“I sat here last year with a broken leg, and the year before that with a blown-out shoulder; so I’m so especially thankful to be standing atop the podium tonight.”
When in discussion of other sports, in particular that of basketball, you may hear the term “streaky”; as in a streak shooter of sorts. Someone who begins to accumulate success after a brief tasting of the limelight; almost as if their confidence is a locomotive that can be stopped, once it begins firing in the right pattern. Enter Cooper Webb, a young man who was thought to be a dark horse coming into the season, but there weren’t many who thought the North Carolina native would be stacking up wins in this manner. After tasting success a few rounds in, he’s been at the front of every main event since, looking to again capture gold as he and team headed into the Minneapolis round. Looking like a young Jeremy McGrath, sporting the number two on his plates, he would roll around this track in an aggressive manner throughout practice. Letting his machine bark for all to hear, he was on the revlimiter moments before the rear wheel would land off of some of these outrageous gaps; showing that he had simply no fear, in terms of conquering the layout beneath him. It would continue throughout matters of the heat race, where an early lead had him sitting pretty to pick up the win. But he didn’t have just anyone at his tail; it was that of Eli Tomac, a rider who’d tallied just as many wins as Cooper Webb, and had a bit of an edge, in regards to the experience department. But Webb wouldn’t budge; proving to KTM that he could his frame wouldn’t crack under pressure so to speak. Leading every lap of the heat race, he looked to do the same as the gate would fall for the main event. Pushing forward in the beginning portion of the final sector, he knew that if he could pressure Savatgy enough; that he could work his way around the number seventeen. And for a series of laps, well surpassed the ten-circuit mark, he would follow the rear wheel of the Kawasaki patiently. And then finally, around the twelve-minute tally, he would make the move. Coming up the inside of the number seventeen, Savatgy would make a mistake on the face of the “SX” triple on the far side. Looking over his shoulder, it was Webb who would blitz past, soaring over his head, and into the lead. Smooth sailing from here on out, Webb would throw down nearly perfect laps, on his way to the checkered flag. With flames firing all around, Webb knew that the momentum of the series was definitely in his favor.
“I’m happy with second place; I only got to ride once this week due to the leg burn."
Seemingly searching for a race win harder than anyone else on the tour, Ken Roczen is hoping to capture the top step on the podium sooner rather than later. A champion all throughout his career, he’s ready to push the talk of his previous injuries to the side, and move forward with the opportunity he has at his fingertips. And although a tactician in the mud, he too was relieved when moving east, and riding on a somewhat “even” playing field. Letting the Honda 450 eat throughout the confines of practice, he was one of the first to jump the triple-triple section, heading back towards the starting line. Everything was flowing in a smooth manner, as he was ripping these respective berms to pieces, and darting out of the bowl as a red blur. He hoped to continue this pace as the heat race would come around, and as you may have guessed, would do so. The number ninety-four could be found in third behind two single digit riders; that of Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac. The three were on a blistering pace, as the trio of riders would nail lap after lap. It was truly a game of inches, where a wheel length could be the difference between a win and second; but Roczen was basking in it. He embraced the close quarter quarreling, and approached the thought of battle with open arms. As the final flag would wave in the distance, he would soar across the finish line double third, looking for more as the main event would loom in the distance. Hovering near the top three to begin the race, everyone within the train was chasing that of Joey Savatgy. The number seventeen was setting a brilliant pace out front, and Roczen knew he would have to “put up, or shut up” if he wanted to stay within the borders of the podium. Pushing forward, he would follow suit as familiar foe Cooper Webb would work his way around; knowing that if the number two would pass through, he too would have to move around. Otherwise, the thought of a strong finish would be of no relevance. Making the move on Savatgy in the last quarter of the race, the distance between he and Cooper Webb would be too much to overcome. Roczen, as thankful as ever, was a bit displeased with letting yet another win go by; however, he knew this was a series of longevity, and was willing to do whatever it took to claim the championship.
“I tried my best, and gave it a hundred percent; capitalizing on the mistakes of others.”
Looking at the track upon arrival to the stadium, many in the corner of Marvin Musquin, including the rider himself, felt as though he could really do some damage on this course. With a layout situated with numerous switchbacks, and rather wide passing lanes, Marvin’s creativity was the perfect potion to blossom upon a configuration such as this. Not to mention, the whoops would be a platform of hopping rather than skimming, so many were assured that the number twenty five’s bit of craftiness, would come to light by the end of the night. Being a staple at the front throughout practice, you could seem alternating between hot and slow laps; trying to thoroughly digest everything that was going on around him. It would lead him into the heat race, where he was armed and ready to do battle with the best in the world. Rocketing off of the starting grid, he was twisting the throttle with all of his might, while clanging through the transmission beneath him. Battling for second early on, he was within a sea of orange, with the likes of Blake Baggett and Justin Bogle around him. All seemed to be well, as he was hitting his grooves and doing his best to reel in Justin Brayton. However, a couple of mental lapses would cause him to lose serious position; two where he would actually come off the bike, and then nearly coming to a pause in the rhythm section before the whoops. He would bottle up his emotions and stay the course however, coming across the line in eighth place, hoping to rebound for the main event. He would toss away his heat race performance, bolstering out of the hole for a start to the main event. Lingering near the top five, he knew he would have to keep pushing if he wanted a spot on the podium. With Savatgy beginning to flounder, and teammate Cooper Webb pulling away out front, he knew time was of the essence, with the final flags looking to rare their head. Roczen was just in front, and the former GP tandem would latch onto one another, as the clock would strike zero. Forcing his way into podium position, pushing Savatgy a bit wide, Musquin would accumulate another top three once all was said and done. If he could keep this consistency up, the championship very well could be his.
