“This weekend was so much better than last.”
Coming into the season, many had Eli Tomac as arguably the championship favorite. He had all of the ability in the world to complete the task at hand, coupled with the experience of being a champion in the past. And although he’s shown flashes of brilliance thus far, as the series has unfolded before our eyes, Eli has had episodes of question and uncertainty. Whether it’s mistakes in critical times, or lapses of focus in terms of pure speed, Tomac has been on the “short end of the stick” on numerous occasions thus far in 2019. However, from his showing in practice, competitors and fans alike, knew what just type of beating Tomac could place on the field for this particular round in Detroit. An eleventh place start to begin wouldn’t make it easy though, as the field would blister around the circuit for the commencement of moto number one. He was in dyer need to work his way forward, pushing anyone in his way aside. Taking hold of the field, he would pluck away anyone who tried to deter him, blazing past them in an episode of pure blitzkrieg. He would work his way into third, somehow, by lap thirteen. He would have Chad Reed in his way, who he would pass with only three laps to go. And by that point, Justin Brayton, who was out front, could sense that something was unraveling behind him; and it was that of the number three making his presence known. It was lap sixteen, when Tomac hucked the quad out of the two-way rhythm section, pushing the throttle a tad bit more as he passed by Brayton. Never blinking, he would aspire to hold the checkered in his hands, doing so with victory shortly thereafter. For the second round of action, he would look at Cooper Webb as the matador out front. And although he was covered in an orange hue, the raging bull of Tomac saw a violent red, plastered all over the machine of the number two. Bucking and stampeding his way to within an arms-length, Tomac would blitz the whoops on lap five, to the inside of Cooper Webb. Dragging the rear brake in the last possible second, he would push Webb to the top of the apex, making sure the lead was secured. He would go onto only encounter lap traffic from that point on, taking the win in superb fashion. But for moto number three, it was though all hell would break loose. He was buried in the back of the pack to begin, almost going backwards to begin! He had to rekindle the fire that sparked his early streak of the evening, and luckily, would begin to do so. After going off track, it was though he knew he would have to march down the pack ahead, moving on from fourteenth. The mistakes of early on would be foregone, and ever so steadily, he would accomplish the task at hand, working his way to sixth. Although not pretty, he would do enough to win the overall.
“I was struggling early in the day; I tried to do all these things to the bike, but I wasn’t focused. That was the problem.”
With the streakiness that Cooper Webb has shown thus far this season, there were few who doubted the number two when coming into the round of Detroit. Mimicking the predecessor of his former digit holder, Ryan Villopoto, Webb has truly turned the tide for the KTM camp, putting the team on his back at each and every round thus far. Being the competitor that he is, Webb viewed the Triple Crown of Detroit as a place to really establish his dominance; seeing the format as three separate main events, and a trio of platforms to assert himself as alpha. The first moto though, would start with Webb around the fourth place ride. He would be overtaken by Barcia shortly thereafter, after encountering a series of struggles throughout the whoops, from the moment practice had started. He would then creep up behind Roczen, as Justin Brayton would make his rounds out front. With Dean Wilson on his tail, Webb seemed to be a bit slower than his usual self, trying to figure out the course with each passing round. He would go onto finish sixth, extremely displeased with his effort. For round number two, Webb would simply play no games as he rattled off an early lead. Looking to blaze the trail, he wanted to torch the track in an orange flam, setting the competition afire. However, with around eight minutes left, Tomac really seemed to close the gap on the KTM pilot out front. Doing his best to put the hulk behind him, Webb would again make a bit of a mistake on the outside of the whoops; leaving the inside open for Eli, just before the finish line. He would do all in his power to relinquish the lead from the number three, but he just wasn’t capable of it. He would keep the place in tact, taking second for this moto. It would all come down to the third and final circuit, where Webb would be placed in fifth early on. Pushing forward, every lap, seemed to be another position accrued, as he made his way into second behind Justin Barcia. After being all over the Yamaha’s rear fender for a series of laps, Webb had enough; pushing the Yamaha rider wide in the turn after the “SX” triple, and leaving him little room before the whoop section. This is where Webb’s experience in the front would pay off, and he would go on to take victory once all had concluded. Missing the overall by just the slimmest of margins, he knew walking away from the event, that he’d put in a noteworthy performance.
“You know for a guy that’s stood up here more than anyone else in the sport, I take it personally when I don’t land on the podium.”
