Two years ago, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rolled into the 250 title fights of Monster Energy Supercross with two veterans of the class. Martin Davalos was about to turn 30, and Zach Osborne has just turned 27. Davalos took fourth in 250SX West Region and Osborne won the 250SX East Region Championship. What a difference two years makes. Davalos has now shuffled over to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, and Osborne has moved to the 450 class. Suddenly, the Rockstar Husqvarna 250 squad doesn’t have an anchor or a veteran presence—the lineup features rookie Jordan Bailey, second-year supercrosser Michael Mosiman, and Thomas Covington, a veteran of the MX2 battles in MXGP, but also a complete rookie to AMA Supercross.
Consider that Mosiman is the only one of the team who has even raced a supercross. He has just six career 250SX starts.
We recently checked with Bobby Hewitt, who runs the team, for a status report on his young riders.
“There’s been some bright moments,” he says. “I’m pleasantly surprised Mosiman is doing as well as he is. Going into their second year they’re so much more relaxed and know what to expect. We’ve had a full year of training with Mosiman, he’s stronger and put on some muscle, which he needed. He’s riding very well. Bailey, he’s where Mosiman was last year, trying to get comfortable with supercross and getting his conditioning down. Just putting in laps. The real goal is to just get through supercross healthy and keep building and improving.”
Hewitt’s squad has managed many a rider through the ranks, with of course Jason Anderson being the star pupil of the 250 class. Anderson went from huge struggles as a rookie to the 250SX West Region Championship in his fourth season. But while Bailey and Mosiman can follow traditional pathways of amateurs transitioning to pros, the situation is very unique for Covington, who went straight to professional racing in Europe when his U.S. amateur days ended and has thus never raced a supercross before.
“Covington is very methodical with how he approaches his day,” says Hewitt. “For a guy who has never done supercross, the guy can put in laps all day long. I’ve never seen a guy that new to it put in laps like that. The young guys or the rookies they will hold their breath so much, or hold onto the bike so tight, they’ll do six laps and be like “I can’t breathe” or “I have arm pump.” Just being comfortable knowing where you can breathe and relax, especially with the whoops or the big rhythms, that usually comes with time. Covington has been very good with picking that up.”
“There is no substitute for doing laps,” Hewitt continues. “It’s learning how to stay low, how to downside the transitions, and Covington is doing really well with landing his downsides without clipping anything. The rookies that’s usually where they struggle, clipping everything, and keeping that rolling speed through the corners. Everyone gets the jumps down. The races are won in three places: the start, the corners and the whoops. Once you get the laps down, that’s when you get to work on those pieces.”