Although many would say that Savatgy is the counterpart in the duo of he and Eli Tomac, many around the number seventeen feel as though he’s proved his worth, in terms of outright speed thus far in the series. Being atop the leaderboard on numerous occasions for the qualifying rounds, plus winning a heat race and accumulating other podium finishes, all that was left was for him to build his main event performances. He would come into the round of Minneapolis swinging, taking the honor of being the fastest man on the track, once all was said and done for practice. Gelling with the bike from the get go, the way he was blitzing the whoops, and absolutely railing around these bowl turns was exceptional. He would be spraying the track crew that resided on the outskirts of the layout, leaving numerous pieces of soil spared on the surrounding concrete as well. Going into his heat race, you could see him smiling and cutting up with his mechanic, sending a sign of confidence to all around. His body language portrayed a sense of confidence that was nearly unmatched on the line, and it would show with his outing shortly thereafter. Coming around the first lap in seventh, he would quickly transcend into the top five, eyeing the likes of Justin Brayton and Justin Barcia to begin. Knowing the true speed he possessed, you could seem taking bits of unorthodox lines as he transcended around the raceway; knowing that he could make his move when necessary. With the mistake of Marvin Musquin, he would push his way into third, leaving him with a solid gate choice for the main event. And then, as the gate would fall for the final portion of racing, Savatgy would simply flip the switch. Out to an early lead, he would force the field to follow him for what seemed like an eternity. Demonstrating true speed and outright ability for the beginning portion of the main, there was a true sense of anticipation building up behind the Kawasaki pilot. He couldn’t blemish, as any hiccup would allow a heap of riders around. But it was though the pace of the field was a bit too much, with Webb making his way around and the train continuing to flow in a frantic manner. Leading a total of fourteen laps, Savatgy would get a rather large portion of “lead cuisine” yet be forced into fourth once all was said and done. Encouraged, he hoped to continue his success in the following rounds of the series.
To be considered “top-five” in a professional sport, is a feat that many within this world will never be apart of. Even on the likes of winning teams in the likes of NFL, NBA, and MLB, one really can’t consider themselves “the elite” with a strong and supporting cast around them, picking up the slack when they’re having an off day. But Supercross, in its own respective individuality, is a force to be reckoned with; leaving athletes bloodied and drained of all energy. Therefore, if you can place within the top five under these ultra-bright lights, you truly can feel as though you deserve every bit of respect you’ve earned. Justin Brayton was shooting for a position within these borders from the final flag of last race; knowing that he could continue his excellency of strong finishes, and really do some damage with a dried playing field underneath him. Seemingly leaving a trail of flame as he bolted around this Minnesota course, his exhaust was the torch to the frozen tundra beneath him. You could see the waves of heat flowing from the confines of his silencer packing, and every dare-devil feat that he portrayed would be accompanied with a severe blipping of the throttle. Pushing the pace from the moment of the green flag, he would carry a serious heap of attrition as he took every lap of practice. Leaving all within his corner stoked upon his efforts, he looked to do damage in the heat race. Surging with confidence as he etched his way into the racing surfaces, he knew he would have to contend with the likes of Justin Barcia. And of course they would meet up in the beginning. The familiar foe’s would begin to joust in every respective bowl turn, sling-shotting out of these 180 degree turns, as if they were ropes in the wrestling wring. Tussling down the start straight, they would nearly lock bars in the following left-hander. But his machine would prevail, and he would come across the checkered flag first, displaying the true sense of raw speed he’s always had. Stoked on the heat race win, he deserved every bit of recognition he received. He looked to keep this aggression going for the duration of the twenty-minute main event; never faltering within the likes of the first few laps, it would pay off, as Dean Wilson would have to work his way up from behind. Although his mechanic told him to envision forward, he would take a subtle look over his left shoulder, within mid-air of the “SX” triple. He could see the reflection of his fork coating, the gold glistening off the meat of the chamber. He then would duck inside, barricading the preferred line from the enemy. In a sound effort, his episodes of defense would continue; prevailing him to a solid fifth place outing, looking forward to the next race.
