By Jason Weigandt, Steve Matthes and Kyle Scott
\Marvin Musquin | Red Bull KTM | 3-2 for second overall in 450MX
Racer X: Give us the overview of the day. How’d it go for you?
Marvin Musquin: I love this track, that’s one thing. The other thing is that’s a rough track, really depending on the rollers and stuff like that. I’m really happy to put two solid motos. I really showed that physically I’m doing better now and getting stronger, feeling better with the bike. Today was a good day. I was really looking forward to the motos. I had a really good practice. All I needed to do was get good starts and I’m capable of doing top three right now. Obviously Eli [Tomac] and Ken [Roczen] are one step on top of me right now. They’re faster. We’re trying to get better and trying to get closer to those guys. First moto once again they got away really quick in the first laps, and then I was able to put in some good laps and getting faster and faster. I was actually catching Eli, which is good. Unfortunately for him he went down and I felt like I could have got around him maybe but I didn’t. He picked it up and I still got third, which is good. Second moto I was just looking to get a good start and do solid, consistent motos and get on the podium overall again like I did at High Point, which I didn’t do last weekend and I was mad. So I’m really happy about two solid motos.
It sounded like you were bummed that you couldn’t get Eli in the first moto, so is that a little motivation in moto two? He was behind you and you were holding him off pretty well for most of the race and I think he fell late, but was that a motivation like, I got to beat one of these guys?
Yeah, exactly. Like I said, those two guys are the two top guys right now. Since [Jason] Anderson and [Ryan] Dungey got hurt and no one gets second and first except those two guys. So it feels good to finally get second place. Like I said, we try to get better and try to get closer to those guys and try to give it a run. Today was a good day. I was consistent and we made some changes on the bike this weekend and this week. I wanted to really give it a try this weekend on race day and I’m really happy. It was a good day to have kind of a full team this weekend. Ryan was here, he wasn’t racing but Dean [Wilson] was back. Being alone under the tent at KTM it’s something different. So it was good to have everybody this weekend. To get second, it’s my best finish so far in the 450 class.
What was the difference at the beginning of the year? It’s kind of the same as supercross worked out. About halfway through you picked it up there, and again here. What’s been the difference do you think between early rounds and now?
Confidence, training, working on the bike, trying to get more comfortable. You can see that in many guys, I feel like. [Justin] Barcia for example is getting better too. There is guys that are starting to get better and better. Others, they were already good at the beginning of the season. Everybody’s trying hard and we are too. We showed that we make improvements, even on a tough track like today, so it’s good. Sometimes there’s tracks where I’m doing good because it’s more technical and it’s not that rough, so it’s good to do good on a tough track. I’m just looking forward to being consistent for the end of the season. I think right now I’m capable to be on the podium.
Washougal is traditionally a really good track for you and I think Unadilla actually, too. Are you looking forward to these next ones? They usually work out well for you.
Yeah, I am. Like I said, to do good here in Millville I feel like any track right now I can do good. The change we made on the bike made me feel better on the bike and I can ride the bike easier. I feel more comfortable, so it’s a good thing. That’s what you’re looking for. Thanks to the team for that and for the work they put on. Washougal is a good track. Looking forward to the rest of the season. Two weekends off, it’s going to be a little break for us, but it’s going to be good.
You keep talking about these changes this last week that you guys made. Can you elaborate a little bit more on what those were? Was it suspension, engine components?
No. I don’t think I can!
They did get you a riding partner down in Florida. How about your woods guy down there?
Yes, [GNCC Champion] Kailub Russell. He started training with Aldon. It’s good to have somebody to ride with. It’s been a couple weeks that I’ve been by myself. It’s good and bad at the same time. It’s good because you can just focus on yourself but at the same time you have nobody to ride with, and make the track rougher, make lines. But it’s been good. Kailub is a good guy. We get along really good. I’m looking forward to following his races. It’s been good. –Jason Weigandt
Eli Tomac | Monster Energy Kawasaki | 2-3 for third overall in 450MX
Racer X: Give us your version of how things went today.
Eli Tomac: It was kind of a mixed day. Qualifying was all right, second place. And then first moto it was a really good start of course. Almost got the holeshot and then ended up going around Barcia on that second straightaway. I got in the lead. Had some clean air for a while. I was riding a little bit tight here and there. I felt decent but it wasn’t great. Kenny was there right away on me and came out a right-hander at the bottom of the hill and I made a little mistake and he snuck inside of me and was gone pretty quickly. Put a few seconds on me there. I ended up hitting a rock in a rut and tipping over a few laps later. That was kind of it for the battle for the lead. Ended up staying in front of Marvin there, which was pretty fortunate at that point. That was it for that moto. Moto two rolls around, not as good of a start. I even saw Roczen at one point on the first straightaway in the rollers go by me. No excuses there for that because he was able to get through the pack. He put it down right away. I actually wasn’t as good in the second moto, kind of just hanging out. It was weird because normally Millville’s a really good track for kind of hanging it out, and I just wasn’t able to do it today. I had some goofy mistakes. Jumped off the side of the finish line once, and even stalled it in that second moto, too. Then I had two big mistakes then in the second one, so that was it.
