WE ARE BACK!!! The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship picked back up with round one of seven in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we’re all up here sequestered away watching some dirt bike races. You know the deal by now, all the rules and everything that we the media, the teams, the riders have to do to get these seven rounds of Monster Energy Supercross in.
So save me the tweets and IG DM’s about how you, not a medical expert, think the masks do nothing and this whole thing is BS. I get it, I know some of this stuff is dumb and doesn’t make sense (for example, I can’t go and talk to a rider whose name rhymes with “Schmad Scheed” in the pits but I can go and mountain bike with him yesterday, yes I know) but we’re playing by the rules here that the state wants us to in order to get some racing in.
We all want racing in yeah? Okay, good. Pipe down and enjoy it please.
The track…yeah….uhhhhh, it wasn’t great. Round eleven of the series was held in the day in some unusually hot Utah weather, it’s not awesome dirt to work with anyways and then we had some wind. It was a basic design but hey man, the guys have been off a while so I get it.
Supercross is hard on a regular domed stadium but when you have to deal with:
- Hard pack dirt that doesn’t let water soak in
- Jumps that just start breaking down
- We had some dust
- Oh yeah, we had wind as well
All of this added up to a very challenging day for the riders. We had a crazy amount of DNF’s from altitude sickness to bike issues to crashes. Seriously, it was a weird race when you add that into the fact there were no fans and the program was different. Bizarre times people!
I think the track will be a bit tougher and provide better racing as we get deeper into the six races left and the night races should provide an opportunity for the moisture to soak into the track. But it is what it is, we’re here in SLC and everyone is trying to make the best of it and finish this series off.
Let’s take a look at the results shall we?
1st | #12 Shane McElrath | Murrieta, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
I know we technically are halfway into the 250SX series with this round but it seemed like a start to the series right? So therefore, Shane is going to be great because he always is at the “first” rounds right? He had a few mystery rides to start this eastern series (I’m thinking Atlanta) that aren’t like him but he was back on it on SLC SX1! Also, his Yamaha is ridiculously fast in case you were wondering.
2nd | #1E Chase Sexton | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF250R
Sexton’s GEICO Honda is much improved this year as the team revamped its staff but still, it looked like the Yamaha’s had some more stuff in there than Sexton’s bike. Chase rode well, he kind of yo-yoed back and forth with McElrath as both had lappers help and hurt them. If Chase got the start, I think he would’ve won but he didn’t and it was tough for him to do anything.
3rd | #36 Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Kawasaki KX250
Remember Daytona? Marchbanks went wire-to-wire for that win and he carried on his good riding from there to Utah, 85 days or whatever later. Marchbanks caught and stuffed J-Mart early on and rode by himself to a podium finish. Yes, he was a ways back of the top two but he was still impressive.
4th | #6 Jeremy Martin | Rochester, MN | Honda CRF250R
J-Mart said he got arm pump out there which explains him getting dropped badly by Marchbanks, never mind the top two guys. It’s nice to know that even these superhuman riders sometimes suffer with stuff that us local yahoos do.
5th | #163 Pierce Brown | Sandy, UT | KTM 250 SX-F
Outside of the actual winners, Pierce Brown was THE winner of the night. From 21st to fifth and flying around the track. Only his third supercross race as a pro and he’s been impressive in all of them. Yes, he got lapped but I don’t want to hear that junk, he was on it! Very impressive ride by the kid turning 18 today, he was something else out there. Good for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM team as well, he looks like he’s the real deal here. Podium potential for sure. Yes, he’s from Utah but he told me he moved away when he was eight or something so easy on the “home track advantage” stuff please.
6th | #38 Kyle Peters | Greensboro, NC | Honda CRF250R
You all know that Peters is going to Peters, right? He rode well in SLC, beating some factory riders is what he does after all. He and his teammate Jace Owen were going at it for a but before Kyle pulled away.
7th | #352 Jalek Swoll | Belleview, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Swoll has been okay to start his rookie supercross year, he did show some grit in getting Enzo Lopes back late in the race and this was his season best. But it had to chap his ass to have his amateur rival, Brown, just go right by him like he had an anchor on his Husky in the main, right?
