Less than two months ago we were embroiled in a seriously intense 450SX title chase between Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, with plenty of other riders able to get in the mix and make waves on any given Saturday night. Then, it all came to a screeching halt, and for the first time anyone can remember, we’re smack dab in the middle of an off-season, during the season. At first thought you might think it’d be a welcome break for the riders, who often tout a lack of off-season recovery as a real drag on the schedule. But, as we learned in Feld Entertainment’s recent online 450SX Supercross Rider Roundtable, hosted by Rick Carmichael, the top five 450SX in points standings (amongst the rest of the field) are finding the unscheduled break somewhat bizarre.
“We’re just trying to find direction right now,” Tomac said in the video. “It’s so weird not having a certain date on when we’re going racing. I think it’s catching everyone off guard.”
“We were working hard, then this happened,” Justin Barcia confirmed. “It’s definitely strange going from full wide open, in that race pace mode, to not really knowing what to do.”
Other riders shared the same sentiment, with Jason Anderson saying he’s just hanging out with his roommates and trying not to go crazy, while Roczen admitted he had his “head on a blanket” due to a few difficult days in which he didn’t know what to do with himself.
Of course, those are the kinds of things you might expect to hear from guys who’ve spent their entire lives hammering through the grind this time of year. So much so you could probably make a GEICO commercial out of it—When you’re a racer, you race. It’s what they do. But with no racing, what else are they doing? Well, it turns out Roczen is giving actual labor a try, and while the work he puts into racing certainly isn’t easy, he’s learning he prefers his life over a normal one.
“I’ve worked a lot on the yard, and we’ve got a flipper house we’re doing, my wife is doing anyway, and I’ve helped quite a bit there. I can tell you I’m not made out for a regular job,” Roczen jokingly admitted. “I’ll do one thing all day and just be fried the whole next day. I’m over the whole side of, like painting the dock the whole day in the heat. As tough as it gets sometimes, racing and practicing and training, I’m so used to it now it’s definitely the way to go.”
Tomac, who visibly chuckles during Roczen’s quote above, is about to have a new experience too—the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider and his girlfriend are expecting a new baby in several weeks.
“It’s going to be a little girl, so I’ve definitely got the work cut out for me,” Tomac laughed.
Anderson, who recently announced a split with trainer Aldon Baker, definitely isn’t painting docks or working on a nursery (#teamfried bro!), but it does seem as though he’s used the time to reflect somewhat on the first portion of the 2020 season.
“I don’t think I’m very content with how the first half of the season went, but I feel like I was trying to get back in there,” Anderson said. “But speed-wise, I was a little bit off the front two or three guys. I was looking forward to making some improvements. I feel like I had some flashes of brilliance at the races, but all in all I want to be better.”
Anderson is echoed somewhat by Barcia and Cooper Webb. Although the championship picture looks bleak for both, putting in strong rides, whenever the season does indeed pick back up, is a priority.
“The last few races before this [COVID-19] happened, I wasn’t stoked. I was kind of looking for something, to find that next level and I never really found it,” Barcia affirmed. “I was still really consistent but I really needed to take those races and turn them into wins and I wasn’t able to do that.”
“If it’s seven races left, we’ve got seven,” says Webb, who is now back at 100 percent after a big crash at the Arlington Supercross. “I’m 29 points back, it’s a bit of a steep climb, but I’ll take it race by race and go out there and plug away. For me, the championship is still what we’d like to have but it’s a little bit far-fetched. We’ll go out and do the best we can. It’d be sweet to hopefully get some wins and carry that into the next season.”
As for what the riders are preparing for next, despite the plan changing seemingly from week to week, the general consensus and focus seems to be preparing for the upcoming season of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, which at the moment is scheduled to kick off in June. There are rumors that Feld is exploring running the final seven Monster Energy Supercross races before that—perhaps May or June, but that plan is not nearly far enough along for the riders to start building riding and training schedules quite yet. For now, they can only wait.
To check out the entire discussion, watch it below: