“We have to keep these rolling; it hasn’t hit me yet that I got my first 450 win.”
Although considered an outdoor specialist, especially during the midst of his outdoor 250 reign, Blake Baggett has been quietly generating steam throughout his 450 career. However, many in the industry would honestly say, they couldn’t have predicted the showing that the number four would display under the lights in Glendale. And that’s not to be taken in a negative connotation, as Baggett would admit that his craft had been a work in progress, something that he’s been anxiously awaiting to unveil, as the 2019 series has began to come to light. He looked at the track in Phoenix, as a place where all the stars could align. It was a longer course than usual; therefore his stamina would be on full display for all to see. And it also possessed numerous sections of high speed, something that Baggett has excelled with throughout the duration of his career. Therefore it was no surprise in practice that his name could be found near the top of the leaderboard. Going into the heat race, he had a quiet confidence that seemed to ease the mind of all in his corner, almost as if he knew something that they didn’t. Beginning the first lap in fourth, he would battle with the likes of Chad Reed, Vince Friese, and Aaron Plessinger. And still residing in fourth once all was said and done, he knew that he was about to “unleash the beast” so to speak, once the main event would commence. Twisting the throttle all the way down the start straightaway, he would manage to hit the green flag in fourth place. Pacing the likes of Marvin Musquin in front of him, his sense of urgency would kick in around lap five, and he would make his way into podium contention. Never one to settle, Baggett would inherit second at the misfortune of Ken Roczen, who would lay in the red Arizona soil. With Anderson now having a bit of a gap, many seemed to think it was Jason’s race to lose; but no one could predict the red flag that would fly shortly thereafter. With the field then being restarted in single file fashion, Baggett would hone in on the back of Anderson’s jersey. Seemingly in a trance of superior focus, Baggett would begin to close every single lap. Penetrating each bowl turn with ferocious intent, he would begin to really force the number one to focus on his presence. And then it would come; Baggett, acting as a slingshot of sorts as he barreled down the start straight, would move to the outside of a fatigued-looking Anderson. Jason, pushing him as wide as possible, forced Baggett into full flat-track mode, as he powered around the outside. And the pass would stick! Outlasting the number one on the throttle, Baggett would now reside in first. He would continue to secure the position for the remaining laps, and go on to claim victory!
“Honestly I don’t think that’s how you race. I was over aggressive and am a little embarrassed.”
Too much of the dismay of Anderson and his surrounding crew, many fans and industry members alike were a bit puzzled when Anderson had concluded his Anaheim run. Rumors of injury and goggle malfunction would loom around the number one Husqvarna, and he would hope to leave the thought of Anaheim One in the dust as he rolled into the gates of Phoenix. Nevertheless, part of being a champion is being composed in the present-day moment, and that’s exactly what Anderson would demonstrate as he ripped the track to sheds for qualification matters. Letting the number one fly high and proud, Anderson’s signature un-tucked jersey would flap in the wind as he both, launched ridiculous combinations through rhythm sections, as well as blistered the straightaways with all-out speed. Nodding to his mechanic as he would pass, there wasn’t much that could get in his way of a strong showing as he demonstrated all types of charisma aboard the motorcycle. It would translate into a heat race outing, in which absolute top tier talent would surround him. Positioning himself in eighth, he would move around the likes of Justin Hill and Ken Roczen. And although another single digit competitor was just in front, that of Aaron Plessinger, his run to the front would end here, where he would have to be satisfied with seventh. It was then time for all of the nonsense to be pushed to the wayside, where he looked to dismantle the field and capture a much-needed strong finish. Third to begin, he would quickly move around that of Marvin Musquin, focusing on the number ninety-four who was now in the lead. Stalking the Honda of Roczen, he would look to make his move around the infamous whoop section, which set in the middle of the layout. Closing in the rear tread, he looked to make a move on lap seven. The charge would begin in the corner before, when Anderson would begin to venture to the right side of the whoop section. Roczen, more to the outside, wouldn’t acknowledge just how close the number one Husqvarna rider was. Anderson would follow Roczen over the jump just after the whoop section, but suddenly cut to the inside! Straight for the jugular, he would immediately cut Roczen’s line completely off, leaving the number ninety-four with nowhere to go, and Ken would crash to the ground! Taking the lead, he would try as best to stretch the gap, before the unfortunate mishap of Malcolm Stewart would overtake the field. Once everything would restart however, Anderson’s lead would be drift away, by a bit of unusual company. Baggett, coming from seemingly out of nowhere, had worked his way into second. And by lap sixteen, enough was enough for the number four. Pushing the envelope just a bit more to the outside of the number one, he would make the move in a sweeping left-hander, never looking back. Anderson, now second, would be relieved to see the checkered flag, after the pace of the competition would increase. The silver medal position would be his, and he most definitely would have a target on his back in the weeks to come.
“It is a bummer though, as I do feel like I could have won this race.”
