Career Best Week
In the 250SX main event, Josh Varize and Kevin Moranz finished sixth and seventh, respectively, to earn new career bests. Hunter Schlosser earned a new career best ninth in the main event and Alexander Nagy made his first ever main event after over 100 tries, finishing 15th.
Jett Lawrence took his second 250SX main event win of the season in just his 13th career main event start as teammates Colt Nichols and Christian Craig rounded out the podium. This was the third time this year the trio combined to fill a main event podium. They also finished in the same spots at the Orlando 1 SX as they did at the Houston 2 SX.
In the first seven rounds, there have only been six different riders on the podium and Nichols is the only rider in either the 250SX East or 450SX Class to finish on the podium in all seven race thus far. Speaking of heat races…
Bringing the Heat
Through the first seven rounds, the 250SX East Region has had five heat race winners:
Through the first seven rounds, the 450SX Class has had seven heat race winners:
No More CobWEBBs
In the 450SX main event, Zach Osborne and Justin Brayton led their first laps of the season. But after Osborne was shuffled back to third behind Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb took the lead on the fourth lap with a two-for-one pass around both Roczen and Brayton. He never looked back. Webb led the final 22 laps of the race to take his 13th career 450SX win (all of which have been with KTM). The podium was Webb’s 32nd career 450SX podium—30 which have come aboard a the KTM. In his two years on a YZ450F, Webb earned two podiums in 26 starts. He has 30 podiums in 41 starts so far with KTM. The win also pulled Webb (148 points) three points closer to Roczen (161 points) in the standings.
One in 12
We saw eight different riders on the podium through the first three rounds. That was amazing. Since then we have seen only one new rider grab a podium finish in the available 12 spots: Zach Osborne. Osborne gave up the lead in Orlando and was shuffled back early in the race but managed to hold off Justin Barcia to claim his first podium of the season, the sixth time in his career he’s made the 450SX podium.
Quotes From Around the Paddock
Cooper Webb | 1st in 450SX
“It was a great race tonight, we were one and two for pretty much the whole thing, tooth and nail. It was a tough race, the track really broke down a lot, especially from the beginning laps and it’s definitely a little different when you are leading the majority of the Main Event. I made a few mistakes those last few and Kenny caught up, but I was able to get it done and man does it feel good.”
Ken Roczen | 2nd in 450SX
“Orlando was a different kind of race. The schedule was delayed due to the possibility of rain and lightning, so we only had two qualifying practices, with completely different types of dirt. The first practice was kind of sketchy because it was super hard-packed on the jumps and soft and wet at the bottoms, from the water sitting. Then it ended up being really slick and tricky. By the night show, we felt pretty decent; got a holeshot and heat-race win, which set us up nicely for the night show, and grabbed another good start there; it wasn’t quite a holeshot, but I was in the top three, battling up there with Cooper [Webb], who ended up getting by me. By then it was basically just him and me battling all the way to the end. It wasn't quite enough for the win, but with the track a little tricky, I was happy to keep the rubber side down and take second place for the night. Hopefully we can turn it around for Orlando 2 and see if we can get back on the top step.”
Said Honda HRC team manager Erik Kehoe:
“Ken is riding really smart right now. He has worked hard to be more consistent on the starts, and it shows! After managing another good start in the main event, Ken handled the pressure well up front and finished a solid second place. He’s focused on podium finishes to continue to gain valuable points every week.”
Zach Osborne | 4th in 450SX
“It feels so good to get back on the podium and kind of find some mojo tonight. It felt good to get a start, that’s where I have really been struggling. It felt so good to get out there out front, getting in some clean air and breathe a little bit. I am super grateful to be up here.”
Eli Tomac | 5th in 450SX
“I said this last week but starts are so important this year. I’m not going to beat myself up too much because my speed is there and, when I can get a start, my KX450 has the power to keep me up front, but it’s up to me now to make the right adjustments at the gate. I’ll be traveling back home this week to put in some extra work on my starts and better prepare myself for our next race in Orlando.”
Aaron Plessinger | 6th in 450SX
“It was one of my better days, for sure. I started off pretty hot in practice. Got up there on the board for a second, then I ended up qualifying 11th. I didn’t get the greatest start in the heat race, so in the Main Event, I absolutely went for it. I jumped the gate and then backed up, and then took off with all the other guys and came out 10th. Then somebody rolled the first supercross triple, so that put us back quite a bit. I think the guys said I was 17th going into the first lap, but I just put my head down and charged. The track was so slick and replicated the test track in Corona. I think my bike really liked that, and I really liked that. I charged as hard as I could until the end of the race and clicked off a lot of passes and wound up in sixth place. That’s one place behind my best career finish. If that doesn’t give me confidence, then I don't know what will. I’m really stoked about my riding tonight. I’m pumped to come back here next Saturday because I think I’ve got more to prove.”