With numerous fans and insiders of the sport questioning his ability to endure, Chad Reed has proved the naysayers wrong once again, but choosing to contend for the 2019 AMA Monster Energy Supercross Season. Although there are instances when some feel he is tarnishing his legacy, those who are of the betting nature understand to never doubt the twenty-two machine. And for this particular round of Detroit, all of us fans, would understand why. Reed would nail the combination of starting technique in a brilliant manner to begin the racing festivities, with a perfect feathering of the clutch and accompanied shifting technique. With Blake Baggett just ahead, he knew he could make his way around the number four, if he put in a substantial effort. And in an instant, Reed would move around the KTM, looking to hold down the second place ride to the best of his ability. With number four now behind him, Reed would begin to eye that of Justin Brayton. He was putting in an impressive string of laps, holding together this astonishing pace with a certain bit of poise that was unmatched by the field. The only rider looking to cast away the position from him, was that of Eli Tomac, who would be absolutely on rails all night. Holding him off for a portion of laps, Reed would be pushed back to third with a few short circuits to go. Third place was his, and all in his corner were absolutely stoked. For moto number two, Reed would be nestled in the seventh position, hoping to move forward in quick fashion. He would leapfrog both Dean Wilson and Justin Brayton, on the same lap to be noted. With a phenomenal pace yet again, Reed would be all over that of Joey Savatgy. Hounding the Kawasaki rider, he would blitz the top of the whoops, never letting the front-end dive in between the moguls; running noteworthy laptimes in the process. The only man he couldn’t fend off, was that of Marvin Musquin; who was no slouch himself! The twenty-two would garner another top five, with a fifth place standing. It was then time to sew it all up, bringing home a hefty overall finish to the JGR crew. Sixth in the opening lengths, he would be passed by Ken Roczen to begin. But he knew that consistency would be keen, as others had flipped flopped throughout the course of the three individual races. Running strong here, he would be just behind Eli Tomac; hoping to latch onto the speedy Kawasaki machine. And his wish would be of fruition! Speaking with mechanics as he crossed the line, his seventh place in the final moto would be of third overall! Putting him on the podium!
Associated with consistency all year long, Roczen has proven to all in the realm of Supercross, that his ability to overcome adversity is exceptional. Round after round, he’s shown the ability to avoid frustration, keeping the bike upright in route to solid finishes. And with the Triple Crown format favoring someone with that type of mentality, Roczen welcomed the Detroit round with open arms. He was all in, in regards of the memo the boys at Honda were portraying, as they readied the bike for the first moto. They knew the track would begin to break down rather quickly, so they would change the tire and suspension setup accordingly. Locked and loaded on his respective launch pad, he would be eager to dash into this rather sharp first turn. He would be buried in the field as he crested the finish line double, putting the number ninety-four just inside the top ten on the opening lap. But he would eagerly look to make his way forward, sniffing the scent of opposition all around him. He would quickly find that of Eli Tomac, hoping to trail the single digit rider who had been absolutely on rails all day. Scrubbing the double, single combination before the “SX” triple, Roczen was truly shoving this chassis around like it were a toy. He would continue to push, seeing that just over his shoulder set familiar foe, Cooper Webb. And although Webb would pressure him with hoards of aggression, Roczen would fend him off; taking fifth. For moto number two, Roczen again would have trouble off the start, finding himself in ninth place on the opening go around. His suspension would have to work overtime, as the forks and shock were going through the deepest of strokes, just to maintain a rigid line. With potholes both in and outside of the bowl turns, the chassis of Roczen was beginning to shake, but his grip would be remain ultra tight on the bars. Just behind Chad Reed, Roczen was having a hard time finding his way around the pesky veteran; as the Suzuki rider was seemingly throwing out all his stops in an act of unnerving. But Roczen, looking at the bigger picture, would remain composed, and finish sixth. For the last sector of racing, Roczen would fare a bit better off the start, taking seventh. He would look to vault forward, but would have Dean Wilson to deal with sometime. The Husqvarna rider was rather stingy in his placement of fourth, never letting the Honda pilot grab hold easy. But once making his way around the fifteen, he would have Musquin to deal with; who would subsequently get around, in a shuffle of sorts. Finishing fifth in this moto, his name would be inscribed into fourth overall.
Coming up through the amateur ranks, everyone knew of the notorious “179” hailing from southern California. He was an absolute terror from the early days of his minicycle career, always in contention for championships. Dabbling with teams such as Rockstar Suzuki, he would then be taken under the wing of Mitch Payton, where he would find immense success aboard the 250cc machine; in particular, that of the outdoor racing circuit. Capturing every accolade in that regard, he would move to the 450, where he would have a bit of tougher time finding his groove. Enter 2019, and his stint with BTO Sports KTM. The guys in orange believed in the ability of Baggett, taking his work ethic and coupling it with every piece of mechanical tool they could find. Working diligently through the off-season, and flying a bit under the radar, the Orange Brigade knew something that most of us didn’t; and that was the ability to conquer the SX course, that Baggett has portrayed thus far. He would look to make his presence felt again in Detroit, as he slid off the starting line with an exceptional second place ride, all over the tail of Justin Brayton. But he quickly would be accompanied by that of Chad Reed, and unfortunately lose the spot to the Suzuki rider. The competition wouldn’t stop there, however, as Eli Tomac would be all over the back of the KTM rider by lap ten. Baggett would be forced to relinquish, and would finish fourth. For moto number two, Blake would be pushed deep into the trenches of the 450 class, bottled up around the likes of Aaron Plessinger in twelfth. He had nowhere to go, and could only hope to fight forward, despite the sea of enemy around him. Doing his best not to drown within the confines of competition, he and Brayton, despite their strong first moto finishes, would now be in eleventh and twelfth respectively. Moto number three was here, and Baggett felt the ability to turn it all the way up; being portrayed in his antics off the line. Holeshotting and leading for quite sometime, he and Justin Barcia would continue their battles from the days of Loretta Lynn’s; duking it out in front of all of Ford Field. Being overtaken by the New Yorker on lap seventh, he would somehow rally again, fighting his way back around the Yamaha, while dealing with Cooper Webb as well. All over the back of his fellow KTM counterpart in front, he would do everything in sight to take the win from Webb. Narrowly missing out on a moto victory at the line, a stellar second place finish would put him into fifth overall.
With the series being as close as it’s ever been, many in the class feel as though it’s truly anyone’s race, at this point in the championship. Years ago, there would always be a dominant force, obliterating the field with every round; i.e. Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath, or James Stewart. However, as years have passed, skill levels seemed to have really come to equate one another, with a multitude of winners being present at every round. And that couldn’t ring more true than what’s been seen in the season thus far, leaving riders like Marvin Musquin with a boost of morale as they rolled into each particular gate-drop. He felt rather strong throughout practice, and after making some changes to his suspension settings, the stiffness of his front forks would be rewarded with ascending laptimes. He would then load the launch-pad shortly thereafter, with all controls of the machine being placed into “aggressive” mode. Shifting into third gear the moment he crossed the gate, you could see him shuffling through the transmission as he barreled down the start. Plowing through the field with a running-back like mentality, he would linger near eighth. Throwing tearoffs into the wind as he crested the “SX” triple, he could feel the pressure from Justin Barcia amounting. However, he would weather the storm, locking himself into a fortress that couldn’t be penetrated. Penciling his name beside the ninth place position, he would be locked into that bracket for the remaining portion of the race. For moto number two, it was Cooper Webb getting an exceptional start early. The pack would then follow him, some following into a trance of security in their respective positions. But not that of Marvin Musquin, who looked to keep moving forward with every passing lap. Never one to bow down to complacency, each position gained was a mere appetizer in the course of his competitive appetite. He was starving, yearning for more, and would feast on the battle with Chad Reed. Cleaning the plate, he continued to salivate as he crested the finish line double, residing in fourth. The third and final course of delight would be late into the evening, and he knew he would have to take advantage of the competition who preyed to his presence. He would quickly assert himself as a dominant force, blitzing the whoops in third gear and a throttle full of exertion. Letting the chassis run its course, he would keep his eyes forward, after riders like Justin Brayton sat behind him. Never looking back, the final laps would forecast him in a position of fourth. Hitting the checkered flag, his results from the night’s standing, would have him in sixth overall.
The Triple Crown format is relatively new in the realm of Supercross. Taking a pace from the trials of the Monster Energy Cup, this tournament of racing resembles that of an amateur championship, such as Loretta Lynn’s, rather than the typical SX style of racing. It allows for more gate-drops; which can be that of two fold. On one hand, you have more gate drops, meaning more opportunity if one negative instance were to occur; but on there end of the spectrum, you can have a greater risk of carnage, as the field would be in an amassed state, much more than usual. Justin Barcia is a glass full kind-of guy, looking at the round of Detroit with a bit of enthusiasm, knowing that he could flourish with multiple opportunities of a gate-drop. Feeling the flow rather well throughout practice, he would indicate reassurance and positivity to his mechanic, with a subtle thumbs up as he cruised by. His efforts would be rewarded, with a solid placing across the leaderboard. For moto number one, leaders such as Justin Brayton were out front quickly; and he knew he couldn’t let the pack get away. Therefore, he would latch onto the rear tread of Marvin Musquin in dyer need of staying magnified to his rear fender. Attempting to blitz the whoops on the outside, he would square up the right-hander before the finish, hitting the combination of moguls before the checkered flag. He would walk away from the first round with a score of ten. The middle portion of festivities were a clashing of clans so to speak, with riders of all respective brands littering the top ten. He would sit eighth, looking to surge forward as others would begin to flounder. With the track breaking down, he could be found running the rim of the bowl turns more often than not, wanting to keep the speed for some of these mind-boggling combinations. Hitting the “SX” triple just before the whoop section, the whipping of the chassis of the right, would allow him to shut off the imminent charge of Zach Osborne. Keeping the aforementioned at bay for the latter portion of the moto, he would finish seventh. The third round of racing would be where the fireworks would emerge, as the pegs and swing arms alike would begin to rub against one another. Speeding down these straightaways two and three wide, there was no room for erratic cutting or sweeping, as a domino effect could ensue. He would then focus on his line, and his line only. His laptimes would hold well towards the mean of his totality; never deviating too far with any outliers, while toying with the idea of leading the field. Although being in battle with both Cooper Webb and Blake Baggett, he would only fall to third once all was said and done. And that would hold true to that of his finish, placing third; strong enough for seventh overall.
There’s no secret that the area of Detroit is engulfed in economic hardship. With businesses leaving town, revenue at times being scarce, many of the outlying areas have seemed to succumb to poverty; at least for the time being. But relishing, despite all of the aforementioned, is that of Ford Field. A mecca in marshlands of ruins, it looked to play host to some of the brightest stars in all of sports; as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series rolled into town. Joey Savatgy eyed this course with marvel, clasping his hands together as he made his rounds for track walk. Scanning and eyeing every possible chunk of this track with absolute adornment, he couldn’t wait to strap on the boots and climb aboard the steel horse, as practice would come under way. Feeling confident, you could see him eyeing certain combinations; like the quad in which riders like Austin Forkner and Dean Wilson were attempting. He would save instances like these into his memory bank, ready to unveil them as the bright lights would come on. For the first main event, as this particular round was that of a triple crown, the field would quickly duck into turn number one. Pushing the brink of his ability to begin, he would crest the finish line jump, inhaling a large sum of oxygen in order to relax; immediately landing with a stabbing of the throttle, his goal was to pull from that of Marvin Musquin. He didn’t want to make it obvious that he knew the presence was behind, but he couldn’t help but notice the revving of the engine as they drove into the respective corners. It wouldn’t deter him, and he would hold onto the eighth place position he held in such high regard. For moto number two, it was a literal chess match, as everyone was a respective piece aboard their machine; acting as a bishop, sliding and cutting through corners in diagonal fashion, he would take away positions from riders like the aforementioned Musquin and Chad reed. Capturing the opponent, he looked at all others around as merely pawns, hoping to extort them for their rightful placing as well. His fury would pay off, as on the last lap, he would reside in an exceptional third place. Bottled up on the start of the third go around, he would leap across the start straightaway near the second place mark, just off of Cooper Webb in the lead. Railing the following left, he would hop into the opening rhythm lane looking to touch down as little as possible. Steadily, ever so steadily, the bike-lengths would increase between he and Dean Wilson, although mistakes would force him to the mid-portion of the field. Roosting the opposition, in a defense like mechanism, pellets would be tossed from his rear tread in an aggressive manner. It would keep the opponent at bay, and as he crossed the checkered flag in eleventh, he would be granted eighth overall.
With the Detroit Lions being on the cusp of the playoffs for numerous years now, many sports fan in the local metropolitan area are ready for something new. Something a bit change of pace per se, to get their excitement and enthusiasm sparked again. And that’s exactly where Monster Energy AMA Supercross comes into play; a sporting event packed with death-defying athletes, pushing bike and body to the absolute limit. One rider to focus on you ask? None other than Justin Brayton. Never one to be afraid of twisting the throttle, a prime example of true “fearlessness” is when he’s saddled up and locked in behind the bars. Trafficking every control, while moving the bike in and out of airways that can collapse within a second, is a feat that he seemingly does in routine, week in and week out. He planned to bring the same amount of intensity as the tour headed to Michigan, wanting to light up this cold, wintry air with a torching of exhaust fumes and header radiation. Plowing through the rather soft soil in practice, the track was beginning to groove up in places. This would allow him to attack certain corners with an extra mile per hour or so, as he knew that the machine could be grooved into a specific territory. Keeping the bike upright to the best of his ability, he would send it off the finish line for the final go-around, looking forward to the racing that was to come. In an all out sprint to the first turn, the first main event would be commencing shortly thereafter; he was a force to be reckoned with, riding a bike that was a magnitude of defense mechanisms, holding off the pack behind as he took the lead! One rider that couldn’t seem to get around him, that of Chad Reed, was becoming visually frustrated. Every once in a while, you could see him stab the front brake, causing a bit of washout; or over revving his engine, trying to deter Brayton in front. But it was to no avail, and he would go on to take an outstanding second place, after being passed by only Eli Tomac in the closing moments. He had a thorough memo of agenda to chase as the second main event would begin, and his effort was apparent for all to see. Keeping the throttle hand perpendicular to the ground below, the waffle grip was almost beginning to melt into his glove. The pure ferociousness he was displaying, despite in the latter half of the top ten, was exceptional. He knew Tyler Bowers was behind, but didn’t seem to care. All he eyed was that of the black and white rag waving from the scorer’s tower; and just like that, he would cross it. The final registry across timing and scoring, would put him twelfth. It was now time for the final sector of racing to begin, and he would loom around tenth in the early stages. Flying around this rather quick circuit, with laptimes flowing near the fifty-second mark, he knew he would have to become adapt, to the idea that this race would be filled with numerous go-arounds. He couldn’t get lost in a trance; and his mentality seemed to be paying off, pulling away from Zach Osborne. His efforts would be rewarded, with a ninth place finish; for ninth overall.
With the series heading further and further east, many in the industry are prepared for cold temperatures. Bundling up with jackets, extra layers, and hand-warmers for all kinds, there are those who find it hard to stay energized in frigid temperatures; especially like the conditions found here in Detroit. However, Zach Osborne has no lapse of enthusiasm, and can almost feel an adrenaline burst at the snap of his fingers. Doing a set of warm-up exercises and dynamic stretching prior to get aboard the motorcycle, he could be found beneath his canopy warming up his fingers with the exhaust. Once everything seemed to be firing on all cylinders, he and mechanic rolled their way into the stadium, letting their knobbie tread imprint on the concrete. Flipping the switch within his helmet, he would then engage in a battle of one on one combat; he verses this treacherous layout that awaited him. Hitting every combination in sight almost immediately, he seemed to be flowing like the tide of the Great Lakes nearby. One swift motion, would propel him in and out of these bowl turns; caressing the throttle at the perfect RPM as he exited the rim with a pre-loading of the shock. He would leave an immense effort on the raceway, knowing that he had more to give for the main events, soon to come. Blasting off the line for his respective first main event, he could be found tussling with Tyler Bowers soon thereafter. With the shrouds of one another being seemingly melted together with the heat of the radiator, they were linked side by side for what seemed like an eternity. They drew lines of parallel function, a mirror image of one another if you will. It was an episode of who would break first as they headed toward the checkered flag; it was he, who would take eleventh place; eager for the second main event. With the field of the fastest twenty-two charging violently on the first lap of the big show, he knew he would have to stay composed in order to succeed. He could see Tomac leading off in the distance, and would make the leader a landmark of sorts. Every lap, he could try to spot the signals of the alpha along his radar, gauging just where he needed to pick up time. Looking inherently stellar in the whoop section, his line of blitzing on the outside ridge would help him stretch a lead over Dean Wilson behind, after the two battled for a brief bit. Doing enough to keep the relic of a top ten within his grasp, he would carry the torch to the finish line; finishing eighth. Concluding the trio of events, he sat in eleventh place early. Flying around the outskirts of the track, he was using every piece of available canvas to get ahead; it would be of positive reinforcement, as his mechanic would engage in a series of clapping as he went around. Finishing tenth, his scores would accumulate to tenth overall.