Being one of the most crowd-adoring, and fan-loving riders in the pits, isn’t easy to most. Many feel as though they have a job to do, and racing with spectacular results is of the utmost priority. And it is, to an extent. However Eli Tomac wants each and every fan who cheers for him, to feel as though there’s a true connection between he and the line of support that drives him to the races every weekend. And that’s why he’s been so successful to this point. Rain or shine, hot or cold, you can always see that he makes time for those who enjoy his company, and care enough to support he and team. It’s an act of reciprocation, as you can tell the opposite forces feet off each other, meeting in the middle, and hopefully on the podium. Looking astonishing throughout practice, you could see him hit the triple on the far side with a whipping of the chassis, throwing the swing arm to the right with the best of his ability. Making light work of the sections that followed, you almost had the feeling as if he’d ridden this layout before; however he was just that could, processing data and numerous algorithms in his head to calculate these sections. Keeping the throttle at just the right amount of RPM at all times. Transitioning into the heat races that followed, he looked rather poised in the initial laps; keeping the flow for a good portion of the moto. Running into the likes of Cooper Webb, with Ken Roczen behind, he knew he had to withdrawal from falling into the trap of cat and mouse; if the two were to ride in a defensive mode of sorts, it would allow the rest of the field to gain substantial time. He would deter from the thought quickly thereafter, sending the likes of his number three machine to the finish line, taking second place. The main event would then be underway, rocking and rolling with the chants of thousands that surrounded the track; keeping the machine clean to the best of his ability, he would be taking the left hand off the bar, and frantically pulling tearoffs with any substantial amount of airtime. Keeping the locomotive upright, he knew he would have to defend the likes of Aaron Plessinger behind, as he steadily heard and felt the presence of the series standout behind him. Shutting the door in the corner after the whoops, he was waiting to the last possible second, holding the clutch and dragging the rear brake as he pivoted in the following turn. Letting all behind be left in a cloud of dust, his efforts would generate him to a sixth place finish. After the race, he knew that starts like this wouldn’t allow him to successfully obtain the championship. He and team would quickly duck into the semi, looking to assess and evaluate his performance.
Setting sail to the Eastern Seaboard, the AMA Supercross series is in search of a new land. Something almost of wishful thinking, and at times, a complete delusional mirage, many don’t aspire for things of riches and gold. No, nothing that lucrative; all they want is a piece of dry terrain, and roof over their heads, where they can do battle aboard their respective machines. And with many top competitors wishing to their hardest of might, their hope would turn into fruition, as the dome of U.S. Bank Stadium would be where the sixth round of the tour would reside. Chad Reed was beyond ecstatic that he could shed the raincoat of old with the fresh jersey of new, knowing that he would be of crisp, warm temperature when he would step foot behind the gate. Translating into his riding style, you could tell that both body and mind were rather loose, even within the first laps of practice. Blitzing the whoops in a crouched manner, you could almost see him click into fourth gear, which was unbeknownst to many in the field; yet he felt as though he could carry the speed, and would have enough RPM to carry the chassis as he crested the final mogul. It would then transcend into a solid start for the heat race, where his pace was noticeable from the get-go. Pushing through the pack, he was in an imminent race to move to the front, and steadily hoping that Vince Friese wouldn’t latch on behind him. You could see him veering in and out of the bowl turns, causing the opposition to almost come to an abrupt stop a few times; and it wasn’t as though this was a matter of dirty riding, he was just operating this chess board of a Supercross layout, with methodical thinking like few others have shown. Keeping the momentum plugging along, he would hit the final stripe of timing and scoring in a respectable sixth place. Looking to leave it all on the table, he would keep the 450 to the top of the rev limiter to begin the main event; battling with the likes of Justin Bogle, it was crucial that he choose other lines, even if that meant venturing into unchartered territory. So as he would cross the start straight each and every lap, pinning the machine to the highest of sorts, he would immediately duck into the inside of the adjacent left-hander; pulling away from Aaron Plessinger with every passing. It was episodes like these that allowed him to hold down the seventh place spot, leaving the aforementioned Bogle in the rearview. And as the white flag would wave from the scorer’s tower, he knew the act of surrender was just around the corner. The checkered then would fly, and he would capture an impressive seventh overall.
