This weekend in the exciting world of Monster Energy Supercross, we visited our third city in a row that started with the letter 's' (St Louis, Seattle and now Salt Lake City) and that's about the most interesting this I could think about this weekend. The 450 title was decided and the 250 title was pretty much decided. I was looking forward to some good racing but then the rain/snow came I figured it would be much like we saw last week in Seattle. A battle of survival and he who makes the least amount of mistakes, wins.
I thought the track was pretty good. The original track map had the start outside the stadium and the riders would race in. It was a cool idea but one that was scrapped when conditions got bad. That's understandable but it made for a tricky start as the riders were funneled right into a whoop section and there were some gates that were really unfair with the new configuration. But what has to be done has to be done I suppose and after the heat races, the second set of whoops were bulldozed and made into rollers and that was a smart move. The riders couldn't get enough speed and they were getting nasty the number of guys who almost went down/did go down was high.
I liked the rest of the track and with the weather turning from cold to rain to snow and back to rain, I thought the crowd was pretty good and a lot of people stuck around. The Utahians (??) are tough people and ready to brave the elements. Dirt Wurx has come under some fire in recent weeks but they adjusted on the fly and did the best they could do out there.
Just like last week, it was the Kevin Windham show this week. Here's what I wrote last week about his win in Seattle:
"What a rider needed to win on this night was a smooth riding style, the ability to flow with the track, the gift of improvisational skills and a good start. With knowing all of this, it shouldn't have been much of a shock to see Kevin Windham win on this night. It wasn't just a win, it was a domination and KW was on it from the get go."
Uhhh yeah, ditto this week. The track wasn't as gnarly as last week but the skills needed to win were the same. Windham convincingly won again this week for his second win of the year and the season. KW grabbed the lead from his quasi-teammate Davi Millsaps on the first lap and was a puff of smoke from there. He was on it…like really, really on it. Like so on it, he lapped up to fourth in only fifteen laps.
The race was cut to 15 from 20 and if it had been 20, he would've lapped third. It was a great ride and so typical of a Windham win. When he's on it, no one is better.
Davi Millsaps' day started off rough when he went down hard in the whoops and then again later in the other set. He basically missed most of the one and only practice. He somehow managed to get in only four timed laps and his times were:
So he basically had ONE lap in before the heat race! Think about that people, how'd you like to line up on the gate, ready to go 100% balls-out and you have one decent lap on the track? Crazy right? Well, then DM18 went out there and grabbed the heat win and then briefly held the lead in the main event as well before KW kicked it into overdrive. Davi rode a smart race to finish second on the night and he was without a doubt the second fastest rider in Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday night. He was also the second fastest guy at Qwest Field last week but we saw how that went.
The 250 West title was basically determined going into this week. If Wil Hahn won, Jake Weimer would have to get tenth or better and if Trey Canard won, Weimer had to get at least a point. Or something like that. The 250 guys lined up and the rain was really falling at this point. It did make for some intrigue because as we all know, anything can happen in the mud (like for instance, Kelly Smith winning a national on a KTM in the muck. Wait, of course he won-he had a tuner that had just right amount of skill, perseverance and almost a zen-like calmness about him) and when the gate dropped for the main. Then when Weimer was around tenth and Hahn was in second, well I'm sure a few sphincters on the Pro Circuit team tightened up a bit.
But then Weimer calmed down and showed the speed we've seen all year in picking off rider after rider to settle into fifth spot. It was an accomplishment in itself but when you look up and see your top contenders for the title in second and third, well then the pressure comes on. Weimer did a great job all season and was more consistent than Trey Canard and earned himself the 2010 250 West Coast title and to that we say, congrats Jake!
It's fairly obvious to someone like myself that Jake's time up north in the rough and tumble Canadian motocross series accurately prepared him for the competition down south. After all, racing against the likes of Dusty Klatt, Ryan Lockhart and Kyle Beaton would absolutely make anyone into a champion.
The rider that did manage to win (and help out Jake by doing so) was his teammate Josh Hansen. I called Little Hanny for the win last week but I said it was going to be Las Vegas, not Salt Lake City. So I'm a week off, sue me. Unbelievable to me that this was Hansen's first podium of the season but better late than never I suppose. He jammed his way past Hahn early in the race and rode pretty much flawlessly the entire 15 laps to win. He was really the only rider able to triple in the mud and rain and used that move to pull a big lead out.
