After 48 hours to recover, it’s time for round 12! We are still in Salt Lake City as we will be for the next couple of weeks. This week’s track is going to be a bit more technical than last week’s basic layout. Starting with a somewhat easy track was the right call but the deteriorating conditions made even that layout very challenging in the main event. With a tougher starting point on Wednesday, how will this Wednesday’s main event shape up? Only time will tell but we are forecasting nearly identical conditions, so I don’t expect a drastic improvement.
Dirty Little Secrets
This week’s starting gates are located in the exact same position as last week, but riders will make the dreaded right hand first turn this time. The long, stadium length start straight will force riders to be rely on their front brake more than usual as their inside leg will be off the peg and away from the rear brake. The first rhythm section is the longest of the racetrack and has a few options. The fastest line will be to double from the inside line, then go 3-3-3 into the next berm. The initial three will likely require a seat bounce, but if the 3-3-3 can be done consistently, it will undoubtedly be the fastest line. Riders will jump from the small takeoffs and fly over the taller jumps, carrying maximum momentum.
Landing into a bowl berm, the next section gets interesting. I can’t quite decide what the elite riders will do. I believe the fastest option is to triple onto the tabletop and try to get all the way to the downside of said tabletop. They could then double onto the backside of the next steep jump and drive through the final few jumps. Another option would be to double out of the corner and attempt to quad to the downside of the steep jump but with the elevation suffocating horsepower and torque, both of these options will be difficult at best. Watch this section.
Riders then slingshot down the start straight in the opposite direction, drifting into a long right-hand sweeper with a triple immediately following. Riders will drift towards the outside over this triple, hoping to stay as low as possible without losing speed. The four remaining jumps will either be a 3-1 or 2-2 combo into the next bowl berm.
The only whoops section is up next and assuming they are like the previous round’s build, look for these to get tougher and tougher as the night grows long. They were fairly small last Sunday so watch for the degree of difficulty to be turned up slightly.
The finish line jump is up next with a small double and 90-degree right leading into lap two.
First and foremost, I have to mention that I got fifth overall last round! My team really came to play and for once, I didn’t fall victim to a DNF or DNQ. My biggest victories came in avoiding the pitfalls that many others fell into. Riders like Adam Cianciarulo, Colt Nichols, and Darian Sanayei were very popular choices on Sunday and all three had very bad days. I was very close to picking all three but luckily stayed away. Now, a couple of days later, I have my chance to pick them again and hopefully things will go their way and as a result, my way too.
Fantasy scores are all about timing. With the requirement of picking an entirely different team each week, it’s easy to get the timing wrong on rider performance. The weekly variance is the most unpredictable part of PulpMX Fantasy and also the most difficult part to get right. It’s mostly left to chance. There is no real way to know if Colt Nichols will get caught up in a crash with Pierce Brown and Jo Shimoda, or if he will land on the podium like I hope he does tomorrow night. It’s all random chance. Crashes happen to everyone, just like it did to AC9. He made a mistake all by himself, throwing away a great opportunity and banging himself up in the process.
This second SLC round will be all about capitalizing on the opportunities created at round 1. Those who crashed or didn’t qualify, like Darien Sanayei, represent a huge points haul tomorrow if things turn around. Chad Reed should have his boiling fuel sorted out and with a 7 handicap, presents another opportunity. That’s always the best advice. Find the rider that had a rough previous round and pounce like a caged tiger.
Daniel Blair finally gets the slapping he deserves.
Chad Reed’s mask frustration reaches the same boiling point that his fuel reached on Sunday.
Shane McElrath’s Yamaha is torn down and found to have 825cc.
Jason Weigandt still cannot figure out where the rider motorhome compound is.
Upping the ante, Pierce Brown does a dead-engine Grand Prix start and still gets a top five.