“Next weekend, with the shootout, the race will be very interesting.”
What else is there to say about Austin Forkner that hasn’t been said? Accumulating victory is nothing new to the Missouri native, but to portray dominance like this, is seemingly unheard of. This day and age, you’re lucky to capture multiple victories within a series, much less sweeping five straight main events! And coming into Detroit, Forkner knew that he had the ability to lead seemingly every lap of the action at Ford Field. He just needed the platform and sanction to justify it. He would be battling for the lead early in moto one, neck and neck with Jordon Smith. But Smith would make a slight mistake in the corner around the finish line, leaving Forkner in the lead to set sail. Nailing his marks, he was absolutely flawless in the circuits thereafter. Busting out every triple and quad combination possible, it was as though Austin was aboard a rocket ship, headed straight for victory lane. The top step of the podium, seemed to have a magnetic attraction to his inner being; and by the completion of the fourteen-lap process, Forkner saw nothing but the checkered flag. Narrowly missing the holeshot for moto number two, it wouldn’t take long for the Kawasaki to move into the front; pushing Jordon Smith wide in the bend before the whoops, before the first lap was even complete! He would establish nearly a five second gap for the race’s entirety, and hold it their in poised fashion. Barely breaking a sweat, he would cross the finish line with the flag in his hands, rushing to get a pixie stick to refuel. With all eyes seemingly upon him for this third and final round, Forkner would complete the task with familiar foe, Chase Sexton, behind him. Sexton was giving his best effort, as he would try to assert himself into the view of Forkner. But Austin could only envision gold medals, and sunny skies, as the clock counted down above him. Flawless throughout the duration of this twelve-minute main event, he felt as if no one could stop him, in a humble manner of course. And man was he proving it, taking the final lap with a bit of relaxation, to enjoy these precious moments of his respected craft. Taking the checkered flag, Forkner couldn’t have asked for a better day of racing, sweeping the event in absolutely outstanding fashion.
“We didn’t want to make the bike feel too harsh, in order to save my wrist this week.”
When assessing the profile of Jordon Smith, one thing that can’t be overlooked, is that of his true heart and determination when aboard the motorcycle. Whether straight rhythm, a Supercross event, or a race at a local track back home, Smith is eager to win, truly believing that he has the ability to do so. With Austin Forkner being absolutely sensational this year, many others in the 250 class are choosing to bow down to the number twenty-four; but not that of Smith, who feels as though with each and every gate drop, he has as good of a chance to win as anyone. He would carry that same approach for moto number one, looking to stick it to the Kawasaki from the moment the race would begin. Contesting for the lead, he would make the move into the front, only to be a victim of a subtle washout near the finish line; this would allow Forkner to work his way around. He would diligently chase the Pro Circuit competitor, but would have Chase Sexton to deal with also. Never losing sight of the goal, Sexton would actually work his way around Jordon for a brief bit; but the number twenty-eight would have too much heart, pushing forward and running him high in the bowl turn after the two-way rhythm section. Securing second place, he would cross the checkered flag here, shortly thereafter. For moto number two, it was much of the same song and dance, with Forkner out front, and Smith nipping at his heels, despite nursing an injured wrist. Four seconds behind Forkner as the race would play itself out, he would hold a slight bit of gap over Alex Martin. With the veteran attempting to pester him with every passing corner, Smith would keep his focus forward, eyeing these difficult rhythm sections with the toughest of intent. Second place would be his, yet again. Fourth place off the start for moto number three, he had a whirlwind of riders to deal with to begin. Holding third for a large portion of the race, he wanted to make a pass on Sexton so badly; but just couldn’t seem to make it stick. All would hold true until he would leave the door open for Justin Cooper. Cooper, rummaging through the pack, would make the pass stick on Smith in the bowl turn before the anthill. Leaping on to the initial rhythm section, Smith would do everything he could to get him back; but it was to no avail. And although finishing fourth in this round was a bit of a bummer, his morale would be boosted with a second overall.
“The first two races I got where I needed to be, but I made some mistakes that cost me contention of the overall.”
