We’re down two races here in Indy and one to go. Can we stop calling these things “residencies” by the way? We’re in these cites for three shows and I’ve never heard of a band in the concert calling three shows a “residency.” Let’s just move on from that idea, okay?
On to the race!
Mitchell Oldenburg crashed due to a bike problem in his 250 heat race. When Oldenburg came up for the 250 LCQ, he was denied a chance to line up because, according to the team, the AMA thought the team was using another bike. The frame stickers didn’t match. Seems the team had changed out the sticker at Indy 1 and the AMA hadn’t recorded it so his frame number and frame sticker didn’t match. So, they didn’t let him race the LCQ. The team insisted they only changed the motor and not the frame, but the AMA wasn’t buying it. So Oldenburg didn’t make the main.
AH HA! But he did make the main! The team then brought an AMA official over to their pit to show them the busted motor, no longer in the bike. They had not swapped frames, they had just put a new motor in the existing frame. Meanwhile, the team also had video of the engine swap, and was able to explain that the new tech sticker on the frame had not been recorded properly.
Then the AMA, upon seeing that the team only changed a motor and realizing they made a gaffe, somehow saw fit to give Oldenburg the 23rd spot in the main! I’ve never seen anything like this. Why they didn’t just trust the team in the first place, let Mitchell race the LCQ anyway and then after that have the team prove they were legal. If the team was wrong, at that point you just DQ him. But if they’re right, he’s in the main correctly. This is the AMA being the AMA.
Meanwhile, and unrelated to this, Jett Lawrence pulled out of the main due to injury. Oldenburg was supposed to start in the second row, but it became a first row start as he pulled into Lawrence’s spot (that definitely shouldn’t have happened but at this point, all bets were off) and people were very confused. The whole thing was super weird and bottom line is the AMA screwed up and we got our second ever 23-man main event.
Speaking of screw ups, Colt Nichols never got the white flag! He crossed the finish line with 4 seconds to go which meant he would get the white flag the next time around, but when he came around for it, the checkers were waving! Everyone was confused by this and it was, following the Oldenburg thing, a bad look for the AMA. Luckily for them there wasn’t two brands going for the win that were super close. Can you imagine if there was a last-lap battle for the win with two riders on two different teams and the race was cut a lap early? Teams would’ve lost their minds at that point.
AMA needs to tighten it up folks. Still.
I thought Ken Roczen’s adaptation to the all-new 2021 CRF450R would take some time. I mean, we’ve seen struggles before with brand-new models. Roczen’s hit the ground running, looking perhaps the best he ever has. Two straight wins for the #94 and the points lead! He grabbed the lead on the first lap and was never challenged, making a treacherous, rutty track look rather easy.
It’s not that crazy to imagine Roczen with four wins, right? He makes the pass on Barcia at Houston 1 and Dean Wilson doesn’t hold him up at Houston 3. Boom, that bumps him from two wins to four. Roczen’s so on point this year. We had Kenny on the PulpMX Show on Monday and asked him about his mental attitude.
“I’m [decided I was] sitting this outdoor season  out,” he explained of his rebuilding process. “I need to do something different, because something isn’t working and I’m struggling. I always do my training, and maybe too hard sometimes. That used to be fine, but whatever was going on with my body, I couldn’t do it anymore. You obviously saw me the last couple of years. It just hurt me. At one point, I had to really let myself get out of shape.
“I really wanted to revamp and reboot my entire career,” he continued. “I just had to do some changes. I talked to my people and to a very specific person, that I would like to keep private, and I kept working, and working, and working and finally let the ego down. I’m like, you know what? I kind of need a change here. I need to approach things different.”
Listen to the full interview with Roczen on PulpMX Show #453, starting at the 30:12 mark:
Who knew letting the ego down could be helpful in this sport?
Justin Barcia needed this. Weird to say that a dude with one bad race needed a podium finish but that’s how gnarly the top dudes are. You just can’t let them get away. Bam qualified 12th, didn’t look good all day but pulled the holeshot and figured it out to hold onto second. No way did I think he was going to hold of Eli Tomac for second (the only people who did probably have the last name Barcia) but once the champ caught him, man, Justin showed some wily vet skills out there to hold ET off for second.
