PHOTOS & TEXT | ANTONOVICH & EMERY
We made it all the way through the weekend at the 2017 Oakland SX without a whistle tip reference. We might be slipping. So run this playlist while you browse the photos and news from the fifth round of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series…
– Midway through the 450 main we noticed a ribbon or banner hanging off the side of Cole Seely’s Team Honda HRC bike. It was only on there for a moment but it was enough to do serious damage to the rear brake, and Seely finished the moto without stopping power. That explains the late-race change in pace.
– The series has taken a massive hit due to injured riders. Some will be out for a while, others are set to return soon. Here’s a quick rundown…
Trey Canard recently started riding again and the Red Bull KTM rider should be back on the track soon, likely Dallas.
Justin Barcia reportedly hasn’t started riding yet, so the team’s initial prediction for Dallas is unlikely. Expect him to be back at Minneapolis or Atlanta.
Jeremy Martin is hopeful to return at Dallas after missing Oakland due to a concussion sustained at Phoenix. He’s cleared the protocol and should be good to go.
Weston Peick is out for a while due to the broken wrist he suffered in Phoenix. He had surgery soon after the crash and has a long recovery ahead.
Ken Roczen revealed that he suffered compartment syndrome in his arm after the Anaheim Two crash. The talk is that he’s done for the year.
– AJ Catanzaro was on the move in Oakland. He managed to clock the third fastest time of the 250 class in timed qualifying, as he hit the track when it was freshly groomed and before the rain hit. The Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins/Yamaha rider started up front in his heat race and made it to the main, but his streak of speed stopped when he collided with Josh Hansen in the main event. Catanzaro will race the East Coast on a Kawasaki 450.
– For those that wonder what is "wrong" with Ryan Dungey, let us poise a question to your inquiry. When as the multi-time champion ever pushed the issue on the track? A controlled pace in tricky conditions have always helped him achieve consistent results, and that's exactly what he did in Oakland. With that second place finish, he retains a seventeen-point lead over Eli Tomac in the season standings.
– Shane McElrath was lucky that his arm wasn’t severely injured in the run-in with Jimmy Decotis in the heat race, as his arm landed right on the razor-sharp footpeg. The crash damaged his TLD KTM bike and he made it to the main via the LCQ for the second week in a row.
– Shout-out to the racers that scored the best finishes of their careers in Oakland, on what had to be the toughest SX track in some time.
– Those were two of the best main events in some time. The challenging tracks riders have faced lately aren’t for the faint of heart or skill, but they’ve helped the top riders find another edge on the competition. Guys were trying new lines and big jumps midway through the races, which is proof that there’s always something to learn.
– Eli Tomac’s speed in the main event was something like what we saw during the Nationals in 2016 and there was no hesitation when it came to some of the night’s hardest obstacles. This small streak is much-needed for the series.
– Only a point separates Justin Hill and Shane McElrath in the season standings. There’s a race left in the West Coast swing before a long layoff and every rider knows it’s important to head into the break with confidence.
– Was there a note passed around by gear brands to coordinate their looks at Oakland? A lot of competing gear companies had similar styles on their riders. And there was a lack of Oakland black, strange for the Coliseum.