TRIPLE CROWN FEVER HAS STRUCK!!!! This past weekend in Arlington saw that format come back into play in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and Iove to see it incorporated into the series. When you’re watching a race with TC format, it’s always hard to wrap your brain around how a crash doesn’t knock a racer out of anything. For example, Eli Tomac’s crash in the third main, or race or g**gb**g or whatever we’re calling these things, would’ve been a disaster for him. He eventually got passed by Aaron Plessinger as well and would end up with a sixth for a loss of a lot of points, but he still ended up third overall based on his other rides. That’s only five points he lost to winner Cooper Webb. It goes on and on, but it seems like, just by using the eye test, that we have more crashes by the elite guys in the TC format than in a regular 20-minute main. You just don’t pay as big of a price for a crash, as we’ve seen more than a few times.
Ok, I didn’t go to Arlington this weekend, so I thought I’d just give some general thoughts on the race and the series itself.
Cooper Webb was probably the third or fourth-fastest rider in Arlington. He qualified fifth-fastest, he was sixth quickest in Main One, third-fastest in Main Two, and then second-quickest in Main Three. When you add these up, you could make a case that Chase Sexton, Eli Tomac, and maybe Jason Anderson (who was quicker when he had a clear track) were able to circulate faster than Webb, but none of that matters in the end as you can see in the data. Webb got better each time out and used a lapper messing Sexton up to take the win in Main Three and get the overall win.
It was such a Cooper Webb win, just grinding it out and getting better as the night went on. Now he’s won two of the last three races and narrowly lost Oakland to Tomac. CHOOOO CHOOOOO!! ALL ABOARD THE WEBB WAGON!!!!!
Chase Sexton had the win in his grasp but yeah, he lost it again. That’s three late race crashes/gaffes that have cost him the win. He might need some therapy soon. He’s so fast man, it’s just ridiculous to watch him out there and I’m still of the belief that once he gets this figured out, he’s going to go on a string of wins. He’s saying and doing all the right things here, and props to him for not losing his mind on Grant Harlan, the lapper who swerved into him.
Also, in all of this, poor Harlan for trying to do the right thing in getting out of Sexton’s way but making it worse. When they tell you to hold your line when you’re getting lapped, this is why they say that. Harlan rode great to make the top 18 and is much better this year. He deserves credit for all of this, and it was an innocent mistake. Oops!
Odd to see Tomac make that mistake in the third race, right? Tomac seems to be a bit less sendy this year and that got him a win last weekend in Oakland when Sexton went down, but he does seem to be relaying on muscle memory a bit more than usual and we haven’t seen “Monster Tomac” this year yet. You know, the one who uses up so much energy going crazy out there? Haven’t see that Tomac…yet.
It was announced that he’s in for the outdoors and even the SMX races for 2023 and I know the Star guys are trying to get him to race 2024 also. Count me as surprised, that’s for sure. He’s looking great but he’s never seemed to me to care about this legacy talk, he’s got plenty of money in the bank, and it’s a lot of work to be as great as he is. But hey, he does seem to be having more fun than in the Kawasaki years so, yeah, race on Eli!
Nate Thrasher looks much better than in past years as he took the win in Arlington. Like his teammate, Levi Kitchen, in Anaheim, he won the TC overall without winning a main, but he probably should’ve. A crash in the whoops knocked him out of the win but hey, he still won the overall. Thrasher’s career has been a bit of a strange one with Tampa being the first time he’d ever made a 250SX podium where he didn’t win the race. He had three career 250SX wins and zero podiums.
Anyway, he got the second in Tampa and now the win. His opening round in Houston was a disaster but from here on out, I think we’ll see podium Nate a lot and not “Weirdo-Rides Nate.”
So, if you’re keeping track, in 2023 250SX we have Hunter and Jett Lawrence with five wins and Star Yamaha with Kitchen and Thrasher having one win each, yet Kitchen and Thrasher have never taken the checkered flag first at either of their wins. Yeah, I know, it’s a weird quirk of the Triple Crown but I’ll take it.
