Round eight brings us to one of the series staples. Arlington, Texas, sits in the shadow of the Dallas metroplex. It’s also home to the Dallas Cowboys and this week’s venue, AT&T Stadium. The biggest dome on the calendar, the setting is nothing less than awe-inspiring. The pits are always a jam-packed affair, the turnout is always one of the best of the year, and most importantly, the results have been a series predictor for the past few years. In fact, the winner of this round was also your 450 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champion in 2019 (Cooper Webb), 2020 (Eli Tomac), and 2021 (all three ’21 Arlington rounds for Webb). Whether that’s a coincidence or has larger implications for 2022 is yet to be seen but it’s worth noting that Arlington could be a prelude of what’s to come.
Dirty Little Secrets
The start is a bit longer this weekend and bends to the right instead of the traditional left. Most riders prefer turning left as they can leave their right foot on the rear brake and extend their left leg to stabilize their entry into the corner. Turning right into the first corner makes utilization of the rear brake much more difficult and some argue that first turn crashes become more likely. Time will tell for this weekend’s rendition.
The first rhythm section is pretty basic but will need to be executed well on that first run through or huge time could be lost. Riders will jump on-jump off and then double into the corner on race laps, but the start could see them double then tabletop-to-single and then double into the corner. It won’t matter much as long as riders aren’t forced to roll the jumps in traffic.
The next rhythm section comes immediately after a 180 and has the possibility of a big combo. If 450 riders can get the triple out of the corner smoothly, they could then go for a quad to the downside of the next tabletop. That would set them up nicely to double into the inside of the next corner. If they can’t pull that bigger option, look for a mixed approach of doubles and triples throughout. That big line is a huge advantage if doable, though.
A 90-degree left-hand turn sends riders into a whoops section and these should end up being hop, skip, and jumpers. The reasoning behind my conclusion is the 90-degree corner before. That will lead to 250SX riders and a majority of the 450SX class entering the whoops fairly slowly. Slow speeds force riders to find a rhythm where higher entry speed leads to blitzing. A section like this is music to the ears of Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin.
A 180-degree left leads to a dragon’s back but this will be much easier than most as it leads to a flat landing. Riders will make a 90-degree right-hand turn and over the bridge tabletop. A standard supercross triple is up next and into a slight bend to the left. Watch for riders to try to stay to the right over the triple so they can carry momentum diagonally across the next bend to the left.
A hard-right turn leads riders across the mechanics’ area and into a 90-degree right. Riders will double across the inside of this 90 and fire into the second set of whoops. These whoops could be more impactful as that double will build speed for entry and also open up passing opportunities. Lead riders will want to stay hard to the right side of these to protect the inside of the next right hand 180, especially since it’s the final corner before the finish line.
A steep finish line double is up next, followed by a small double into a 180 back onto the start straight. Watch for riders utilizing both the inside and outside in this corner. The inside will be slower on entry as riders will have to single the jumps but it’s also a shorter distance. The outside carries more risk for a block pass but also allows for more momentum and also a slingshot off the outside berm. Riders will go back down the start straight and through the tunnel to begin lap two.
Jason Anderson is hotter than his factory Kawi was at San Diego.
Jett Lawrence lived up to the hype, winning the opener.
Austin Forkner looked the best he has in a long time. Maybe he’s back?
Cooper Webb showed signs of life at Minneapolis. Is he on his 2021 level? No. Was he better than previous weeks? Yes.
Chase Sexton probably shouldn’t be here but man, what a wicked turn of events there. He would have been squarely in the title fight, coming off of another win. Now, he’s sixth in points and dealing with concussion protocol.
Max Anstie suffered yet another blow Saturday. His broken ribs will keep him out for a while.
Aaron Plessinger will likely be out the bulk of supercross with a wrist injury.
Cooper Webb holeshots two of the three 450 Triple Crown races.
Phil Nicoletti files restraining orders against several errant 250cc motorcycles.
Jerry Jones walks down onto the floor to shake hands with everyone who is a part of the 450 main event winner’s program, mumbling about the first winning team he’s met since the ‘90s.