Welcome to Racerhead, and welcome back to San Diego, site of last year's rather controversial race in the rain. Yes, this was the one where some kind of drying ingredient was errantly put on the track and it has an unexpected reaction to the pouring rain. Fortunately, tomorrow night is shaping up like a dry one. The race also marks the end of the "California season" of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Four of the first six rounds run in the Golden State, with the only ventures across the state line being the second round at St. Louis, Missouri, and Glendale, Arizona. The race will basically mark the one-third mark in the 17-round championship as it heads east next week to Tampa, Florida, and the start of the 250SX East Region.
Of all the events we've seen so far in the championship, I think the marquee moment so far wasn't in the 450SX Class—the pecking order there is still being worked out among the title contenders Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia, Jason Anderson, Adam Cianciarulo, and defending champion Cooper Webb. Rather, I would say it was the Anaheim 2 collision between 250SX West Region #1W Dylan Ferrandis and GEICO Honda's Christian Craig. No matter how you felt about the get-together—you were either booing or not booing Dylan—it was an epic moment of supercross racing.
Now it's an epic magazine cover too, as Rich Shepherd of Align Media nailed the shot and it ended up on our latest cover (April 2020). We're not trying to re-stir the pot here or open any recent wounds, just trying to illustrate how exciting this sport can be. And there's a double bonus in the fact that it's the first Racer X cover for both Dylan and Christian. Craig himself posted it on Instagram with the caption "Well that is one way to get on the cover..." Hopefully it's a highlight for Christian, who has had a run of bad luck since returning to racing in January. He hurt his hand in Glendale and is out for this weekend's San Diego race. Hopefully he will be good to go when the 250SX West Region resumes in Seattle. And we may also see him line up in the 450SX Class at Daytona.
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When @DylanFerrandis torpedoed @ChristianCraig at ?️2️⃣, it became an immediate talking point across the sport. Photographer @shepherdphotos captured the moment of impact, and the shot was too good not to make Page ☝? of our April issue. Preview the April issue of Racer X magazine for FREE and become a subscriber to receive a FREE bag of @EvilCoffeeCompany’s Racer X Deadline Blend and a $10 @RMATVMC gift card #LinkInBio @RacerXOnline
As for Ferrandis, he of course won that A2 race and also won last weekend in Oakland, which has allowed him to take over the red plate from his Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha teammate Justin Cooper by two points, with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Austin Forkner ten points back in third. All three of these guys will be trying extra hard for a San Diego win because after tomorrow night they will be off for six weeks, and it would be nice to have some momentum during the downtime.
In the 450SX Class, Roczen is the leader with the red plate but Tomac has been coming on as of late, and now we're seeing Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb picking up speed. Webb and Roczen got together in the last turn last weekend, with Webb pulling yet another last-gasp pass on Kenny, only this time it was second. The collision left #94 with "a bit of a stinger" but he is good to go tomorrow night. And unfortunately, neither Rich Shepherd nor his Align Media partner Mike Emery got as good a shot of Webb/Roczen as they did Ferrandis/Craig, or we would have considered it for next month's cover!
We posted The List: Last Turn Turnovers recalling some of the most memorable last-turn position changes and received this email about it:
One I remember was Johnny O'Mara launching it at the Daytona SX. No idea what year it was (80's?) or what place. But, if you can find a pic or film of that that would be incredible.
PS: I was at that Gatorback National in 1993. Wow, what an ending.
Orange Park, FL
And if the cover shot seems vaguely familiar, it's because a long time ago (February '04) we ran the epic "Tony D and the Jammer" shot by Charlie Morey on the cover. The shot came from the 1974 Highland Hills 500 National in Ohio, which Morey was covering for Cycle News. Many consider it to be among the best photos ever made of motocross, two future legends banging bars and elbows in a corner, fighting for the line out. We did a whole feature on the race, as well as the moment of impact itself and how Morey captured it.
The contrasts between the two covers are obvious. Among the people we spoke about the "Tony D and the Jammer" photo in 2004 was the late Steve "TFS" Bruhn. He cynically replied, "Is this the greatest motocross photo ever taken? No, it can't be—at least not by today's standards. There's no crowd of people in the background, no banners, no fireworks, no oversized sponsor checks, no managers or agents or hangers-on... All kidding aside, the photo is so good you can almost smell the pre-mix." I think TFS was spot-on, though if he were here today, he might have added that back then, no one was booing either.
Coop Whoops (Jason Weigandt)
It's been a long time since whoops have been such a factor in supercross results, but everyone is noticing the impact this year. In our Racer X Race Podcast Oakland Review on Monday, we had Renthal’s Paul Perebijnos mention how the whoops are a bigger factor than they have been in years. Matthes’ data guy Clinton Fowler (Twitter or Instagram @3lapsdown) noted that the winner of every 450 race in January had the fastest average segment time in the whoops.
