Detroit, Michigan brings us the next round of Monster Energy Supercross. A short drive north from Indy, we should see a similar type event with cold Midwest conditions outside and a softer racetrack inside. Still, I don’t expect to see the same level of softness in Detroit as Indy, as history has shown we don’t often get the same conditions. I’m not sure if that’s simply the dirt composition or how it’s stored but Detroit has been harder and drier than rounds like Indy or St. Louis. Doesn’t always make sense given the geography and weather but I suppose it doesn’t have to make sense. It’s just the way it is, and last year’s race was actually dry and slick in spots.
Detroit itself is a city in recovery mode. A mass population exodus yesteryear left Detroit scarred and needing support. That resurgence is still a work in progress but hope is on the horizon. Having witnessed the incredible improvement of the Indianapolis downtown area over the last 15-20 years, I’m hopeful that the once booming Motown locale can once again be a business hotspot.
As for the track, it’s a hybrid of several prior rounds (more on that later). The start is cut down the middle of Ford Field and bends into a left hand 180. A rhythm section is immediately there to meet riders so watch for close calls as riders try to maneuver in traffic. On a normal lap, there are two trains of thought here. Riders can opt for the step-on step-off route (or jump over all 4), then triple-single into the next bowl berm. The second option would be to jump over the tabletop to the downside, then triple from the next 3 foot take-off and land on the backside of the next 5 footer. They would then double into the corner. The upside of this line is that the triple (3 ft to 5 ft) is often the quickest way through a rhythm section as it allows you stay low but need to carry lots of speed. Riders always want to jump off the three footers and avoid the five footers if possible, to cut back on hangtime. In this section, though, the downside is that riders may have to slow down to jump over the initial tabletop, especially if it’s possible to quad the first four jumps. Watch for riders to figure out which is quicker and then make that the every-lap line.
The next rhythm section is alongside the stadium wall and should be a 3-3-3-2 rhythm. The toughest part will be getting the 3 from the corner but once the momentum is going, it’s simply a matter of navigating ruts and getting the timing right.
A short step-on step-off is next, along the width of the stadium. This is exactly like the setup we saw last week in Indy. Upon landing, a 90 degree right hand corner leads to a flat dragon’s back, very similar to how Arlington’s setup exiting the tunnel.
A short chute goes backwards down the start straight and into a 180 left. The finish line jump is next and riders have a tough choice here. The safer, shorter line is to use the flat inside but it will also be difficult to carry momentum through that. Going to the outside berm will be faster but opens the door to block passing or worse. Situational awareness will be critical here as riders need to gauge the distance they have to a following rider.
The finish line jump leads to a single and a netted 180 right. The next section spans the length of the stadium and features the standard small double lead-in to a whoops section. Detroit whoops can vary from big blitzers to rutty jumpers. It will depend on the firmness of the dirt and the angle of the build. Further, the gap and transition in between each whoop can play a big role. The smoother the transition, the easier it is to jump in and out of these. The harsher the angle and tighter the transition, the more difficult it becomes to get both wheels into the sweet spot for jumping.
A 90 right leads to a similar section as Anaheim 2, zig zagging sideways across the start straight. These short chutes don’t often lead to passing but can give riders a chance to breathe and refocus. If passing is on the menu, look for aggressive moves to make it work.
A flat 90 right leads to a few small bumps and then a big double that spans the first corner. Upon landing, riders make a hard left 180 and double back onto the first rhythm lane.
Ken Roczen won his first round of the season and put a smile on the face of anyone wearing a yellow shirt. It was one of the more “feel good” moments in a long time.
Justin Barcia has been riding really well lately, maybe even more so than his results indicate. Detroit should be another opportunity for a good night, especially considering these are conditions where he excels.
Cooper Webb claimed the red plate for the first time since 2021 and even though he didn’t maximize the opportunity, he is now in control of his own destiny.
Adam Cianciarulo may be an unlikely name to see here but he put in his best ride of the season in Indy.
Hunter Lawrence continues his impressive 2023 campaign with another win in Indy. His growth curve has been nothing short of magnificent.
Eli Tomac logged his worst result of the season and frankly, didn’t look good. When Eli isn’t right, there’s not much debating to be had.
Chase Sexton crashed out of yet another opportunity. I can’t even imagine what thoughts haunt him after so much of the same. The speed is undeniable but until he can conquer this last bit, the results will be volatile.
Jason Anderson is yet to find a win in 2023 after an astounding 7 wins in 2022. I still think he has a very good chance to win but he has to put himself into a good situation and then do his part. With so many riders at their best, there is no easy answer this season.
Indianapolis awards Ken Roczen a “Key to the City” after his heroic win. It is, of course, in the shape of a kickstarter.
Tom Journet creates “Team Grilled” after his departure from Jason Anderson’s startup. The new venture announces a partnership with D.A.R.E. followed by an exclusive switch to grilled chicken tenders.
Freddie Noren’s name is added to blood pressure medicine risk labels worldwide.