With this stadium playing host to the Minnesota Vikings, the so-called “season” ticket holders have high standards in regards to entertainment. Being first row to some of the most spectacular games on turf, the Viking faithful are as loud and cheerful as they come, within the realms of the NFL. And it would translate over to the crowd for Supercross as well, as the roar of the “Great White North” would come across American borders, and into the ears of riders like Dean Wilson. Packing a punch with an array of serious decibels, every time he would soar into the air over one of the notorious “SX” triples, it was as though a stampede of attendees were rushing to within a bike-lengths radius. Sending chills throughout his body, you could see him continually upping the ante as the crowd got louder and louder. Whether it was by launching further and further into the rhythm lane opposite of the starting gate, or running the chassis of the machine to the brink of disaster atop the finish line corner, the “G” forces he was withstanding were absolutely incredible. As he escorted his ride out of the stadium, he would nod to the fans hanging over the barrier of the tunnel, reassuring them that he would bring his best effort to the main event. Clicking into third gear immediately as he barreled off the starting grid, the holeshot device would soon disengage. And almost like a flock birds gathering as a pack, the field would scamper for the inside barrier of the first bend. Coming across the stipe initially in eighth, he looked to make moves quickly, if he wanted to salvage an optimal position for the main event starting grid. As the ruts would begin to etch deeper and deeper, you could see that his inside footpeg was almost beginning to spark; as the frame of his 450 machine was beginning to eat the pavement beneath the respective course. Showing absolutely no sign of fear, he would take the final lap in fifth where he would stay. The pack of twenty-two wild combatants would then storm around the raceway to begin the main event, with the crowd on their feet. Located around the latter half of the top ten, he knew he would have to focus for the entire duration of battle, otherwise the enemy could dethrone him in the blink of an eye. Banging through the gearbox as he nearly rode the back wheel down the start straight, you could see him stabbing the clutch, and shifting with his left boot in unison. It was almost a technique of dyer need, but deep down, he knew he had the ability to hold Justin Barcia behind. The laps would then creep closer and closer, and he knew that the checkered flag was around the corner. Hitting the finish line double on the final circuit, his eighth place ride would be cemented in the record books for certain.
With the extremely cold temperatures taking their toll on the bodies of all in attendance, thankfully both crowd and riders were embraced with warmer temperatures inside the dome. As a spectacular track awaited all of the competitors who listed their name on their roster, few were more excited than Justin Barcia. He was beyond eager to rip the canvas beneath him to shreds, using the soil of Minnesota as his canvas. With a concoction of frozen clay, sprinkled in with a bit of sand, the ruts were beginning to form almost immediately as practice would commence. Running solid laptimes throughout, he wanted to continue to climb the leaderboard, as many of the usual suspects were hovering near the top of the stats sheet. Absolutely ripping through the final corner before the finish line, he would dash to the summit of the takeoff, making sure to get his tire tread to the tip, just in time to make the night show. Coming off the line in spectacular fashion, he would look to dive to the inside of turn number one. With a series of cross-jumps and line-changing matter occurring in front of him, he knew he would have no help from air traffic control, as he tried to soar to the front. With his elbows high and wide, he looked to hold off Joey Savatgy behind him, but he knew his focus must remain on the foreground in front of him. Seemingly with heat sensors in a vast line of stealth like vision radiating from his pupils, he would eye the checkered flag with an abundance of adornment. There was one lap to go, where he would sit second. He would do all that was necessary to obtain this spot for the main event, and his name would be secured behind the specified listing of eligibility. With the field beginning to scatter out in the first few laps, he knew he couldn’t become pre-occupied with that of the lead pack out front. Because in close quarters, he would find himself in a bit of quarrel with Dean Wilson. Nailing the triple combination through the far rhythm section, his time on the ground was nearly that of a millisecond. He was leaping as far as possible, with his wheel and chassis nearly levitating throughout the air. It was enough, pulling away from Aaron Plessinger generating enough momentum for a single digit finish; and solid points.
The series has finally moved east, setting the likes of California far, far away into the rearview mirror. And while glancing at the almanac of there usual climate per say, many would agree that the transition east, would be coupled with a bit of dismay (and that’s too be expected). However, the rounds of the West Coast this year have riddled industry members, and meteorologists alike, as though a lingering monsoon has dampened multiple rounds on the tour. And in a trade-off of sorts, the Supercross crew has decided to take the cold, blistery winter of Central Minnesota, over the mud-riddled likes of the Golden State. Aaron Plessinger is pleased with the matter, as a dome of any sort is better than the sloppy conditions of last week. Therefore you could almost sense the abundance of positivity radiating from his shell when he hit the canvas for practice. Pegging the 450 with all of his might, he would round the circuit in consecutive fashion, never once stopping to discuss matters of the track. He wanted to a mimic an in-race situation, getting as much acclimation to this new environment as possible. And he would be relayed with positivity from the message of his pit board, as his mechanic would accompany the reaching of the sign with a clockwise waving of the towel. Blitzing the whoop section with absolutely no fear, there were few, if any, pieces of this track that baffled him; and he was beyond excited to get the racing portion of the evening underway. As the field stormed off the gate in a “Blitzkrieg”-like fashion, he would emerge fifth. Looking to ascend with each passing go around, he would hope to move little by little away from Dean Wilson behind him. It would work, as the near ten-minute total of racing competition, would have him placed in the fourth place position. As the main event would approach, the butterflies would begin to come alive within the pit of his stomach. And he didn’t mind that, as long as he could get them to fly in formation. Pushing forward with his bayonet attached to the front fender, he would slash his way near the top ten, after a horrendous starting effort. With roost ricocheting off of his number plate, he knew he would have to dodge these piercing pellets to the best of his ability. Running twelfth near the halfway point, he would look to keep the storm brewing behind him; and he would persevere, claiming a solid tenth overall at the stripe.
