How about this 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series?! In the years past, by round fifteen the cards have usually fallen into place and the champions are all but crowned. Not this year! Salt Lake City was the first of the final three rounds, and just delivered the best race of the year with a roar of the packed Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah always plays host to great racing, and this weekend was one for the ages. Here’s Monday Kickstart…dive in!
– Racing in Salt Lake City is unique due to this round being the highest elevation of all 17 stops. At 4637 feet the thinner air means making power is the biggest challenge. This effects the 250 class the most, and crew chiefs and technicians at all of the teams work feverishly to make sure they are competitive. The 450cc machines are generally de-tuned and smoothed out a little for normal rounds, so they are less effected. If you ask any rider they'll all mention that the bikes feel slower and it's something everyone deals with.
– There was plenty going on this weekend with MotoGP in Texas and the Sea Otter Classic in California. Between all three events most of our edit team was out traveling somewhere! (Check out a great interview about moto with Marc Marquez HERE and an E-Bike race from Sea Otter HERE)
– It's been four years since the Monster Energy Supercross Series visited Salt Lake City, but in it's 10th time visitng the city last night's racing was a warm welcome. Ryan Villopoto claimed the last 450 main event win here, and ironically his Kawasaki predecessor Eli Tomac penciled his name into the books with his historic ride through the field this time around.
– It may have been confusing at first to see two red plates, but due to the tie in the points Tomac and Dungey were sharing this weekend. During our post-race interviews Eli mentioned, "I don't like sharing it…" If he keeps riding like he is he won't have to.
– Speaking of Ryan Dungey, his performance was also damn impressive – just overshadowed by Tomac's standout performance. He successfully held off the #3 for the heat race win, and the most impressive aspect was his professionalism and sportsmanship after the checkered flag flew. He's far from out of this, and if he wins in East Rutherford the two will enter the season finale tied. It's a great time to be a Supercross fan.
– Saturday's 450SX main event was 27 total laps, and had the crowd screaming the whole way through. When asked about the amount of laps and if the lappers played a part, Eli mentioned he was surprised that it hardly played any factor. He lapped up to 11th place, and laid down his fastest lap at 45.478 on lap 14 after clearing Jason Anderson for second place.
– The 250SX West Coast Championship is officially clinched, and Justin Hill's emotions poured out in his podium interview. After leaving Mitch Payton and coming back again it's a unique story and it's cool to see it work out between the two for success.
– Had it not been for Plessinger's spectacular crash in the whoops, it was looking like the title chase would go to Vegas. We read an update from Aaron on his Instagram and he was lucky to leave Salt Lake City with no major injuries. He'll definitely be feeling that one for a few days, though.
– The podium in the 250SX class was made up entirely of last year's Troy Lee Designs/GoPro/Red Bull /KTM team riders, and their post-race camaraderie was a great show of sportsmanship that many could learn from.
– Did you see THIS crazy video that Vince Friese put up on his Instagram? That could have been very, very bad.
Manufacturer totals in the main events:
Suzuki – 7
KTM – 4
Honda – 4
Yamaha – 3
Kawasaki – 2
Husqvarna – 2
Yamaha – 11
Kawasaki – 4
KTM – 2
Husqvarna – 2
Honda – 2
Suzuki – 1