Ken Roczen’s remembrance of Anaheim One, is one that is coupled with positive emotions. Coming back from all of the adversity that the German native has been through, just to make it back to the Supercross gate was an accomplishment in itself. But, as anyone may have guessed, he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything other than his best effort. And with a second place finish once all had concluded, Roczen’s mentality had a spike of confidence, knowing that his speed was well within the grasp of title contention. Therefore, coming into the second round of the series, many thought Roczen would be a definite podium threat. Sixth place off the start, he would be placed within a heat that was absolutely filled with talent. But Roczen wasn’t any stranger to withstanding heat, as he’d been molded to battle with the stiffest of competition from his inception as a motocross racer. He would begin to be involved with a series of shuffles, involving that of Justin Hill and Jason Anderson. Situating himself in the eighth place ride, he knew he had to rejuvenate the evening with a solid main event performance. Setting a blistering pace in the lead for the early going, the Honda backed rider was well on his way to a strong showing. He would lead until lap six, as Jason Anderson would come within a significantly close radius to his rear fender. Feeling the heat from the Husqvarna pilot, the two would blitz the rhythm section within nearly a bike length from one another. Roczen, pinpointing his line in the outside of the next right-hander, would sweep right following the landing of the final jump in the section. Anderson, meanwhile, would have other plans. Veering to the right, (nearly going backwards past the apex of the corner), he would immediately take Roczen’s line and set up a bit of blockade for the Honda to stop for. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything Roczen could do, and his front wheel would hit the swing arm of Anderson’s, the ninety-four would come crashing to earth. A bit rattled at what had just occurred, a slight gift in the form of a restart (albeit the unfortunate mishap of Malcolm Stewart) would occur, giving Roczen a reset. He would find himself behind Musquin, whom he would work around, and move into third. It was here where he would finish, and ironically almost catch Anderson again. A bit upset on the podium, Roczen would look to seek revenge in the following round.
Penciled in as a legitimate title contender for the 2019 season, Tomac has had the hype and pressure of all the racing community placed upon his back, prior to the gate drop of Anaheim One. He’s seen and done it all in this sport, and although only twenty six years of age, is truly considered a veteran of this sport. A Colorado native equipped with downright unbelievable speed, paired with a risk taking ability that can be unmatched, has equated to numerous race wins and championships over the length of his career. While savaging a strong showing throughout the round last week, he looked to embark on a tear as he would pull into the stadium of Glendale. Storming out to a solid pace throughout practice, many though this track would favor the number three, due to its vast amount of speed and surging seas of rhythm. It was truly a “man’s” Supercross tack, testing all abilities of a rider. Tomac, up for any challenge, would come into the heat race looking to establish a strong foundation for the evening. Immediately though, off of the start, he seemed to be looking down at the right side of his bike. Many would speculate a brake issue, as he would fall too nearly dead last. Forced to work his way up, he would buckle down and drive as hard as he could to the front. However, he would come just one spot short, looking from the outside in and forced to go to the last chance qualifier. An unfamiliar sight for the number three, he would do what he had to do in this sport sprint of a race, finishing with a win, and thankful to be given a spot in the main event. As the gate would fall for the final race of the evening, he would start off in seventh, and would begin to work his way forward. Just behind Malcolm Stewart, the number twenty-seven would actually be pulling from Tomac, before a horrendous crash would put the Honda rider, and the field, on a halt. Starting back in single file, Tomac would close the gap quickly on riders such as Marvin Musquin. Making the move on the twenty-five, he would be behind that of Ken Roczen. And although pushing mind, bike, and body to the highest regard, it would be too little, too late, with Tomac being pushed to fourth once all had settled.
Wanting to leave the woes of last week behind, Marvin Musquin would be an absolute terror on the practice track this past Tuesday. Putting in lap after lap in such a short period of time, he wanted to truly instill the value of hard work to both himself and team surrounding, hoping to reiterate the notion of going all in for the round of Glendale. He would walk to the track with a positive attitude, hoping that the vibes of his demeanor would come back to enlighten him with a strong finish. With a treacherous track ahead of him, he would put all negative criticism to sleep immediately, as many penciled him to struggle through this steep whoop section. Blitzing these extremely stout moguls with an abundance of aggressiveness, he would reiterate to everyone in attendance that he would be a threat for a top spot in the running order. He would be the first to cross the stripe for heat number one, spraying roost nearly into the seating of the lower level. Absolutely railing these berms with blistering intent, he would quickly be accompanied by that of Malcolm Stewart. Stewart, blitzing the whoops with pure guts, would actually make the move on Musquin for a brief bit. However, a mistake would allow the KTM of Marvin to make his way back around, with the orange machine now leading the field. Musquin, showing no signs of backing down, would lead the field for the rest of the seven lap adventure, extremely excited to be back on top. Shortly thereafter, the gate for the main event would collapse, and Musquin would find himself hounding the rear wheel of Ken Roczen for the lead. Being overtaken shortly thereafter by Jason Anderson, he would hold onto third for quite sometime. He would then catch a brief bit of a breather, as the delay for Malcolm Stewart’s unfortunate mishap would occur. As the race would be restored, Baggett would find himself just to the rear of his fellow KTM teammate, and the two would go into battle. With Baggett being the man on the mission, along with Eli Tomac, the two would make their way around the French rider. It would be here where Marvin would reside, taking a fifth place finish and something to build off of. Musquin knows the ability he possesses, and hoped to only continue to climb in the coming weeks.