“My faith has really played a part in this success; I’m thankful for my family, team, and everyone around me.”
Although relatively young in age, in the grand comparison to his peers and counterparts, Austin Forkner has had a significant accumulation of pressure placed upon his shoulders. It’s as though fans and industry members alike know the true speed the Missouri native possesses, and feel as though he could outright win this championship; with zero questions asked. Forkner too believes that, as you could see him walking through the pits with a sense of stoic confidence. Although smiling and greeting fans with a genuine personality, you could tell that he he’d flown to U.S. Bank Stadium for business purposes only. Terrorizing the track throughout practice, he was laying down immaculate times, all the while whipping the bike with flare and poise, unmatched by the competition. The drain plug, being revealed to those in the front row, was nearly upside down at times, as his 250f would bark in the most aggressive state. It was a sign of his attitude spilling out into riding style, something that he hoped to carry as the night progressed. The heat race, was a true showing of what he was capable of. Absolutely nailing the start with the most precise shifting points, he would flourish as he rounded the opening bend with the lead. His Kawasaki, a green relic in its own right, mimicked the figurative “Hulk” character, the way he was absolutely dominating the competition. Scrubbing each and everything in sight, he would storm past the mechanic’s area, noticing his mechanic making a motion with his hands. Reading the lips of his crew chief, the message of a lengthening gap would translate between the two, letting Forkner know that his pace was unmatched by those behind. He would then push forward to the finish line, whipping the bike into the wind as he took an outright victory. And it was though the main event, as typical as this sounds, was just a continued portion of his previous heat race. Forkner was truly firing on all cylinders, replicating the flames that would soon fire within his honor. Hitting every piece of the track with the most exquisite technique, he was riding mistake-free laps; with a pace unforeseen by anyone else in the rest of the field. The executives at Kawasaki were beyond proud of what the number twenty-four possessed; stretching the lead to over twelve seconds once all was said and done. He would put the division on notice, letting everyone realize just whom they were in the presence of.
“I was so nervous that the race would start without my bike being ready to go. But luckily it fell into place, and the race was great after the fact.”
Although known for a bit of recklessness, and forcing fans and sponsors alike to stay on their toes; you can never knock the effort that Jordon Smith displays, week in and week out. He only knows one path and habit to success, and that’s by twisting the throttle to the fullest degree. Therefore, the guys who were behind the scenes at KTM, day in and day out at the practice track, understood just what he was holstering within his bag of ammunition, prior to the commencement of the 2019 Minneapolis round of Supercross. An imminent threat from the time the green flag would wave through the air throughout practice, Smith looked to take the field by storm; hoping to seize the competition in their tracks, as they would be in awe of his raw antics. Pushing himself to atop the leaderboard once all was said and done, he looked to replicate his performance in the heat race that followed. Keeping the competition honest, he would make his way into an early lead for this portion of racing. He had Alex Martin and Justin Cooper behind, keeping him reassured to keep the “pedal to the medal” per se. There was no lapse in focus, and he looked as if he’d been in this position a thousand times as the final flag would wave. Smith would go on to take the lead, rolling his bike to the line for the main event surging with confidence. However, a brief bit of shock would overtake Smith; as the bike’s rear wheel had to be reconfigured on the starting gate! But to the delight of many, he was all systems go as the gate would rise. The metal brackets would then crash to mother earth, the field stabbing the clutch and shifting violently as the darted down the opening straight. He would emerge near the top five. And then it was time to go to work, with riders like Forkner, Davalos, Martin, and Sexton in front. One by one, each brand would be plucked from the running order previously mentioned. Smith would then move into second, looking as though he were truly a man on a mission; until he would dig into a berm, and mistake the powder, for something a bit more stable. This would cause the front end to tuck, leaving Smith to pick up his bike in an urgent manner. Remounting without too much time lost, his pace of pure speed would be eye-opening to all in attendance. Choosing different lines, second place seemed to be sewn up, but he would almost throw it away in the final laps; colliding with Mitchell Falk, his teammate, mid-air! Luckily, Smith would stay upright, and continue his way forward, taking second for the evening.
“I couldn’t be more pumped. I’m so excited to be up here on the podium.”
