The action just keeps on coming this year, and round 16 of the Monster Energy Supercross Series was no different! The 2018 Salt Lake City Supercross saw perfect summertime temperatures and a huge turnout into Rice-Eccles Stadium, and the fans got the show they hoped for! Read on for what we saw and heard in SLC…
Easily the biggest hype of the weekend was Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna's Jason Anderson's good chances of clinching he and the brand's first ever 450SX title. Although they played it cool all day, there's no denying it was the highest-pressure race and you could see it in the way he rode (which is to be expected.) His first turn front wheel destruction and resulting madness (WATCH HIGHLIGHTS HERE) was all that was needed to completely change the entire championship standings and allow Marvin to gain valuable points. We broke down the pit stop HERE. He still has a pretty comfortable 14-point lead over Musquin, but this just created what will be another make-or-break race in Vegas. Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha's Aaron Plessinger also had a chance to clinch, but with what was an all-out battle between the top four, he ADMITTED TO PLAYING IT SAFE. He holds a 13-point lead going into Vegas. That is going to be a good Saturday night of racing!
Every single fan of the sport was probably expecting some sort of continuation of last week’s last lap pass on Eli Tomac by Marvin Musquin. During Friday’s press conference, Steve Giberson of Vital MX asked Eli a question that alluded to potential retaliation and Eli simply answered, “No comment.” The truth here is that these two are currently under a microscope by Feld and the AMA, and were wise to keep it clean and avoid further altercations this weekend. Had Eli caught him, we may have seen an aggressive pass but the chance of a clean out was low. One interesting thing to note, the crowd really booed Marvin at opening ceremonies and he mentioned it in our post-race interview -moto fans are not afraid to voice their opinions!
It was pretty widely discussed in the paddock and our post-race interviews that the track was one of the most technical of the year, and also the dustiest. This had everything to do with the type of soil and high temperature/wind conditions. The track crews did an amazing job given the circumstances, and if you think about how muddy the first practices were it is proof that no amount of water could have improved it. This sure made for entertaining main events, and the big whoop sections were the absolute separator all night. They can't be perfect every weekend, and although it wasn’t a “fun” track it provided great racing.
ALTITUDE AND WEATHER
Sitting right around 4200' of elevation, Salt Lake City is the only round where there is an immediate noticeable difference in bike power. This is due to the thin air, which can also take a toll on the riders and their fitness. We asked a few how it affected them, and some mentioned feeling winded in first practice after sprint laps. Jason Anderson has been vocal about elevation issues (altitude sickness) in the past, and skipped press day to keep his time at elevation minimal. Adding to all this were record high temperatures that ran in the 80-90 degree range all day. In summary, this round was no walk in the park for anyone, but the summertime weather was a very welcome change in this beautiful city.
Another weekend, another day race. It's weird not being under the lights, but it sure is nice when you're out of there early and the race is televised on a bigger channel. The sunlight this weekend wasn't an issue like last weekend in Foxborough, and riders all seemed like they were behind the idea. It won't surprise us if they continue a few of these next year.
It was nice to see a return to racing from injury by Jake Weimer, along with a fill-in position return for Josh Hill. Both riders are fan favorites, and at this point in the series it’s nice to breathe some fresh air into the mix. Hill’s no hander LCQ win was cool to watch, and he mentioned how much fun he’s having just getting back into training and out of his old 9-5 job! Weimer mentioned how tough it was to jump back in, but was also just happy to be out there. He failed to make the main event but will be back for Vegas!