Looking at the Forkner/Sexton rivalry, there seem to be some eerie similarities to that of Alessi and Villopoto, many years ago. It was Mike Alessi, seemingly getting the best of Vilopoto for the entirety of his amateur career; until one day, when they were both among the professional series, that RV flipped the switch, going on to set records that had been unheard of otherwise before. Chase Sexton and Austin Forkner, have had much of the same scenario; with Sexton’s true talent and outright speed, being a bit overshadowed by his Midwest rival, Austin Forkner. And it’s continued into the professional ranks, where they’ve both selected the East Coast to compete. But, being the true competitor that he is, Sexton has shown absolutely no hesitation when the number twenty-four Kawasaki was around, and continued to look him square in the eye as they lined up for this Detroit round. Sporting an all-black outfit, his stealth like style had him up front early, looking to compete for the win. With Forkner and Jordon Smith swapping out front, Sexton hoped to be a recipient of one of their mistakes. But the two would hold strong, with everyone attacking this technical track to the best of their abilities. Actually passing Smith for a brief while, Jordon would block pass him after the quad down the straightaway. He would hold third, for literally ninety-nine percent of the race; until the final corner. Making a mistake, he would be forced around the final right-handed turn, having to work his way onto the track, just before the finish line. This would allow Justin Cooper to get around, pushing him back to fourth. For moto number two, Sexton would be hampered into ninth, forced to work his way up as the race would go on. Battling with the likes of Martin Davalos, he would show a wheel on every possible occasion, hoping to rattle the mentality of his elder. It would work, and he would inherit the fourth place position, where he would reside for the checkered flag. And after throwing out extremely fast laptimes all day, the cards would fall in his favor for the last moto. It would be he and Austin Forkner again, out front, contesting for the victory. Doing everything in his power, he would try to dive in wherever possible; but Forkner was just in an impeccable zone while hoisting the lead for everyone to see. Sexton would put on an applaud-worthy effort, but would be just a tad short at the line. This second place finish, would accumulate for a third overall.
When Justin Cooper threw his name in the hat for the AMA Professional Series a little over a year ago, there were those who thought the New York native would fare well. An occasional top five, sprinkled in with an average of top ten’s as the series would run its’ course; but truth be told, there were honestly few within the industry that could have forecasted the efforts the Yamaha rider has displayed thus far. Podium after podium, Cooper is showing poise beyond his years, coupled with a foundation that will allow him to only increase his speed. Being a true gem for the boys in blue, he came into Detroit knowing he could continue his successful ways. He set steadily in fifth to begin, understanding that he could play the long-ball, and walk away with an exceptional overall finish. He would hangout within the fourth place ride after getting ahead of Martin Davalos, just waiting for someone in front of him to make a mistake. He sat within the perch of fire, waiting to take aim at militants who would wound themselves. And it would come, there in the darkest hour, literally on the final portion of track. Sexton, who was battling with that of Jordon Smith, would go off the course and be forced around the bowl turn just before the finish line! Cooper, ready when opportunity knocked, would seemingly cruise over the final double-double, and into the finish, taking third place in style. For moto number two, he continued his ways of being at the front of the field. Although seventh was a bit unusual, he wouldn’t freak out in the slightest, and push his way forward in methodic fashion. The top five would be a relic of sorts, something that appeared to him and he craved. He would fight tooth and nail for the top five, staying ahead of his teammate Mitchell Oldenburg for the duration of the moto; he would finish fifth. Seventh again off the line for moto number three, this time he looked to take advantage while others began to stumble. First it was that of teammate Mitchell Oldenburg, and then Davalos following the Yamaha appetizer. Pushing his opponents to the wayside, he would be on the outside looking in at third, with only Jordon Smith running in between. He would capitalize on the errors of the KTM, seeing that the erratic ways of the twenty-eight would come to light. He would cross the line in third, pumped on a solid fourth overall finish.
Looked at as a staple on the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Team, Davalos was hired on the notion of solid results and top-tier finishes only. No excuses, and no ability to wiggle out of the expectation placed upon him. Mitch and the boys in green know what the Ecuadorian is capable of, hence why they continue to renew his contract year after year. And although blemished with a few hiccups this year, Davalos’ speed has remained intact; despite his longevity and steadfast persistence in the class. The new talent has continued to be ushered in, but this “old dog” has continued to show his worth, proving that he still has immense ability aboard the motorcycle. He would come into Detroit looking to make waves, putting an emphasis on a top five overall finish. The first moto would come to fruition, and Davalos would sit in the fourth position, just behind the top competitors of the series. With the track already beginning to rut up, he would navigate this deceivingly tough soil with precision, knowing that each line could reach up and take him to the ground below. He would battle with the likes of Justin Cooper, making sure to rough up the youngster in the process. With no easy pathway around, Davalos would nip at the sprocket of the Yamaha rider, trailing him to the finish and taking fifth place. Fifth place yet again off the start, the way he was hopping through some of these rhythm sections was rather impressive. He would flick the bike off the face of the two-laned triple section, soaking up every millisecond of airtime possible. Launching onto the straightaway thereafter, he would come up on that of Chase Sexton. But the sight of the Honda would quickly be foregone, as he would be passed by Mitchell Oldenburg in the closing moments; seventh at the stripe, he would look to improve for the final race. The gate would fall, and he would look to the first turn with eagerness like never seen. He was just behind his teammate of Austin Forkner, with the youngster Chase Sexton in between. He had other company to deal with however, including the likes of Justin Cooper and Jordon Smith. Throwing out every trick in the book, he began to cut off turns wherever possible, almost riding a bit defensive. Using a sweeping arc whenever possible, he hoped to confuse the riders behind him; deceiving them with both entry and exit points. It was to no avail, as both the Yamaha and KTM rider would make the pass stick. Sixth place on the final lap, his overall score would be fifth in totality.