I'm sticking with my prediction of a Las Vegas win for Little Hanny. The soil is similar to the X-Games (and hey, speaking of that, it's going to be in the LA Coliseum this year. That's cool), the other guys are going to be riding more outdoors, Pourcel doesn't care about winning because there's no truck and Stroupe's out. There it is. Stamp it.
One thing I've noticed about Hansen is that when everything is good, he's on it and mega-fast. But when he makes a mistake, he gets rattled and it turns into more and more. Hence the fast laps, heat wins yet 8-20-4-7-11-17-6-1 season finishes. This week, there was some mistakes (everyone made them) but I bet he expected to make mistakes so his mindset was different and he was able to overcome the missteps.
After all, we talk so much and are such buddies that I have a real good handle on him and his mentality.
Earlier this week Hahn crashed and partially separated his shoulder which put a pretty big damper on his weekend. He went in with a chance to win the title but there was no doubt he wanted to keep his hold on second in the points at the very least. Wil showed some fight early on in the main but succumbed to Trey Canard later on. He still made the podium and maintained his hold on second in the points and considering his late season pick-up, he delivered big time this year with five podiums.
An 11th, a 6th and a 7th were the three results that really hurt Trey Canard in the series. His other finishes were 2-3-1-1-2 and as you can imagine, those would've stood up pretty good. Just to give you an example, Weimer's three worst finishes were 8th, 5th and 3rd. That's all she wrote folks!
Canard will be back in the outdoors and I would put him as outdoor title contender 1B to Christophe Pourcel's 1A.
Let's take a look at the top twenty from each class shall we?
1 100 Joshua Hansen
2 38 Trey G Canard- Trey had a heat race win in the bag but fell with a half-lap left and gave it to Hanny. That was probably about a 5K spill right there.
3 49 Wil A Hahn
4 116 Ryan Morais
5 12 Jake T Weimer
6 20 Broc Tickle- Tickle was probably pretty relieved he didn't have to give out any podium speeches this week.
7 175 Phillip J Nicoletti- Filthy Phil had another good ride on the factory KTM, tuned by Varner.
8 126 Hunter Hewitt- Hewitt was up front for a bit in the heat and the main before crashing.
9 585 Travis A Baker- Baker did pretty well in his rookie sx season, finishing 11th in the points. He always seems to find his teammate Jeff Alessi out there on the track.
10 801 Jeff Alessi- Alessi didn't do that well in his fourth sx season, finishing 12th in the points. He always seems to find his teammate Travis Baker out there on the track.
11 200 Cole Seely
12 21 Blake Wharton- Blake was up front early on before crashing to the back.
13 68 Robert S Kiniry
14 48 Max Anstie- Weird how, after such great rides in San Diego and Seattle when the tracks are crappy, I never noticed Max all weekend.
15 63 Sean D Borkenhagen
16 208 Donald L Vawser- I have no clue who this guy is but he did great! Congrats to the Donald.
17 592 Jake M Canada – Maybe I'm nuts but Canada was on a Kawasaki this weekend but I could've sworn he was on a Suzuki earlier. Did he clear this with the Prime Minister?
18 854 Landen Powell
19 222 Chris C Howell
20 102 Christopher Gosselaar- Little Goose is still out there and kicking.
1 14 Kevin W Windham
2 18 David D Millsaps
3 29 Andrew T Short- Short had a well deserved third. He's not exactly a mud specialist but he kept trucking along and got his second podium in three races since coming back.
4 5 Ryan M Dungey- Stupidest Vitalmx.com thread ever (and that's really saying something) is asking why Dungey is "coasting."
5 55 Kyle P Chisholm
6 26 Michael Byrne- Byrner was in third for a while before losing his rear brake and dropping back.
7 23 Justin D Brayton- JB23 was in third for a while before losing the battle with gravity and dropping back.
8 10 Thomas K Hahn
9 27 Nicholas A Wey
10 67 Chris Blose- Blose had a good start and was top five for a bit before crashing.
