A new supercross!!! Foxborough was back on the Monster Energy Supercross schedule for the first time since 1990 and I’m always up for a new round. Maybe next time it can be a little closer to me? Anyways, Boston is a cool city and the area around Gillette Stadium is pretty rad. New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft has done a hell of a job there. I imagine it’s probably so different from 1990 that if you took Jean-Michel Bayle himself there (who won the last race held here) he would have no idea where he was.
I’ve been to a lot of supercrosses in the last 20 years (and before that my very first AMA SX was Miami 1989, the sand race where Bradshaw crashed 14 times and still won!) but I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a race that was so different from practice to the night show. One practice was cancelled and the other two were a mess as a light rain fell. The track was slick, muddy and most 250F’s weren’t even tripling. It was going to be a disaster for the riders and teams. Seriously, it was like a mudder at Southwick, with that kind of nasty drizzle. The opposite of the drizzle they put on your sundae.
But then the rain stopped, the sun came out and the track was pretty good (although a bit soft, obviously) for the night show. How good? They actually had to lay water down on the start straight! Much like Indianapolis, this track got rough, rutty and tricky, so it really taxed the rider’s fitness and skills. The whoops were left big and when you add that to the tough conditions, you could see why even some of the best riders struggled. But, hey, it could have been so much worse.
We had yet another restart (450SX heat two) this weekend. I think we’ve seen more starting gate issues this year than all other years combined. What exactly the issue is I’m not quite sure, but I know the dude in the doghouse was replaced last time this happened because he couldn’t quite get the gate to drop cleanly and without flinching first. Whether that was his fault or a gate issue is not clear. So a new person is in there but once again the gate flinched, riders rammed into it and we had a restart. I don’t get how this can be an issue so many times in one year! I’m sure the teams aren’t pumped as well as the TV people who have to keep the live show running on time. Can we fix this please? Thank you.
Ken Roczen was rocking out this weekend. He’s been really close to a win for a number of weeks but couldn’t quite make it happen. For whatever reason, and maybe because this race is the closest supercross to Germany all year (192 miles closer than New York), Roczen was amazeballs this time. Catching and passing Ryan Dungey in the heat and the main and taking off for wins ain’t easy, bro. This also prevented Dungey from clinching his third 450SX title by one week. He looked to be in total control out there, I never saw a sketchy moment and I think he could’ve done another twenty laps if needed. I talked to him after the race and he had some interesting comments.
“This is the original Roczen in my eyes,” he said. “We made some changes and that is just now I’m one with the bike. That is what makes the biggest difference. But I’m really just looking forward and not looking back. I wish I could have had what I have now in the beginning of the year, but we figured it out.”
First off I LOVE the use of the third person in this and I want you all to know that this is the original Matthes writing this column. Second, one of the big changes he made was switching to production triple clamps along with a few other chassis changes. Motor is never an issue on these factory 450’s, it’s all about getting them to turn and go straight. I guess the flex characteristics of the stock clamps work better for Kenny. I swear I heard that Roczen went to spring forks at some point but turns out he didn’t and I just had him confused with Tomac, Reed, Baggett, Martin, Stewart or any of the other 42 guys that made that switch.
Thirdly, as a former mechanic, I can tell you that everything Kenny is saying is awesome, but some of the blame needs to be put on him for not helping the team find the direction that he wanted. “Set-up” is used time and time again by riders as reasons why they didn’t win and in my opinion (and as proven by Justin Barcia last year in the outdoors, when suddenly his confidence shot up in the mud and then the bike started working great) it just isn’t that big of a deal. I’m sure the bike is better, I also wish Kenny had found this earlier so we would have this Original Roczen for the whole series, but I still don’t think some clamps and other changes can equal up to this level of improvement from Roczen. Oh well, whatever he’s got to tell himself to keep himself on this level is fine with me.
Now that I’ve just told you that set-up doesn’t matter all that much, let me tell you that in a few cases, it actually does! Before the race, Eli Tomac’s Kawasaki boss Bruce Stjernstrom told me that Tomac was going to be better and you know what? He was right! It’s no secret the big #3 hasn’t been his usual hella-fast self this year, but Kawasaki showed up last week with a revamped machine. It actually started with some changes to Eli’s own “team personnel” and then Kawasaki went out to Colorado to break the bike down to ground zero and start over. And after throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Eli, he was going a second faster on his personal SX track. Bruce sure sounded confident, no doubt about it. Last week the team also had the new set-up and Tomac looked great all day long, but he crashed in the first turn, bent his shifter and rode the whole race in second gear, so we never saw the fruits of their labor until now.