Coming off a phenomenal performance last week in the rains of Anaheim, Barcia was riding a wave of momentum as he and team flew into the Phoenix area. Although he knew the field would be coming for his relic of a number plate, the number fifty-one planned to be as stingy as ever when holding onto the head of the points standings. Accustomed to winning at a young age, Barcia wanted to make his presence felt again here under the lights of Glendale, knowing that he had the ability to establish a true reign on the 450 championship. Immediately dashing to the front for the beginning of the practice, he wanted to lead every lap possible. His aggressiveness would translate into passes of all sorts, although he was having a hard time besting the likes of Justin Hill and Cooper Webb, who were atop the leaderboard. Knowing that his work would be cut out for him, he would walk to the line of the heat race with a stoic expression, ready to whatever necessary to obtain a strong finish. Bolting out of the gate, he would push the Yamaha to the fullest extent throughout the opening lap, placing fifth across timing and scoring. Battling with the likes of Dean Wilson, the Husqvarna rider would fend off the charge of Barcia for a few laps, before relinquishing fourth to the New York native. Taking a position in the top five was imminent for a strong gate pick, and Barcia would feel pleased with his performance. When the gate would fall for the main event, the field would be shuffled to the fullest degree, and Barcia would be penciled in around the sixth position. He would hover near here for quite sometime, unable to get around Vince Friese, and dealing with Eli Tomac at the same time. But with Malcolm Stewart unfortunately causing a red flag to be thrown, Justin would have a change to breathe and recollect himself in the midst of battle. It would work, as he would slowly but surely crawl to the back of Marvin Musquin, pestering the Frenchman with a bit of American wit. Revving his 450 to the brink of disaster, he was doing all he could to rattle the thought process of the KTM pilot. And although a strong effort, Barcia wouldn’t be able to make his way around; finishing sixth overall on the day.
Wanting to build off of his performance last week, Justin Brayton looked to make his practice days worthwhile, building off of his faults from Anaheim. Wanting to improve both starting position and stamina, he would log hundreds of gate drops at the test track, coupled with a series of additionally long sections of sprinting, hoping to surpass his usual mimicking of twenty-lap quests. He felt as though he improved, and although it may not have been a substantial gain, his confidence would be boosted considerably. And in this game, we all know that confidence means everything. He looked to pack a punch throughout the course of practice, throwing down noticeably fast laps in the beginning portion of qualification. Merely needing only one sight lap, he was easily conquering sections of this course, within the first five minutes of play. His mechanic would praise him for his efforts, relaying the message with a slapping of the pit board and waving of the towel. Putting a bit of reassurance throughout the mind of both he and team, he was now ready to go for the heat races. As the laps began to accumulate, his intensity would only continue to heighten, as he lead would grow as well; both heart rate and breathing would become more rapid, yet his composure and remembrance of the work he’d done forecasted a wave of tranquility over him. Hoping to continue pulling from Chad Reed, his machine would be exerting all types of power throughout the confines of this stadium. Truly firing on all cylinders, it was a matter of bringing the bike to the finish line. He would feel secure about his placement for the main event, knowing that his win was no fluke, and come to the line ready for battle. As he would try his best to dodge as many pellets as possible, the field would begin to spray dirt in a machine-gun like manner. Ducking his visor down the start straight, he would stay within striking distance of Dean Wilson. Although neck and neck, you could see that he was breaking his competition, piece by piece, with a totality of strong laps being glued together. In an all out dash to the finish line, he was scrubbing every face possible, knowing that each millisecond was of precious value. With the checkered flag becoming an actuality, rather than a mirage, he would register seventh on the final lap, knowing he placed his best effort forward.
Although a bit unfamiliar with the soils of Arizona, Dean Wilson has shown that he can adapt to a variety of racing surfaces, and succeed in a multitude of conditions. Leaving the treacherous slop of last week behind, he was anticipating that the dirt of Glendale would be rather unique, in comparison to the Supercross tour as a whole. Albeit red in hue, it didn’t have quite the bite of Oklahoma compost, or tack of Georgia clay. It was merely small marble on the surface, with a slick base underneath. So once the pure torque of both he, and opposing 450’s made their way onto their field, much of the topsoil would be scattered onto the concrete that surrounded this course of action. His throttle technicality would have to be imminent if he wanted to do well for the night’s festivities, making sure to not override the track and find himself in disarray. Keeping his mental capacity in a state of clarity, he would focus on just he and the machine below. Carving up the track turn-by-turn, his slicing of the soil with rear tread would be a wonderful masterpiece, the way the rear brake and throttle response would work in harmony. Capping off a marvelous practice session with a crisp final lap, he would feel confident as he headed into the heat races. With the field split in two, he knew if he could capitalize on only half of his main competition, the night could begin on a strong note. And he would do so, doing his best to throw down a few “heaters” to begin. Making sure to pull as far away from Justin Bogle as possible, he would have an incentive to keep the throttle response turned all the way up. Letting the 450 feed into the track below, he would flourish through the far rhythm section, closest to the grandstand portion of the arena. Executing nearly perfect double, triple, triple combinations, he would bolster a sixth place finish by the end. With the gate of the main event falling shortly thereafter, twenty-two of the top 450 riders from around the world would scream into turn number one. Rubbing elbows and plastic, he and Cole Seely would be rather close for the opening duration of the event. Cutting and weaving with every chance he could, he would dive both low and high in hopes to move around the opposition. It would work, as his execution of both rhythm lanes and corners would propel him forward throughout the course of the event. Feeling strong for the event’s majority, he would settle into eight place overall.
Surrounded by dry, desert plains and numerous pieces of southwestern wildlife, Glendale is in many ways an opposition to the culture we had in Anaheim. And with new territory, brings a new frontier of ideas, hopes and aspirations. Looking to leave the bright lights of Anaheim in the past, Cole Seely came into the round of Arizona feeling refreshed and energized, as a new slate of results would wait to be tabbed. He began to rejuvenate his persona throughout the likes of practice, where he took a bit of time to learn the track. Exploring multiple options, you could see that he was linking the course section by section, trying his best to be an efficient competitor, rather than reckless and suffer consequences. As the laps would begin to rise in numerical order, his lap times too would accompany in crescendo-like fashion, as he walked up the leaderboard. Feeling strong by the end of the sessions, he would conclude the qualification rounds gleaming with positivity. Positioned in a sound manner for the heat race sector of the show, he looked to load the gate with engine, and holeshot device engaged. Clicking the 450 into gear, he would launch out of the hole, and begin pegging through the gearbox, as the speedometer would rise. Hoping to move forward quickly, he would begin to set his sights on that of Marvin Musquin. Back and forth across the start straight, he would be in an all out assault as he railed the tops of these bowl turns, never once showing a glimpse of fear. Stepping onto the tabletop, tabletop option before one of the “SX” triples, a mere stab of the clutch would have the chassis hopping from obstacle to obstacle. Once flying into space, a subtle look over would show that he had a bit of a gap between he and Malcolm Stewart behind; he would then complete the race in second position. With a full gate now settled in for the main event, it was a matter of all of his weekly preparation coming together. He would channel every bit of rage, adrenaline, and sheer focus he could muster, as he sped through the conundrum of the first few laps. Keeping his eye on the prize so to speak, he would remain calm despite the chaos that loomed in all of his proximity. He would duck to the inside of the right hander just before the start straight, the back wheel fighting for its life, in regards to grabbing hold of mother earth. Shooting back down the start straight, he wanted to pull away from Cooper Webb as much as possible. His wish would then be granted, as he would stay upright for the rest of the time, taking home a ninth place overall.
Coming into the round of Glendale, many were relieved to see that the rains of Anaheim were considered an afterthought. Although last week provided an exceptional layout, many riders true speed were a bit concealed, due to the rains that Mother Nature provided. However, all seemed to be well when the teams rolled into the stadium of Glendale, and competitors like Cooper Webb were more than ready to let their raw speed display for the world to see. Throughout the duration of practice, he could be found banging through the gearbox, hitting the latter portion of the top end at times. Hard on the brakes when coming down some of these lengthy straightaways, you could almost hear his rotors hissing and pinging from the stands, as the heat generated by these pads had the metallic scorching. It would be a sure sign that he was pushing the bike to the limits, reassuring all in his crew that his efforts were next level. He looked to make a statement in the qualification rounds, wanting to secure a solid spot for the main event. Diving into turn one, he knew he had to emerge relatively unscathed, if he wanted to advance safe and sound. Soaring through the air over one of the notorious “SX” triples, he felt compelled to look to the distance and spot the leader; as it would give him a beacon of distance so to speak. Knowing where he would need to step up and engage, he would provide a strong effort to try and pull away from Dean Wilson; and it would work. Coming across the line, the feeling of reassurance would occupy each lobe of his brain, knowing that one of the toughest tasks of the night was over. The gate would drop for the main event, and the field would become erratic on the first lap. Cross jumping, and leaping over competitors’ left and right, he would manage to linger around the eleventh area to begin. Crossing the starting line, he appeared rather fast in the back-to-back 180-degree turns, switching up both inside and outside options in consecutive laps. He knew he couldn’t make a mistake, as the pressure from Aaron Plessinger was beginning to rise. But his mental fortitude would allow him to with stain the charge, although breathing hard at the finish line. He would be proud of his efforts, glad that he could rally for a tenth place overall.
