Well, crap—we’re almost halfway through this thing! When the halfway flag flies in two weeks in Daytona, the 450SX dudes will be right there. While we still don’t know for sure what’s going to happen, there seems to be some clarity in the 450SX class. At least that’s what I think. Let’s get into Orlando 2 SX!
First of all: the track. It was basically the same as Orlando 1 and that was weird. The track (due to weather, we were told) barely got a workover. It was 85 percent the same track, the whoops weren’t really touched, and riders I spoke to and the ones in the press conference were sort of not happy. I get it man, it’s COVID-19 times and we had weather but it wasn’t like it monsoon’d all week. I was all around Orlando the whole week and it seemed okay? I’m not on the track crew, I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes but many riders and teams were confused also.
Also, while I’m complaining: I never really think about the trophies given to the riders, but then someone sent me a shot of Marchbanks on the podium holding what looks to be a slightly-bigger-than-an-iPhone third-place trophy. Again, it’s COVID-19 times, costs need to be cut, but man, you know how hard it is to podium a supercross then get something like what you see in the photo below?
Can we get a Go-Fund me going or something to boost these trophies up?
I’ll cover 250SX class below but for now some thoughts on the big class:
Well, Cooper Webb won again and swept Orlando. We haven’t seen a tour de force like that in O-Town since the Shaq and Penny days. Webb looked great both weeks and closed up the points run that Ken Roczen had started to ring up. The thing that impressed me was when Adam Cianciarulo was out front and kind of pulling away, Webb didn’t have any panic. I mean, that’s not huge praise for him because I’m sure he knew what AC’s been doing lately in mains and knows he’s going faster and in better shape than AC right now, and Webb is always good toward the end of the these mains. So he just sort of hung out and let the race come to him, which it did, and he won with relative ease. Many people think this is just the start of the Webb Wagon warming up and he’ll just get better as we go. I can’t say these people are wrong.
Things seem to be swinging wildly every which way for Marvin Musquin right now. He was a Jason Anderson takeout away from winning a heat race, and then he got second in the main event. In 2021, when Marv is good, he’s very good. Then he’s also had some pretty bad luck in some other races. Musquin said in the press conference that he’s been happier with his bike setup lately and the he had “pleasure” riding the track.
Justin Barcia had serious heat on him the whole main event. Eli Tomac, and then Roczen, put some pressure on him, plus Barcia was too far behind Marv to hang on and charge up to him. No one to focus on ahead, and two riders all over you trying to make a pass. That’s not an easy spot to be in for #51 but he held tight and got third. Awesome ride and a KTM sweep at that (Don’t @ me please)!
Roczen was basically last going into the first turn and worked his way (briefly) into third before settling for fourth. He just couldn’t make it stick with Barcia. It was an amazing ride. The way he would hit the off-camber after the whoops, ride down the little lip there, then somehow get traction across the slick start straight and cut inside of dudes in that next left was amazing.
It got me thinking. Although Roczen deserves most of the credit for this season, I wonder if the Honda guys have figured out something new? Brand new bike of course, maybe there’s been an ECU improvement or…something the red riders found in the off-season to help Roczen? I talked to someone close to the situation and they told me that it’s the rider who deserves this credit. The team didn’t find anything earth-shattering on the bike. Although Trey Canard did big things to get the bike settings dialed before Roczen ever got on it, the team credits Roczen’s new attitude as a positive. He’s not letting the “bad” stuff affect him as much and he’s rolling with the punches. Whatever it is, although he only finished fourth, man he was impressive again!
The defending champion was not impressive again. A sixth is not something that Eli Tomac or Kawasaki can be pumped on and once again, it’s the start. His heat race start was no good, he went to the line with the 14th gate pick, and although the main event start wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t what he needed. Then he couldn’t get by Barcia and for the second week in a row, he dropped off the pace late in the race.
Let me type that again. Ready? “For the second week in a row, he dropped off he pace late in the race”. I can’t believe I’m saying that about Eli Tomac! Last week Jason Anderson was catching him before Jason fell. This week Jason got the job done and slipped by Tomac in the whoops with two laps to go. Also, Roczen caught and passed Eli as well. Whatever it is, arm pump or “tightness” or whatever, Tomac’s not been the same guy as he was last year and I’m ready to say it. Thirty-one points down with two riders to jump by with half the year left? Yeah, he’s not winning the championship.
Marty Davalos has crashed at least once or more in every main event of the year but one. In that one race were he didn’t crash, he had a bike issue. I had a rider text me joking maybe the issue is Marty’s mechanic’s tire gauge is off and it reads 12psi but there’s actually 22psi in that front tire? I don’t know, I’m willing to believe just about anything when it comes to Marty’s issues.
Great work for Max Anstie. He showed up for his first SX since 2013 (?!?) and got it into a stacked 450SX main event. He had a pretty good practice crash also, but Mad Max still held it together for a good night.
