It’s Triple Crown season! This Triple Crown format is my absolute favorite. I know the riders don’t like it. I understand that more gate drops increases the risk level, and I know three races are a burden on teams and mechanics. I get all of that, I really do. Still, it’s my unapologetic favorite. There is nonstop meaningful action from start to finish. Instead of heat races where many in the field are just looking for an uneventful transfer, the three individual races all count toward the points-paying finish. It’s just a superior night of racing, in my opinion. If we could find a way to compromise on the added risk and cost burden, I would be in favor of adding more of these rounds.
Dirty Little Secrets
Glendale’s track is typically one of the best riders will see each season. The gigantic floor space allows for longer lap times and creativity in design. The start is fairly long, as Glendale usually provides. It bends into a long, left-hand 180, followed by an immediate rhythm section. There are two basic options here. Riders can double, then step-on step-off, and then table-to-single into the corner. The other option would be similar, but riders would switch the step-on step-off to the end of the straightaway. This will likely be determined by which of the jumps is more round or able to be approached with more speed. Theoretically, both options would take the same time to execute if the jumps were identically built but that’s never the case.
The next rhythm section fires out of a 180 and into a prototypical double-standard supercross triple. Upon landing, another 180 sends riders into a longer rhythm section. This one will be a little tougher to dissect but I could see a 3-3-3-2 option being the fastest. The first triple out of the corner will be the most critical as it sets up the rest of the section to almost execute itself. If that first triple isn’t doable, the rest of the section gets very murky. The takeoffs and landings don’t align well. Watch for riders to do everything possible to nail that first three.
A long, left-hand sand corner is up next at the far end of the stadium. It wraps around the back side of the start and ends with a short tunnel tabletop. Riders will accelerate down the tabletop and onto the start straight. Instead of making the left into the first corner, the track bends back right and into a 180.
The finish line double is immediately on the exit of that 180, followed by a tricky set of jumps, which I think riders will blitz through and then double out.
A 180 berm sets riders up for what could be one of the most important rhythm sections on the track. The approach should be fairly straight forward as it looks set up for a 3-3-3-2. With the section spanning the length of the stadium, a mistake here could cost significant time by the end. The key is to be precise and just jump the jumps. Trying to do anything too aggressive won’t help much as far as time savings, but the time lost by a mistake could prove crucial.
The next 90-degree, left-hand corner sets up for another double-triple, identical to the earlier section mentioned above. A quick 180 will fire riders into the only whoop section and if Glendale’s history serves as a predictor, look for these to be tough. The whoops throughout the 2022 series have been brutally tough, though, so maybe they finally give riders a breather?
A simple double sends riders back towards the first corner and onto lap two.
Eli Tomac backed up his red plate debut with a convincing Anaheim 2 win. He looks like a happier person in 2022.
Jason Anderson may not have gained any American Honda fans but he’s still riding incredibly well. I still claim he’s riding better than his 2018 championship year.
Chase Sexton rode a smart race and was rewarded with a second podium in a row. This methodical approach, where he’s taking what’s given, has been missing in prior campaigns.
Dean Wilson put in his best ride of the year with a ninth. While that may not jump off the page, Dean is simply trying to make small improvements that can add up to a more significant move forward.
Christian Craig maneuvered his way past Michael Mosiman to win his third race in four tries. It’s yet to be seen if he seals the deal on this title but he is passing every test tossed his way thus far.
Mosiman wasn’t able to hold off Craig as mentioned above but that shouldn’t cast a shadow on how well he is riding. He looks like he is finally ready to be an elite 250 rider.
Vince Friese took a serious beating after going down late in the 250 main event, but his riding should be mentioned. He looked the part on Saturday night.
Garrett Marchbanks has had a seriously hard time getting results onto paper. Each week he looks fast and ready but take your pick of reasons why it hasn’t worked out.
Privateer hero Alex Ray hasn’t had the 2022 he wanted. A tough off-season and untimely crashes seem to be the plot after a month of racing.
Justin Barcia’s starts have dried up in the last couple of weeks and his results have suffered accordingly. I believe that if the starts return, so will his chances of a podium.
Jo Shimoda just can’t catch a break. He was chasing both Hunter Lawrence and Vince Friese in the waning laps of the main event when Friese popped out of a whoops foxhole directly in front of Shimoda, causing him to spiral into the Tuff Blox.
Justin Brayton had a big crash just before A1 that left him less than 100 percent, got COVID-19 just before round two, and then had a huge get-off at round four. I think Brayton might be happy to see January go bye-bye.
Eli Tomac admits to never having eaten ice cream before and pedaled an extra 100 miles this week to burn off the reference.
Justin Barcia sends a congratulatory gift basket to the Team Fried offices on the back of the Roczen evisceration.
I mumble the words “Triple Crowns are awesome” about 740 times on Saturday night.