“I’m really tired of being the guy that just has potential.”
When viewing the resume of Florida’s Adam Cianciarulo, it’s hard to deride any of his accolades or accomplishments he’s generated over his illustrious career thus far. One of the best amateur motocross riders to ever compete, Cianciarulo was as hyped as they come when making the transition into professional competition. Jumping into deep waters at a young age, Cianciarulo would claim wins initially, but would be riddled with mishaps and injuries throughout the coming years. Yet Mitch Payton, and the crew at Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki have stuck by their guy, providing him with every tool necessary to hopefully claim a championship in 2019. And when envisioning this round of the series, all in the corner of “AC” couldn’t have drawn up a scenario better than what would unfold. Getting out to an early lead to begin heat number one, the ninety-two of Cianciarulo would go unscathed, as he would make his rounds in the early going. With riders like McElrath, Hampshire, and Hayes behind, Cianciarulo’s efforts would be too tough to match by the competition. The way he was attacking every rut, bump, and mogul on this track would be incredible to see, as his lanky frame would merely scrub the machine to slow down, rather than dragging any sort of braking mechanism. His laptimes would hover near the lowest of the day, having no outliers for the duration of this quest. Pushing strong until the final flag, his whip over the finish line would be a sight that would become all too familiar to the competition, shortly thereafter. Cianciarulo would then storm out to an early lead to begin the main event, as you could truly see he and the bike were on the same page. With a wave of competition behind, the Kawasaki pilot would blitz every portion of the track with one hundred percent effort. Weighting the outside peg when necessary, his portrayal of smoothness and precise movement was similar to that of Jeremy McGrath, or even Kevin Windham. The work that he’d done throughout his off-season training was beginning to come to light, as he truly would ride a mistake free main event. Stretching out his lead to over ten seconds at one point, Cianciarulo would unquestionably be in a league of his own as he launched the finish line. With flames erupting all around, Adam would be absolutely ecstatic upon landing from his final descend. Victory was his, and was most definitely well deserved.
“Working with a mental coach now, it’s been a big deal for me to work on that side of things.”
Although many predicted that Colt Nichols would be a front-runner for the 2019 season, insiders of the industry will be first to admit that he couldn’t exactly pinpoint just how fast Colt Nichols would be upon the series commencement. With many knowing the story of his amateur career, and prior experience on the Arenacross tour, his route to the top has been a bit unorthodox to say the least. His resiliency has proven to be his backbone, never bowing down in the wake of adversity or setbacks. And knowing the true roots of his genetic makeup, the boys at Yamaha have signed him to a multi-year contract, sensing that he could truly be a diamond in the rough for years to come. Following his spectacular performance last week, he wanted to bring an attitude of poise and charisma into the University of Phoenix Stadium. Upon arrival, he marveled at the technicality of the track, looking at the layout with open arms as the annual track walk would take place. With lucrative amounts of combinations, lines, and ways to make additional time, he was extremely excited as his tire tread etched the red canvas of practice. Whipping and scrubbing into the wind, you could sense the belief he had in himself, by just viewing him from the outside. His efforts would transcend into matters of the heat race, where he would quickly be placed into second place position. Making his way around Decotis, the two would seemingly jab at one another, with Nichols delivering a strong enough punch to push the Suzuki rider behind for good. It would be smooth sailing for the Oklahoma native, as he would stay upright and sound until the checkered flag would fly. His mentality would be filled with positivity as the gate would fall for the main event, and the number thirty-nine would register in fourth on the opening lap. Quickly transcending into third, three of the top prospects were in immediate conjunction of one another as the laps would begin to stack up. Hounding the number twelve of McElrath, the KTM wouldn’t budge, as Nichols would begin to stick a wheel in. After laps of knocking at the door, Nichols could take no more, and pushed McElrath aside just after the finish line, as they both dove into the following left-hander. Nichols, now second, would be just a bit too far out of reach to contest that of Adam Cianciarulo. However, he would walk away with a large sum of points, and remain the leader of the standings, as the tour would move ahead.
“I’m a little bummed on some of the choices I made, the main thing is I’m healthy and God is good.”
