Yeah, man…Southwick! It’s awesome that the track is back in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and really cool of everyone to make this happen. Hold on: can we have a moment of silence for the loss of Utah off the schedule?
No? Yeah, I agree. Getting Southwick back instead of Utah is a trade up equivalent to the old woman in “Titanic” to the chick in “The Shallows”.
Having Keith Johnson and John Dowd in charge and running things at the ‘Wick was epic. We just needed Mike Treadwell to be laying down some cable, Barton to be working security, Lorusso to be parking cars and Scotty Carter manning the concessions. Everything was set up for Southwick to be perfect (and Tready really did install power lines at the track!).
I didn’t go to the ‘Wick and I’m eternally bummed. Try to hold back the laughter here but I moved a TV on Wednesday, got some gnarly upper back pain on Thursday, drugged myself up to make the flight Friday morning and quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen when I got up. The spasms were gnarly, bro. By Friday night I was much better and could’ve gotten on a red eye that left at 11 p.m. and got into Hartford at 9 a.m. Saturday so I maybe would have been there for the motos, but a red eye didn’t seem like a good idea after back problems, and Weege and the boys at Racer X seemed to have it covered so I skipped it.
So with that knowledge (I’m 100 percent fine now, thanks for asking) I just thought I’d break down the series just past the halfway point in both classes and offer up some thoughts on things.
1 17 Cooper Webb Newport, NC 290- This season has been playing out exactly like Cooper and his team hoped it would. Step 1: Nurse this wrist injury from supercross early on, limit the damage and take what you can get. Step 2: Get to the week off after round three and by then start practicing more during the week. Step 3: Start building, clicking off wins and hopefully be there by the end to get the one championship he doesn’t have before he goes to 450’s full-time.
This has probably gone ever better than Team Webb expected, as he’s won three-straight races and has a nice points lead with ten motos left. As I’ve written before, I wouldn’t have raced the nationals if I was Coop. With multi-million dollar contracts in his pocket for 2017 and beyond, I’d shown everyone my X-ray from my wrist, started hitting the lake and Tinder hard and rest up. But not Coop. That’s why he’s a bad ass and I’m still talking about my glory years in the early 90s racing in Manitoba each week.
2 37 Joseph Savatgy Thomasville, GA 253- Remember when Chad Reed won the first moto at Millville in 2011, had a twenty-something point lead over Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey in the standings and was a bad ass? Then the second moto came, CR did something called the “Chadapult” and he was never the same that year. Savatgy’s RedBud crash wasn’t on Reed’s level but since the hit, his two motos were nowhere near the level he was at earlier. He’s got to stop this slide ASAP. Savatgy’s in great shape, he’s won five motos and while all of us were talking about what’s wrong with J-Mart and OMG A-Mart is amazing and Webb’s wrist and Wacko’s starts, Joe-Dawg was there dominating. Until recently, anyways. I don’t want to be all dramatic and say that this weekend is VERY big for Savatgy and his title hopes but this weekend is VERY big for Savatgy and his title hopes.
3 1 Jeremy Martin Millville, MN 252- The two-time champ is third in the points, he’s won three motos (no overalls) and on paper he looks to be fine. But at the races he’s not been the same guy we’ve seen the last two summers. There’s been no, you know, OOMPH late in the motos. Small crashes here and there (we’re still timing how long it took him to pick his bike up at The ‘Wick) have added up to Jeremy being more human than we’ve seen.
4 26 Alex Martin Millville, MN 232- And this guy—like, seriously. If you’re Kyle Cunningham or Martin Davalos then A-Mart is your hero. Like, this could happen to you! Alex has an overall win this year but strangely can’t seem to get a moto win despite leading 27 laps. Earlier this year he got second in four out of five motos and is now riding a streak of four thirds in the last five motos. Unfortunately for Alex he’s had some real poopy motos. Still, this year has been a win for A-Mart—he even got a Racer X cover!
5 16 Zachary Osborne Abingdon, VA 217- Wacko won a moto this year. That’s the good part. The bad part is his starts suck and he’s not going to do much of anything unless he gets up there early on. He reminds me a bit of Tim Ferry in that he’s so solid, does everything right off the track but is just a tick off the elite dudes in his class. Oh, and his starts suck.
6 214 Austin Forkner Richards, MO 202- This is pretty good, right? Forkner got third at The ‘Wick and what’s amazing: he said he’d never been there before. We were talking to Benny Bloss on the Pulpmx Show and Benji (I can call him that cause we’re tight) said they have a track in Oklahoma (where Forkner trains out of) that was remarkably similar to Southwick. Maybe that was it. I’m not sure, but Forkner has been way legit this year. AND wait ‘til SX, people—he’s going to blow your wig back.
