What do you want to know from the 2018 St. Louis Supercross. Round eleven of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Series was one night that will be a defining moment in the season as a whole because it included one of the most dominant rides of recent memory in one class and what’s sure to be another chapter in a title-deciding rivaly. We talked to teams, watched every lap of practice, and shot photos for this recap, so start reading.
MAIN EVENT LENGTHS
Yeah, riders put in plenty of laps on the St. Louis track during the two Main Events. For the 250 class, Zach Osborne’s final tally was twenty laps while Eli Tomac ticked off twenty-seven laps in the 450 class. Compared to past race lengths of fifteen laps for the 250 class and twenty laps for the 450 class, this is a considerable increase.
Much has been made about the issues with lapped riders in both Main Events, as well, because the slower riders caused plenty of problems for the faster competitors. While it’s easy to say that someone at the tail end of the pack should know to get out of the way after the first fast rider goes by them, it’s not easy for someone in the heat of the moment to determine if the person behind them is putting them a lap down or attempting to overtake them for a position. Then mix in the less than stellar signal flagging from officials and we have incidents like Forkner-Alves.
The quad jump at the end of the longest rhythm lane was by far the most awe-inspiring obstacle of the event. Malcolm Stewart figured out the proper speed needed to get over all four jumps early in the day, but props go out to Josh Osby for trying to bust it out on the very first lap of the 250 B Group Final Timed Qualifying Session. The Club MX/Redemption Racing/KTM rider cleared the distance and then ran into issues in the next turn, as the rear holeshot device somehow locked in place and spat him into a 360-degree spin. After fixing the issue in the work area, Osby rolled back onto the track for one last fast lap and greased the landing.
Now, it’s worth noting that the fastest lap of qualifying from Eli Tomac did not include a quad hit. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider found a slightly faster rhythm through the lane and posted the quickest lap of the afternoon session. With that, we figured Tomac and others were going to drop the risky jump from their routines, especially because one mistake could send a rider flying into the net. That, however, was not the case and everyone floated over the hit through the night’s races. Surprised by this, we asked Tomac why he decided to break it back out if it wasn’t always faster. He said that the speeds that one landed at helped the bike settle into the awaiting bowl turn much better and the added momentum made the following triple-triple-triple line even easier. Uh, who would have thought?
There was one other jump that caught our attention, and that was the small triple that only a few guys managed to conquer in the 450 class. Since the middle jump was much higher than both the takeoff and landing, most riders went two-one. Except for Tomac, Anderson, and Stewart, who all cleared the three jumps in one leap in the Main Event. It was bitchin’.
TOMAC RACE PACE
Yeah, that 450 race was a clinic. Tomac’s ability to hit every big jump on the opening lap was impressive enough but the fact that the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was able to maintain that pace for nearly the full duration of the race was shocking. He lapped up to eighth place! It made for a boring race, battle wise, but we know that some dedicated fans were marking how far up the order Tomac had passed.
Cooper Webb’s day in St. Louis didn’t last long after a crash during the Free Practice session. We didn’t the get-off was that bad, but after talking with the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing team we learned that Webb had actually dislocated his shoulder in a mechanical-induced crash earlier in the week and that his STL crash was caused in part by the issue. Since Webb is far out of the championship, he made the decision to sit out the night to further recovery instead of pushing the limits unnecessarily. If he’ll be on the line in Indianapolis remains to be announced.
Props to Drayke Sizemore for his 250 LCQ win. An STL local (Tamaroa, Illinois, is about an hour south of the city), Sizemore had sections of the crowd in a frenzy when he took the lead and outran the competition to make the Main Event.
STEWART & JGRMX
Now that Malcolm Stewart knows he’ll finish the SX season with the AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team, he’s migrated to North Carolina in his motorhome and is spending the work week with the team at the shop and test track. This additional testing has helped him shakedown the bike more and also ride at a race-pace with the others on the team, a luxury that he didn’t have at his private property in Florida. Knowing that JGRMX has a full therapy and injury recovery staff for their drivers and team members, we’re sure that Stewart will take full advantage of their services to help his now injured shoulder.