One of the biggest surprises in the realm of amateur motocross over the past few years, was the emergence of Justin Cooper. Although a solid name in regards to minicycle contention, the series of top tens and fives he would accumulate, never forecasted the tale of the tape that would ensue in his final years of non-professional competition. Winning multiple titles at Loretta Lynn’s in his last few years, the true test would be when he would face a surging 250 class, on the professional tour; (both inside, and outdoors.) However, the Yamaha crew saw something that many didn’t, and believed that Cooper could contend with the best; since the moment he would throw his name into the hat. And boy were they right, as he would starch the field throughout selective outdoor portions, especially during the realm of qualification; setting the “pole” time on numerous occasions. So coming into the 2019 Supercross season, many felt as if he could ride the wave of momentum that he’d previously generated. And Minneapolis would be his platform to do so; in which the attitude previously talked about, would be displayed. “Butter-smooth” throughout the likes of practice, everything from his outright corner to speed, to his mistake-free transitions were seemingly flawless. Cooper immediately put the field on high alert, which would carry into the heat race sector of the event. Third off the line, he seemed to be of urgency, but never in a mode of being frantic; trailing the likes of Jordon Smith and Alex Martin. Noticing their lines, he would be rather unique in his own right; hugging the inside through the rhythm section towards the start, choosing to single out and stay narrow, rather than jump far and wide to the outside. And it was as though everything he did, would work; putting him into a third place overall finish for the event. The main was up next, where a solid start would have him in contention for a podium early. Jumping through the whoops with both double and triple combinations, he would ease into the top five and eye the likes of Alex Martin who sat within the top three. Working his way up, and avoiding colliding with lap traffic in the process, he would hunt down the Suzuki that was just in front of him. Cutting the lead every single lap with the narrowest of slices, he looked to pounce just before the finish line with a few circuits to go. Pushing Martin to the wee-end of canvas, he would assert himself into third, and never look back. An outstanding ride, for a rider who was ascending in linear fashion.
Coming to the homeland for this particular round of 2019 Supercross, Alex Martin had an abundance of pressure beginning to accumulate as the time for the gate to drop inched closer and closer. He was recently placed on the team of JGR Suzuki, having to be a staple for the brand on the East Coast. Couple that, with being twenty-nine and in the 250 class, many expected him to rise to lucrative expectations. Not to mention, he was doing all of this in front of family and friends, with his brother watching injured on the sidelines. Talk about being dealt a tough card, but if anyone knew Martin on a personal level, you understand his ability to rise to the occasion. And after dealing with consecutive years of being doubted, he hoped to reach unchartered territory for the 2019 season. Starting off with a solid outing in practice, everything seemed to be falling into place, after pulling into the mechanics area for a bit of readjustment. With clickers being turned left and right, his chassis seem to gel in perfect harmony with the motor it caressed, and the night show looked to be one that was encompassed in positive aura. Next up was the heat race, where he would find himself in an adjacent manner to Jordon Smith. With both riders holding a plethora of experience beneath their belt, they both knew it would be hard to break one another. But Martin would hold steady, never relinquishing the pressure on the KTM rider in front of him. Running near the forty-seven second mark, he would wait for Smith to make a mistake; but that moment wouldn’t come. He would settle for second, yearning for the main event to arrive. They would then be off, the field storming into turn number one. Just behind Austin Forkner, he would hover near the second place position for a good chunk of the first moto. Soaring over the “SX” triple on the side, he looked to obliterate the following rhythm section with a launching of the single before it; bouncing off the bottom of the suspension stroke, his tripling combination would reap dividends; although Jordon Smith would find his way back around. Then, being stalked by Justin Cooper, the two would gauge each other for a large portion of the latter end. All would seem to be well, until Martin would leave the door open before the finish line; where Cooper would sneak in and run him wide, forcing him off track and missing the finish line jump. Remounting, he would rally to capture fourth place, ready to rebound for the following round.
Groomed for many years throughout the Geico farm system, Chase Sexton seems to be lurking in the shadows of stardom, despite an exceptional career thus far. It’s, as though he’s right on the cusp of breakthrough, yet still needs that one historic performance where it all can come together. He has the speed, and the talent is apparent; as his style is reminiscent of a young Kevin Windham, especially with identical suit and shroud to match. And now, with 2019 upon us, he’s sporting the number twenty-three; symbolic of greatness in the realm of sports, hoping to establish his legacy during the modern era. He looked ultra smooth within his practice run, avoiding hiccups to the best of his abilities; and charging to the front with an aggression that few others possessed. And it would continue into the heat race, where a bit of “over-riding” would occur, and Sexton would find himself on the ground early. Luckily, thanks to his spectacular safety gear and break-away visor from Fox, he would walk away unscathed; quickly remounting, but with no visor. Sporting a new aerodynamic look, his charge to the front would begin, and his memo was just to get into the main event. Therefore he would plug away, despite his previous lackluster circumstance. Digging through the grooves that were now beginning to form around the base of the berms, he would make his way past the likes of Brandon Hartranft and Lorenzo Locurcio. Taking eighth place, he knew he had much room to improve; but was thankful that he could salvage. The main event would be underway shortly thereafter and he would find himself in the fourth place ride. Pushing the pace, he had a few instances of the front wheel nearly tucking and washing out; luckily, he would remain upright, and continue to limit his mistakes, while pressing the issue. With Forkner, Cooper, and Jordon Smith all around, he knew, that if he wanted to contend for this title by series end; that he must stay upright and within close proximity to obtain points. So he would do just that, focusing on the task at hand, and really hitting his lines well. Seat-hopping when ever possible, the preload of both shock and fork spring would send him into another dimension, letting the chassis nearly float on eye-level, with those in the crowd. And although fighting hard, he would let Alex Martin move his way forward in the very end. But he was pleased, a fifth overall from the points opener and wellness to ride next week, were more than he could ever ask for.