Said Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 450 Team Manager Jeremy Coker:
“It wasn’t the greatest day if you go off of the results, but for Dylan, he was really coming alive in the main event. He was riding well and was comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, he had a crash and stood up and ultimately got center-punched by another rider. Luckily, he’s okay and will recover for next week. Aaron rode really well. We’ve just got to put ourselves in a better position for the main event, which starts with practice and the heat race to get those better gate picks. So, all in all, it was a good ride for him in the main, but we’ve got to be better throughout the day. Malcolm unfortunately rode tight tonight. He’s got to work on some breathing things, but we’ll get there.”
Marvin Musquin| 7th in 450SX
“I was a little bit off in practice but I focused on the night show and made sure I had a good heat race to put myself in good position. I was so ready for the Main Event, I had a good gate and when I let the clutch go it started spinning and my rear wheel went sideways. I lost balance and was dead last off the start, exactly what I didn’t want to do. I put my head down and tried my best, as always. It was sketchy making passes in the beginning but I ended up seventh. I’m just bummed. It was a bit muddy behind the gate and things like that happen.”
Jason Anderson | 8th in 450SX
“It was an improvement all around for me today. My practices were better and my racing was quite a bit better, so If I could get a start it would help my results. In the Main Event, I got up there after a not-so-good start and got behind Tomac in sixth but I came together with someone, it was more my fault than anything, and dropped back but we’ll move on to next week and keep progressing.”
Malcolm Stewart | 9th in 450SX
“The day started out great. It was so nice being back home in Florida. In the Main Event, I had a decent start, but I made a few mistakes. I just wasn’t jiving with the track. All in all, I guess I would say it wasn’t a bad day. I still managed to finish in the top 10, finished ninth on a tough night. It could have been worse. A lot of guys went down. A lot of guys were definitely fatigued and having problems. We rode a solid night. That’s the best I can say. We’re going to dig deep and keep finding our way. We know what we’re capable of. Let’s get back up into those top-fives and get on the box. I know we’re all right there. It’s just a matter of when and where. We’re seven rounds in and getting close to halfway now. It’s time. I’m ready to do it. We’ll come back to Orlando next Saturday for Orlando 2.0 and go for it.”
Adam Cianciarulo | 10th in 450SX
“My day started well. I was fastest in qualifying aboard my KX450 and was feeling ready for a good night. I took the momentum from qualifying into my heat race and came away with a solid third place finish but come main event time I was feeling flat. I know I have more in me, but we have a lot of racing left. I have a great team supporting me and we’re going to figure this out; it’s only a matter of time.”
Dean Wilson | 12th in 450SX
“My night was very difficult but it feels really good to be back at the races. I think the hardest part for me was not being on the bike for almost three weeks, I felt like a fish out of water. I’m happy to get through the night, I know 12th isn't really what we want but I could see ninth right there and with a good start, I think I'll be pretty good.”
Joey Savatgy | 13th in 450SX
“It was a tough night. I had the speed to battle for a top five position, it’s just unfortunate I went down. The positives are my starts were good tonight, and I felt my riding was the best it’s been this season. The main thing is I leave here healthy. We are progressing in the right direction, so we will regroup and come back ready for Orlando 2."
Benny Bloss | 14th in 450SX
"It was a better weekend for me, and I feel like I made some progress, which got us a 14th place finish. I'm going to do some work this week with the team while we are here in Florida and get ready for when we return for the next race in Orlando."
Vince Friese |15th in 450SX
"Not the best night. I had a decent heat race and finished in sixth place, then put myself in a good position and ran up front early in the main event. I got rear-ended going up the wall jump and stalled the bike, which dropped me back to 15th. That wasn't ideal, and it took some of the wind out of my sails. I'll stay back here with the team this week and make the most of our time in Florida."
Shane McElrath | 17th in 450SX
"This was a big day! I am so happy to be with the team and racing. The 450 Class is very competitive, and I didn't know what to think coming in. I was at a little bit of a deficit, with round seven being my first race, but it was fun. I tried to do my own thing in practice, which led to a good gate pick, the holeshot, and a few laps led in the heat race. It was pretty wild to do that I was trying to calm down a bit. I feel like I'm capable of doing that; it was just crazy that it was already happening. A lot was going on in the main event, and it caught me off guard because I haven't been in those positions in my career. It will be a learning curve, but I look forward to building from here on out."
Dylan Ferrandis | 22nd in 450SX
“It was a difficult day with only two practices on a tough track. I managed to get a good start in the main and was feeling good. I tried some different rhythm sections then ended up crashing. I got hit by the rider next to me in the stomach and couldn’t breathe for a moment. I was okay in the end, but my race was over.”
