second-straight title.
Ken Roczen certainly isn’t giving up, evident by the past four rounds where he’s been at peak form. “I feel like I’m one with the bike and that’s been the difference,” explained Roczen in a Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/RCH Suzuki team statement. “We’ve made great strides with the bike and everyone is working really well together. That’s what makes it fun. We’re still in this championship fight. Anything can happen. I’m really glad we came away with the win because I was tired of finishing second. We’ve got the speed and we’re consistent every week so I’m glad to finally make it happen. The track was tricky. It was really hard packed and had some ruts. The whoops got really rough and the lappers were there so we had a little bit of everything.”
When asked if the bike changes were “wacky” or something they had “never thought of” Roczen told us they weren’t. “No, it wasn’t. I don’t even know how we got lost in what we did. It’s absolutely nothing out of the box at all. It’s super plain and simple.”
As Eli Tomac’s struggled down the stretch this season—his win in Daytona not providing much of a spark—common assumption was that his focus would shift toward the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Not so, says Eli. “We’re not throwing in the towel at all. I think I’m a plenty capable supercross rider, so no. We’re going to keep trying to improve so we can bring that right into next year,” he told Racer X after Foxborough. It was evident he and the team had made big changes over the last few weeks, as Tomac put in his best performance of the season (at a more traditional supercross round) with a second on Saturday. “I guess Eli Tomac’s coming around a little bit. It’s been a building year for pretty much all parts of my program—my body, my motorcycle,” he said. “Getting through the laps and just getting back in the groove I guess you could say. There were a lot of changes this year and now it feels like I can do what I’m supposed to and just go out there and ride.”
For a brief time, Dungey’s podium streak appeared it would end at the hands of his training partner, Jason Anderson. “No, I didn’t think about that at all,” Anderson laughed post-race. “I was just trying to get a podium! I felt like it was going good.” Using 58-59sec lap times, Anderson held a podium spot on lap 13, but he believes “a rock or something” bent his rotor, causing him to lose his front brake. From laps 14-20, Anderson’s lap times went from 58-59s to 1:01-1:03s. “I had a couple sketchy moments and I didn’t want to mess up his streak,” Anderson said of losing his front brake. “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.” Saturday marked the first time in the last four rounds Anderson has been off the podium.
It’s strange that we’re fifteen rounds in to the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross Championship and Trey Canard has yet to podium. The speed is there, but as we’ve mentioned, the starts are not. Canard finished fifth for the third time in the last four rounds on Saturday. “At least I’m consistent with those fifths. I’m definitely disappointed with not being on the podium again because that’s what I was going for,” he said in a statement. “My start was better this weekend but still not what it needs to be. Overall, I just need to ride a better race, which sounds simple but that’s all there is to it.”
GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle is finding his stride late in the season. When Bogle returned after missing three rounds at San Diego II, he was 26th in points and showed no real signs of being a top ten threat. But the 450SX rookie has finished top ten in five of the last eight rounds and moved to 13th in points, just six behind Weston Peick and Jake Weimer for tenth. “Great start in the main then I made a small mistake in the first rhythm and lost some spots,” he said in a team statement. “Felt like I had a solid main event, just was a bit off the pace, but still progressing and still working for where I believe I can be.”
Honda HRC’s Cole Seely returned earlier than expected after chipping his C7 vertebra prior to Santa Clara and missing three rounds. After crashing in his semi when another rider’s footpeg got caught in his front wheel, Seely almost was unable to line up for the LCQ. “I landed on my shoulder and neck, which I injured a couple weeks back, so I didn’t know if I was going to go back out for the LCQ,” he said in a statement. “I’m kind of riding with a good amount of pain right now but trying to push through it. I just want to show some heart though so I went back out and once the adrenaline kicked in I was able to ride through it.” Seely was able to qualify through the LCQ and finished seventh in his return. “With such a bad gate pick in the main, I didn’t expect to get off to a great start but I was nearly last, so just tried to focus ahead and start picking guys off. I was able to ride a pretty good race and get a decent position at the end of the day, but how I had to get there was tough.”
Just when you think it can't get any tougher for team Yoshimura Suzuki, it does. James Stewart is lost for the rest of supercross with an ankle and back injuries, so it's on Blake Baggett to shoulder the load. Unfortunately, he got collected by a crashing Benny Bloss in his semi and just missed a transfer with a sixth place. In the LCQ, he was collected in the first turn and broke a footpeg off his bike, leaving him no chance to compete. That was it—no main event for Baggett.
Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/RCH Suzuki said they will evaluate Jake Weimer this week and are hopeful he can race this weekend after a big crash on Saturday. The crash occurred when Weston Peick made a mistake in a rhythm section and Weimer, with nowhere to go, hit his rear-wheel. Justin Barcia and Broc Tickle were also collected in the crash, with Weimer getting the worst of it when Mike Alessi ran into him. Weimer did not finish the race, Tickle managed to come through for 14th.
