PHOTOS | Antonovich & Maeda
What do we need to say to hype the 2018 Oakland Supercross up any more? The fifth round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Series was one for the ages, as riders laid it all out on the track that was built inside the iconic Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Swap and Anton patrolled the pits and the track all day, so here’s a recap of the day in Northern California, with more to come…
Jason Anderson had quite the day in Oakland. The Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider had a very hard crash in qualifying when he nose-dived into a tabletop, was sent flipping over the bars, and got hit by the bike. The incident left Anderson beaten up and tentative on the track, but he managed to pull things together for the Main Event.
Which leads us to the run-in with Marvin Musquin that left the Red Bull KTM rider on the ground. The pass attempt in the bowl turn after the whoops was aggressive, for sure, but not a straight-up harm-intending take-out move. This is not the first time this season that the two have found each other on the track and with both under the KTM-Husqvarna umbrella and Aldon Baker’s training (albeit it’s reported to be separate programs), it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future.
Had Anderson not passed Musquin when/how he did, would he have been able to catch Roczen in time for that thrilling last lap? It’s obvious that Anderson is riding to score every point possible on the track in the hunt for his first-ever 450 championship, no matter who/what gets in the way.
After two Main Event wins in a row, there looked to be some title hope for Eli Tomac. Unfortunately, things did not go well for the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider in the Main Event as he ran seventh-eighth in the opening laps and then went down after making contact with Justin Barcia in the bowl turn before the finish line. This was another instance of an aggressive, but not an outright take-out pass. Barcia closed in quickly by hitting a jump that Tomac did not (a tricky triple) and then aimed at an inside rut, one that brought the two rider’s lines together. It took a minute for Tomac to get going again and the time lost dropped him to the bottom of the running order, but he ultimately finished thirteenth. Tomac is now twelfth in the championship standings and trails Anderson by fifty-two markers.
Did anyone make it through the entire day at Oakland without an issue on the track? Even though the weather leading up to round five was dry and sunny (a big change compared to years past, which were often rainy), the soil was still very soft and the track turned into a rutted nightmare by the time the Main Events lined up. The Dirt Wurx crew smoothed much of the layout between the feature races, but within a few laps the holes and lines were back on the surface. Television did not do the ruts justice, as there were sometimes up to ten lines carved into the faces of jumps or turns, all of which required a rider’s full attention. And to think that this was a “West Coast” race…
450 MAIN EVENT BATTLE
The last few laps of the 450 Main Event were incredible and showed just how talented Roczen-Anderson are as riders and how difficult the track was. Both made massive mistakes in the final two laps but were able to regroup quickly enough to launch an attack on their competitors. Both riders told us that the last lap was a blur and that there was no real plan to take the lead from the another, only that they knew they needed to minimize their own mistakes and take full advantage when the other faltered. We really hope for more races like this…
The challenging track was made even worse by lapped riders, as they often stuck to the favored racing lines and made it difficult for the leaders to get by cleanly. Anderson, Roczen, and Baggett all voiced their displeasure with the slower traffic in the press conference, and others told us similar comments in the pit area during How Was Your Weekend.
After sitting out Glendale with a wounded thumb, Dakota Alix was back on track in Oakland. The injury was initially feared to be two ligaments tears, sort of like what Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM teammate Blake Baggett dealt with last year, but a second MRI revealed it was bruising on the bone. Alix wrapped the digit for support and protection at Oakland and looked okay on the track, despite the reduced control/comfort that came when he got his weight over the front of the bike.
His Main Event came to an end very early, though, after a mid-air collision with Phil Nicoletti on the opening lap put both riders on the ground and forced them to DNF.