8th #66 Enzo Lopes | Huntersville, NC | Yamaha YZ250F
Phil Nicoletti’s “brother-in-law” was very good all day long on his ClubMX Yamaha and he’s been better in SX this year than he was last year on JGRMX. Someone, not me, but someone said that perhaps this improvement has to do with going from the slowest bike in the class to the fastest one in a class where horsepower means a lot? IJS.
9th | #159 Jace Owen | Mattoon, IL | Honda CRF250R
Owen rode well and I think getting into the top ten for him is a good ride.
10th | #43 John Short | Pilot Point, TX | Honda CRF250R
Short rode very well all day long at SLC, you wouldn’t think he would excel on this type of dirt but he did. I’m also bitter because of how he did in Daytona when SOME OF US picked him in PulpMX Fantasy and couldn’t pick him in SLC.
More from Salt Lake City 1:
11th | #39 Jordan Bailey | Orlando, FL | Honda CRF250R
Early on in the day, Bailey caught my eye as someone that looked better than when I last saw them ride. I’m not sure what happened in the main event but I know that John Short wore him down, which happens.
12th | #49 Chris Blose | Phoenix, AZ | Honda CRF250R
Blose put in a good qualifying time in his first race back since he hurt a ton of stuff in a nasty crash in AZ way back when. He’s only been on the bike five times since then so this finish was more than enough to be happy about.
13th | #59 Joshua Osby | Valparaiso, IN | Yamaha YZ250F
Osby would’ve normally missed the entire series with his torn ACL but thanks to the pandemic, he gets to race! And he looked good out there, to me Osby and Owen are kind of the same guys, little underrated, lots of skill and fighting against the factory bikes. Oh and both guys have a last name that starts with “O.” Brilliant observation, I know.
14th | #349 Grant Harlan | Justin, TX | Honda CRF250R
I don’t know much about Harlan but he, and guys like Curren Thurman, are leading a small Texas SX resurgence here in 2020.
15th | #13 Colt Nichols | Murrieta, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Welcome back Colt! He was his usual self out there as in, fast and looking good. He got screwed by Shimoda making a mistake and hitting Brown who then took out Nichols. So, yeah, not an ideal start for Colt but he’ll be seen on a podium really quickly here.
16th | #73 Chase Marquier | Newcastle, OK | Honda CRF250R
Marquier is a veteran at this point and it’s been so long I kind of forget but I thought he looked better at this race than he had at any other 250SX East Region race this year. Maybe the break healed something up for him?
17th | #77 Kevin Moranz | Topeka, KS | KTM 250 SX-F
Moranz had to make the main event via the LCQ, but all day he was fighting some bike issues out there as he hadn’t ridden his race bike for a long time. These are things that happen to privateers, people.
18th | #332 Dustin Winter | Clearwater, KS | KTM 250 SX-F
Good ride for Winter out there, he had been a surprise for the 250SX East Region way back when we raced the championship and he kept it up out there even though this finish probably wasn’t what he wanted.
19th | #68 Nick Gaines | Ringgold, GA | Yamaha YZ250F
Nick rode great in the heat race to get into the main event and showed that he was back to normal from his massive Daytona crash where he was the victim of a drunk dozer operator (not actually). In the main though he like so many others, pulled out early.
20th | #67 Jerry Robin | Hamel, MN | Husqvarna FC 250
Jerry didn’t have a very good opening round back on a privateer Husky as the altitude got to him when it was combined with his asthma. Not an ideal match for him and he’d never raced up in SLC before so it was all new for him. He thinks he should be good for today’s race. How do I know so much about Jerry? About five minutes before I typed this, I just saw him in the elevator.
21st | #84 Jo Shimoda | Irvine, CA | Honda CRF250R
Shimoda went down early when he kind of made a dorky mistake and took two other guys down with him. From there you would think he would’ve gotten back into the top ten but he either crashed again or the altitude got to him and he was out early on [Editor’s Note: The GEICO Honda team said in a press release that Shimoda broke his front brake, causing him to DNF]. I heard he’s not working with Jeff Ward anymore either so that was pretty short.