7 23 Aaron Plessinger Hamilton, OH 186- I have no idea what’s going on here. In my eyes Aaron should be challenging for the podium and race wins every single time out there. He hasn’t been terrible or anything like that but he’s not with the leaders most weekends. I think he’ll figure it out at some point, but he needs some mud like Bono needs a cause to turn this ship around.
8 66 Arnaud Tonus Switzerland 138 - I’m actually surprised that Arnaud is this high in the points. That means it’s been okay for him. The Swiss has missed (get it?) in his two years in America but he was a lap and a half from getting on the podium at The ‘Wick and Mitch Payton says he’s riding with a shoulder that probably needs surgery at some point. Tonus hasn’t been spectacular but he’ll take steady after a rough year and a half.
9 30 Shane McElrath Canton, NC 132- McElrath was pulling a “Barcia” where he sort of meddles around in the top ten, has a great moto, gets some confidence and becomes a totally different dude. Shane was averaging a 14th place through the first eight motos of the year, then came to a track he’s raced on forever at Muddy Creek, went 5-2 and was a lap away from winning the second moto. Then at RedBud he went 9-5 and at Southwick led laps before absolutely crashing his brains out. This is how quick everything can turn from poop to flowers and to poop again in motocross. Shane will be out for the rest of the season with injuries.
10 31 RJ Hampshire Hudson, FL 132- Up and down, up and down for Hampshire this year which isn’t anything new for him. He’s fast but can’t quite figure out the consistency thing yet.
11 42 Mitchell Oldenburg Alvord, TX 132- Nice steady work for Mitchell this outdoor season. He’s never going to wow you with his outdoors skills but he seems to be in shape and works hard every moto.
12 44 Adam Cianciarulo Port Orange, FL 123- I don’t know if Adam will ever reach the heights predicted of him before injuries struck, but he’s trying man, he’s trying. He’s gotten multiple holeshots, he’s qualified fastest multiple times, he’s led laps so he’s figured out the speed and starts part of things. Race craft, fitness and staying on two wheels? He hasn’t gotten that down yet. He really doesn’t want to get hurt and miss any more time and that’s probably something he has to get out of his head to really take that next step, but can you blame him? Kid’s been hurt so many times his doctor probably owns a yacht he calls ‘The Adam’.
13 49 Martin Davalos Ecuador 115- Prior to this year Marty averaged four nationals a year in his career. So to have him still going strong seven rounds in is great! Davalos has been very Davalosian outdoors with some great starts, some fast laps and some fades to the back mixed in with some crashes. Every once in a while Marty shows us what he can do with a great ride like Lakewood or Southwick.
14 39 Jordon Smith Belmont, NC 100- Man, oh man, remember Jordon at Hangtown? He finished second in the first moto with a great ride and was running top five in the second before A-Mart (of all people!) punted him off the track. That’s been about the highlight of the season for Jordon. He’s got six motos he’s missed or scored no points in. I’m no Tony D but that’s too many.
15 289 Mitchell Harrison Brighton, MI 93- Turns out that Harrison needs a way wider track and way longer races in order to stay upright. Who knew?
16 69 Colt Nichols Muskogee, OK 82- Nichols is in the throes of his first ever outdoor season and like you would expect there’s been some good (High Point) with some bad. There’s no doubt he needs to up his outdoor game next year but for a rookie, I guess his MX season has been like “Jaws 2”—not great, not bad, just ok.
17 13 Jessy Nelson Paso Robles, CA 65- What a terrible year for Nelson who was expected to challenge for wins and titles indoors and out. Serious, hard crashes have done him in and he’s expected back for Millville this weekend and we’ll see how it goes. Thumb down for Jessy’s season.
18 46 Luke Renzland Hewitt, NJ 64- A terrible start for Luke, but he’s gotten better lately which is a good thing.
19 45 Kyle Cunningham Aledo, TX 48- Like sands through an hourglass you can always count on Kyle Cunningham and Martin Davalos to be in the 250 class mixing it up with the kids. Brings a tear to your eye don’t it? Kyle started poorly but lately has been much better. He’s also Suzuki’s highest placing rider in the 250’s! This is not good, people.
20 48 Anthony Rodriguez, Venezuela, 42- A-Rod has been, well, A-Rod. He had streak of six motos in a row scoring between 10th and 20th and I guess that’s about where he should be. The hardest thing for kids to do in this class is just keep it in the points.