I looked closely at segment times from Oakland’s 250SX main event and noted Dylan Ferrandis had a huge margin on Austin Forkner in the whoops segment, gaining over six seconds on him during the main event in that section. He won the race by less than half that, which means he won the race in the whoops, despite Forkner being faster in other sections.
Could be a factor again this weekend, as San Diego’s track has back-to-back whoop sections. The biggest impact? Well, whoops have been tough on Forkner, but it might be even tougher for defending 450SX champion Cooper Webb. Last year Webb struggled in the whoops often during day practice, but once the whoops got super beat up in the mains, he could jump through them and minimize the damage. In 2020, skimming has remained the fastest approach in most of the races, so this is hurting Webb badly (jumping worked for him late in Anaheim 2, but that didn’t work at Glendale, for example, and he lost tons of time there).
I remember well that Ryan Sipes wrote a piece for us last year and said that if the whoops were different in 2019, you might have seen a different 450SX champion. That’s just the ebb and flow of racing—jumping whoops became a huge advantage in 2019, but in 2020 the tracks demand skimming. I have heard Webb is working really, really hard during the week to fix this issue. It was a problem last year but the beat-down whoops in the main bailed him out. It appears that’s not going to work this time and he will have to up his whoop speed to stay in this championship. Unless we go back to some gnarly, beat-up whoops at the Eastern races. That’s possible, but I don’t think Coop wants to rely on that. It’s skim or get skimmed in 2020, and that’s reversed the fortunes for the 2019 champion. This has all led to a really interesting dynamic, with one section of the track holding such a strong command over the results. As Ricky Carmichael mentioned during the Race Day Live broadcast last Saturday afternoon at Oakland, if the whoops are short and easy, you’ll see the lap times remain close between the top riders. If the whoops are tough, though, you start to see major separation.
San Diego whoops could get gnarly. Should be interesting to see who has it figured out!
Best January Ever (Mitch Kendra)
We know when Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac gets on a roll, he can rattle off wins like very few others can. But it’s his start to the championship this year that might be more important. Earlier this week, I dug up some stats on Tomac through the first five rounds of his years racing the 450SX Class full-time. Here’s what I found.
While he doesn't have the points lead this year like he did after round five last year (San Diego), he has claimed two of the five wins this year and he has the most points through the first five rounds since he entered the premier class full time.
Eli Tomac's 450SX Points Through First Five SX Rounds
|Year||Points After Rd 5||Points Position||Deficit from leader||# of Wins / Best Finish|
|2020||110||2nd||3||2 wins - round 3 (A2) and round 5 (Oakland)|
|2019||106||1st||0||1 win - round 5 (San Diego)|
|2018||63||12th||52||2 wins - round 3 (A2) and round 4 (Glendale)|
|2017||94||2nd||17||2 wins - round 4 (Phoenix) and round 5 (Oakland)|
|2016||88||5th||31||0 wins - 3rd place - round 3 (Glendale)|
|2015||84||3rd||23||1 win - round 2 (Phoenix)|
NOTE: Since the start of the 2018, the main event winner received 26 points, whereas years prior to 2018 the winner was credited with 25 points.
It's also interesting to see that this year he is tied with his best average finish through the first five rounds and his worse finish is a seventh (at the Anaheim 1 opener) compared to 2015 and 2018 when he finished 20th and 22nd, respectively, at the season opener.
Eli Tomac's 450SX Average Finish Through First Five SX Rounds
|Year||Finishes in first 5 rounds||Average Finish||Notes|
|2018||22-0-1-1-13||9.3 in his four main events||He missed round 2 with an injury|
As Weege mentioned above, Fowler has been crushing the statics game this year and his latest post on PulpMX.com brings something worth mentioning (make sure to check out the 2020 Oakland Advanced Analytics post).
One last point to consider. In 43 years of supercross championships (excluding 1974-1976), the rider who gets to 3 wins first, wins the championship 72 percent of the time. Since 2000, it’s 85% of the time. Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac both have 2 wins. Who do you have for winning their third main first!?
Does Tomac’s best start to Monster Energy AMA Supercross help his chances of getting his maiden premier class title? Or does Roczen become the first to three wins and eventually take the title? Or is this going to be one of those odd years where the first rider to three wins doesn’t end up winning the championship?
This past Monday night we had Randy Richardson in-studio from Michelin to co-host the PulpMX Show with me and as usual, it was a fun show. We had Chad Reed and Adam Cianciarulo on the phone so you know with those two we were going to get some good stuff including AC saying that if James Stewart wants to come back and race, Adam will give him his KX450! Reed mostly talked about being in the booth with RC and Ralph and how that process was for him. He definitely hasn't had a fun start to his farewell season in SX and sounded like he hoped his current rib injury didn't hold him back for too long. Randy asked if he was having fun this year and Reed said he was indeed taking "it" all in but that until he can get into the mix a little bit more, he wouldn't be really enjoying it. One thing about this current title is Chad thinks Cooper Webb is the guy that really needs to be feared in this thing. Interesting thoughts coming from a two-time champion.