Jason Anderson has been very good lately. He won a heat race and was fastest in a qualifying session. He was also fastest in the one of the sessions last weekend. He seems to have shaken off whatever bugged him earlier this year. Remember, all of the Rockstar Husky contracts are up at the end of the year so it should be interesting to see who goes where or what happens. If Anderson can maintain his recent form he can make a case as the #1 guy in silly season this year.
AC9 broke his collarbone when he went over the bars in the whoops and will be out for a few races. This saddens me. I have nothing else to say at the moment.
Is Chiz going to Chiz his way into every single damn main event this year? I say yes.
History won’t say anything about Dylan Ferrandis and his 11th place finish. You’ll all just look at that 11th and shrug your shoulders. This is why, in my opinion, you have to go to the races to accurately report about the races. On TV you won’t see Ferrandis go to the mechanics’ area for repairs to his shifter early in the race. You won’t see him pull out maybe three seconds in front of leader Cianciarulo, just ahead of not getting lapped. That was almost a minute and a half in the pits for #14.
Then he went all the way around the track, never got passed by the leaders and made it to 11th. He was turning many laps faster than the leader Cooper Webb and hauling ass. That’s right, when Ferrandis pulled out of the mechanics’ area, the race leader was right behind him, and Ferrandis never got lapped. It’s just an 11th right? No! it was amazing! Great ride for Ferrandis!
Let’s take a look at the opening round of the two-fittys!
250SX Main Event Results
1st | #32 Justin Cooper | Menifee, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Coming into the 250SX West opener, all us “experts” were like, “Oh J-Coop got hurt, he hasn’t been on the bike much and he’ll be behind the eight ball to start.” Well, we were wrong. Jeremy Martin crashed out of the race, but Cooper was a second better in qualifying than Martin and was faster every time they were on the track. Jeremy’s crash sucked, but I don’t want to take anything away from J-Coop. Justin was great all day and he looked like he had no issues with fitness or rust out there. With Martin missing the race, this thing looks like J-Coop’s to lose now. Which it probably was anyway, we “experts” were just too dumb to see it. Hey, how are we supposed to prognosticate injury healing time?
2nd | #31 Cameron McAdoo | Sioux City, IA | Kawasaki KX250
Outside of hitting a medic (which to me was a 50/50 blame pie between McAdoo and the medic), RAM IT had an incident-free night. I know, that doesn’t make sense but trust me, with “Wackers” it’s not always this way. He looked just fast and steady out there, much different from races where he’s a buzzsaw, both good and bad. Coming into the race, he had a thumb injury and barely rode, and he still got second. Great start for Cameron. Also, if you want to hear a guy taking a controversy and making it right, watch his PulpMX Show appearance from Monday.
3rd | #48 Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Yamaha YZ250F
Great race for the privateer rider and team! I was interested to see how he would do. Marchbanks was pretty good all day long and. There was some HEAVY Marchbanks hype coming into the race about how he was next level and all that. I didn’t buy into that, but before his crash in SLC, he looked like a new guy from any race other than his Daytona SX win. Still, I’m with Weege a bit on this: Mitch Payton doesn’t let guys he feels are special go. Even if they’re axe murderers, if you can win, you get a ride. So maybe Mitch doesn’t see “it” in Garret? I’m not sure but for one race anyways, it looks like PC made a mistake in letting him go.
4th | #47 Jalek Swoll | Belleview, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Quiet night from Swoll, who gets a career-best finish. He ran third for a long time before Marchbanks got him. Maybe it was the PulpMX Show bump he got from coming in for the show Monday before the race? Doubt it but still, if Jalek can continue to get top fives and some podiums, that will be a big step up for him.
5th | #41 Hunter Lawrence | Wesley Chapel, FL | Honda CRF250R
Very solid under the radar ride from Hunter who, when we last saw him in supercross, failed to make the main for the 250SX East/West Showdown in SLC. If I’m Honda and him, I’m stoked to float around the top five and get some solid finishes to finally build a base in supercross.
6th | 150 Seth Hammaker | Temecula, CA | Kawasaki KX250
The best rookie all day long, no doubt about it. Seth was very strong every time his wheels hit the track and he never really had a sketchy moment that I saw. Kind of effortless riding also—he makes it look easy when we know it’s not. Great debut for Seth. I had heard not that long ago that he wasn’t setting the world on fire at the SX test track. I need to get new sources!
7th | #56 Kyle Peters | Greensboro, NC | Honda CRF250R
KP and Zombie Blose are basically the same type of riders. How many rookies come into the class and think “Oh man, I’ll work Kyle Peters, he sells cars in the off-season and he races AX, plus he’s, like, super old” and then they go out there and see that Kyle Peters is way legit? I bet a lot.
8th | #60 Chris Blose | Phoenix, AZ | GasGas MC 250F
Zombie is Zombie at this point. He’ll be solid, he’ll be 5-10 most nights, he could squeak into the top 5 here and there and he’s not going to do anything dumb. He can also rise from the dead if need be. Someday we’ll figure out why he went from Gas Monkey Husky to Chap Honda and back to Gas Monkey but now that team is called Motul GasGas.