Although listing his residence in Clermont, Florida, make no mistake about it; Alex Martin’s “Viking” roots, still are easy to spot both on and off the motorcycle. With a thick Minnesota accent, Martin’s demeanor shows that although extremely friendly to his comrades in the pits, he means business when aboard the motorcycle; and on a side note, he can also adapt extremely well to the cold weather, growing up in Minnesota. Therefore when coming to Detroit, Martin felt as though he’d acclimate to the territory rather nicely. Sporting a slick looking JGR Suzuki, along with black and aqua Answer gear, he would aboard his bike for moto number one, eager to show the track who was boss. But a horrid start would deter him from his plans, as this track was ultra-technical, and he knew he would have his work cut out for him immediately. With riders like Kyle Peters and Blake Wharton all around, cutting through the field like a warm butter knife, would be no easy task. So he would go to work, slowly grinding his way through the trenches of this 250 East Coast Division. One rider in particular he would have trouble pulling away from, was that of the aforementioned Peters. No matter what he seemed to do, he couldn’t shake his fellow Suzuki counterpart. It was though his teammate took strenuous notes on him at the practice track, and could forecast his every move. However, Martin’s veteran thought process was one that couldn’t be rattled; and he would hold onto the tenth place ride, looking forward to improving as the night went on. Third place off the start for moto number two, he knew within the shell of his helmet, that this was the place in which he needed to be. He had two of the fastest in the series, just ahead, and could truly gauge his speed off of them. Pushing forward, he would hit the finish line double and look out just a bit; he noticed how close he was staying to them, and the confidence meter would begin to rise. He would put on an outstanding performance, one of his best thus far this season; third place would be his. Fifth place across the green flag for moto number three, he looked to make moves, despite the sea of feverish competition around him. He began to duel with Peters yet again, realizing that his fellow elder combatant, Martin Davalos, was just ahead of him. He would latch on to Davalos’ back wheel and stay there, riding the coattail all the way to the finish. His sixth place in the final moto, would put him in the sixth overall bracket.
Looking at the blueprint of the track maps prior to the inception of the season, many felt that the Detroit round may be a tough one to navigate. Condensed inside somewhat of a small floor plan, there were those who feared that tight racing may be the only way of operation. Appearing to mimic an overgrown Arenacross track, there were those who feared this particular style; and those who relished in, anxious to battle in close quarters. Mitchell Oldenburg was the latter, looking to get as aggressive as possible on his way to a strong finish, once all would conclude for the evening. Oldenburg is no stranger to the confines of “Barn Racing” if you will, as he hunted for large sums of cash in his pro-am days, chasing a lucrative pro contract. So within the first few laps of practice for this particular round, he looked to come to terms with the course rather quickly. It would fill him with confidence, knowing that if he could just duplicate his heat race efforts he portrayed just days ago, that he would be in great shape come the overall. The gate would fall for number one, and the field would narrowly squeeze into turn number one. Austin Forkner would make his way out front, and Oldenburg would quickly eye his counterpart of Justin Cooper ahead. Blazing a trail aboard the Yamaha 250f, he knew that the tenth place position in the running order could be an afterthought; so he twisted the throttle into high gear, launching over the double-table-top combination before the “SX” triple. Choosing to go to the inside of the following two-way, he could really gain time on the likes of Brandon Hartranft, as he closed in for sixth. Making the move after the halfway point, he would reside here, just behind Martin Davalos. For moto number two, an eighth place would be held true for the first four laps or so, and he looked to advance. Attempting to scrub the sketchy, double-double before the finish line, he knew his technique had to be polished; otherwise he could be going over the bars. He would keep yearning forward, again staring down the Pro Circuit Kawasaki of Davalos. All seemed to be well, until a slight mistake would allow his teammate of Justin Cooper around; he then would finish sixth yet again. Holding true in that ever so honest sixth place, he appeared to take home the digit for a third and final time; until a costly error in the middle of the race had him dropping spots in the blink of an eye. Looking to get back into rhythm, he veered back onto the straightaway and into the pack behind Kyle Peters. Stalking the Suzuki until the final circuit concluded, Oldenburg’s eighth place tally in the final moto, would leave him with seventh overall.