A lot of guys were saying that the track was kind of one-lined. Was that part of the reason coming through the pack second moto that maybe made it hard?
I think this place is normally a little bit tight, but you can pass if you’re fast enough. I don’t know. A few of the S turns in the back of the track once you get back towards the finish line are a little bit one-lined and tight, but for the most part it’s fine.
What’d you think of the track? Did it change a lot through the day? I know someone said they put a lot water on it early and then it dried out. It looked like there were some big ruts forming. How difficult was it in comparison to other tracks?
If I would nit-pick it exactly there was a little bit of water to begin with, but it turned into a decent racing surface.
I’m sure you’re frustrated. I’m sure you want to win more than just the one race you've gotten so gar. How hard is it to not go radical and try crazy different stuff with you or the bike? It seems like you’re just trying to stay with it, stay with it, stay with it, instead of going nuts every week and doing something totally different.
There are motos where we do try different stuff, and I’m still getting second place and kind of getting the same result, so it's just that no one knows about it! There is searching going on. I had a little bit different front end this week and this is kind of the same result other than Marvin beat me in the second moto, other than it’s not being at Southwick in the sand. We definitely have more work to do. Kenny’s on it. –Weigandt
Cooper Webb | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | 1-2 for second overall in 250MX
Racer X: Congrats on the day, in terms of the points lead today is a complete wash in terms of you and Jeremy Martin, and you gained points on everyone else. How’d it go for you?
Cooper Webb: Thank you. Today was good, I was able to qualify second which gave me some confidence going into the motos. First moto I got a good start and I was able to make some good passes. Alex [Martin] and I were up front, I was kind of all over him and then he went down—he kind of made it a little easy on me. So I was able to get the moto win. Second moto I didn’t get a good start. Just put my head down and came through the pack slowly but surely. By the time I was up to second Jeremy [Martin] was gone, so I just kind of brought it home in second. But yeah, I didn’t lose any points to him and actually gained some points on everyone else, so it was all positive.
Did you make any bike changes throughout he day? Did that play any factor in second moto not being quite as good? Maybe the track changed?
We didn’t really make any changes throughout the day. We did press day here so that was good to learn the track and make some changes then. Second moto, I think I just struggled a little bit. I felt I rode good, but probably not as good as the first moto, but a bad start didn’t help. It was good though—glad to come back for second.
How about the hills here on the 250F?
Yeah, the hills here are no joke. Plus the track was pretty rutty, and there were kind of weird bumps. They weren’t the biggest, but they were really sharp edged, so you could get kicked side-to-side. This is always a good track, but it’s a tough track. You’ve got the sand rollers that get tough. I think it was a little hard to pass I think, this year, but overall it was good.
We know you like to win everything. So when you tie for the overall, do you take that as a win or do you think of that as a disappointment with second place?
I think you always want to win. That’s the goal. By no means am I disappointed but it’s always good to be on the top step. Second moto I made it hard on myself. But at least I got a moto win; if you’re going to get second it’s good to get a 1-2. So we’re just going to keep working, go to Washougal, then have a nice little break. The season is coming close to the end so we’ve got to keep rolling through it.
With it being a home track for both Martin brothers, is it kind of like coming into enemy territory? What’s it like?
Oh, I knew they were both going to be good here, we’ve seen what they can do. I knew it was going to be a tough day because they’re always really fast here. I knew I would have to work really hard to run with them or beat them, and they were fast today, so I’m definitely stoked to get that first moto win. –Kyle Scott
Alex Martin | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | 3-4 for third overall in 250MX
Racer X: Congratulations on the day. Ups and downs for you, no question about it. Why don’t you just go ahead and give us your version of the day and how it went for you?
Alex Martin: I came out with a pretty good time in qualifying. The first session I was third and then the second session I struggled a little bit with just how the track was developing. The lines weren’t that great, so eighth. But I wasn’t too worried because I knew there were a lot of good gates on here to get a holeshot from. I lined up next to Joey [Savatgy] and just had a perfect start. I’ve been looking for that for a while now and was able to get both holeshots today. So that was huge for me, a step in the right direction. Just to lead for that many laps again and have a little issue where I go down, it’s becoming frustrating. I had to look at it and I was two mistakes away from maybe having a perfect day. With the first moto tip-over with three laps left. I knew it was going to be hard for Cooper to pass me. I was feeling the heat from Cooper at one point in the moto and I kind of just realized there’s not really much for lines where he could have got around me, so then I kind of relaxed a little bit and just chilled out. It seemed like I had it in the bag up until the crash. In the second moto I just came into that right-hander after the whoops and a dirt clod hit my shifter and bumped it into neutral. I went to gas it and there was nothing, so just tipped over. So that’s a bummer. Everybody’s so close first lap and you get passed by so many guys. I think I got up about eighth or ninth and the sails were a little bit deflated at that point. Just tried my hardest to charge up to forth. To get 3-4 on the day, third overall is still a big accomplishment. I’ve never been on the podium here, so that’s a positive.