Broc Tickle | DNQ for main event
“This was a frustrating day. We've made lots of progress since the opening round, and even though this wasn't great, we will move on and be back for the next race."
Brandon Hartranft | DNQ for main event
"Not the best day. I'm struggling with some things right now. But I’ll be better for the next weekend. The Orlando 1 track was hardpack compared to the last few weekends. There were not as many ruts so everyone was closer in speed. My starts are good, I just need to put the pieces of the puzzle together and I’ll be right where I need to be."
Adam Enticknap | DNQ for main event
"As the day went on I felt better and better. I lined up for the LCQ and felt great. I got a good start, I had gotten the track figured out, I was waiting to put a charge in and get those spots that I needed to make the main event when another rider and I clashed and drove me off the side of a jump. I ejected off the front of my bike over a double and I crashed pretty hard. I was pretty upset about it, but sometimes those things happen in racing, especially when you don't get the holeshot. So the plan is to get some practice in this week, work on some more starts, not that they're that bad, but I would like to get a holeshot and get out front and be out away from those issues. I'm looking forward to Orlando 2 and I'm glad my bike's working really well."
Jett Lawrence | 1st in 250SX
“Today was a smooth day; I felt like I rode very smart and made smart decisions in qualifying and was P3 in both sessions. I felt like I was smarter with my thinking process. Going into the heat race, I didn't get a very good start; I popped the clutch a little, which made me wheelie out, but I was able to manage the first turn and get further up in the pack. With [Christian] Craig going down, I ended up winning that, so got pretty lucky. In the main event, I executed my start very well and was able to manage the race to the checkered flag. Colt [Nichols] was on me, which was good to have the pressure there, keeping me on it. I’d like to thank the team, my mechanic Christian [Ducharme], and my trainer Johnny [O’Mara] for all the support. We’ve been working really hard and it's good to leave on a good note. I can't wait for Salt Lake."
“It was a really good night for the team! Jett rode well all day and focused hard to get a great start in the main event and take the win. This was an important win for Jett to build some confidence going into the East Region series break.
Colt Nichols | 2nd in 250SX
“I was just a touch off of Christian all day in practice. I was able to get the heat race win, which was nice. I got to line up where I wanted on the gate. I just didn’t quite execute the start as well as I wanted to. Jett (Lawrence) got ahead of me and was able to control the inside. So that was kind of the race right there. The track was a little difficult to pass on, and it was so slick. The moisture started to come up, and it got slicker and slicker as the night went on. So that made it tough. But overall, I can’t complain. I got some points in second place, and that’s always a good thing. I just was a little bummed about my riding. I felt really flat at the beginning of the race. I didn’t have much intensity there, so that’s why I was a little frustrated. We’ve got a long break now, so I’m going to try to enjoy things and get some outdoor riding and come back swinging in a few months.”
Said Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing team manager Wil Hahn:
“We left a little bit on the track in the Main Event with Colt. I think he’s a little disappointed, but it was still a good result, and he left with a bigger points lead. That’s always the goal.”
Christian Craig | 3rd in 250SX
“The weekend started off great. I qualified first. I loved this track, everything about it. The dirt was hard-packed, just like the test track, so I was feeling so good. I got off to a good start in the heat race, and then on the second lap, some sort of little case turned into a big fall. I’m sure everyone has seen it on TV. I banged up my hand pretty good. I wasn’t sure I was even going to race, but we had it taped up by Dr. G. and had to grit it out. I knew I had to do what I could to get through tonight. We have 10 weeks after this, so I can heal up then. I was able to get out to a good start from way on the outside in the Main. I got into third quick and stayed with Colt for a lot of the race. Then I had some sketchy moments, so I backed it off and finished third. I only lost two points to Colt. After the Heat race, if you would have told me I’d get third, I would have been jumping up and down. It was a win in my books after that crash. We've got a long break, so we’re going to heal up and get ready for Salt Lake.”
“For Christian, to rebound after that heat race crash and win the LCQ and show that much heart in the Main Event, that’s a pretty big breakthrough. That’s huge for him. It’s got to feel good going into this break knowing that he’s still only eight points out of the championship lead. All in all, it was a positive night.”
Jo Shimoda | 4th in 250SX
“It would have been nice to land on the podium one more time before the break, but I am still happy with how I rode. Just needed a little bit better start. At the start of the day, we didn’t really know what kind of track we were going to get after all that rain so to leave healthy and third in the points is good.”
After a crash that sent him flying to the ground hard, Craig lined up and raced the 250SX LC1, which he won. He then pulled off a third-place finish in the main event, keeping his championship hopes alive. His wife Paige posted the following update on Christian on Sunday, saying the initial X-rays showed no fractures.
Shane McElrath’s 450SX heat 1 highlights: