Indianapolis is a cool city. Although it’s a tad cold for this time of the year, it’s always been a great stop on the “MonsterCross SX Series” because the fans are into it, the stadium is cool, and the downtown area is vibrant and happening. So, if you have to go somewhere for a week to watch three races, why not have it be Indianapolis?
As always, I’ll try to keep this brief with the short turnaround between races, but no promises. The track at Indy was good and not nearly as rutty as I thought it would get, but it still got hella-rutty if that makes any sense. I thought we might see a repeat of a few years ago where it seemed to melt away during the night. It was still treacherous though and I’d say roughly 47 percent of the racers out there jumped off the track at some point.
The second turn was originally supposed to loop back around and cross the first turn but after what we saw in Houston where guys were still laying there from a crash while the pack was charging toward them, the decision was made to re-route the guys with a 90-degree turn across the start straight, which was smart. What wasn’t smart was leaving the 180-degree berm still built all normal. The practice starts in the untimed practices were pure comedy as the riders couldn’t quite get it smoothly. The #722 [Adam Enticknap] even lightly T-boned his teammate Brandon Hartranft in the unseeded 450 group!
Watching the guys trying to figure this out was high comedy. At one point the seeded 450 group was red-flagged, and the guys were sent around to hang a hard left and go under the bridge, but (wisely) that was deemed too dangerous and we were back to the original way (but not the true original way) of doing it, but also the the berm was knocked down (thereby hurting the actual racing) to make it a better transition for the turn across the start on lap 1. The whole thing was perplexing. Like, why couldn’t any of this have been figured out on Friday when the guys rode the track?
Anyway, it was yet again an exciting 450SX main event with Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac pushing hard to get a win. This after Adam Cianciarulo led some laps as well. I have to admit that when Eli, who actually grabbed the holeshot and washed out while leading, got Roczen late I was scared of Kenny having yet another 450SX win slip through his hands, along with his mental sanity.
But Tomac made a small mistake heading to the outside of a berm to get enough speed to triple onto a tabletop and Roczen struck! He pivoted on the inside, shot across the track and blocked the Kawasaki rider’s progress. It was great, it was smooth, and it allowed Roczen to grab the win. Great rides by both of these guys and that’s four-for-four in terms of great races to start the year.
We’re also four rounds in and Roczen (86 points) leads the standings over Cooper Webb (80 points) with Tomac (77 points) in third. And those three, plus fifth-place Justin Barcia, have won all the races and we’re going to, in my opinion, see these guys start to pull away and win the majority of the races. I think AC can win a race, and maybe Zach Osborne and Marvin Musquin can get into the mix, but if none of those three won and we saw a Webb, Tomac, and Roczen sweep of the last 13 of these things, I wouldn’t be shocked. Parity is always promised in SX, rarely does it work out that way!
So, I talked to a bunch of dudes after the race to get their takes on things and I thought I’d go through those interviews and tell you what they said, but then also tell you what they REALLY meant.
What he said: “I knew how comfortable I was and I just kind of made the decision like, ‘I’m going to have to do my best doing this line.’ That’s just what I was comfortable with. Maybe that’s just me growing up a little bit.”
And: “So sometimes you’ve got to choose your battles, or I could have ended up on the concrete and gotten 14th.”
What he meant: “I’m really tired of hitting the ground and I want to actually make it through all the races so no more sending it.”
What he said: “So I was glad to be up there battling and certainly tried my ass off. It didn’t work out, but I can’t worry about it too much. I was happy with my effort. Just got to execute. We’ll do it eventually.”
What he meant: “Oh my God do I want to win one of these really soon.”
What he said: “I like that dirt. I think the Houston dirt and this dirt are a little softer and it gets really rutty, and I really like that. I was a big fan. I’m looking for Tuesday and hopefully we can do it all again.”
What he meant: “Look, I know everyone saw God tonight at one point or another because of the ruts but I won so, yeah man, everything about this place is awesome!”