Well this time Tomac was great! He ripped through the pack to get a second for his third podium of the year (second if you don’t count the radically different Daytona). This track tested a motorcycle in the handling department, and Tomac looked awesome. His relief after the main event was palpable. You could tell he was in a happy place with his bike and his riding.
To me, this weekend in New Jersey is so, so, so big for Tomac and the Kawasaki crew. Two races with the “new” set-up have featured one result that’s a wash and one great race. So what do we see this weekend? Stay tuned to see if Eli Tomac and his Kawasaki are “fixed.” I’m betting they are.
The 250SX Eastern Regional Championship is the series no one wants to win! We keep waiting and waiting for one of these dudes to take control but it’s not happening. This weekend, points leader Malcolm Stewart was in command early on until he strangely went backwards. Stewart was dealing with a sore ankle, but still, he had this thing! He was looking great! Meanwhile, Jeremy Martin ripped through the pack and was on fire, picking riders off until he went around Mookie, who had already been passed by Martin Davalos. Jeremy Martin desperately needed a win and the extra three points, but he couldn’t get it done despite being all over Marty.
Aaron Plessinger was one point back of Mookie coming in, but he got a bad start and couldn’t move anywhere near as far forward as he needed to. So out of all of those contenders, Davalos got the win and he deserved it. He made some passes and rode well under pressure—it was a great ride. I thought Mookie was going to win it, then I thought Martin was going to win it, briefly thought that McElrath could win it and in the end, it was Marty with his second win of the season.
In the end, even though Mookie finished third and I imagine was bummed, he put four points on Plessinger and still has 14 on Martin, so he’s the winner even though he lost. I can’t figure this coast out but Mookie’s got two more races to hang on to this thing.
Let’s take a look at the results shall we?
1 49 Martin Davalos CLERMONT, FL Husqvarna FC250- Marty admitted to Weege that after missing Toronto he was pressing to get back into contention and that led to mistakes. There’s always next year Martin, don’t worry.
2 6 Jeremy Martin Millville, MN Yamaha YZ250F- I thought Jeremy could’ve gotten a bit dirty with Davalos once he got close to him. That’s not usually his style but there was a chance or two. He really, really needed to win.
3 50 Malcolm Stewart Haines City, FL Honda CRF 250- As I said on our podcast, ask if Mookie is doing the outdoors and you get some people that should know say “Absolutely, he’s in” and others that should know say “Uhhh, no he won’t be out there.” This is is how things work in 2016, bro.
4 30 Shane McElrath Canton, NC KTM 250SX-F- Sugar Shane ran second for a while and then got caught up in the battle with all the top four. He waited behind Mookie too long and ended up off the podium, which sucks for him, but the top four gave us a hell of a race.
5 23 Aaron Plessinger Hamilton, OH Yamaha YZ250F- If Aaron loses this championship he’ll think about Foxborough SX as being a reason why. He didn’t get a great start but worked up to the back of the lead pack pretty quickly. From there he just kind of sat there unable to make up ground. Weird deal.
6 53 Tyler Bowers Corona, CA Kawasaki KX 250F- The Bear won another heat race and then put on another sub-standard (for him) ride in the main event. To me he looks tired (trust me, I know what tired looks like). He was battling Epstein-Barr a while back and perhaps he should get himself checked out again because it might be back.
7 61 Gannon Audette Tallahassee, FL Kawasaki KX 250F- Okay, so PC has Cianciarulo, Savatgy, Alldredge and Forkner in for the nationals, and I don’t think we can count on Tonus or Bowers because of, well, a bunch of reasons. So you’re telling me that if there’s an injury, Audette doesn’t get a call to fill-in? Stamp it, bro. Audette rides for PC Kawi at some nationals this year.
8 31 Rj Hampshire Brooksville, FL Honda CRF 250- Hampshire hasn’t gotten starts worth a crap lately and I watched him and Bowers on the gate. Tyler got the jump, they locked bars and not surprisingly, the Bear won. So RJ backed off and came into the turn almost last. He made the most of it from there but he probably wasn’t pumped.
9 48 Anthony Rodriguez Cairo, GA Kawasaki KX 250F- A-Rod continues his strong rides lately for the Traders Kawi team. Lobster for everyone!
10 46 Luke Renzland Hewitt, NJ Yamaha YZ250F- Luke didn’t qualify last week, which was shocking. He blamed it on our pre-race talk we had before his heat. This week I saw him down in the tunnel again and although he was scared to talk to me, he eventually did and then came from basically last in the main to this spot.
