DAYTONA! We’re at the halfway point of the series here and it’s cool to do something different like Daytona. As we usual around the halfway mark, we expected to see some clarity on a couple of things after this race was over. I’d say we got it, for the most part. I wasn’t there this weekend but I watched it, I read about it, and I spoke to riders and people who were there so let’s dive into this thing, yeah?
Look, I’m not sure what Ricky Carmichael is supposed to do with the design of the Daytona SX each year. The speedway itself made changes to the footprint of where the track sits (for example, wider pit lanes for NASCAR mean less grass infield for supercross) and one time a bike went onto the tarmac near the fans (which I’m sure the speedways lawyers noticed right away). Due to all this, RC’s been limited on what he can and can’t do with the design of the track. Sure he’s taken it more old-school compared to when the race went almost pure SX, but because of all the X factors he has to work around, I’m afraid it’s been a while since we’ve seen a good Daytona track. It’s narrow in spots, it’s just a bunch of 180’s where you would never go outside, and it’s crazy start-dependent. RC’s tried different stuff for sure, but to me and to riders I speak to, it’s never been very good since the Speedway imposed some rules and paved over some of the grass.
We haven’t seen very many exciting Daytona Supercrosses the last little while, that’s for sure. It takes so long for anyone to make a pass unless you’re way better than the dude in front of you. I’m not sure what the answer is but most of these Daytona races have been snoozers.
Hot take: The Atlanta Motor Speedway supercross races will be better than Daytona.
We all thought that Eli Tomac had to win this weekend and he did just that. Clutch performance by Tomac at a place that he loves so much and now, although I still don’t like the odds, he’s got a shot at winning back-to-back titles. Did he benefit from Cooper Webb’s “move” on Ken Roczen? For sure. Eli’s heat race, where he couldn’t get by Malcolm Stewart, didn’t exactly inspire confidence (to me) that he was going to rip off another win but hey, once in the lead he rode great. This season Tomac’s starts haven’t been anywhere near good enough to win more than two races but hey man, he’s a winner and a champion so maybe this Daytona win can get him going, give him some confidence in those starts again, and he can rip some wins off. If that happens, maybe he can indeed make a title bid. But he’s still about a full race down in points.
This was a good statement for sure. I heard from some people that he’s also re-upped with Kawasaki for another two years but haven’t been able to confirm that. I got it from good sources though. If so, we might have a timeline on what his future plans are in terms of racing.
I’m surprised that some people are ready to crucify Webb for his second-turn move on Roczen. I mean, it’s racing and taking your rival wide in a turn is a pretty natural thing to do. There wasn’t even contact made! However fine I am with this move, I’m also totally fine with Ken Roczen being upset afterward. Webb’s move cost Kenny the win or at the very least a podium. In fact, I was very surprised that Webb was able to come out of that excursion in second place! He could’ve screwed up his start as well but after guiding Kenny out there, he pivoted very quickly and got right back up behind Tomac.
Webb’s best time at Daytona was almost a second slower than ET’s, Roczen’s or Plessinger’s laps but yet he got second. Why? Because he’s a racer. He’s able to pull that move on Kenny and make it work for him, he’s able to grind Plessinger down and get him on the last straightaway. That’s what Cooper Webb does—he takes shit and makes it shine if he has to.
Roczen had some harsh words for Webb afterward and I heard the wives even got into it there after the race as well. Again, I don’t have an issue with Roczen being upset, that would suck to get moved wide and lose spots while the guy who pushes him out doesn’t lose any positions. Once he got going, he made a big mistake in a rhythm that cost him. He got close to Webb in third but couldn’t make it stick and overall, I bet his frustration level was through the roof with the whole race.
We know these two dudes don’t like each other and if you’re Roczen, you don’t want to play this game with Webb, he’s pretty good at it. However, in my opinion, he’s going to have to real soon. It’s not in Kenny’s nature, he’s told us all he’s focusing on himself and his attitude this year but man, he’s got to go out there and make sure Webb knows he’s not going to continue to be pushed over. Maybe not this weekend in Arlington, but at some point, if they’re together, Roczen’s got to push back a bit here.
How about Aaron Plessinger? His career best in 450SX was fifth, but the #7 ran second for most of the main before Webb nipped him for third. What a change! He was great and so now we have to think about whether this is a Daytona thing only or if he’s going to be a top-five guy/podium challenger on some weekends-type of guy. There’s no doubt Daytona’s uniqueness helped him out there as he went Mach 4 through the whoops.
We had AP on the PulpMX Show on Monday night. He’s been testing out at the new Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing facility (formally the GOAT Farm) and the KYB suspension people had something for him to try chassis-wise and it worked great. They went further down that direction and it just kept getting better for AP and his Yamaha YZ450F. Not only was Aaron great, but so was his teammate Malcolm Stewart so maybe they really have made a breakthrough on this bike (also, Dylan Ferrandis told Weege the same stuff about big breakthroughs with the Star 450). Already, Aaron has been better this year (a contract year BTW) than his previous two 450 seasons and if Plessinger can start getting more into the mix here, that would be a cool thing for him and the sport. He’s a good dude for sure.