Did you just lose the front end in that corner? What happened?
Yeah, I think I just came in a little bit faster than normal and I just sat into the muddy section of the corner and it just sucked me and I just basically stuck. That’s kind of what I thought, and just tipped over.
Was it more just kind of the time of the race? Was it just a mental error that happened or was it just a line choice and speed choice that made the difference?
Same line I’d been taking all moto. Obviously with it being muddy like that it’s a little bit different every lap. I think I just came in a little bit faster and maybe over-rode the corner for just a little bit. I know Coop was taking that inside line and I definitely think it was faster. It was pretty much just my fault for not adapting to the track and doing the inside line.
Second moto you needed to make a pass or two to get on the podium and then you went nuts and you passed two guys in a half a lap. Did you know that those were passes for the podium?
No, I didn’t really know, I was just sick of going slow! When I got back up after the crash I think I was in eighth or ninth and tried to pass Cooper for a couple laps there and I just kind of settled into that pace. My lines weren’t that good. Then maybe ten minutes left I changed my lines, felt a little bit better and put a charge on. Just sick of getting roosted by those guys. Joey was right there but I figured I’d be pretty close to the podium if I passed both of them.
So I know your brother now has a place away from here. Where are you living?
My fiancée has an apartment in Lake City, Minnesota, so when I’m home in Minnesota I just stay with her there.
How did the people that run the place, the track owners, how was the track? How was the event from riders’ perspective? How did they do? [Note: Alex’s parents own and operate the track.]
Well, I got to say, I think my dad, we need to sit him down and be like, dad, you don’t need to water that much. The first session it was so muddy. It didn’t even rain last night, and it was like it rained three inches. So I’m a little bit bummed with that, just because we could barely ride the track. But I knew it was going to work in; the dirt’s phenomenal here. Shane Shafer and the crew did a great job with the track. I was a little bit bummed they took out the Chadapult. I think they were going for something that really wasn’t that great. But overall the track shaped up well. I did think it was a little bit one-lined. It seemed like it was hard to pass, just because they put so much water down. A lot of sections the outside, you couldn’t use it just because it was so muddy. So I think maybe in the future a little less water, old Johnny, might be better. But I still had fun.
Obviously your parents own the track, but you guys don’t get a lot of experience actually riding this track, do you?
I’m starting to think this is almost one of the toughest races. My goal this week was to literally come down here the least amount possible. Every time I come down I get sucked into talking to people, which it’s good to catch up but this isn’t the week to catch up with people. They want to catch up about all the success we’ve had this year and everything and it can be a little bit draining. So I try to avoid the race coming into it. Just trying to have fun with everything that’s here. It can be a little overwhelming with everyone kind of wanting your time and stuff like that.
You guys don’t get too much time actually on this track though before the event? You guys were mainly just on your practice track?
Yeah, we rode it two times before High Point and then that’s the last time we rode. So I wouldn’t say we have much of an advantage. When we rode it that day it was one-lined. There was like four bumps in the track and it was rock hard. So it was quite a bit different than what it is today. I would have to say the local district 23 amateur rider could ride the Millville races and get way more track time than we do. Not much of an advantage, honestly.
Before this weekend the best moto finish that you’ve had here was fourth. Obviously topped that with a third. Do you take that as a win or are you a little disappointed? You said you threw away a 1-1.
It’s frustrating because the way I started out the season I was kind of riding on fire. To be this far in the season and not have more wins is a little frustrating. Especially there’s been cases where I’ve been two or three laps from the finish line and I’m leading and something happens. So that was the case again today. Just two little mistakes and it could have been a 1-1 day. But that’s racing. I hadn’t been on the podium here yet, so just fortunate to be getting on the podium as much as I have this year.
What do you think about your brother being up here and giving your some crap for those crashes?
I think he got it handed it to him today. I would have kicked his butt if I hadn’t tipped over. In that first one I just walked away from him because he couldn’t hang! [Laughs] -Weigandt
Joey Savatgy | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki | 4-5 for fourth overall in 250MX
Racer X: We talked about the RedBud crash and how it took some wind out of your sails. Southwick wasn’t the greatest. All of us media guys were talking that you needed a rebound weekend this weekend to get back into this thing— not that you’re out of it, but you know what I mean. You had a good day. You almost made the podium except for a late race crash, or a mid-race crash. I guess it’s tough to beat those two guys when they live here, so good job on the day.