1 94 Ken Roczen Germany 337- Wow. We didn’t see this coming, did we? Even when Ryan Dungey was there, Roczen was kicking everyone’s ass weekly. Yeah, he was good at the end of supercross but nothing that indicated he would come out at Hangtown and work everyone. He’s been amazing every moto and off the track, Roczen has a great attitude about a lot of things. He doesn’t sweat the message boards or the media—he does what he wants, he says what he thinks and suck it if you’re mad about that. Great going away present to the RCH team as he makes his way to Honda next year.
2 3 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO 290- Like the frog in the ducks mouth in those posters, Tomac’s still hanging on and giving it all he has. Great, amazing ride for Eli at Southwick and I’d be more optimistic of him starting to challenge Roczen more if it weren’t such a different surface from the other tracks. This win could be like the Daytona win in that it’s so different it doesn’t mean anything for the races after it. Still, Tomac went 1-1 two years ago at Millville in beating Dungey and Kenny so there’s that. Eli’s team went to a different clutch to help him, they’re working with him on riding it in a lower RPM (like Roczen is so good at) and let’s see what he can do in the last half of the season.
3 25 Marvin Musquin France 201- I feel like Marv’s been pretty quiet for the most part but here he is, third in the points (yeah, I know there’s been some injuries). Musquin had a great High Point, he’ll have a great Washougal and he’ll be pretty consistent week in and week out. I predict some Barcia/Musquin battles that end badly for Marv time and time again in the coming weeks. He’s too nice a guy to T-bone the crap out the bearded wonder.
4 51 Justin Barcia Madison, FL 181- Barcia had a good ‘Wick but we knew that, right? He’s lost whatever in the heck he had last year when he straight up beat Dungey for motos, but he can be the leader of that next group for sure.
5 20 Broc Tickle Holly, MI 171- Tickle had two great races in a row and a pretty good Southwick. Tickle is what he is at this point but with the injuries he can show that he can be “the guy” and not just “a guy.” He’s certainly underrated in that he doesn’t have a lot of flash around him. This battle for third in the points between him, Barcia and Musquin should be interesting.
6 377 Christophe Pourcel Dade City, FL 168- At this point you do wish that CP would try harder but he is what he is. He’s a solid 450 dude that can strike with some good rides here or there when the sun is in the right position. Pourcel will never be a title contender, I don’t think he wants to work that hard, but some podiums here or there are not so bad.
7 14 Cole Seely Newbury Park, CA 151- Seely’s out for the season but before that happened he had some nice rides going. I know he changed up his training program to add some more strength for the outdoors and seeing as how Jeff Ward is his advisor, I’m sure Wardy had him benching VW Bugs on Thursdays.
8 19 Justin Bogle Cushing, OK 136- Lots of holeshots for Bogle and some laps led. It’s a lot like his 450SX season where there are flashes of brilliance here and there and then some rides that make you forget he’s out there. But it’s his first year in the class so that’s not too shabby. Leading laps is legit, right?
9 1 Ryan Dungey Waconia, MN 131- Dungey is out with a neck injury and I bet he’s ok with this. His streak of outdoor races is phenomenal and something to be admired, but with that comes a lot of work and effort. So now he can relax and ramp up for the Red Bull Straight Rhythm where I’m sure his loss last year at that event drives him every single day. Oh, and he’s up for another ESPY, bro!
10 10 Justin Brayton Fort Dodge, IA 120- Are you sitting down? Good, because Brayton started the outdoor season a bit slower before picking it up lately and I predict will have a very good Millville this weekend. Then by the end of the season you’ll look at the points and be like “Hmmm, I don’t remember JB being that good this motocross season.” If this sounds familiar it’s because that’s what he’s done just about every outdoor motocross season.
11 21 Jason Anderson Rio Rancho, NM 113- I would bet that if you could get Anderson on a polygraph he would admit that his injury after a great supercross season isn’t the worst thing for him. He’s got years on his contract, he won two supercrosses, outdoors isn’t much fun and so some R&R isn’t so bad. I would check his Instagram to see what he’s been doing/where he went but he blocked me because he said his team owner ordered him to. The team owner didn’t seem to know anything about it when we talked. Hmmm… weird.
12 29 Andrew Short Colorado Springs, CO 100- We’re getting near the end for the great Andrew Short in his last ever pro season. Shorty started slow but he’s been getting better the last few races. I wonder if he stops and looks around a little here or there and thinks about how lucky he’s been and how he’s not going to be back at these tracks next year. I know I would and I would probably tear up some except for Unadilla where I would throw a party.