11 62 Justin Starling Deland, FL Kawasaki KX 250F
12 297 Henry Miller Rochester, MN Honda CRF 250- This kid is becoming a bit of a story with his rides here lately. Nice work!
13 64 Dakota Alix Jay, VT KTM 250 SX-F- What’s this kid got in his motor? Nitrous system installed by Vin?
14 175 Paul Coates Zephyrhills, FL Honda CRF 250- Coates is not from Zephyrhills, Florida (not far from where The Great Tim Ferry lives by the way). He’s from England. Somewhere out there Rob Herring is stoked.
15 83 Daniel Herrlein Bethesda, OH Honda CRF 250
16 421 Vann Martin Houston, TX Honda CRF 250- Martin’s dad Shawn is a long-time industry guy that works for Honda of Houston (which made Vann’s switch to Kawi at one point look a little strange) and right now Honda of Houston is near all the flooding down in Texas. So a bit of reprieve for the Martin family with Vann’s finish I suppose.
17 84 Jimmy Albertson Shawnee, OK Suzuki RM-Z250- Top Jimmy got a great start and then arm pump hit along with his other injuries and he dropped back to here.
18 373 Jacob Williamson Swartz Creek, MI Kawasaki KX 250F
19 128 Alexander Frye Huntingtown, MD KTM 250SX-F- Not sure what happened to Frye here but seeing how his results keep going up and down, he’s probably going to top five in NY this weekend!
20 653 Tyler Bereman Murrieta, CA Kawasaki KX 250F- Durham’s teammate made his first main of the year proving that perhaps the competition is toast along with the East Coast.
21 284 Cody Church Grand Junction, CO Kawasaki KX 250F
22 159 Darryn Durham Menifee, CA Yamaha YZ250F- Great debut race on the East for Durham, then injuries and crashes have hit ever since then. Weird deal, right?
1 94 Ken Roczen Clermont, FL Suzuki RM-Z450- Fox debuted some glow-in-the-dark gear this weekend and…uh, it wasn’t a night race. Fox had issues getting the gear into the country and they missed their window for getting into an actual, you know, race that was dark. So Foxborough it was! Yes, it looked weird.
2 3 Eli Tomac Cortez,CO Kawasaki KX 450F- Looks like Tomac for sure will be doing one of the USGP’s at Glen Helen or Charlotte, or maybe both. I will be very surprised if he shows up at both of them and I won’t be shocked at all if he makes the MXdN team and ends up missing them both.
3 1 Ryan Dungey Clermont, FL KTM 450 SX-F- Dungey wasn’t his usual stellar self and allow me to share a theory I have from our podcast (it comes partially from Jason Thomas, who thinks this type of track surface didn’t favor Dungey). Maybe the dirt in Foxborough is Dungey’s kryptonite and following in the footsteps of the Batman versus Superman movie, RCH Suzuki should bottle some dirt up, make it into a powder and then throw it on Dungey before each main event. I don’t know, man, it was just weird to see Ryan “struggle” so hence my wack-job theory.
4 21 Jason Anderson Rio Rancho, NM Husqvarna FC450- Anderson had Dungey beaten but he told Weege that he developed some front brake problems and had to back it down. That and a couple of near misses in the whoops probably sapped his energy.
5 41 Trey Canard Edmond, OK Honda CRF 450- Canard’s past the early season jinxes, crashes and bad starts—5-4-5-5 in his last four races. I’m sure he wants on the podium but hey, it’s going a lot better than it was, right?
6 19 Justin Bogle Cushing, OK Honda CRF 450- Another solid ride for kid rapper. He’s only six points out of the top ten in points and since he’s riding so well lately, would you want to bet against him getting in there?
7 14 Cole Seely Sherman Oaks, CA Honda CRF 450- Great job by Seely on his return from injury. This wasn’t an easy track to come back to and he doesn’t have a ton of time on the bike. I wrote a while back that I think Seely’s going back to Honda next year but his agent denied it was done. But yet I keep hearing from people close to Cole that he is so…
8 28 Weston Peick Menifee, CA Yamaha YZ450F- Strong race for Peick as he remained in the top ten in the points with two races left. Peick’s racing for a contract next year as are 73 other guys so it should be interesting to see where he lands.
