“Go west, young man.” While that phrase probably had nothing to do with supercross, I am going to take Horace Greeley’s advice and head to Seattle on Friday morning in search of all things entertaining. We are up to round 12 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and things are beginning to heat up. Marvin Musquin grabbed a big Midwest win, reeling Cooper Webb’s lead back to 14 points. With suspect weather in the forecast, could this be another opportunity to shake up the results?
Dirty Little Secrets
The track in Seattle is always deceiving when looking at the layout. What looks possible on paper is typically an illusion. The dirt is softer, wetter, and more prone to deterioration than other rounds. The ruts will be deeper, holes softer, and the approach will change accordingly. What could be a tough seat-bounce triple will usually end up as a basic double-single. Choosing lines that stay consistent over 21 minutes tends to be the smarter Seattle game plan.
The start continues with the current theme of cutting across the track width wise. I have mentioned several times that I don’t care for this style, but someone apparently does. This start actually bends back into a 180, so that’s a better variation than the fast 90-degree style, but it still changes the layout and I don’t like the number of flat areas on the race track it necessitates. Cutting back and forth across it limits the rhythm sections and possibilities.
Exiting the first turn, riders will cross over a small sand section, with the take-off of a double being sandy. This could be tricky if sandy ruts form on the take-off. That’s followed by a short flat area and into a 90-degree right. Riders will stick to the inside here (as is the problem with almost all 90-degree turns) and roll the first jump. That will set them up to go 2-3-2 down this lane. That’s assuming the dirt holds up but the jumps look small enough for this to hold up as the line. Another alternative would be to swing a bit wide early, double into the section, and then go 3-3, but I don’t see any real upside to that line.
A bowl berm fires everyone into the next lane. This rhythm is a bit awkward, but I think the simplest approach will win out. Staying low and fast is a cardinal rule for supercross and doubling through this section will fit that bill. With small take-offs, riders will be able to double-double, step-on step-off, and then single out. There will probably be a few attempts to change this up but I don’t think Seattle will be the right track to opt for the sketchy line.
Another small flat area (crossing the start lanes) leads to a left-hand bowl berm and then back across the flat. That leads to a standard supercross triple and a basic step-on step-off before a long, sweeping 180 to the right. Riders will protect the inside here as it leads to the finish line jump. Look for riders to carry speed and then scrub the finish line to the left. They will hope to scrub back to the middle of the landing and then work right through the sand, setting them up for an outside entrance to the next bowl berm. They will have to be wary of any trailing rider, though, as they will surely hope to set up a block pass in the upcoming berm. This section twice crosses over the flat lane yet again before a very basic rhythm section. If possible, riders will want to triple up and over the tall jump, setting them up to go 3-1 out of the section. Seattle doesn’t always allow triples like this so watch for the elite to attempt this because it will undoubtedly be the fastest line.
A right-hand bowl berm leads to the only whoops section on the track. Seattle whoops are usually a rutty, messy affair. They will be blitzed in practice but then quickly turn into all sorts of varying lines. Some will jump, some will blitz/wheelie/jump as many as possible, and some will just stick to blitzing. With so many easy sections, this could be the critical part of the track. Whoever figures out the fast line earliest could make a big difference.
After the whoops, riders race across yet another flat area created by the start and into a 90 right. Six small jumps span the width of the track and will either be a 2-2-2 option or 2-3-1 could also be chosen. The 90 right cuts across the start again (notice a theme here?) and starts lap two.
Overall, I don’t care for this track. To be fair, though, Seattle’s weather usually limits the creativity. Even the most brilliant track map ever would most likely be wasted. I just don’t think having to cross the start so many times is the most efficient use of the stadium floor.
Questions I Need Answered
Series momentum is up for grabs. Can Marvin Musquin create more pressure?
Will Adam Cianciarulo pick up where he left off?
Will weather change Seattle or do we get a 2008-ish Seattle?
How many KTM’s can they cram to the front of the 450 main event start?
Justin Barcia looked great last weekend. Can he use the soil and weather to his advantage?
Cianciarulo might have cooled slightly in the weeks since Atlanta, but his momentum is still palpable.
Musquin finally found the top step of the podium and might have a chance to turn this title into a dogfight down the stretch.
Blake Baggett has been on the podium in two of the last three rounds.
Josh Grant will join the series on a Monster Energy Factory Yamaha alongside Justin Barcia. He waited longer than I would imagine he hoped, but his ride arrived as he will fill-in for Aaron Plessinger for the remainder of supercross.
Ken Roczen isn’t quite right and mentioned struggles late in the races. Hopefully he can find answers soon.
Tomac lost touch with the leaders during the second half of Indy’s main event. I don’t have any answers for Eli. He can be the best or nowhere near it with seemingly no explanation as to why.
Colt Nichols lost a lot of points at the East/West Showdown in Atlanta but has a few rounds left to right the ship.
Jeffrey Herlings’ bid to come Stateside was decided against earlier today. It’s a big blow to many fans hopes and dreams of the ultimate American showdown.
Steve Matthes is late for well, everything, after 14 trips to Starbucks on Saturday.
Justin Hill qualifies inside the top three and once again, shortens every PulpMX Fantasy player’s life expectancy.
Tomac wins Seattle. His 2019 season is added to an exposé focusing on flight MH370, moon landings, the Bermuda Triangle, Stonehenge, Area 51, and Coke Zero.
Cianciarulo qualifies fastest and also holeshots his heat race and main event.
The 450 first turn is a sea of orange, per usual.
CBD oil companies announce that its benefits now include immortality.