Joey Savatgy: Yeah, like you said I needed to rebound. We didn’t get it. It’s unfortunate. We’re not out of this by any means, but it’s to the point now where it’s not going to be very easy, and if I want to make it happen, I should have made it happen this weekend but next weekend at this point it’s like either make it happen or it’s not going to happen. So a lot of pressure, not that there’s not ever any pressure but more pressure than ever. But I thrive off that and I like the do or die situations. You got to do it or it’s not going to happen. It’s to the point now where we put ourselves in a hole in a fast way too, and that’s frustrating for me. But no one to blame. We’re struggling with some things and we’re trying to get it figured out. When we do I think we’ll be back to the guy you saw earlier in the year when we were able to up the pace when needed and fend off pressure. But as of right now it’s a struggle, but we’re trying to get it figured out.
Is it one of those things where, you could see in the motos you were just a tick behind those guys and maybe five weeks ago you were able to pick it up. I thought your fitness was phenomenal early in the year, and probably today it’s one of those things where it’s like, I can’t get them. I can see them, but I can’t get them.
Yeah, like you said, at the beginning of the year I think we look at Colorado. We were leading the first moto, go down, get back up. Cooper’s on me and I’m able to up the pace right away, keep him behind me, finish second. Second moto Alex was behind me from halfway, 20 minutes in and I was able to pick up the pace and fend off the pressure. Then we went to High Point, crashed the first moto but were able to rebound second moto. Once again I had pressure for a long time and it just seemed like we were able to pick up the pace no problem. Like you said, right now it’s a little bit of a struggle. Not able to execute quite as well right now as what I was. I got to figure some things out with me. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can do that again. I think I’ve shown it enough this year and we’ve won a lot of races and overalls but we got to get back to that next weekend regardless, no matter what. Looking forward to the challenge, it’s just frustrating. It’s obviously easy to be frustrated when you’re not winning but I’m not necessarily frustrated that I’m not winning; I’m frustrated that I’ve given away as many points as I have, and on stupid things. Just stupid tip-overs and dumb stuff. That’s what I’m more frustrated about than anything else.
You got fourth today but in my mind this is I think the best track of the season. Do you like this place? Do you enjoy this track?
Yeah. Practice was muddy but I think they do a great job here. I think this would be a pretty badass practice track to have. I think the facility and the track and the layout and everything, I think it’s great. I think it’s probably arguably one of the best ones that we have all year. Once again it was a good racetrack. –Steve Matthes
Trey Canard | Honda HRC | 4-5 for sixth overall in 450MX
Racer X: Late in the second moto Barcia was all over you, then you rolled your ankle. Is that okay?
Trey Canard: Yeah I got cross-rutted and landed on my ankle, almost cleaned us both out. I was still ahead of him, but it was one of those ones where I was looking down just to make sure my ankle was still straight. Once I was okay he was three or four seconds ahead of me and I didn’t have it in me to go back after him.
Overall, first race, back, what did you think?
Yeah, it was okay. Obviously I want to do better, you’re never really satisfied until you’re winning, and even when you’re doing that you’re still thinking about it!
Well, you made it hard on yourself because you came back here at this race a couple of years ago and got on the podium, and you led a little bit. We were all thinking you could do that again.
Yeah, for sure. My starts kind of hurt me today, I feel like maybe I was top three speed-ish today, maybe a little behind Marvin, but it seemed like me, Marvin, [Christophe] Pourcel and Barcia were all pretty similar. I wasn’t totally comfortable today, we made a change to the forks in the second moto and things were better. Take what we learned from that, maybe we’ll get into the shock and see what we have in Washougal. –Matthes
Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, 6-16 for thirteenth overall in 250MX
Racer X: Tough day but you showed speed again.
Austin Forkner: Yeah I went down like second lap of second moto. Got up, but I bit my tongue pretty good, got a good gash in it, but other than that I was okay. I got up and caught all the way up to, I think tenth or eleventh. I was onto two guys, I don’t know if I would have passed them but I was really catching them. Then I swapped out in the whoops. They were super G-ed out, and at that point in the moto you’re kind of tired and fatigued. I hurt my foot and kind of slammed my ribs on the bars, but I think I’ll be okay. Just kind of bummed about that. At that point I figured I was out of the top five, but I still thought I was good for a top ten, but after that second crash that was the end of that. I don’t even know what I got in the moto or overall.
First moto was good, though.
Yeah, first moto was good. Had a really good battle with Aaron Plessinger for most of the moto. Didn’t get a great start but worked my way up really good and rode hard the whole first moto. I passed Plessinger at one point, but then a few laps later I made a mistake and he got me. It was really good, sixth, but I rode hard to the end and I had a good battle with those guys. -Matthes