13 28 Weston Peick Menifee, CA 99- Peick’s had some bike issues, he’s also had some Weston Peick issues but I feel like his speed is there. Which is a good thing. He just isn’t finishing the deal a lot of the time for those reasons above. The good news is that it could be worse; he could be Phil Nicoletti.
14 167 Benny Bloss Oak Grove, MO 98- Benji is on the move the last two weeks. The six-foot-five Bloss makes his KTM look like a supermini out there. I feel bad for staring at him like he’s a circus freak or something, but I’m not sure how he makes it work so well.
15 41 Trey Canard Edmond, OK 97- Canard wasn’t winning motos before he got hurt but he was solid top five dude. With the injuries in the class, there’s no reason he can’t get on the podium once he comes back, which hopefully is real soon.
16 34 Phillip Nicoletti Cohocton, NY 93- Phil’s been very fast this year and should be in the top ten in the points with ease. Unfortunately he’s crashed and had bike issues seemingly in every other moto. No, this is not text I stole from his Eleven 10 days; this is 2016
17 33 Joshua Grant Riverside, CA 88- Grant’s gone from the series but not before putting in some steady rides and earning a factory ride from Kawasaki for next year. Imagine that—he didn’t have a sniff of much to start the year and rode himself into a full factory ride as a fill-in. That doesn’t happen much.
18 4 Blake Baggett Grand Terrace, CA 84- The rumor is Baggett’s going to BTO KTM next year and that should be interesting. The rumor that Baggett has had some injuries the last two years is very viable.
19 32 Matthew Bisceglia Tualatin, OR 75- Matt didn’t qualify at Southwick which really sucks but generally speaking, he’s been pretty solid for the Yosh Suzuki team that with Bagget and Stew live a very roller-coaster like life each and every week.
20 43 Fredrik Noren Sweden 75- Fast Freddie hasn’t been as fast as before but he’s had some crashes here and there. Oh, and not being on the factory bike might have something to do with his rides. Maybe he’ll get back on the factory bike soon?
Did you know there’s a Manufacturer’s Cup Award in each class? I know when I was at Yamaha we won something and had a trophy in our shop for being the top OEM but that was for SX. The scoring works where they take the points from the highest scoring OEM in each moto and add them up. I’m not sure what is given out for outdoors or if this matters or not, but here’s the latest standings for this prestigious award:
450 Manufacturer Cup Standings!
1 Suzuki 337- Uhhh…. yeah, if Suzuki wins this they should probably just give the trophy to Ken Roczen. As far as being the top finishing Suzuki rider in each moto, it’s not like ANY OTHER Suzuki riders are helping the cause here.
2 Kawasaki 292- Tomac’s got 290 points so Kawasaki really owes Josh Grant for beating Eli by two points in Thunder Valley to help this race for the championship.
3 KTM 269- Dungey got a lot of the teams points, now it’s Marvin and maybe Dean Wilson starting this weekend can chip in with a good finish or two.
4 Husqvarna 227- Pourcel and Alex Ray, the Swedes look to you.
5 Honda 217- Without Trey Canard and Cole Seely, the red riders are in tough spot to win this thing. The good news is #94 is coming on over in 2017!
6 Yamaha 208- Well, Yamaha, you are leading in one area. That’s the “most bikes pushed off the track” category! Congrats! Yeah, maybe that’s mean, but hey, I’ve been there and feel the pain.
250 Manufacturer Cup Standings!
1 Yamaha 330- Yamaha may be missing the mark in 450’s but between all the Star Yamaha guys, they’re looking great to win this award in the small bike class. Remember when no one rode the blue bikes that had carbs and oil tanks?
2 Kawasaki 298- I don’t have the stats in front of me but I’m pretty sure Mitch Payton has won this award for Kawasaki a time or dozen.
3 Husqvarna 219- Wacko Zacho and Marty can show flashes of brilliance, so that’s a good thing.
4 KTM 194- ROUGH year for TLD KTM guys. Maybe it’s karma for letting Colton Facciotti go that one year?
5 Honda 167- GEICO Honda’s doing all they can, but it ain’t enough.
6 Suzuki 38- Ouch! Top Jimmy and Kyle Cunningham—Mark Barnett is ashamed of this.
Thanks for reading and the concern for my injury (wait, no one was actually concerned) and I want you to know I’ll be back for this weekend in Millville and ready to go. Email me if you want at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat about this or anything really.