11 32 Kyle B Cunningham- KC is quietly doing pretty well on Tedesco's 450. I think Valli is trying to find a way to keep him on that for the motocross season.
12 65 Troy K Adams- Adams will be on the 450 this weekend in Vegas as well. He's skipping the east/west shootout. His words were "No truck? I'm out."
13 644 Kyle D Partridge- This was Partridge's best finish of the year by a mile.
14 58 Weston L Peick
15 271 Jeff Gibson- Former Canadian national number 3 right here folks!
16 62 Jason W Thomas- After letting us down last week, the king of the LCQ's comes through for us this week. JT was happier than Scoobie getting his snacks when they mowed the whoops down.
17 57 Jarred Jet Browne- Is "Jet" his real middle name or a nickname? I've heard both theories but would you really put a nickname down on the AMA entry forms? If so, I'd now like to be called Steve "Flash" Matthes
18 916 Gray Davenport- Another former Canadian national competitor!
19 75 Joshua R Hill- Hill's season is falling apart quicker than The Orca when Jaws jumped on it. Once upon a time, he was going to get second in the points. Now? He's fighting to stay in the top five.
20 124 Ryan D Clark
For the first time that I can ever remember, the 250 class had way less entries than the 450's. There was only 28 riders entered and only 26 of them made it to the night show. Then when you add in some other guys crashing and having troubles, you get the fact that there were only 22 riders that raced and finished the heat races. It was a little bizarre to say the least to have a 250 LCQ with only 4 riders in it!
Something happened to Tommy Hahn on the opening lap or two and he got lapped by KW on the second lap. I didn't think much of it but like last week when the guy got second in the slop, he got on it and managed to stay not that far behind Windham and came all the way around the pack to finish eighth! It was like a caution flag in NASCAR and he was allowed to catch up to the field but he did it the hard way, not like those dudes that sit in a car and turn left.
I met Shorty's mom this weekend and what a nice lady. She told me that she follows the race action through my Twitter account (pulpmx) and I have to wonder why Shorty couldn't buck up and by the webcast for his dear ol'mom? Maybe money's a bit tight or something but if you're relying on me for Twitter coverage, well I'm really sorry about that.
Motoconcepts Yamaha's Kyle Chisholm was in position to get a podium at different points in the race but couldn't come through in the end. Still, his fifth place was a career best and for a guy looking for an outdoor ride right now, it couldn't have come at a better time. Great ride by The Chiz.
On the GP front, I found out that Nick Wey may do it for Kawasaki and Ricky Dietrich is definitely doing it for Kawasaki. Josh Strang, the GNCC hero from Australia wants to do it and Tyler Rattray may race it as well. Ben Townley is racing for TLD Honda and honestly, that's about all I know right now. Hopefully next year, scheduled at the end of the year and with proper lead-up for the teams, we can get everyone on-board with it.
MX Sports made the official announcement that the final round of the nationals will be held at Pala Casino in Southern California. It will be the last round and there will be an awards banquet, golf tournament all tied into the race. Also, an all-new track is being built on the side of the hill there (I've never been there so I'm not sure what hill or where this hill is) with Ryan Hughes consulting on the track design to make it as good as it can be.
There's one team out there that outperforms the pack consistently each and every weekend, they are out there working hard and bringing the best out every Saturday night. They can't be stopped, the quality and freshness of what they're doing is amazing. They are a juggernaut of taste, the Ayatollah of selection and the keepers of all that is good in the world. Monster Energy Kawasaki, you are the kings of the pits for food and coffee and I'd like to thank you for all that you do.
JGR, you're coming up quickly. Keep it up, I like what I've been seeing.
Before the night show started, I found out that Andrew Mcfarlane had died on the track in Australia and it kind of cast a pall over the race. In fact just typing that out right now just cast a pall on this column. I didn't know Sharky all that well but interviewed him a couple of times here and there and he was always a nice guy. I know Byrner, GL8 and Reed thought the world of him and that's enough for me. My condolences to his family and friends, he sounded like a guy I should've got to know better.
That's it for me this week. As always, thanks for reading and email me at email@example.com and we can chat about this column, the supercrosses, the nationals and everything else