There’s something about Arlington that brings out the best-worst in the Monster Energy Supercross Series. Each year the stop in central Texas seems to have a wild event or two that keeps us talking for weeks on end, from Zach Bell’s hard crash to Justin Barcia’s whip in front of Ken Roczen to Chad Reed’s gutsy attempt to line-up right after a shoulder injury. This year’s visit to AT&T Stadium was the seventh round of the series and the start of the 250 East Coast region, two things that’ll have an impact on the seventeen-stop series as a whole. Let’s get into it…
250 MAIN EVENT PILE-UP
The massive crash at turn one is by far the biggest talking point of the night. As the twenty-two rider field flew into the tight ninety-degree bend, a few riders were determined not to get pinched off on the inside and their late-braking took down nearly half of the competitors. Sure, some people are more responsible than others for the melee, but things like this seem to happen when there’s a hundred-yard wide-open run right into a tight area. Here’s a breakdown of what we saw happen.
Martin Davalos got the worst of the crash. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider was railed on the left-side and caught the very edge of the finish line landing with his front wheel, which sent the bike even more out of control. He tumbled through the turn ahead of the full pack and looked to be run over by at least one rider near his head. The hard contact ripped the goggles and visor off of his head, but luckily Davalos was able to land on a large Tuff Block. After a long talk with the Alpinestars Mobile Medical staff, Davalos was sent off of the track. A post by him on Instagram makes it sound like there’s no serious bodily harm, but how he’ll feel this week will determine his status for Tampa.
That Dylan Ferranids continued racing, despite the damage to his bike and poor placement in the final results, shows how determined he is to be in the title chase. The crash not only mangled his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Factory Racing bike because the CTi knee brace that Ferrandis was wearing was cracked in half.
Zach Osborne noticed that guys were not showing signs of stopping as they approached the turn, so he grabbed a handful of brakes and let the pack fly by. If you watch the replay closely, you can see Osborne and his Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna suddenly slow and then narrowly avoid disaster.
When we watched the crash for the twenty-fourth time, we noticed that Brandon Hartranft went straight through the outside of the turn and into the next lane of the track, a move that he was sort of forced into by another rider but also helped him to avoid the mess. The CycleTrader/Rock River Yamaha was then at the front of the pack but slowed to allow a few racers to go by, which still kept him in fifth place. Hartranft finished the moto in eighth place but was docked eleven positions by the AMA in the final results for missing so much of the track at the start.
250 CLASS FIGHT CLUB
Racers in the 250 class did not hold back after the 250 Main Event when talking to us about their competition. There was a lot of contact on the track, and we mean a lot, so it’s understandable that some riders were displeased by the contact and cleanouts that occurred in their pass attempts. Forkner-Osborne and Martin-Smith are just four guys that you should keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
For being one of the biggest stadiums in the series, the track at AT&T Stadium was rather short. Lap times in the Main Events hovered around the fifty-second range, so the final lap total was nineteen laps for the 250 Main Event and twenty-five for the 450 Main Event.
For a moment it looked like Tyler Bowers was going to win a 450 Heat Race. The Kawasaki privateer avoided disaster, despite landing on Justin Barcia’s hand, and worked to the front of the pack while other riders struggled. A late pass by Weston Peick pushed Bowers back to second, but damn, that’s impressive for a privateer. Keep an eye on the sixty-nine in coming days, because he’s got to be the most likely candidate for a fill-in ride at Monster Energy Kawasaki should it be necessary.
Speaking of Peick, props to him for the Heat Race win. Nothing was going to get in the way of the AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider in the short moto, evident in his run-in with Marvin Musquin for a key spot. Peick’s progress through the last few years is impressive and it’s incredible to see a former privateer now become the face of major brands like Toyota, Suzuki, and Fly Racing.
When he’s on, he’s on. Eli Tomac was untouchable in Texas and this was a much-needed performance for the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider after two weeks of subpar finishes. In the post-race press conference, the assembled media asked Tomac about the cause of his issues at Anaheim One and in recent weeks and to his credit, he addressed each problem head-on by saying they were either a mistake on his behalf or simple racing incidents.
Something got into Marvin Musquin between the Heat Race and Main Event. The Red Bull KTM rider was forced around by others in the running order during the qualifying race, but he fought back and banged bars in the feature to score a second-place finish. With this, Musquin is back up to fourth in the championship and trails the leader by forty-one points, even after missing Houston.
Sounds like Malcolm Stewart is staying with the AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team for the rest of Supercross. That should be pretty obvious considering Justin Bogle’s current broken humerus that required surgery. This week Stewart will head to North Carolina to test with the team at their private track.
BLAKE BAGGETT CRASH
After finishing third in the 450 Main Event, Blake Baggett stated that he almost skipped Arlington due to a practice crash on Thursday at his private track in Florida. A small issue over jump resulted in Baggett slamming the ground and he slightly injured the palms of his hands in the impact.
On the podium, Colt Nichols said that he too nearly sat out Arlington. The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Factory Racing rider broke his humerus in a December crash and although he downplayed the severity of the injury, it turns out that it required a surgery to his arm and shoulder. A lack of comfort on the track in practice led to the team telling him that he would be alright if he sat out the race on Saturday afternoon, but he pulled things together to score a podium finish.
Turns out Cameron McAdoo broke a metacarpal in his hand during a run-in with another rider in the 250 Main Event. The GEICO Honda rider raced through the pain to finish in thirteenth place and at this point, it sounds like he’ll line up for Tampa in a few days time.