“Broc rode awesome. He had a mid-pack start, got caught up in some mayhem in one of the rhythm sections but was still able to finish strong,” said RCH team manager Kyle Bentley, in a team statement. “He was happy with the motorcycle. An unfortunate incident for Jake Weimer. Another rider cross-jumped him in one of the rhythm lanes and he didn’t have anywhere to go. Someone landed on the back of him and he got pretty beat up. We’ll evaluate his situation and hopefully he’ll be ok to race this weekend.”
Weimer and Barcia also got into it in their heat race, which was an extension of last week, when Barcia made a hard pass on Weimer. They spent about two laps running into each other, and then Barcia started yelling at Weimer when the heat race was over. They also got tangled in the main event, but that was actually just a coincidence, and incidental contact. Barcia would finish 19th, but told us he was feeling much better in the first few laps of this main event than he was at the last three races (where he began his comeback after dropping from the series at round two with thumb surgery). He told us he was finally riding without arm pump.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant is riding better now that he’s had a few weeks to adjust back to racing. He was running seventh for most of the main event before a crash set him back to 11th. “The weekend went well,” said Grant in a team statement. “I struggled a little early on because of the mud, but the rain cleared up and the track was good for the races. I couldn’t quite find my groove and it cost me early on, but I was able to settle into seventh. Near the end of the race I made a mistake in the whoops and it cost me a few spots.”
Another round of FIM/WADA anti-doping testing took place after the 450SX main event, with several riders, including the podium finishers, having to go in for testing after the race.
450SX Class Lap Times
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||In Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
No surprise that Roczen was the fastest, but it is surprising that Ryan Dungey's times trailed off in the second half of the race. He hit the one minute mark on lap 11 and never got back into the 59 range after.
Roczen stayed under one minute until lap 18, and Eli Tomac ran 59s on 12, 13, 14, and 16. Not the usual perfect ride from Dungey, but if third is as bad as it gets, that's still pretty amazing.
250SX East Region Lap Times
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||In Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
Credit to Martin Davalos for going fast when it counts. Jeremy Martin was hauling for most of the main event and reeled everyone in. But on the last three laps, JMart went 1:02, 1:03, 1:03, while Davalos went 1:02, 1:01, 1:02. JMart had a couple of wild rides in the whoops that cost him, and Davalos stayed error free while jumping some tricky rhythms.
250 News and Notes
Entering Foxborough sixteen points back of Malcolm Stewart, Jeremy Martin knew he would need to sweep the final three rounds and get help if he hoped to capture the East Region Championship. After charging through the pack to reach second by lap ten, Martin picked up nearly two seconds on leader Martin Davalos on lap 11, setting a 59.703 to Davalos’ 1:01.281. But Martin wasn’t able to close the deal, as mistakes on the final three laps cost him a win, and more importantly three points. He now enters the final two rounds 14 back of Stewart. “I’m pretty disappointed with tonight, I really wanted to win,” he told Race Day Live! Andy Bowyer.
As for Stewart, he appeared dead set for a win after jumping out to the early lead. “I think everybody thought that. I thought it myself too,” he said after the race. Stewart said the rough track was getting to him and that third was a win on this weekend. “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.” With Aaron Plessinger finishing two spots behind, Stewart holds a five-point lead entering Round 8 of 9.
Since beginning the season 22-10-18, Shane McElrath has averaged a 3.5 finish over the last four rounds. On Saturday, McElrath had a chance for the win, but said he was too patient. “We learned not to be so patient, which a lot of times I’m a little impatient but in other areas,” he told our Steve Matthes. “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.”
Tyler Bowers has had a very up and down season, dotted with three heat race wins but zero trips to the main event podium. He at least felt better this time, en route to sixth. So far this year, Bowers has struggled with getting tight and tired in the frantic first few laps of the race. “In the main I had another great start from the very inside gate and came out third,” he said in a team statement. “I’ve spent the last few races getting caught up in the mayhem of the first five laps and it costs me later on, so I really tried to ride my own race today. I ended up sixth overall, which I know I’m better than, but I didn’t have the same issues I normally do so my confidence is up and I’m looking forward to the next race.”
- Anthony Rodriguez captured a third-straight top ten finish with a ninth. His Traders Kawasaki teammate Justin Starling finished a season-high 11th.
- Henry Miller finished a season-high 12th. We’ll have more on yet another Minnesota rider making an impact in the professional ranks later this week.
- Cedric Soubeyras and Matt Bisceglia both failed to qualify for the main event on Saturday. That’s a lot of talent on the sidelines.
- Tyler Bereman made his first main event since a 16th in Salt Lake City in 2013. Knee injuries have cost him the better part of two years.