The first Triple Crown race of the Monster Energy Supercross season took place this past weekend at Anaheim 2. Always a fan favorite, the Triple Crown format spells excitement and action that isn’t always seen during a normal night of racing. Throw in a very difficult track and there are a lot of talking points from the weekend. As such we threw some question at long time pro turned pit reporter Jason Thomas for this weeks Breakdown.
People were talking about the technical aspect of the track—what made this layout more difficult?
It was very busy on side of the track which made mistakes costly. If you made a mistake, you missed more time because of the knock-on effects. The weird part is that the other half was fast and easy. It was almost a tale of two tracks.
After the racing was all said and done, though, I believe the dirt was the most technical aspect of all. It was very deceptive. Seeing several factory riders have crashes due to tricky traction isn’t normal. To make matters worse, it wasn’t simply slippery. When dirt is widely viewed as low traction, riders will exercise more caution. This Anaheim dirt was a mix of tack on top of a hard base. I believe that hard base to be a result of sitting inside the stadium for a month. Go back and notice how many riders tucked the front and either crashed low side, or worse, suddenly caught traction and high sided. Any lull in concentration was costly.
With Cameron McAdoo’s hand slipping off the bars in his run through the whoops during timed qualifying, is this a case of not trying to grip too hard in order to help with arm pump or was this just a bad luck? RJ Hampshire had a familiar issue with his hand blowing off the bars. What happened with the hands coming off the bars? McAdoo still lining up for the night show and finishing inside the top ten in each race looks extra impressive once he posted the photos of his arm to Instagram the next morning. Can you explain how adrenaline can get a rider through one day...and what that might feel like the next day?
Everyone has had that happen to them a time or two. After all, the handlebars are constantly trying to rip away from you due to the incredible forces being applied to them. It’s surprising it doesn’t happen more often, really.
As for McAdoo, he’s obviously a tough individual. We should have known after his Atlanta resurrection that he would fight through nearly anything to get a result. I was very impressed with his resilience that night and absolutely shocked at what I saw the next morning. Kudos to him for overcoming the pain. Everyone has a different threshold for pain and a different willingness to go to extremes. I would go to war with that dude anytime.
Racing through injuries is not a great time. There is zero upside to the situation. There is constant pain, your ability to perform is compromised, and it’s hard to focus on the task at hand because your mind is overwhelmed with synapses telling you to stop hurting yourself. There is always a moment, though. A moment where you must decide if you’re willing to accept whatever pain may come. Some can do it, and some can’t. Adrenalin helps quite a bit and it’s much easier to race through an injury than it is to practice. In those moments, I always asked myself what hurt worse, the injury or the prospect of failure. Then act accordingly.
Levi Kitchen did not win any of the races but did win the overall as he was the most consistent rider. What stood out to you about Kitchen’s riding when others were running into
issues and crashing?
He just stayed the course. Those Triple Crown events are chaos. I’m not sure why but they always are. If you can just get good starts and stay out of trouble, good things happen. He did exactly that and was rewarded in kind.
Could there possibly be something to Jett Lawrence and Triple Crowns? Is he allergic?
We talked too much about this leading up to the event and in the broadcast itself. I felt a little torn continuing to harp on it because I felt it was more happenstance than a “thing”. As soon as he crashed that first time, though, all of that had to be thrown out. I don’t know what it is, but he is not remaining his calm, collected self at those TC’s.
I thought a great point was made on Saturday about this as well (names removed to protect the innocent). Every time this happens, it’s only reinforcing the concept that he has an issue with these formats. At some point, he’s going to wonder if it’s true, too. I personally don’t see any reason for the weird results but the longer it continues, the fact that he thinks there is an issue will become the reason he’s struggling.
A rare big crash from Eli Tomac. What did you see there?
I believe he was being transparent with his own description. He had been using that line to triple on prior to the crash but to ensure he didn’t get close to Webb; he drifted a bit to the left on the take-off. Unfortunately, he drifted much further left than he realized and landed directly on top of that Tuff Block. He is extremely lucky that he’s not injured.
Speaking of that Tomac crash, describe that rhythm section. It had some variance.
For most of the field, it was pretty straight forward. If you could triple on and step off, great. If not, just double-double and land in the same spot as the prior option. Most would then quad from the tabletop take-off over a small single and downside a backwards ski-jump. That set riders up to double to the inside and drift across the turn towards the triple take-off.
The premium option was the triple on-triple off, triple into the corner line that Roczen initiated and Tomac did a couple of times. It was a tough section to put together and required landing exactly right on the first tabletop in order to get the “pop” needed to make it to the next tabletop. A little too long or a little too short and all bets were off. Tomac tried to force it a few laps before his crash and came up way short.
Supercross Futures! What do you see when you see these kids on the track?
I see a lot of talent! These kids aren’t ready for prime time yet, but they are very skilled. I remember riding amateur day before I turned pro and I didn’t look like these kids do, I can tell you that! The future is pretty bright.
Sexton didn't change much yet he was much better than the first two rounds. What goes on mentally, as riders get into the racing season and shed those Anaheim 1 nervous vibes?
I know that Sexton has been working on suspension settings quite a bit. Also, he was fast in qualifying at A1, and was likely headed for a podium before Barcia T’d him up at San Diego. This was a more complete day and night, though. He looked like the same guy we saw last summer and that’s what I have been waiting for. I don’t know if he is your champ this year or not, but he looks like he’s going to be a factor, regardless.