It’s week two and off we go to the land of the rising sun! Even with a threat of rain in the forecast, we will still get our first dry race within the confines of State Farm Stadium.
This race has always been one of my favorites. The Phoenix/Glendale area has awesome winter weather, sunny skies (usually), and good dirt ever since the race exited Tempe in 1998.
Dirty Little Secrets:
The start for Glendale is my favorite kind. The long, left hand 180’s are safer than the other varieties and give everyone a real shot at a good start. Immediately exiting the first turn, there is a long, technical rhythm section. I studied this section for a long time and haven’t quite made my mind up yet on how it will shape up. My best guess is that riders will double, triple, triple, triple, and then single to the inside of the 90-degree turn. There’s a chance that someone will pull a quad on the last four jumps but I don’t see it being faster as it will push riders into the outside berm. Watch this section as it will be a big emphasis for the riders to sort out.
Riders cross over the start straight twice with just a small double to slow it down. After the two short straightaways, there’s a 90-degree right hand turn before another rhythm section. I think riders will cut across the inside of the turn and double, jump-on jump-on jump-off before hitting a standard supercross triple. That will definitely be the fastest option but hopping on and off could prove difficult depending on how the track is shaped.
Two more fast straightaways utilizing the starting line lead to a 180 left and yet another long rhythm section. This one will push riders to triple in, triple again, triple yet again, and then double into a hard 180 right. The big key in these rhythm sections is to attempt to triple from the small take-offs and clear the taller jumps. That allows riders to stay lower and faster. Tripling off of the tall jumps is always the lesser choice and you can often see riders strategizing for how to avoid it.
The 180 left leads into the only whoops section on the Glendale course. Glendale whoops are usually fast and difficult, leading to a lot of passing in 2018. If they are big and steep, hitting the turn perfectly will be a big factor for building speed on entry. Whoops are always a deciding factor in supercross, even more so when the difficulty level ratchets up. A small triple ends the section but if riders don’t hit the whoops just right, the triple might be much tougher than it appears on paper.
A 180 right leads into yet another triple and then immediately fires into the finish line jump. There are two small doubles just after the finish, but riders will have to stay outside in order to set up for the next triple. It’s a standard supercross triple but it’s also right out of the 90-degree left turn, making the turn critical. The 250 guys will struggle here as the track deteriorates or traction gets dicey.
Another left hand 180 sets up for a big triple out of the turn. Jumping this triple will be mandatory if you want to do well but it doesn’t look easy. This is the umpteenth triple out of a turn on this track and all of them will be difficult. This final triple will put riders back into the first rhythm section and onto lap two.
Overall, this track looks difficult. The rhythm sections will be tough to execute consistently but will be crucial to a good result. Mistakes on this track will be costly because of the length of the rhythm sections. If one combo is missed, the rest of the section will be out of whack. The main event will be a test in focus to execute perfect laps for 21 minutes.
Colt Nichols dominated the main event, winning his first ever 250SX race. I will be the first to admit that he was better than I expected. Great job.
Jess Pettis qualified for his second main event and landed his first top ten. He was good all day and even holeshotted his heat race.
Justin Barcia won his first race in nearly six years. He will have the red plate for the first time in his 450 career.
Dean Wilson narrowly missed the podium, but he had a great night otherwise. He is privateering it this season so these results couldn’t come at a better time.
Cooper Webb had the best lap time of the night en route to a fifth place finish. If he can keep that speed in Glendale, he might be back to the old Coop.
Jason Anderson had a rough day. Rumors have been swirling about a sore wrist and a big crash in December but without any facts, I guess we will all just guess as to why he struggled. If he doesn’t bounce back on Saturday, we know something is up.
Marvin Musquin had a minor knee surgery that looked to hinder his results last weekend. I heard that he struggled with bike settings, but he just never looked like normal Marv to me. He will get better in time.
Marvin Musquin, Zach Osborne, and Jason Anderson combine to build one healthy human. The Aldon Baker engineered transformer dominates Glendale, lapping the field four times.
Justin Hill sets the fastest lap time and easily makes the podium, simply because there is absolutely no way to know what he is going to do week to week.
I hear about CBD oil much more than I would ever care to.
Blake Baggett holeshots his heat race.
Adam Cianciarulo sets the fastest lap in 250 timed qualifying.
Eli Tomac sets the fastest lap in 450 timed qualifying.