Looking at the stat sheet, especially in the era of 2019, you’re quick to notice that Mitchell Oldenburg is one of many Texan’s contending for the likes of notoriety on the professional Supercross tour. Besides, the landscape and climate of the Lonestarstate is optimal for success, with all of the necessary tools in regards to Supercross stardom. However, many fans of today may not know, that this is actually Oldenburg’s home race. Long before his day’s of Team Green signing, and his contracts with TLD KTM and now Yamaha’s premier 250 effort, he would reside in the land of Minnesota. Surrounded with the likes of the Dungey and Martin brothers, the Oldenburg family could be found storming around the land week after week; in hopes of succession. And you could tell that he was familiar with many in attendance, as his line for the autograph booth was hefty in length. It was though every local attendee had a memory of Mitchell, and would wish him well as he made his way onto the track for the first time. Carrying the torch for the team, along with Justin Cooper, they wanted to back up the West Coast performance of teammate Colt Nichols. And by all means, they were showing the crowd and industry alike their true colors; bolstering through the qualification matters, and to the top of the leaderboard. It would carry into the heat race, where he could be found battling for second with the likes of Blake Wharton. And although Wharton was considered by some to be a on a privateer/satellite effort, Oldenburg knew for certain just who he was dealing with. The two would go back and forth, with Mitchell seeing a move to be made upon Wharton’s mistake in the rhythm lane; cementing his pass in the following whoop section. His efforts would then be rewarded across the line, taking second, and excited for the main event to come. Doing his best to spare the vision through his goggle lenses, he looked to avoid traffic in every way, shape, and form. Located in the front of the field, he knew if he didn’t attach to riders like Austin Forkner and set the bar high, he could be floundering in a pool of complacency. He could see Justin Cooper just ahead, and wanted to keep the locomotive churning in a propulsive fashion. Sexton and Martin were ahead, and as his heart rate would begin to climb; he had to remind himself, that a solid finish within the top ten was what he was capable of. And the reward would blossom, the second Yamaha rider to cross the line, strong enough for sixth overall.
When you talk about veterans of a particular division, no name rings more true than that of Kyle Cunningham. A true working-class hero, he’s displayed the ability over the years to overcome numerous types of adversity. And he’s done it again for the 2019 season, as his original deal of bike and team would fall through, leaving him empty handed. However, rather than falling victim and drowning in his sorrows, he decided to create another effort; one that was aboard the 250 machine, something that he was accustomed to many years ago. Being much older than many in the series, he knew that his wit and craft could reap dividends during key times throughout the night, as he could remain calm, cool, and collected under pressure. The 622, Kawasaki, Team Green pilot of old was still there, deep within the shell of his new helmet; and he couldn’t wait to display the talent on the canvas of U.S Bank’s Stadium floor. Coming through in ninth on the opening lap, he knew he could fend off the likes of the rookies, knowing that they would crack as the pressure would continue to build. With riders like Austin Forkner out front, he would throw caution to the wind, display gigantic bouts of courage in order to catch the Kawasaki rider. Leaping through the far rhythm lane, he would wheel tap the series of three moguls just before the start, keeping Martin Davalos at bay, and running down Jordan Bailey. Displaying a resilient effort, he knew he had little time to waste, with this being a mere ten lap sprint. Trailing the Husqvarna rider at the line, he would solidify his positioning of fifth place. The two heats would then come together for the main event, and riders would begin to bite the dust slowly, one by one. The track, beginning to slicken and show its true colors, actually would develop a few solid lines throughout the faces of the jumps. Acting as balance beams, his focus would have to remain on the foreground or else he too could lose all of the positioning previously gained. Ripping the track below to bits and pieces, he knew that the number forty-five of Brandon Hartranft was around him, but had to focus on the likes of fellow Texan transplant, Mitchell Oldenburg in front. With the Yamaha appearing as a dangling carrot, he would lunge for the rear fender, until the final flag would fly. Seventh place, in the overall standings, was his.