9 22 Chad Reed Dade City, FL Yamaha YZ450F- Reed was having some trouble with his starts a while back and slapped on a hydraulic clutch which seemed to help. He credited it with helping him anyways. Well, this weekend his starts in the heat, semi and main were really bad. Will the clutch remain on the Yamaha for this week? We’ll have to see.
10 25 Marvin Musquin Corona, CA KTM 450 SX-F- Marv was great and then he hurt his wrist. Since he’s come back he hasn’t had the same kind of pizazz, which is to be expected. It just shows you how tough it is to stay on that tip of the spear. Remember when he was half a lap from winning Atlanta and we all thought that sucked but hey, he’ll get a win? Well, never take that stuff for granted.
11 33 Joshua Grant Wildomar, CA Kawasaki KX 450F- I didn’t really see it but Roczen was not happy with Grant after the race for racing with him while being lapped. He called Josh out by name on his podium interviews at the track and then again in my post race interview with him.
12 10 Justin Brayton Mint Hill, NC KTM 450 SX-F- Not a very good night for JB who rode well in the heat, was solidly in the top ten for a long time then just dropped back. Not sure if he had bike problems or what was going on. Very unlike Brayton, for sure.
13 800 Mike Alessi Hilliard, FL Honda CRF 450- Mike got a bit lucky in that he wasn’t docked two spots for doubling the triple with the red-cross flags out. I saw it happen and to me he had time to check up. The RCH guys went and talked to the FIM but nothing came of it. This was fine with me because I had Tickle for fourteenth in the fantasy SX league and got a ton of points.
14 20 Broc Tickle Holly, MI Suzuki RM-Z450
15 27 Nicholas Wey Murrieta, CA Kawasaki KX 450F- Wey’s got two more races in his comeback. He raced his 190th big bike SX main event this weekend. Does he come back for 200th? All I know is that I probably won’t write anymore sappy columns about what a great career he’s had because I don’t think he’s done.
16 55 Vince Friese Cape Girardeau, MO Honda CRF 450- Vince knows the deal with being lapped as does his teammate the #800 (and that’s not slagging on them, bro, they’re gnarly) but holy crap were the 55 and the 800 in the way of the leaders this week. I don’t know if it was the track, these guys ignoring flags or what but the red and white MCR bikes were wide this weekend and I’m sure there were a few riders and managers pissed.
17 761 Cade Clason Chesterfield, SC Honda CRF 450- AXO is back, bro! Cade tweeted out that his scooter got stolen this weekend and let’s all shed a tear for a privateer’s transportation going missing.
18 86 AJ Catanzaro Savannah, GA Kawasaki KX 450F- The Cat came back and put her into the main event. Nice job by AJ.
19 51 Justin Barcia Greenville, FL Yamaha YZ450F- Barcia took Weimer out in Indy and apologized about it afterwards. This week Weimer went for some revenge and this didn’t make Justin very happy. He went bonkers around Weimer, Jake was trying to get him back and it was quite entertaining for a few laps in the heat. Then they had some words in the tunnel and depending on which team you talk to, Barcia either pulled a WWF-style head butt on Weimer or he simply got in Weimer’s face and they yelled at each other.
20 314 Alex Ray Milan, TN Honda CRF 450- I enjoy the Clason/Ray battles out there each and every week. I can guarantee you that most media dudes are not watching these guys but I do and they’re so close in speed that it’s always a good time. Both of them should get ready to drop a number next year.
21 79 Nicholas Schmidt Lake Elsinore, CA Suzuki RM-Z450- Nick went down twice in the span of about 20 seconds and the second one did him in as he just laid there probably wondering when he was going to get some of his air back.
22 12 Jacob Weimer Wildomar, CA Suzuki RM-Z450- Weimer hit Peick’s back tire in a rhythm section and went down pretty hard. He also collected his buddy Barcia, his teammate Tickle and Mike Alessi for good measure. I think he’ll be ok but he was banged up. Only two more races left for Weimer in his year because he’s not doing outdoors for the RCH guys. I hear he might do some GPs though.
Some more news and notes:
- Suzuki’s season is just going wonderful. I heard the boss of a team who’s struggling tell me that things could be worse because “we could be Yoshimura Suzuki.” We know about James Stewart and his issues and this weekend the team’s other rider, Blake Baggett, didn’t qualify for the main event. It wasn’t all Blake’s fault, we all know he’s fast enough but crashes and poor starts left him on the outside looking in when it was all said and done. I’m going to get Suzuki manager Mike Webb a giant bottle of Pepto after Las Vegas. Or a giant bottle of booze because he deserves it.
Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Really, I do. Email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this race or anything else really.