9th | #69 Robbie Wageman | Newhall, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Very good finish for Wageman, who’s a veteran of the class. He got good starts, he worked up in his races, and logged a result he and his team can be proud of. I thought last year he hit a bit of a wall in making improvements but this is a good start to the season for Wageman.
10th | #68 Jace Owen | Mattoon, IL | Yamaha YZ250F
Owen was fourth early on and drifted back to this finish. Look, 10th is good for sure but he looked pretty tired by the end of the race so I wonder if he’s a bit bummed. Maybe he didn’t get tired, maybe he got “tight” or “arm pump”? Either way, this result had potential to be better.
11th | #91 Nate Thrasher | Livingston, TN | Yamaha YZ250F
I mean, this is fine. It’s fine, everything is fine. (Star doesn’t expect more from their guys, right?)
12th | #72 Coty Schock | Dover, DE | Honda CRF250R
Great work for Schock to win the LCQ and get right into the main event. I did not have “Schock makes the main while teammate Carson Mumford misses main,” anywhere in my mind before the night began.
13th | #61 Joey Crown | Metamora, MI | Yamaha YZ250F
Remember last year when Crown was the surprise of the early season 250SX East series? Well, he’s back and although he didn’t do as well as those early rounds he was buried off the start and worked his way up into this. He also almost took out the J-Coop with a couple turns to go while being lapped. Oops!
14th | #220 Ramyller Alves | Coconut Creek, FL | KTM 250 SX-F
The “Tevin Tapia Award” winner for most random guy in the stacked main event goes to Alves. Great work out there for the privateer guy. A lot of good dudes were in the stands watching.
15th | #35 Mitchell Harrison | Murrieta, CA | Honda CRF250R
Harrison hadn’t raced SX in a while and he was good in the main despite a crash. Chaos reigns in the 250SX class!
16th | #201 Cedric Soubeyras | Venasque, France | GasGas MC 250F
Soubs’ suspension didn’t show up in time so he had to borrow fellow Frenchman Thomas Do’s stuff. His bike which was set up for Do, who’s 20 pounds lighter than Soubs. So, yeah all things considered this is a good result.
17th | #90 Dilan Schwartz | Alpine, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Remember Schwartz last summer? He was on it right out of Loretta’s and was very good when we saw him. Well, this was his first SX ever and he was very loose all day long. NOT scared to pin it, that’s for sure. He got fortunate to get into the main in the LCQ and then had some issues once there. Still, like the other rookies—I’ll reserve judgment and wait and see.
18th | #67 Stilez Robertson | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 250
There was no fault on Robertson for jumping onto J-Mart in the main event but I’m sure Jeremy doesn’t see it that way, right? Stilez did what any racer would do and it was a racing incident IMO. Anyway, I thought he looked good all day long in his first-ever SX and I know his trainer Seth Rarick has been very stoked with his off-season.
19th | #59 Jarrett Frye | Mechanicsville, MD | Yamaha YZ250F
Frye crashed late in the race and disappeared into the pits but he was 12th when it happened. Both him and Thrasher were okay but yet, for Star Yamaha riders, maybe they were both expected to be better? I don’t know, I’ll reserve judgment for a few races. Remember both Frye and Thrasher were very solid when they got to try outdoors last summer so I was kind of expecting more of that.
20th | #80 Jordon Smith | Ochlocknee, GA | Kawasaki KX250
I’m sorry but when Jordon was in second early on I didn’t think he would stay there. Throughout the day he had a few crashes and he was very loose. Add in that Smith has crashed a bunch last year and in the off-season, and it didn’t add up to me that he would just cruise it on home for second place. Unfortunately I was right and he crashed out. Sounds like the thumb injury he suffered in the off-season might have led to his big crash in the whoops. It’s got to suck for him right now, he’s really got to get some consistent finishes here lately.
21st | #6 Jeremy Martin | Rochester, MN | Yamaha YZ250F
Ah man, huge bummer for J-Mart when he got landed on by Robertson and dislocated his shoulder. He’ll probably miss some races and even if he doesn’t, gonna be tough to accomplish his goals with a bad wing. You might not understand how much work goes into an off-season of prep for a guy like Martin, and then it’s all gone in an instant. He’s got to wonder what he ever did to the SX Gods, right?
22nd | #26 Alex Martin | Clermont, FL | Yamaha YZ250F
Okay, someone check on Greta Martin after Jeremy and then Alex get knocked out of the race within 15 seconds. Poor mom! Also, I would like to formally protest this race because Alex made it farther down the track before getting KO’d and therefore, HE should have gotten 21st and one extra point. “We” need every point we can for this title BTW. Oh but wait, somehow Alex has two points and Jeremy has one, even though the official results say Jeremy finished in front of Alex. Also, the results sheet shows that no one got the holeshot at this race. What does this all mean? God knows but never change AMA.
Thanks for reading OBS, good start to the 250SX West Coast, and the 450 chase is just heating up with the top two guys. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this or anything else.