So much focus on the 450SX group of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, with seven races in three weeks, and just three points sitting between Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen. However, there are a pair of 250 championships on the line as well. The seven 250SX rounds are split, as the first three will run as 250SX East, then two 250SX West races, then one more 250SX East, and the final round features the East/West Showdown, with points on the line.
This schedule allows West riders to potentially wait to show up in Utah, since they don’t race until June 10. It also would allow East riders to go home during a June 8 through June 16 break.
However, it doesn’t appear many riders can take advantage of that. Teams will likely remain holed up in Utah the entire time, which means the California test tracks probably won’t even have the staff needed to function. A few 250SX West riders might wait, but there won’t be much left for them, anyway.
“Once I’m in, I’m in,” said Justin Cooper, second in 250SX West points. “I think it’s the same for the East Coast boys too. We [Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha] got a big house over there. I think we’re going to bring what we need for training and stuff like that. We’re going to be there from the start. I think we’ll be able to get some riding in. We’ll bring a couple extra bikes and be doing cycling and all that good stuff. We’re just going to make a trip out of it. The whole team is going to be there so there’s no reason to come back and ride once or twice here in California. So we’re going to stick it out. It should be fun. It’s going to be a vacation.”
GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton, the 250SX East points leader, has similar plans. He was hoping to go back home during the 10-day break the 250SX East riders have, but once he saw you’ll have to get tested for COVID-19 each time you re-enter the state, he decided to just stay.
“The team is going to be based in Salt Lake City, so even if I wanted to go back to California, I wouldn’t even have a bike to ride,” said Sexton. “I’m actually pretty pumped, I rented an Airbnb, just trying to make myself feel as comfortable as possible.
“I think it should be most a relaxing atmosphere. You won’t be able to mingle, though, you mostly have to stay with your team. I will do my part and try to be smart with it.”
Cooper says he’ll be living and training with teammates Shane McElrath and Colt Nichols, who will make his 2020 debut after being sidelined with an injury. He’s battling his other teammate, Dylan Ferrandis, for the West Region title, however, Ferrandis operates a different program, training with David Vuillemin instead of Gareth Swanepoel.
“I haven’t ridden with him since San Diego,” says Cooper of Ferrandis. “We split days. We go to the test track on different days. I don’t mind riding with him, but I don’t think he feels the same about me. He does his own thing. He has his own schedule with his trainer, and we do our own thing. Me, Colt, and Shane all ride together, push each other. Dylan does his home program, so I haven’t done much with him.”
“I’ll be with the East Coast boys,” continues Cooper. “I think I’ll be fine. East Coast boys should be fine too because Colt isn’t in the championship. I think we’ll all get along really well. It’s a pretty nice house so I’m pretty excited. It’s got a hot tub. It’s got a movie theater and all this stuff. I think we’ll be able to have a good time there. I’m excited for it. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be good.”
From all around the industry, we’re hearing plans of renting houses, riding bicycles, and trying to make the most of the three-week stretch. For creatures of habit, the riders at least appear ready to change things completely. Of course, they’re all coming off of the stresses of not knowing if racing will resume. Of course they’re happy now that racing is back! But if something goes sideways, will the good vibes continue when they don’t have the usual test tracks to dial in their skills and machine? The 250 riders have some time—we’ll see if they feel compelled to use it.