10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE INDY SUPERCROSS

 

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By Jody Weisel

INDYDUNGEYCELEBRRyan Dungey dispatch early leader Andrew Short and gradually pulled away to his fifth win this year and 19th overall.

(1) JEREMY MARTIN’S MELTDOWN: It’s not unusual for a title contender to fail to make the main. Remember Ryan Villopoto at Jacksonville in 2011 or Ken Roczen in Salt Lake City in 2013? So, when Jeremy Martin crashed in his 250 East heat race and in the Last Chance at Indy, it wasn’t earthshattering. It can happen to the greats…and perhaps in Jeremy’s case it is less shocking because of his Supercross history. Jeremy failed to make the first two 250 East main events last year (and had dead last and next-to-last scores also). But, how he failed to make it in at Indy was quite entertaining. In the first pass through the whoops in his heat race, which was won by Marvin Musquin, Jeremy got a mid-pack start and tried to make up time quickly. Given how difficult the whoops were in Indy, Jeremy should have given some allowance to the riders in front of him. He didn’t. He ran up the back of a slower rider and went down. He got up, dusted himself off and started the long charge to try to make the main, which in the 250 class requires a top 9 finish in the heat race. And, Jeremy got to ninth place, but only for a split second. On the very last lap, Martin caught Australian Taylor Potter going into a 90-degree right-hand turn and made a decisive move to go around him on the outside. Potter knew that ninth place was at stake and immediately wicked it up to keep Jeremy from going by — and he succeeded. The Aussie collided into Martin and sent him reeling into the Tuff Blocks. Nothing wrong with Potter’s move —Martin would have done the same to him. As a result, Potter was in the main and Martin was headed for the LCQ. While going to the Last Chance Qualifier is less than ideal for a title contender, it is always a case of a factory-backed rider against a loose confederation of privateers. It should be and almost always is a piece of cake. And it was. When the gate dropped Jeremy Martin immediately took command and pulled away. It was his ticket to ride the main event. Then, the Red Flag came out and the LCQ riders were re-racked for a repeat of the race. This time Jeremy repeated also, but not a repeat of his start from the first LCQ attempt, but instead a duplication of his crash in the whoops from his 250 heat race. Bam, down he went. It should be noted that 250 Last Chances are only 4 laps long and only the top 4 make it to the main event. Jeremy got back to 8th — which earned him a seat in the stands to watch the main. In the process, Martin lost 25 points to Marvin Musquin and 22 points to Justin Bogle.

MARTIN DAVOLOS CRASH AT INDY

(2) ROCZEN’S ANKLE: Two weeks ago, after Atlanta II, we wrote that, “Ken Roczen needs a week off to let the ligaments in his left ankle heal. He’ll get that week off in one month (April 4). Until then, he has to make do.” Not surprisingly, Kenny decided not to take any time off and showed up at Daytona ready to race. Well, 97% of him was ready to race — his ankle accounted for the other 3%. Kenny hit his foot in practice and pulled off in pain. With Roczen’s well being in doubt, not just for the remaining Supercross races, but also for the 2015 AMA 450 Nationals (of which he is the defending Champion), he made the call to sit out Indianapolis, Detroit and St. Louis. That will get him to the one weekend break in the series before the final push for Houston, Santa Clara, New York and Las Vegas. The four weekends off might give his leg time to heal or to be poked and prodded more thoroughly by his doctors. Apart from coming back to try to win individual events, Roczen’s Supercross title hopes are dead for 2015 (he is 93 points behind Dungey and will lose 75 more points in the next three weeks). It’s all about the outdoors for Kenny.

INDYHAMPSHIRER.J. Hampshire got his first 250 podium.