When coming to Detroit, many of the riders expected dirt to be chewed up and to decline throughout the night. But man did it begin to break apart almost immediately, as practice had the whoops being absolutely chewed up and spit out by hundreds of rear tires. However, Kyle Peters felt prepared; he’d ridden many conditions like these in the past, and had a canning ability to adapt to whatever circumstance he was placed into. Throughout practice, you could see that he was trying to take a few diverse lines throughout particular sections; including the whoops. He would try both, the jumping line through the middle; and the blitzing line along the outside. Both seemed to be rather fast, especially if he could hop in combinations of three; but he knew, as the night wore on, the track would only worsen. He would come to the line for moto number one, engaging the holeshot device, and ready for the pin to drop while he was in the attack stance. With his forearm perpendicular to the ground below, he would shoot out of the hole, eyeing the tuff-block on the inside of the left-hander. Leaping through the following lane, he had to make sure to keep a narrow riding line, as he didn’t want to clip someone, or get clipped himself. At the halfway point, he would hang around the eleventh place spot; knowing that he must be resilient as others would try to fight around. Riding the bike would rather wide elbows, his stature wasn’t letting any opponent around easily. He would keep these efforts up until the final flag would fly, placing in eleventh. For moto number two, he felt acclimated to the track, and was finding lines around the inside of a few corners, hoping to let the tire tread dig in. Beginning to hit the stadium floor, you could see the sparks beginning to fly as his pegs dug into the concrete, but his sheer speed would drag on. Pushing the pace, he and Brandon Hartranft began to be in a heated dual; with neither of the two combatants showing an ounce of fear. Charging at each other with their front fenders as bayonets, he would be the one to insert the dagger. Eighth place would be his. It would then be an all out war for the third round, as everyone in the respected field of twenty-two wanted to put their best effort forward. Hanging near the eighth place spot, he looked to advance early. He had Jordon Bailey breathing down his neck, but he knew his pace couldn’t be threatened or deterred, as he was riding in a hypnotic like zone. Eyeing the checkered flag, his craving of the seventh place would come to existence and he would be penciled into eighth overall.
Sitting on the sidelines prior to the inception of the 2019 AMA Eastern Supercross series, Kyle Cunningham would anxiously await for his opportunity to display his skills; while the West Coast counterparts were performing on the brightest of stages. Fast forward a multitude of weeks, and we are now here, in Detroit, Michigan. The third round of this particular sector, the field seemed to be full of steam as they were escorted onto the track by the referee. Dictating the calling of the line with the flag in his right hand, Cunningham would storm out to a blistering pace, hoping to be one of the first across the stripe. Although meaningless to some, he knew if his attitude could be shown here, in this particular moment, that great results could transcend as the night went on. He would remain stoic as he blistered off the line for the main event; with the field sorting themselves out immediately in the opening rhythm lanes, it was an all out blitz to scamper for position. He remained calm, residing near the eighth position. Running the high line in particular bowl turns, he hoped to carry more outright speed throughout each initial bend, never chopping the throttle. It would reap dividends, as he could feel the lead between he and Blake Wharton stretching. In an all out charge to the finish line, he would finish eighth . The second moto, saw the track beginning to deteriorate with ruts littering the canvas; he knew he would have to remain balanced, because any dabbing of the foot, or washing of the front end, could have opponents swarming him like wounded prey. He would do his job, keeping the machine on two wheels, and hitting these ruts with immense precision of the clutch. Running near the eleventh position as the race would come to close, he would be eager for the third round. The final of the trilogy, would have him assertive in the beginning. Three particular twelve-minute motos, had his heart rate and energy system nearly fatigued as the race crept toward the halfway point. But he was resilient finding that deep inner strength to wage on, rather than succumbing to the circumstances that were coming in. The checkered flag, was just around the corner; and as he saw the counter above the finish line stripe, as a means to an end. “Just a few more laps, just a few more laps”, he would repeat to himself, as the clock would near zero. Positioning himself in the tenth place ride, his final tally would be that of ninth overall.
Never one to fall into the lull of ordinary, Blake Wharton came into the round of Detroit with an outlook that he hadn’t portrayed in quite sometime. He needed something a bit different, a bit outcast in his normal routine per se. Enter the Triple Crown, an idea that the guys of Monster Energy AMA Supercross have been toying with, hoping to add pleasure to the likes of all involved. The fans, getting to see the best of the best in a more meshed manner, are pleased with what they pay for; and the riders, in which many would agree, enjoy the change of pace and different format. But his idea for practice was the same; be one of the first on the track, and cement his name to a position on the leaderboard, that would have to be noticed. And after consecutive circuits of trying, his wish would be of fruition. Carrying a heap of confidence into the first main, the field would dash into this awkward first corner, with a large portion of the field being pushed to the outside. He would remain on track to the best of his ability, trying to piece together a triple combination before the ninety-degree left-hander if he could. Hitting the series of step-on and step-off’s afterward; he would cross the line on lap number one in seventh. Looking to move forward, he couldn’t help but feel the pressure of Alex Martin. But at no point, was his confidence rattled or mistaken for hesitation. He would do his best to a be an exquisite marksmen in the laps thereafter; focusing on staying dialed into his line choice, and letting his creativity flow with the ability of his throttle hand. Residing in ninth, he would stay here for the final lap. Moto number two, saw him lingering near the sixth position in the early going, darting with the leaders in paralleled fashion down the series of straightaways. Preloading the motorcycle to the best of his abilities, he needed that “extra” pop in a series of rhythm lanes; as although these 250’s were fast, the jumps were rather strenuous for this particular layout. His leaps of faith and airtime would have him pulling away from the likes of Cunningham, sitting in tenth; this would be his end result, where he would be eager for third and final swing. With a crack of the throttle, the field would begin to blister the course for the opening laps. He knew, with a solid finish, he could be on the cusp of a top ten overall. His mentality would focused forward, purely scooting his locomotive ahead in a positive fashion. With only a few laps to go, he would be steadily placed into the sixteenth place ride. This where he would conclude this final round of action, claiming tenth overall.