I happened to be watching Eli Tomac’s start and first lap. His start was good but his first few lanes were not. He let two or three guys get by him in the opening lap before he got fully going and that definitely wasn’t ideal. Tomac has said in the past this is an issue with him and it was again in Indy 2. All afternoon, he was on it, and he was fast in the race, but giving Roczen that kind of a break (along with falling while leading at Indy 1) isn’t ideal for the champ.
I’m so impressed with Colt Nichols this year. Obviously we all should be because he’s got the points lead and three straight wins but the way he’s done it has been great. He looks flawless out there even when dealing with lappers, a track that’s bombed out like Beirut and pressure from Christian Craig at various points over the three races.
He has an 11-point lead with three races left and I mean, with the depth of this class, how’s he going to lose that many points to Craig unless a total disaster hits?
Weege and JT weren’t ready to go there, but I think Michael Mosiman might have held onto the lead if he hadn’t been taken out by a flipping Max Miller motorcycle. He looked good! GASGAS is FUN FUN and he also had Jesus on his side. I know there was a lot of racing left and Nichols is on it, but I say Mosiman might’ve done it.
The rest of the 250SX class has been benefitting from the injuries, no doubt about it. Grant Harlan is a great rider and got fifth but was lapped. I don’t want this to be a “Steve shits on the 250SX East class” but I mean, c’mon here. Good for all these guys, but one thing I really don’t like seeing is that these races count for FULL national points. Yup, Harlan earned as many points toward an AMA National Number or career number as Aaron Plessinger did in the 450SX main event.
Few other news and notes:
Marvin Musquin has crashed more in these five races than I think he has in his past three years of supercross. He rides well but then gets a garbage start, or he gets a good start and crashes. It’s one of those deals where you start trying harder and you get worse results. He’s got a podium already and I’m confident he figures this out and gets back up there, but for now, this has to suck for him.
Zach Osborne was good, not as good as Indy 1 but still he’s got to get some starts here. I think that podium that he threw away late at Houston might have changed everything. Had he gotten it, maybe he’d be in a different spot right now. Momentum is weird in this sport.
Someone check on Weege, the wheels have come off the Justin Brayton bandwagon here the last two weeks…
Aaron Plessinger had a career best finish and he rode very well. Cooper Webb got him late but he also got Adam Cianciarulo late as well. Look, I don’t cheer for many riders out there, I’m just a media guy without a lot of personal ties but I sent AP a text after the race because I was genuinely happy for the guy. He’s had a tough couple of years.
Vince Friese might just call the year off if he keeps having this rough of a season. I think him and Marty Davalos are vying for the title of “Most Crashes in 2021 SX.” He got a great start at Indy 2 and then was taken down by Malcolm Stewart early on in an aggressive pass. One thing you should know is that none of these big factory dudes like being behind Vince for long, so they like to make that pass stick. It’s the same stuff that happened with Keith Bowen or Heath Voss or Mike Alessi back in the day. A rider that’s not on the same level (for the #800, this was in SX only) as the top guys and causes a bit of a jam-up is going to get the wrath of the field.
Anyways, when Friese was getting lapped, he made sure to get in the #27’s way for a good couple of laps. Tensions were high but then Friese moved over and let Malcolm by. I heard Mookie’s dad [Big James!] went over to the MCR pits afterwards to let Vince and/or the team know that he didn’t like that.
Speaking of Marty, he’s gotta pull it together here or he’s gonna get a bunch of free medic rides out of the stadium. He’s not just crashing, he’s crashing hard. A lot. C’mon Marty, “we’re” better than this!
Joey Savatgy had another solid, but quiet night. Stacking those finishes and getting a better feel for the pace up front. Cool to see!
In case you were wondering, Chiz chiz’d yet again.
Thanks for reading, email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this or anything else, onto Indy 3!