It’s time for round 13! We are still in Salt Lake City and these rounds are coming at us relentlessly now. Wednesday’s round 12 saw a significantly better racetrack in both design and surface condition. With rain forecasted for Sunday, everything we have learned at rounds 11 and 12 could change. Mud is the great equalizer, changing the narrative for where we saw the series headed. Let’s take a look at the track map but keep in mind, rain could drastically change the approach to all of these sections.
Dirty Little Secrets
This start is the shortest of the SLC rounds thus far, bending into a long left sweeper. On a normal lap, riders will go for a 3-3 option and into a bowl berm next to the starting gates. Exiting the corner, they will enter a rhythm section spanning the length of the stadium. The fastest line looks to be 3-3-3-2. That last double will see riders cut across the inside of the corner and accelerate towards the next triple. The toughest part will be getting the first 3 out of the corner. If riders get that first 3 clean, it will be smooth sailing.
After the supercross triple at the far end of the track, riders hit a 90-degree right hander and into another long rhythm. This section will take some time to figure out as there are a few ways to execute it. I believe riders will cut across the inside of the corner and double from the inside line. That will set them up for a few different triple combos and possibly a quad into the corner. Watch for this section to be a big focus in the early sessions. This is the only section that will require a lot of thought on paper.
After another bowl berm, riders slingshot into the only whoops section. If SLC 2 (round 12) was any indication, these whoops will play a big factor in the results. The SLC dirt deterioration is wreaking havoc on riders of all skill levels. A small double ends the whoops section and watch for block passing into the next bowl berm. That bowl berm leads into a high speed single back towards the finish line jump. With riders forced to swing wide to jump the finish line, this final corner will be a high contact area. On that final lap, riders will want to stay inside and protect the inside but the outside could give a chance to slingshot around the outside. It will be a chess game to see who can outthink their rival when it’s down to the final lap.
These fantasy swings are intense! Riders like Colt Nichols, Darian Sanayei, Blake Baggett, Adam Enticknap, and Curren Thurman have provided high drama after rounds 11 and 12. They have been boom or bust, creating ecstasy or agony for ownership teams. Going into round 13, those that hit a home run with their heroes at round 11 will have another shot. Conversely, those that suffered mightily at round 12 will be watching and hoping that they don’t get whiplashed by a bounce-back ride. A perfect example of this would be Blake Baggett. His seventh place at round 11 maximized his score with 52 points. For those who picked him at round 12 on Wednesday, they were hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately, he faded back to 14th and out of the double points fray. That is a brutal points swing and one that I have been on the losing end of many times. NOT THIS TIME, THOUGH. My fantasy game is a ball of hot fire right now. I have surged up the ranks as of late, riding the momentum wave. Sunday presents another opportunity to make moves and I CAN’T WAIT.
There is some value left and new opportunity, too. Darian Sanayei is still valuable provided he can sneak into another main event. Pierce Brown regained a touch of value, as did the aforementioned Blake Baggett. Martin Davalos is back into the mix, along with Fredrik Noren. Great rewards often require great risk but they can also leave you throwing your tennis shoes at your flat screen. It’s a crazy world we live in. Act accordingly.
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