Indianapolis might be the most underrated race of the series. Sure, it’s often cold. But, the revitalization of Indy’s city center has completely changed the atmosphere of this event. This weekend’s buzz will be even higher as the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney is also in town. Thankfully, FanFest will make its return to this race after a few years away, too. Inclement weather and Covid-19 provided too tall a mountain for FanFest to climb in recent years. We love to focus on the racing at night, but the activities that FanFest provides during the day, as well as the engagement between riders and fans, is a huge coup and one of the biggest advantages SX has over other sports. I’m glad it’s back and I’m ready for another great midwestern weekend.
Dirty Little Secrets
Indy’ start is the prototypical length with a long left 180. A 3-3 rhythm section awaits riders immediately which could get dicey on the first lap. Trying to decide if a rider is going to triple in front of you is not a lot of fun on that first lap.
A 90 left leads to a wall jump and then a race across the mechanics’ area. Another 90 to the left fires into the finish line jump and watch for this to get interesting. Riders will have to set up a bit wide to jump the finish line but that leaves the inside door wide open to an aggressive, if not misguided, pass attempt. The reason I say misguided is that a pass here is almost certain to cause both riders (and those behind) to roll the finish line. That is a huge loss in laptime. I usually shake my head at this move as it’s shortsighted unless made for a transfer position or on the last lap.
The next section will have two main approaches. Riders will either step on-step off (or possibly go 4) and then double into the corner. The other choice would be to step over the tabletop and then triple into the corner. The choice will likely be decided by how the jumps are built. Angles and height on these jumps usually make the decision much more clear than a track map ever will.
The next bowl berm sends riders into a standard double-triple and into an immediate bowl berm to the right and back onto the start straight. I’m not sure why, but Indy gets this setup quite often over the years (bowl-double-triple-bowl-start).
Instead of going back into the first turn, though, riders will enter a sand 180. Riders hate these as they are typically one-lined and are notorious for ruining goggles. Exiting the sand, riders cross back over the first corner and head into the only whoops on the Indy layout. That extra run created by the crossing of the first corner will be critical. Riders will build speed and those willing to enter with a lot of momentum will be rewarded. Those that are hesitant or choose to jump the whoops will suffer simply because of that flat pad entering the whoops.
Another bowl berm sends riders into a rhythm section with a very clear optimal line. If riders can triple out of the corner, they are set up for a nice quad out of the section, carrying momentum into the next corner. With the same flat pad on the landing that is shared before the whoops, riders will be much more inclined to go for this quad. Jumping long has zero penalty here so they can just turn the throttle to the stops on the first attempt. Removing mandatory precision is a big factor in whether or not a rhythm section is jumped.
The next bowl berm has a double on the exit and back into the first 3-3 of the track.
By the way, global race fans are blazing hot right now as Monster Energy Supercross is in full swing, MXGP heads to South America, MotoGP heats up Indonesia, and Formula 1 debuts their 2022 season in Bahrain. What a time to be a race fan.
Eli Tomac. ‘Nuff said.
Mookie is on the best form of his career. I think he gets a win before this season is over. As the series winds down, opportunities always pop up (think Musquin at the SLC penultimate round last year).
450 privateers enjoyed career best results last Saturday as chaos reigned in the main event.
Jett Lawrence won again and showed poise in doing it. I’m not sure if I have the right vocabulary to describe how bright that kid’s future is.
Pierce Brown looked like he will indeed prove his long-time supporters correct. He has seriously turned a corner this season.
Cam McAdoo is a grinder. He just keeps coming, regardless of the situation. He is up against a phenom in The Jett so winning this title will be tough, but he’s still succeeding in my opinion.
Let’s just go with Webb, Sexton, Anderson, and Ferrandis for this one. All four of them DNF’d last week’s main event and are dealing with their own injury issues. Ferrandis is out for the weekend, the other three will show up battered and bruised.
Ken Roczen has had a rough few weeks, both on and off the track. Poor guy can’t catch a break.
Mike Alessi applies and then immediately withdraws his sign up for Indy after being informed he will not be allowed to share the red plate with Eli Tomac.
Chase Sexton switches to a prototype Alpinestars on-road helmet after noting that he is more-often-than-not sans visor, anyway.
Cade Clason holeshots Indy while also rounding the first corner in 11th.
Justin Anderson bounces back with a 450 main event win.
The Book of Eli