Check out Plessinger's interview on episode #457 of the PulpMX Show starting at the 2:32:13 mark below.
Cameron McAdoo is your points leader right now in the 250SX West Region after winning his first career 250SX in Daytona. That’s pretty awesome, right? Hey, all you teams out there rushing out to sign the latest, hot, 14-year-old to a five-year deal to move right into the pro class, take a look at our buddy RAM IT. McAdoo’s been around the block, he was a last second addition to the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team last year, he was a fill-in at Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM, he filled in at GEICO Honda, his first real ride was with MCR (SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda) a few years ago, and here he is. Heck, as Weege reminded me, he actually drove Christian Craig’s motorhome for a while! He was no one’s idea of a hot prospect but here he is. I can think of six guys off the top of my head that had or have rides right now and have made about ten times as much money as Cam that don’t have as many wins as he does now.
Off my soap box now and more onto RAM IT’s ride. It was great, he’s in shape, works hard and has the team and the bike to do some damage. Here’s the thing with McAdoo though, he’s usually a bit “sendy,” although we haven’t seen that so far this year. I’ve been impressed with his composure this season, I’m sure it’s something his coach Nick Wey has been working with him on. He needs to just breathe and focus on not making any big mistakes. At this point I can totally picture Cameron McAdoo, 250SX Champion, by the way.
My buddy Seth Rarick works under Aldon Baker and trains the young kids like Stilez Robertson and Jalek Swoll. Rarick has been very high on Robertson but I can’t always trust Sethro. He loves all the kids he works with so he’s often blinded by this love. Some of the riders he’s had there haven’t been very good and he’s still on board! Gotta love his loyalty, right? Anyways, Robertson led laps at Daytona and finished second in his second-ever SX which is impressive. This perhaps validates Rarick for one of the first times I can remember! Anyway, last summer when Robertson turned pro after the Loretta Lynn’s AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship he was okay, nothing that great but there’s an adjustment for these kids. If they work hard and follow the right people, they get to combine their talent and the team/bike to make it work. Good job to both Robertson and Swoll to start the year.
What the hell happened to Justin Cooper at Daytona? He used his speed and fitness to salvage a fourth but his heat and main were nowhere near what we’re used to seeing from him, that’s for sure. That was weird, right? Let’s just move onto Dallas and forget about Daytona.
Some other thoughts from down at the speedway:
Chase Sexton came back, went huge off the wall jump, ate his handlebar (literally!), and then had a calm night in the main event. Three of these things his coach James Stewart would be proud of. One of them, he would not.
Not sure if you guys have noticed, but Justin Bogle has been much better the last two races. Bogle has risen from the dead more than anyone on The Walking Dead. Injuries and ineffectiveness have led many in the sport to write him off, but like Jason Voorhies, he keeps getting up. He’s now moved down to Florida to live with Michael Byrne, he rides at the old Chad Reed compound with the Lawrence brothers, Jason Anderson, and Joey Savatgy, and has been impressive lately. We’re getting ready for another Bogle comeback and that’s awesome to see! If he starts winning heat races again, it will be amazing.
Peirce Brown made his return to racing after a poor summer in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship and then an injury. His return was quiet for sure, but he goes out there and gets a third! Great return to the track and a surprising result, right?
How good did that heat race win feel for Hunter Lawrence? Yeah, it was just a heat and he fell early in the main but man, that had to be a load off his shoulders, right?
Speaking of pressure, how do you think Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing guys Jarrett Frye and Nate Thrasher are feeling right about now? On great bikes, with a team full of winners, neither kid has a top ten through the first two races right now. It’s WAY too early for a panic button but this isn’t a good start.
I couldn’t figure out why Zombie Blose went backward in the main event. I mean, Zombie never goes backwards! I asked around afterwards and it seems that he had some goggle issues and sand in the eye. Okay, makes sense now!
Cade Clason is riding very well right now, I’d say he’s approximately 280 percent better than he was at the start of the season.
Cody Schock is the, wait for it, shock of the series! The privateer rider from Delaware has been top ten in both races and at Daytona, he raced his way up into third for a few laps. Yes, he held a podium position for a while! He got really tired and dropped back but it was still impressive for sure. Great work by him. Now, remember how I said he was the shock of the series? Well, his teammate, Carson Mumford, might be the bummer of the series right now with a DNQ and a 19th through two rounds. This pains me to write because I like Mumfy.
Chiz Chizzed yet again. I stupidly thought he might not after a mistake and a bad start in the LCQ. Silly me. Chizz still Chizzed and Zombie Blose was fine outside of the sand in the goggles. So, all is right.
Thanks for reading, onto three races in Arlington! Email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this race or anything else!