Welcome to the Racer X Race Day Feed, coming to you from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. From practice reports to the blow-by-blow from today's motos, you’ll find it all right here on the Racer X Race Day Feed. Updates are posted in chronological order, so be sure to scroll down for the latest info. For even more updates be sure to follow us on Twitter, @Racerxonline.
The weather today here at Sam Boyd Stadium is expected to be great with sun and a high of 80 degrees. The temperature will cool off a little tonight but still will be great conditions. Some big headlines heading into the day: Adam Cianciarulo will be making his 450 debut tonight; Malcolm Stewart and Jeremy Martin are racing tonight; Chad Reed put together his own deal and will be racing a Honda; and Eli Tomac will look to become the first repeat winner of the Monster million. I talked to Adam yesterday during press day and he said he with it being his first race on the 450 he doesn’t have any expectations but he never lines up without the intent to win. He said he’s been testing with the team for about a month and he’s ready to get his first taste in the big class.
I also spoke to Stewart, who is making his return to U.S. racing tonight, yesterday and he is pumped to be back. He said he feels great after the Montreal Supercross and all of the work he’s been putting in over the summer. News broke late Thursday night that Martin would make his return to racing this weekend. Martin, who suffered a burst fracture to his vertebrae at the 2018 Tennessee National and had complications following his first surgery and underwent a second surgery in January, was able to start riding again in August and was anticipating returning to racing at the Paris Supercross in November—which was initially earlier than we expected. But now he has announced he’s in for this weekend. Martin’s contract with the team was to expire at the end of 2019 and although he would be missing the entire 2019 season, GEICO Honda signed a two-year extension with Martin in December 2018 that will keep him on the team through the 2021 season. Even if the results aren’t where he’d like them to be tonight, this is huge for him heading into the 2020Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. He’ll be able to get a baseline of where he is at and will know what to work on come the first round of the 250SX East Region in Tamp, Florida, on February 15. If you missed it, check out our list of things to watch during the night show.
First Timed Qualifying
The first timed practice session started outside. Guys seemed to be still getting comfortable with the track and the different lines. Adam Cianciarulo was the fastest qualifier in this session. Jordi Tixier participated in this session, even after a big get-off earlier during free practice. Lots of guys trying the big quad and the triple out of the turn in the section before Monster Alley and a few other lines here and there. James Weeks went down hard and was carted.
Second Timed Qualifying
For this session, the group went to the right out of the gates. Jerry Robin was on fire in this session. Adam “The 722” Enticknap Wageman into third fastest. In the A group, Barcia, Tomac, and Cianciarulo were out front of the group and they were flying. Tomac bested his new teammate’s top time from the first practice, as his 53.877 was the fastest lap we’ve seen anyone complete so far. For a second, “Mookie fever” almost ended before we event got a to look at it as Carlen Gardner went down in the rhythm section and Stewart was heading straight for Gardner’s bike. Stewart’s bike jammed into Gardner’s but he hopped off and onto his feet to stick the landing on the downside of the jump. He limped around for about half a minute until he got back on his bike. He appeared not comfortable for a lap or so but then he got back on rhythm and was going even faster than before. He started quading over the tabletop (which not a lot of guys were doing) cleanly (which really no one else was able to do).
Unfortunately for Dean Wilson, his night ended before it began. Wilson had a hard get-off and was carted off the track on a stretcher. Bummer for Deano, he was looking great yesterday and today and some of his lines were quicker than the other riders in several sections. Heal up, Deano. Now none of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna riders will be racing tonight, as Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne both decided to sit out tonight after their already long seasons were extended after they prepped and competed for the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations as members of Team USA.
The gate dropped and the riders went to the left. I really had faith that Mike Alessi would pull a holeshot on his 325cc two-stroke. And he didn’t let me down. Wow. Alessi, Ryan Breece, Tevin Tapia, and Chad Reed. Reed made a pass on Tapia by tripling out of the first turn. Tapia was losing a lot of time in that section by single-doubling out of the turn. Reed made up ground on Breece rather quickly on the last lap but he wasn’t able to make a pass. Alessi made history by becoming the first rider to qualify for the Cup class on a two-stroke. Alessi is using the Cardo System communication radio to communicate with his team, so let's see if that helps him come the main events.