What he said: “That was kind of a crazy scenario there at the end. I didn’t really get to watch it, so I need to go back and watch. That was crazy. But just the sole points leader now, it feels nice. I’m glad we were able to do that.”
What he meant: “Uhh yeah, both Jett [Lawrence] and Christian [Craig] did me a huge solid there by taking each other down. SWEET!”
What he said: “He [Michael Mosiman] was smart enough to do it in the heat race, so I got to thank him for that. But we’re good. That’s how I race.”
What he meant: “I deserved that by Mosiman but we’re all good now.”
What he said: “At that point there was nothing I could do. I tried my best and I didn’t give myself the best of luck for a podium tonight, but I rode the best I could. It was going to look like the end was fairly good, but no. It just went away like that, really easy.”
What he meant: “I’m super pissed at me, at Christian Craig, at life itself, and I want a donut.”
What he said: “I’m 34. This ain’t my first rodeo. It’s very frustrating to have a great off-season and just come out and just keep doing this shit over and over. So very frustrating.”
What he meant: “I’m old as dirt, I can’t be making the same mistakes over and over.”
What he said: “Crashing in this sport is not something you want to do every single weekend.”
What he meant: “Crashing in this sport is not something you want to do every single weekend.”
What he said: “I was shitting my pants every time I had to jump it, especially with the ruts all the way across the jump, most of them not being straight.”
What he meant: “I was shitting my pants every time I had to jump it.”
What he said: “There’s the factory guys that are going super fast, and then I’ve just been a little tick off of them and then there’s people behind me. So, it’s like I am in this weird spot. Just trying to work each weekend at getting closer to those guys.”
What he meant: “I’m stuck in no-man’s land. I’m better than these squirrels behind me but I don’t have a factory motor.”
What he said, when asked if Phil would be happy with his ride: “Actually no. I think what Phil [Nicoletti] expects is what I expect.”
What he meant: “Yeah, Phil wouldn’t be happy for me if I won because he’s a miserable person.”
What he said: “I’m happy with my riding for sure but getting stuck in the gate as a 450 factory rider is not ideal. To start literally dead last and get fifth is pretty solid.”
What he meant: “Getting stuck in the gate is fine when you’re nine years old, it’s not acceptable as a factory rider.”
What he said: “There’s not many people that are going to just fly through the pack like that from last to fifth. So, I’m happy with it.”
What he meant: “Hey man, I’m a bad ass because nobody’s been able to do what I did this year.”
What he said: “The week before, I was way on the inside and [Aaron] Plessinger was next to me and Plessinger rolled the gate, timed it. I was like, ‘Okay, this sucks.’ Then in one of the practice starts somebody rolled the gate and timed it. I’m like, dude. I’m tired of being the guy that doesn’t go. So, then this time it worked out. I don’t want to do that ever again just because it’s not really very consistent, but it worked out.”
What he meant: “I got SO lucky the gate dropped when it did.”
What he said: “For me, literally we just watched a little bit of film before I left, and I was so slow in the whoops. I think you could have got on a bike and gone through them faster.”
What he meant: “Matthes, I don’t know if you ride or not but I’m guessing you’re terrible on a dirt bike.”
What he said: “I have a lot of respect for these dudes. These guys are way more gnarly than the Lites guys. It’s cool. I got on the podium last year, but honestly a top ten in the 450 class would be like getting a podium in the Lites class. It’s not even that. For instance, [Dylan] Ferrandis obviously was dominating the class and now he’s like tenth or so. So, it’s definitely a change of pace for me.”
What he meant: “Uhhh yeah, wow. These guys are f**king fast and it’s SO gnarly. FML.”
What he said: “I was talking to Clark Jones [crew chief] tonight and I was just like, ‘Honestly, we can try different stuff, but I think the bike is working well. Everything is pretty easy on it, so I don’t even know what to tell you what to change.’”
What he meant: “I kind of suck at testing.”
What he said: “Chiz is the GOAT, man.”
What he meant: “Chiz is the GOAT, man.”
Thanks for reading, onto another race tomorrow! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this or anything else.