You can watch Reed's interview below and remember, Monday nights at 5 p.m. PST on PulpMXShow.com.
40-ROC (Andras Hegyi)
Last year, Ken Roczen reached his 41st podium result in the 450 Class of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Last Saturday night in California, Roczen took his 40th podium in the 450SX division of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. The Honda rider became the 14th rider to get at least 40 podiums in the history of the 250/450SX Class, in existence since 1974.
Roczen debuted in the 450SX Class in 2013, though he wasn't a full-time rider there until 2014. He got his maiden 450SX podium in 2012, when he was racing in the 250SX East Region, by finishing second in Seattle in what was the third 450SX main event of his career. Also, he was riding a KTM 350.
All told, Roczen collected his 40 podium results while riding with three different brands. He got nine podiums with KTM, 16 with Suzuki, and so far 15 podiums with Honda, his current employer.
As far as positions go, Roczen has 13 wins, 17 runner-up positions and 10 third-place finishes (though he certainly probably hates how what should have been a runner-up ride last Saturday turned into a third-place finish in the last corner).
Riders with at least 40 podium results in the 250/450SX division
Chad Reed: 132 podiums
Jeremy McGrath: 111
Ryan Dungey: 101
Ricky Carmichael: 87
Mike LaRocco: 81
James Stewart: 76
Kevin Windham: 75
Jeff Ward: 66
Ryan Villopoto: 63
Jeff Stanton: 56
Eli Tomac: 55
Ricky Johnson: 51
Ezra Lusk: 40
Ken Roczen: 40
Roczen’s 450 SX podiums by seasons
2012: 1 podium (KTM)
2014: 8 (KTM)
2015: 5 (Suzuki)
2016: 11 (Suzuki)
2017: 2 (Honda)
2018: 3 (Honda)
2019: 6 (Honda)
2020: 4 (Honda)
Cairoli's Comeback (Andras Hegyi)
After a long break due to a shoulder injury, nine-time FIM Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli is racing again. The Italian legend will lineup this Sunday after almost eight months on the mend. The KTM rider got injured last June at the GP of Latvia, which was the ninth round of the MXGP tour. He's finally ready to go again and chose the third and last round of the International Motocross Championship of Italy in Mantova for his comeback.
Cairoli suffered one of the most serious injuries of his career on June 16. It was his right shoulder and it required surgery. Cairoli missed the last nine rounds as well as the Motocross of Nations. Previously it seemed that Cairoli’s injury would require three to four months of recovery, but it ended up being longer. In September he started riding the motorcycle again, and then his wife Jill gave birth to their first child, Chase Ben Cairoli, who was born at the end of September. Cairoli began serious training for motocross in October, while also doing some car races. In October he raced in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series in Jerez, Spain (Chad Reed was also in that race.) In November Cairoli took part in an international rally race in Italy called Tuscan Rewind Rally, which is a famous rally event.
But meanwhile there was also talk about complications with Cairoli’s shoulder. Some news said that Cairoli’s recovery was not moving along as expected. Those rumors proved to be true. After some more time to heal he was finally able to begin his regular motocross training only in December, and then he started doing bike-testing only in January while in the Northern part of Sardinia, which is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It was something of a surprise that Cairoli missed the first two rounds of the International Motocross Championship of Italy. That means that 2020 will be the first season since 2016 that Cairoli did not get any Italian titles. During his career he has 20 Italian motocross titles in all. With MXGP getting started on March 1 in Great Britain, this Sunday's race will be very important for Cairoli. He will find how his rebuilt shoulder holds up in racing conditions and he can also assess his racing shape before the world championships begin. Cairoli likes the Mantova track, which he has ridden since the ’90s. It is also one of the KTM test tracks. He has taken four GP wins there, and also four wins in the International Motocross Championship of Italy.