Cup Class Race one
The gate dropped and the group went left at the first turn, as Cianciarulo jumped out to an early lead. Through the first go through the Monster Alley, AC9 (weird leaving the 2 of that…that’s going to take some getting used to) led Gajser and Vince Friese rough the Dragon’s back and out of the stadium. By the time they reentered the stadium, it was AC, Friese, Jeremy Martin, Malcolm Stewart, Gajser, and then Eli Tomac. Cianciarulo lead for the first two laps—and started to pull away from the rest of the pack—until he tipped over in the turn after going through the over-under bridge. He remounted in fifth as the four behind him went by. Friese then took over the lead. Yes, you read that correctly. I have to say, after not seeing him since about halfway through the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, he looked really good earlier today. But I didn’t think he looked this good. But he was killing it. Tomac cased the middle jump in the rhythm section Stewart went passed. On the next lap he bounced back to pass both Stewart and Martin to move into second. One lap later and he took the lead from Friese. He started to run away himself as Cianciarulo started to make his way through the top few guys to get into second. He made a charge at Tomac but the checkered flag came before he was able to make a pass as Tomac took the win.
Several riders took a spill in the first turn. Evan Ferry grabbed an early lead and didn’t look back. Ferry, who recently signed with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, I looked up at the live timing and scoring on the AMA’s site to see who was where and they don’t even have Evan Ferry’s name on it. Just #75 with no name. But the second place rider at the time, Gavin Towers, had his name on it. Some riders have name and numbers and other just have numbers.
Gage Dunham took the win in the first KTM Junior race.
Cup Class Race two
The gate dropped and the pack went to the right and it was Martin and Friese side-by-side early on but Friese came out of the section with the position. Gajser and Stewart were battling back and forth through the sand section, I’m going to say because that’s where he’s most comfortable. The lead pack left the stadium via the Monster Alley and Tomac slide out on a turn, losing several positions. “Mookie” got around Friese on the inside of the flat turn and right after that, AC hit the big quad to get passed Martin. Then the next lap he used the same line to get around Friese for second place. The battles continued as Martin was challenging for third Friese and Tomac was catching Gajser and Martin. Tomac took the Joker Lane about halfway through the race and lost a few positions, falling to ninth. Stewart and AC had to take the Joker Lane on the last lap—and they both did. Although Tomac lost time from doing it earlier, he managed to get back up to third by the time he came through the Monster Alley on. Gajser executed a perfect block-pass to get both Friese and Martin in the banked U-turn with only a few sections left, giving him a fourth place finish. “Mookie” took the checkered flag, AC, and Tomac finishing not far behind him.
Stewart's 3-1 scores, AC's 2-2 scores, and Tomac's 1-3 scores have us with a three-way tie heading into the final main event.
We just learned received an update on Dean Wilson, who had a bad get-off in the final timed qualifying session. After he was carted off the track, it was reported that Wilson had left the facility to head to a local hospital, where "early reports indicate that he has sustained a dislocated hip," according to the team.
Superminis Race Two
Evan Ferry lead start to finish in this one again to go 1-1 for the overall. Gavin Towers’ 2-3 earned him second overall and Myles Gilmore’s 4-4 finishes earned him third overall.
Cup Class Race three
With Tomac, Stewart, and AC all tied in points, the overall was still up for grabs. For the final race, the group used the starting gates located outside of the stadium. The group took a left-hand turn on grass before entering the stadium via the Monster Alley. Cianciarulo got another great start out of the gate and was followed by Gajser, Tomac, Friese, Stewart, Martin, Justin Barcia, and Benny Bloss. Martin went down and lost a lot of positions before finishing 14th. Kyle Chisholm took a unique approach in this race, going right at the Joker Lane ASAP and getting it over with. “Mookie” ended up passing Friese to take over third as Tomac and AC battled it out for the lead. It was unreal how close they were, one having a slight advantage over the other in a section here or there. With two laps to go, Tomac pulled up and went for the Joker Lane. Having not hit it yet himself, AC would need to go to through the Joker Lane on the last lap and he didn’t forget. He came off of the last roller flying into the turn as Tomac came into the section tripling from the outside. They were side-by-side but AC had one last jump to do (doubling out of the Joker Lane as opposed to the triple every other lap) so he catapulted through the Dragon’s back and into Monster Alley with only a mire lead. From that point, Tomac was unable to find a line around Cianciarulo as the 450 rookie took his maiden premier class checkered flag, which also gave him the overall win by one point. Man, what a finish to a great night of racing. Yes, I know the race wasn’t deep with the previous 450SX champions and regular top-five riders. Yes, I know he’s probably had the most testing entering this race compared to other guys. Yes, I know this win doesn’t mean he’s going to come to Anaheim 1 and win and kick everyone’s ass and win a championship as a rookie. But damn, that was an impressive ride. While he did have a tip-over in a turn that might have cost him another main event win earlier in the night, I think it’s safe to say that Adam has returned to having Vegas as his “I do really well here” place and that tonight will go a lot better than that crushing night in May went. The 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship will be exciting to watch with the addition of this young rookie with so much talent, passion, commitment. This doesn’t guarantee his rookie year (or 450 career) is going to go this smoothly by any means, but man it must feel great for him to have a night like tonight.