22nd | #56 Justin Starling | Deland, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Starling debuted at SLC on his new (old) team but didn’t have the day he wanted with some bike issues early on in the main event. He did show some good speed out there though in his heat.
1st | #3 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Kawasaki KX450
Great ride for Eli, he got passed by Webb and Roczen early on and sometimes, that jacks up a rider and they can’t get mentally back into it. But Eli settled down, got them both back, and won the damn deal. I thought that although he wasn’t that far ahead of Webb, he looked to be in control and didn’t want to override the track which was easy to do. In other words, ET had more in the can than he gave out. It’s not easy to pick up your pace and pass two of the fastest SX riders in the world AND catch the leader out front but ET did just that. Impressive!
2nd | #1 Cooper Webb | Clermont, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Webb was gritting it out as he juuusstttt couldn’t get close enough to Eli to make a pass. The guys were going through lappers like crazy and so it seemed like Cooper was looking to take advantage of that but just couldn’t. A very good ride for Coop for sure but man, he had to be a bit bummed he couldn’t make it happen.
3rd | #94 Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R
Kenny was in a good mood after the race (or so it seemed anyways) and just chalked up his ride to not quite being as good as he needed to be. He lost five points in the title chase but didn’t seem too concerned, he had that almost-crash there late in the race that had to have him changing his Fox underwear afterwards. To pass Eli and be looking good to having Eli pass him back might screw with some guys but not KR.
4th | #21 Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Husqvarna FC 450
Anderson came from the back to this finish and when Zach Osborne got him, I would’ve thought that was it and Zacho was going to get fourth. Jason looked a little spent out there but full props to him for digging down and getting Zach back. Funny how we go away for 85 days but look at this top four in the 450SX, it’s like we never left!
5th | #16 Zach Osborne | Clermont, FL | Husqvarna FC 450
Zacho was good! He’s been a bit hit and miss this year with speed and crashes but he charged hard in SLC to move through the pack and get this result. Very good ride for Zacho and before the break, he seemed to be stuck in this rut where he would bury himself and couldn’t get the ball rolling. Well now, this has to feel like a restart for him.
6th | #37 Martin Davalos | Tallahassee, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Marty was good! Like, really good! Like, I don’t know how on that track that was more beat up than Baghdad and as hard as a parking lot, Marty didn’t lose his front end out there. But he didn’t and he was awesome, who saw this coming because you would think he wouldn’t love this type of track.
7th |#4 Blake Baggett | Grand Terrace, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
Blake’s got to be bummed, he looked good all day long, grabbed the lead early and was checking out in the main. He led more laps in SLC SX than he had since his win last year at Glendale (I believe) and even though I had heard that he had mostly ridden MX, I figured he would hang in there for a podium at least right? Uhhh, no he got arm pump and dropped back pretty far off the pace he as going.
8th | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
Not a great day for Barcia, he lacked a little pizzazz out there for sure. I mean, in the heat race he came up on Dean Wilson and neither guy tried to kill each other. Should’ve known we weren’t up for much for the #51 at that point! I mean, eighth isn’t terrible or anything like that but probably not what he wanted to do out there.
9th | #10 Justin Brayton | Charlotte, NC | Honda CRF450R
Brayton was up there early but once he started getting eaten up, it wasn’t going to happen for JB10. He told us his right arm got pumped up and he was just trying to hold on out there. In other news, he told us on the PulpMX Show that if he makes the podium today or in the two races after that, he will fly Weege’s family out to join him here. As if Weege needed any more reason to cheer for Brayton…
10th | #15 Dean Wilson | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 450
DeanO was the fastest guy in the first practice session and you know what? I don’t care where it is or what you’re doing, that’s got to feel good for a rider to top any session out there at any time. From there though, bad start did him in. I know it’s a broken record but any rider was doomed to a so-so finish on this track when they weren’t out front.