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Purtroppo non ci sarò alle prime due prove degli internazionali d’italia leggere ? per maggiori info. ? Archer Antonio Cairoli non parteciperà alla prima prova degli Internazionali d’Italia di Motocross 2020, in programma per questo weekend a Riola Sardo (OR) in Sardegna. Il portacolori del Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP sta svolgendo al meglio la fase di preparazione al Mondiale MXGP, e con la sua squadra dopo gli allenamenti e i test effettuati sulla pista di Malagrotta (Roma) già da una quindicina di giorni si è spostato nel Nord-Ovest della Sardegna per intensificare le sessioni in moto su diversi terreni. In accordo con il Team Manager Claudio De Carli, Antonio ha deciso di posticipare il suo rientro in gara di almeno un paio di settimane; potrebbe schierarsi al via della terza prova degli Internazionali nel weekend del 9 Febbraio sulla pista Tazio Nuvolari di Mantova. “Manca più di un mese all’inizio del Mondiale – spiega Claudio De Carli – e non dobbiamo aver fretta per il ritorno di Tony dietro al cancelletto di partenza. Per l’infortunio alla spalla (GP Kegums) e il conseguente intervento chirurgico è stato fermo per un lungo periodo ed ha poi iniziato la riabilitazione con grande volontà e ottimi risultati. Anche da quando è risalito in moto ha lavorato bene ma abbiamo valutato che si può crescere ancora un po’ in condizione e il nostro obiettivo è il mondiale. Al momento pensiamo possa scendere in pista a Mantova tra due settimane”.
The april 2020 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The April 2020 issue of Racer X magazine is coming to newsstands and mailboxes soon. Subscribe to the print and/or award-winning digital edition today. And if you're already a digital subscriber head to digital.racerxonline.com to login and read now.
Inside the April issue of Racer X magazine
- The riders and team members of Monster Energy Supercross give their thoughts on the 2020 series so far
- On the eve of the 50th running of the Daytona Supercross, we revisit the very first event, held in March of 1971
- Monster Energy Yamaha’s Justin Barcia has done an about-face for 2020, with a positive new attitude and solid results to match
- As Chad Reed prepares for retirement, we look at how and when other moto legends rode off into the sunset
All these features and much more inside the April issue.
Subscribe or renew your subscription to Racer X magazine and receive 12 issues, plus a free bag of Racer X Deadline Blend Evil Coffee and a $10 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC gift card.
Hey, Watch It!
Want to see what the 1972 Trophee des Nations in Genk, Belgium looked like? Watch this for some glimpses of Roger DeCoster, Joel Robert, the late Gennady Moiseev and more:
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast comes in with Weege and Paul Perebijnos talking Oakland with me, from ET’s race to Webb’s pass and more. JT joins the show to talk some 250s and whether this thing is over or not.
RJ Hampshire has completely reinvented himself for an assault on the upcoming 250SX Eastern Regional Championship in Monster Energy Supercross. Jason Weigandt chats with RJ about his time with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, training with Aldon Baker, and also his roots in the sport. There was a time when his sister and dad were the racers while young RJ himself decided he would rather just play baseball and go mud-bogging on a quad!
This week on the Main Event Moto Podcast, Daniel Blair, Lucas Mirtl, and Producer Joe talk round five of supercross 2020 in Oakland, California. Hang out with them as Daniel focuses on the headlines in the sport and sometimes it goes off the rails.
This week on The MotoXpod Show, Darkside & DJ TJ visited with Cooper Webb & Alex Martin about their 2020 seasons so far. Feld's Bill Heras came on to discuss Supercross Futures and Jay Reynolds with Hoosier AX gave a recap of the Memphis round. Listen to the show on iTunes or other podcast apps as well as motoxpodshow.com.
"Trump congratulates state of Kansas after Chiefs win Super Bowl but they play in Missouri"—CNN
“Here's what will happen to all the championship gear made for the 49ers now that it lost the Super Bowl”—CNN
"The NFL Ass-Time Show."—Drudgereport.com
"Parent's racist remark ends school meeting to address racism."—CNN
“Chiefs' Super Bowl parade: Police swamp area after wild car chase breaks out on parade route”s—CBS Sports
“PATRICK MAHOMES STOPPED SB PARADE FOR PEE BREAK... High Fived Fans After!!!”—TMZ
Update: "Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about coronavirus dies, state media says"—TheGuardian.com
“A man walked down a street with 99 phones in a wagon. Google Maps thought it was a traffic jam.”—Washington Post
Looking for a long read on some epic racing history? Check out Tony Blazier's "Motocross History: The Defining Events That Shaped American Motocross" right on PulpMX.com.
Random Notes: Jordan Jarvis is branching out in 2020. Now a Kawasaki Team Green rider, she's racing SX Futures and will again try to qualify at select Lucas Oil 250 Pro Motocross Championship races. She's also put together a deal to go abroad for a few rounds of the Women's class in MXGP. Sharon Cox spoke with her about her busy schedule and hopes for the 2020 season.
“Racerx930” posted this on Vital MX: “10 year ago we started hosting some indoor pitbike races to help sell a few pitbikes in our local shop. As we all know the pitbike fad kind of died off and so did our events. We took a few years off and were constantly getting hit up to put on some more races. We brought "Mini X" back as a once a year event in a beautiful arena just outside of Tulsa Oklahoma, the race has blown up into 300+ riders (all mini bikes) from all over the US. If you're looking for an event on little bikes that's big on fun THIS IS IT!”
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid’EH Update #6.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!