Maybe we should ask Jett Lawrence what he thinks of that fact. Or what he thinks of the train derailment? Or maybe the weather? Jett’s awesome for sure but having him in the booth calling the action of a race his brother is in mightttt be a bit too far for me and some of his competitors. He called Thrasher an idiot for crossing over on his brother and taking him down and yes, he took it back and apologized when replays showed Thrasher got sketchy, but why even put him in the spot where his emotions could take over? Also, it just turns into a Hunter and Jett conversation when there are other guys doing well. It’s not a huge deal to me but maybe put him calling the 450-race next time? And there will be a next time because the Feld Motor Sports TV guys clearly love them some Jett.
Nice to see Jeremy Martin take that last win. Was it a bit gifted to him? Yes, it was, and even he admitted he didn’t know he was in the lead. Good for him and the Club MX team though—he’s been okay to start the season, so this is a step in the right direction. He was on the PulpMX Show Monday night and mentioned he’s really looking forward to outdoors and it’s hard to sort of send it (being an older guy) when having the ultimate goal of winning motocross races in his mind. Also, I would bet J-Mart podiums this weekend in Daytona.
Doesn’t it seem like in this east coast we have Hunter Lawrence, mayyyyybe Nate Thrasher, and then like, seven riders who could end up on the podium at the end of the night? Jordon Smith, Max Anstie, Tom Vialle, Haiden Deegan, and Jeremy Martin could all be on the box on a given night.
If you’re a PulpMX listener, then you heard this rant on Monday night but we’re onto Daytona this weekend and none other than Ricky Carmichael himself likes to say that the series starts at Daytona. I even got a text from my buddy with that quote when we were bench racing about this championship. And I’d just like to put my two cents in and mention that this is actually kind of absurd and RC himself should know this. First of all, the series starts at Anaheim 1, that’s when the AMA starts counting points. I mean, that’s in the literal sense. In the theoretical sense, what you do the first half of the year matters a lot.
You know who should know that? Ricky Carmichael! In his five 450SX title seasons, he won 45 races. 28 of those wins came before Daytona, which is 62 percent of his wins. So, RC himself won more races before Daytona and then managed his title from there. The “push” from Daytona on isn’t actually true. We generally see who the guys are four or five races in, and they start to emerge from there.
In RC’s defense, he might have said that because to him, Daytona was the toughest race in the SX series, he was in his native Florida, and it just felt like it was time for him to put the beatdown on everyone in Daytona and establish he was the guy. Which he did many times and maybe he felt like to him, Daytona was where he got into title mode, but stats say he built his lead up before Daytona and then managed it from there to his five titles.
Some other news and notes:
Dean Wilson is getting better folks. He’s qualifying better and almost got into the top ten in Arlington. Nice to see for sure and the Firepower Honda guys are a sneaky good team. Just need to see a Marty comeback to complete this.
Ken Roczen rebounded this week from a terrible Oakland with a strong second in Main One and then almost landed on the podium. I thought that as the mains went on, he seemed to get worse and there’s a correlation between that first main track condition and then the third main track condition that tells me he wasn’t where he needed to be with bike setup yet.
If you want proof that there are alien life forms coming down to Earth and inhabiting bodies, just look at Michael Mosiman this year. I don’t know where the guy from last year went but I’ll just assume aliens are living as him.
Zombie was better.
Christian Craig is getting closer to where we thought he would be, right? Qualified seventh this week and finished eighth. He’s the leader of that third pack of riders right now and on the PulpMX Show on Monday, he made mention that he’d like to get into the mix with the next group of guys which has been Roczen, Plessinger, and Justin Barcia. I get the sense from talking to Craig on Monday that he very much agreed with my assumption that being faster than Cooper Webb in Florida on a Wednesday and then being lapped by him in California on a Saturday was, yes, tough to take for him. Also, funny to talk to him about how he was mentoring Sexton when Chase was up and coming on GEICO and now he’s watching in awe of Chase on video. Fun conversation with an always honest Christian Craig.
Thanks for reading OBS! Thanks for the support, even those that email me how much they hate the column! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about this or anything else.