Shane McElrath, also known as the “Smooth Criminal” of the 250 class, displayed a veteran like performance in the slop of Anaheim last week. Armored with composure, sound technique, and an unbelievably positive attitude, the way McElrath carries himself both on and off the bike, has made him a fan favorite throughout the Supercross series. When examining the way he moves aboard the motorcycle, he hardly ever seems to get out of control; and if and when that moment ever comes, he’s quick to erase the mistake, never letting the mishaps of the past deter him from moving forward. And as practice would commence for the Glendale round, the aforementioned display of both style and speed would be all too familiar to both the crowd and fans alike. Never overriding or too aggressive on the throttle, his rear wheel wouldn’t lose the bite of this slick racing surface, as he caressed the power to the absolute perfect point. One of the first to launch the tripling sequence of the initial rhythm section, he would take merely a single chicken run before quantifying the substantial leap. That alone would reiterate the notion that, although he’s as calculated as they come; he’s never afraid to uncork and walk the line of risk when necessary. Second place to begin heat number one, he would only trail Adam Cianciarulo for the duration of the race. Although a tall task in itself, he would try and compete with the number ninety-two to the best of his abilities, but Cianciarulo was putting up an extremely strong showing of effort. McElrath, composed beyond his years, would realize this; and although never satisfied, would understand that his efforts would be content for a second place finish, eager for the main event to begin. It would be much of the same song and dance for the number twelve as the main event would unravel, with Cianciarulo out front, and Shane bringing up the rear. Leaping from table-top to table-top just before the “SX” triple in the middle, his stabbing of the clutch would near perfect as he propelled through the series of obstacles. Blitzing the whoops with textbook form, he was doing all he could to stay ahead of the number thirty-nine of Colt Nichols. As the two would push a furious pace, Nichols would make his way around on lap nine. McElrath, now third, would reside here, chasing down the red plate until the end.
Following a noteworthy showing last week, RJ Hampshire came into the Phoenix round hoping to display his consistency as a legitimate championship contender. He felt confident after his result in adverse conditions, that he could repeat his performance under the lights of Glendale. Quickly placing his name in the top-tier of riders throughout the series of practice laps, he would toy with different combinations throughout the series of rhythm sections, that this Phoenix layout would provide. In an all-out blitzing of these particular lanes, Hampshire would show absolutely no fear as he twisted the throttle wide-open, regardless of which obstacle was in front of him. Whether he was seemingly doubling, tripling, or skimming the particular portion in front of him, he would attack the foreground with a series of all out aggression. It would put an overwhelming heap of confidence throughout the mentality of the young Floridian, rippling into that of both team and sponsors as well. It would then flow into heat race, where he would be placed within the confines, with the likes of Cianciarulo, McElrath, and Jacob Hayes. Running laptimes near the one minute, three second mark, the top riders of the field were simply on rails as they obliterated this Glendale course. He would stay in fourth for quite some time, as the Yamaha of Hayes would put up a resilient battle for the third place ride. Lap after lap, it was as though Hampshire was trying to break a barrier that couldn’t be cracked. Finally, after an abundance of effort, he would power through, finishing up on the final podium spot, just behind McElrath. The main event would be next, where a ninth place would be something less than stellar for the number thirty-one. But rather then be discouraged, he would use a working man’s mentality to slowly chip away at the front runner’s, making sure to land each rhythmic combination with smooth transitions. He knew that his sheer amount explosive nature could drive him to the front, therefore his mentality would flip into overdrive around the halfway point. Making his way past riders like Chris Blose and Jacob Hayes, the Honda of Hampshire would make his way into fourth with just a few short laps to go. He would stay here, finishing off the race just behind the number twelve, an all too familiar sight for the Geico pilot.
Signed on a premise of being a strong starter, solid skillset, and fan favorite, Jimmy Decotis is doing his best to deliver what was asked of him in the pre-season. Seemingly known by every fan in attendance, Decotis’ line for autographs throughout the pit party was rather lengthy. Greeting every attendee with a sense of hospitality and respect, he looks to come to the races with a serious mindset, yet a positive attitude. And it was as though karma would be in his corner, as his practice efforts would linger near the top of the leaderboard, reiterating to all that he could throw down a fast lap with anyone. Blitzing his way through the whoops, and scrubbing the finish line to fullest extent, he would look over at his mechanic for a bit of reassurance. And after the acknowledgement, he knew he would be sitting well as the heat race would roll around. Locked and loaded for the dropping of the gate, he would make his way to the lead almost immediately. Literally swapping positions with that of Colt Nichols, Decotis would show no signs of backing down, nearly making the past permanent on the series leader through the whoop section. Staying just at bay of the rear wheel of the Yamaha rider, Decotis’ stamina woes of the past seemed to be washed away, when he was holding off the likes of Ferrandis and Mosiman. Staying strong for the series of seven laps, he would come across the checkered flag refreshed, knowing that he did all he could to succeed. Fifth place to start the main event, his Suzuki would beam lights of radiation off of the reflection from around him. Moving up to fourth by lap seven, he would try his best to pace himself off the likes of Cianciarulo, McElrath, and Nichols in front of him. With a brief bit of shuffling going on around him, he knew he would have to stay focused in order to finish in a strong spot. However, around lap nine, it was RJ Hampshire who would mosey his way into the thought process of Jimmy D, as the Honda from behind would rev his engine loud. Hampshire would then unfortunately make his way around, pushing Decotis back to fifth. Finding a comfortable pace for remainder of the moto, Jimmy would land here, sporting another solid run for the JGR squad.