11th | #27 Malcolm Stewart | Haines City, FL | Honda CRF450R
Mookie went down in the main at some point and had to fight up from way back to this spot and this track wasn’t one that was really going to play into his hands though. I did see some full Mookie Fever speed in the whoops though.
12th | #7 Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH |Yamaha YZ450F
AP made a mistake early on and had a lot of ground to make up all main event on a track that really didn’t make that chore very easy. He moved up and got the guys he should have and caught up to Stewart and Wilson but that was all she wrote for him. He also didn’t do that well in the heat race which didn’t get him a great gate pick.
13th | #50 Benny Bloss | Oak Grove, MO | KTM 450 SX-F
I didn’t notice Benny out there much as he beat the guys he should’ve but nobody that would’ve made you raise your eyebrow.
14th | #44 Kyle Cunningham | Willow Park, TX | Suzuki RM-Z450
Cunningham was back from injury and looked pretty good. He had crashed more this year than I had remembered when we were racing but for this one, he went down once, and I don’t think it was that big. The two Kyle’s are what they are at this point.
15th| #11 Kyle Chisholm | Valrico, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
We’ve been gone for 85 days but of course, we get back and Chiz just Chizzes out there. He was like eighth going into the first turn in the LCQ but of course he just rides well and gets in there. Lots of guys had issues out there with lots of different issues but not Chiz, nope…he just did the laps and finished well.
16th | #46 Justin Hill | Yoncalla, OR | Honda CRF450R
Not sure what happened to Hill out there, he was up there and showing good speed but at one point was in the mechanics area and went back out again. Not a great day for the SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda team really.
17th | #61 Alex Ray | Milan, TN | Kawasaki KX450
When we paused the series A-Ray had been on a bad streak of not making the main events but with the restart, he rode well to get in by winning the LCQ. He had fuel boiling issues in the main as well as some shock issues throughout the day that held him back.
18th | #64 Vince Friese | Menifee, CA | Honda CRF450R
Friese was back to his usual modus operandi in the heat and the main where he got good starts and gave a lot of other guys fits out there. He crashed in the whoops (I believe) and then was feeling the altitude and heat and called it a day.
19th | #22 Chad Reed | Cornelius, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Hey man, Chad was back and he was on a KTM! And you know what? He looked pretty frisky in his heat although his practice times weren’t great (for him). In the main he had, wait for it, bike issues, but after the race he seemed to be in a good mood to talk about the switch. The question I have to ask him is, is this it for him? He’s going out with these seven races?
20th | #34 Tyler Bowers | Lake Elsinore, CA | Kawasaki KX450
The Bear told me that the altitude hit him pretty hard out there and he was forced to pull off early on. He said that it had never ever been an issue for him at SLC but for some reason, this time it was.
21st | #31 Fredrik Noren | Indian Trail, NC | Suzuki RM-Z450
Fast Freddie was back and he tweaked an ankle in a heat race so his main kind of sucked. Don’t worry though, JGRMX had Broc Tickle back to run the flag high and get inside the top ten. Yeah, about that…Tick crashed in the first practice and broke his hand (not the one he recently broke, the other one). He thinks he may be able to race SLC 3 or 4 though. You can’t make this stuff up about the JGR guys, seriously, when does it stop?
22nd | #9 Adam Cianciarulo | New Smyrna Beach, FL | Kawasaki KX450
Oh man, AC was up there early but crashed and got run over by Cooper Webb (payback for the amateur days? Too soon?). That was it for Adam’s race but he thinks he’ll be ready to line up for Wednesday’s race. I think he’s a tad frustrated with crashing out but as I told him, the switch will flip and he’ll figure everything out, he just has to figure out the crashing thing like another #9 Kawasaki rider in 1999 had to. By the way, he got kind of lucky in this one.
I don’t have a ton of other stuff to put in here because, well, we’re not really supposed to go into the pits and hang around, you know? Not ideal for a media guy like myself but we’re trying to play by the rules here.
So stay tuned, we’ll have a lot more Observations coming up this week from SLC SX2! Email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this race or any of the other six that are left!