Although not having an illustrious amateur career, New Jersey’s Brandon Hartranft really began to find his groove towards the latter end of the aforementioned. Claiming titles at numerous amateur events, including the an intermediate championship at the “Dude Ranch”, he would attract the attention of members inside the professional industry. And though not a standout, he’s been a familiar, lingering presence on the professional tour thus far. It was as though last year, he could always be found within the top ten of the 250 point standings. So coming into this particular season, his memo was to do much of the same; even though the Eastern division was highly touted with serious contenders. He looked solid throughout practice, finding his rhythm through this rather simplistic track early. There weren’t too many lines to choose from, therefore a start and aggressive passing would be a must; if he wanted to succeed within the opening round of the series. The gate would fall for heat number one, and the field would dive into turn one. Sprinting back across the start straight shortly thereafter, the riders were two and three wide to begin. He was hovering around the transfer position, knowing that he would have to move up, otherwise he would be toying with the odds of the Last Chance Qualifier. With riders like Martin Davalos and Chase Sexton falling victim to crashes, he and Lorenzo Locurcio would duke it out for the final transfer spot. Stalking the likes of Kyle Cunningham as well, he would begin to excel with each passing go around; making sure that he kept the majority of the field behind. And although a nine lap race, the matter would be over in the blink of an eye; he would take the final transfer spot, wiping a bit of worry from his brow. The main event would again be a cluster, as the field was situated with the fastest twenty-two riders of the evening. He wouldn’t fall victim to being scared of the moment; his showing would actually improve as the stages got bigger throughout the night. Tenth to begin, he would serve as a blockade of penetration from those around. If they wanted to creep into the top ten, or even top five for that matter; they would have to go through the stocky stature of the forty-five. The track, beginning to slicken, would try to reach up and succumb his rear tread; but it was to no avail, as riders like Jordan Bailey were trying their hardest to work around. Hartranft, doing as he’d shown in years past, would again walk away with a solid eighth place overall.
In his rookie Supercross effort, Jordan Bailey was signed on the notion of development, with canning ability to adapt to racing surfaces with his raw speed. After being groomed throughout the likes of Loretta Lynn’s and Winter Olympic events, the times of short sprints and amateur championships is that of a distant memory. He’s now moved to the bright lights of stadiums, where the fence lines of local raceway’s have been replaced with thousands among the chair-backs. You couldn’t tell that this was his first professional SX event though, as he adapted to the track rather nicely throughout qualification matters. Landing the tricky, triple-triple line prior to the “SX” triple on the far side, it was as though the more he was grooving a solid motor pattern, the more his nervous system would adapt. He would dash down the start straight, hurling himself towards the sensor of timing and scoring; it would grant him a noteworthy position, in regards to the heat race starting grid. The field would be bottled together, grouped with the likes of Austin Forkner and Blake Wharton. Seventh off of the start, he knew that every rider within this field was capable of serious contention, so he was taking no one lightly. Fourth by lap five, he would trail the aforementioned elder of Wharton, and look to make a move on Mitchell Oldenburg. Jousting with riders ranging from five, to even nearly ten years older, the maturity the Floridian was displaying was exceptional, holding off Martin Davalos throughout. He would go on to finish a respectable fourth place once all was said and done, feeling accomplished in the sense of making it to his first ever main event. Although seventeenth on the first lap, he couldn’t let the bad start deter his momentum of moving forward. So he would climb, using his clutch and throttle as a means of moving up the mountain of treacherous competition. Picking and stabbing his way through traffic, he’d worked his way close to the top ten by the halfway point. He would have Kyle Peters and Thomas Covington on his back end, but would do his best not to look back at the opposition. Any sign of hesitancy or lack of doubt, would be read by his foe’s; and as a result, a position may be lost. But again, as he displayed in his heat race, he would work through the immense pressure, capturing ninth overall for the evening.
The 250cc machines of today are known to be of high detonation and of short life span, especially at the pro level. Ridden to RPM’s like no other, many of time these steel horses are modified to the hilt, in order to successfully conquer the tracks of AMA Supercross. But luckily, in regards to last week, these machines would be operating on dry soil, and were fortunate enough to not be seized within the confines of knee-deep muck. Teams were forced to relay and rebuild between the likes of heat race, and main event contention, leaving many privateers empty handed. However, Kyle Peters knew that the crowd and coast of the Western shore weren’t of his doing, and he would have to focus on the present day matter. Taking a few laps to gaze at the array of obstacles that littered the course, he knew that having multiple options in his back pocket was never a bad idea. The main event could bring a heap of scenarios, so adding another tool to his “tool-shed” so to speak, was of the highest regard. Cooking down the start straight, you could actually hear the pinging and squealing of the back brake pads upon the rotor of the rear wheel; showing just how hard he would be on the binder’s, while going into the respective bowl turns. He would continue that effort for the heat races, as he would linger around the sixth position to begin. Looking to combat all opposing forces, his bike would be rather wide, as the laps would continue on. Choosing to run the outside line in the whoop section, his knees and style would stay flexed, as he crested the top of respective moguls. He too, hitting fourth gear, was giving this treacherous section every amount of effort possible. The skipping of earlier would then turn into a rhythmic hopping, as the respective landmines would deteriorate with every passing lap. Sprinting toward the finish line in the following switch back, he knew he would have to press the issue in order to keep Mitchell Falk at his “six.” Weathering the storm, with riders like Jordon Smith pushing the envelope out front, the race would begin to wind down, and he would claim a remarkable fourth place. To begin the main event, he was doing everything in his power to work towards the front of the field. Wheeling up and over the small single, to begin the most difficult of rhythm sections; he and Falk would again be almost within spitting distance. However, with the likes of a strong mentality he would persevere, echoing his average lap time with solid circuits. The attitude of attrition would pay off, as the race would wind down, and he would be on the cusp of a single digit outing. However, when the final flag would fly, he would go onto claim tenth overall.