Powering through the mud-fest of Anaheim with an admirable finish, Dylan Ferrandis was extremely grateful to be racing on dry soil under the roof of this Glendale stadium. Although accustomed to all conditions growing up in his native France, he knew that his true skills would excel on these slick conditions that the earth of Arizona would provide. He was a standout throughout the boundaries of qualification, hitting the whoops with outright daunting speed, dropping the jaw of many in attendance. Tripling onto the tabletop just before the triple in the middle, his combination of both forks and shock were being used to the fullest extent, as he would drive them with serious compressional forces. As he would exit the tunnel with his mechanic in stride, they would go back to the semi to make a few small changes. Happy with the subtle tweaks, they would make their way to the line to begin the heat race festivities shortly thereafter. His jump off of the line and first turn antics were less than stellar, and he would be forced to pick his way through the field from a starting position of eighth. Quickly leapfrogging his way past the likes of riders such as Mitchell Harrison, you could see that he and machine were excelling to the fullest extent. He would then set his sights on Michael Mosiman, where the two would begin to up the ante with every passing circuit. Nailing the rhythm section after the start, his touchdown of tripling antics would put a move on that of the younger Mosiman, placing him in third as the white flag would fly. Finishing up behind Jimmy Decotis, Ferrandis would settle here to end the moto. For the main event, his sprinting skills were clearly in tact, where he would absolutely blitz the first circuit of action in third place. However, as he would launch off this miniscule single just by the mechanic’s area, his rear end would catch the ground in horizontal fashion; and it would end in disaster. Slamming him to the concrete, he would scurry around the bike, remounting as quick as he could. His efforts would then be apparent, as he would slide the Yamaha 250f around this slick raceway as fast as he could. Ripping around bowl turns whenever possible, he would move around riders such as Cantrell, Blose, and Marchbanks. He would be in sixth as the moto would conclude, where he would reside for the final time.
An “OG” of sorts, in regards to the realm of the 250 class, Chris Blose has been around the sport for numerous years. If you’re old enough to remember the Mini Warrior videos from years ago, it was actually his brother Michael who received much of the limelight, some fifteen to twenty years ago. Chris, taking after his sibling, would then climb through the ranks and place his name in the hat for factory ride contention, on the AMA professional tour. Riding every brand imaginable, in practically every series that’s been provided across the continental United States, Blose has come full circle for 2019. With the former Arenacross professional series now being obsolete, Blose has been forced to come back to Supercross, racing competitors much younger than he. And although “SX” is considered a young man’s game, he knew prior to the start of the season, that he had enough in the tank to make a formidable run at the championship. Therefore he and crew would pack up, planning to hit the series round by round. He would, however, feel an extra bit of “umph” to do well at this particular race, as his native city is that of Phoenix, Arizona. And with that being said, you knew he would have familiarity with everything this track would have to offer. Looking extra-acclimated on this soil throughout practice, he felt confident as he would load the bike behind the gate for his heat race. Sixth off of the line, his big-bodied stature would be in a bit of disadvantage, in comparison to the smaller, younger riders around. But what he lacked in power to weight ratio, he would garner in pure strength. As you could see him literally shoving the chassis through the peak of this treacherous whoop section, never once letting the bike dictate where the body wanted to go. He would push forward every lap, generating a seventh overall by the end of the moto. Seventh again off of the start, he would begin to find himself in familiar territory, as both he and Jacob Hayes would begin to dual. Replacing the familiar catapult jump with larger than life triples, the two would set an astonishing pace near the front of the field. Feathering the clutch as he would feed RPM into the earth, he would pack the front wheel down the longest straightaway of the layout. Seeing that the number 40 of Sean Cantrell was closing in, he would execute his final laps in solid fashion, residing in seventh at the conclusion of the race.
A hot commodity on the amateur tour just a few short years ago, Sean Cantrell has made his way into the professional ranks, throughout the past couple of years. Backed by the TLD KTM team, the guys behind the “orange brigade” have been known to pluck riders at an early age, looking to groom them throughout the roots of their “farm” system so to speak. Riding the brand throughout the latter years of Loretta Lynn’s, he’s beginning to hit his stride under the bright lights of professional stardom, adjusting well to the aspects of Supercross in present day history. Leaving the realm of his home state of California, he would head to the presence of Glendale hoping to etch another solid outing aboard the number forty machine. Although short in stature, he would maneuver the bike rather well around this speed driven course, never afraid to soar into new heights in the abundance of rhythm sections. Feeling rather strong after his practice outing, he would head to the line for the heat race portion of the event, looking qualify for the main event. Tenth place off the start, he knew he would have to make moves in an urgent fashion, if he wanted to salvage a solid gate pick. Blitzing the whoops on the mere edge of the course, his rear wheel would slightly clip the top of every mogul, as he leaped into the following right-hander. Every lap, would be another position inherited on the leaderboard, where the tenth would be washed away. And once all was said and done, he would accumulate a sixth place, where he would be granted a gate positioning option of twelfth for the main event. As the pin for the main event would unlatch, he would shift as quickly as possible to the rear end of the machine, up-clicking multiple times down this drag-stretch of a start. As the field would look to scatter in disarray, he would settled into eighth place to begin. Bee-lining across the start straight, he would fly past the mechanics area, looking to his mechanic in a subtle manner; reading the message of “charge”, he would then piece the track together little by little, knowing that riders like Garrett Marchbanks were slowly beginning to creep up. Never the one to bow down, the two would actually begin to reel in Chris Blose a bit, but Cantrell would settle in eighth as the final flag would stand.
Now that the nerves of Anaheim One have been shoved to the side, it’s time for the season of acclimation to begin. The first race is always a mess, and many scattered scores in the means of data will be placed, aboard a rider’s average of finishing positions. Last week was a race where adrenaline and butterfly’s can take over, pushing a rider’s true character to the absolute limits. But as the round of Glendale approached, Garrett Marchbanks began to be settled in. A sense of peace and calmness would over take him as he eyed the track from the stadium seating. And once the track walk had concluded, he felt reassured; knowing that this layout would most certainly fit his style. As he would sprint around the track throughout practice, he felt extremely comfortable launching these lucrative lines through the rhythm lanes. Hitting some of these takeoffs in fourth gear, he would summit to a climax of space, with the throttle pinned and kissing the rear brake. Never one to back down, he would sprint in dyer need until the referee directed him off the track, leaving it all on the line. Next up, the heat races; where he would position himself nicely in regards to directly transferring to the main event. Battling with the likes of Justin Starling, the two would joust over a transfer position, mimicking that of a title run. Regardless of what place he could be found on the track, you best believe that one hundred and ten percent would be given. Situating his ride for a solid outing, he would take the white flag in eighth; it would be here where he would reside, placing himself with a decent position of gate choice for the main event. Shortly thereafter, he would launch himself off of the grade, and into wide-open Arizona territory. With a dust storm of red swirling around, he would display a sense of urgency to get away from the crowd around. Positioning himself around the fourteenth place spot, it was all he could do to hold off Michael Mosiman. Neck and neck with the competition, he was showing no ounce of fear when shifting through the entire range of gears aboard his machine. Spraying the mechanics, as he would pass, his 250f would be bouncing off the rev limiter, as he rode the back wheel down the start straight. He would continue to chip away at eighth place, albeit a bit short at the line, just behind Sean Cantrell; ninth place overall would be in the record books.
With the 250 championship being such a short run, every race along the calendar is that of precious value. There’s very little room for error, and hardly ever, if at all, can you have an outlying finish, and expect to rise to an admirable championship standing. However, no matter what’s thrown his way, Michael Mosiman seems to come back as strong as ever, ready to redeem himself from any past misfortune. Knowing that the Glendale round was place where he could assert himself as a serious threat, and get back to consistent top-ten finishing, he would put his nose to the grindstone, and yearn for a solid showing. All throughout practice, you could hear his bike seemingly echoing off of the stadium walls, almost as if he were the loudest machine on the track. Keeping the locomotive within the ripest portion of power, his throttle response was of pure excellence, maneuvering around this treacherous course. Watching the competition go by, he would hop in behind some of the fastest riders on the track, such as Colt Nichols, following their lines, and seeing where he could improve. He was inscribing every little detail within his head, taking specific notes on his rhythm section etiquette, and whoop technique. It would then be put into action throughout the heat race, as his start would solidify him in solid position to begin. Putting his best effort forward, he could be seen soaring over the “SX” triple in the middle, whipping the chassis to the left, to sweep the following right-hander. In one swift motion, nearly clipping the inside hay bale, he would begin to stretch the gap on Cameron McAdoo. Looking to press forward, he would be on a hunt for the checkered flag, knowing the real work would come shortly there after. And as the moto would end, he would take fourth overall. With all of the lights upon him, the main would then be underway, and he would feel a certain level of execution come over him. No movement on this slippery Glendale surface would be wasted, and as he fought within the midst of the top ten, every rut, whoop, and mogul would be conquered with immense precision. Adjusting the clutch play over one of the triples on the far side, he would then take a glance over to see McAdoo again mid-race. Riding a bike that was rather wide, his rear tire would begin to draw lines in the dirt, crossing off lanes in which the opposition couldn’t cross. And although a bold strategy, weaving in and out of this layout, it would reap dividends; as he would hold on for tenth on the evening.