(3) THE HAPPENINGS IN INDY: Let’s face it, KTM’s dynamic duo pretty much turned the 250 and 450 main events into a snore-fest at the front. But, the night was full of exciting moments, lots of crashes and more than its fair share of drama. (1) The wheels fell off of Jason Anderson’s wagon this weekend. He has been hanging onto fifth in 450 points by the hair on his chinny-chin-chin. Indy would prove his downfall. Jason didn’t qualify out of his heat after he made a rough pass on Jake Weimer for a transfer spot, but in a karmic episode Weimer’s front wheel hooked on Anderson’s rear wheel…and instead of Weimer going down alone, he took Anderson with him. That put Anderson in the Semi—where he also struggled to get into the main. When he came up on a revitalized Alex Ray, Anderson gave him a Chad Reed-approved love tap that should have done the job. It didn’t. Alex Ray kept his machine upright and powered out of the turn in front of Anderson. Jason plowed Ray a second time to seal the deal. Anderson went to the 450 main (where is he finished a disappointing 17th) and Alex Ray went to the Last Chance. (2) Remember Alex Ray? Sure you do, he was mentioned in the sentence above this one. Ray got a great start in the Last Chance and appeared to have a secure transfer spot in the bag. Then, Alex Ray’s CRF450 stock subframe snapped in half (where the upper tubes meets the fuel tank). No subframe—no main event. (3) As always the TV crew made a lot of odd choices, but given the runaway nature of the night, perhaps that’s understandable.  In the first 250 Heat race they spent the majority of the time following Vince Friese around (while he was in a distant sixth place)—which by our accounts is the most positive press that the Friese has ever gotten. (4) How can you wreck sand? The answer? Give in to the Supercross track builders. Indy’s sand was a waste of grain. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the shifting geains of sand work best when used in turn combinations. Where they throw roost, change shapes and allow for creative riding. Indy’s layout didn’t allow the sand to do anything — except lay there. (5) Justin Barcia is still missing from action and was joined this week by Josh Hill and Mike Alessi—both hurt in Daytona crashes. (6) Weston Peick won his heat race. That is a giant step up the ladder for Weston. He then came back in the 450 main to dabble with the idea of being on the podium, but eventually settled for a fourth. Although Weston has only raced 7 of the 11 races this year, he has six top tens (three of those were top fives).

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(4) DOWN IN THE DUMPS: The AMA has always been clueless when it comes to how to treat riders. They are cavalier in their approach, treat the riders like cattle (or chattle) and it typically comes back to bite them. At Indianapolis, there were only 42 riders signed up for the 40 spots in the night program (there were only 46 the week before) and if this trend keeps going in the wrong direction they will be able to seed everybody who signs up and a couple random spectators directly into the night program in the future. So with only 42 riders in the 450 class, what did the AMA do? They sent riders 41 and 42 home. In their own self interest the AMA should have allowed those two guys to start in the 21st gate (or even the back row of gate 20) in the heat races. Don’t give us any static about the rule book — the AMA break their own rules any time the interest of a star rider or  factory team is on the line. It would be refreshing if they broke their rules for the good of the sport or a privateer for a change. Why? Because next week they may need those two guys (and they may not be there). The day that a major sporting event can’t come up with enough athletes to fill the program is the day that it looks like a “minor” sporting event. There are plenty of capable riders who want to race, but the AMA makes them jump through idiotic hoops to get accepted to the events … but the AMA is still willing to take their money for an AMA license that they won’t let them use. Think back. There was a time when there were four heats of 20 riders in the premier class. Now there are only two heats of 20. Is the AMA going to take us to one heat of 20 in the future. What does your crystal ball say? On a side note of some irony. Vicky Golden did not qualify for the 250 East night program, but she would have made the premier 450 class.

INDYHUSKYRIDERSThis is the Husqvarna team of Jason Anderson and Martin Davalos before the race. There were no smiles after it was over.

(5) THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY: When it comes to grieving over one night’s race, nobody can hold a candle to the ugly experience of Jeremy Martin. Not making the 250 East main event, while second in the points is a heartbreaker, but Jeremy isn’t the only rider who had a bad night. Here are the good, the bad and the ugly. (1) The kids (good). Although it is obvious that both the 250 East and the 250 West have a handful of power players at the front, that doesn’t mean that the guys dueling behind them aren’t talented. And at Indy,  R.J. Hampshire was 3rd, Jordon Smith 4th, Colt Nichols 8th and Jace Owen 10th. (2) The old timers (good). Mixed in with the kids were a bunch of graying, Metamusil swilling, social security escapees who have been in the 250 class longer than they were in high school (okay, a guy stopping at a Starbucks drive-thru is there longer than most 250 Pros have been in high school). Kyle Cunningham was 5th, Jimmy Decotis 6th, Kyle Peters 7th and Vince Friese 8th. (3) The wayward 250s (bad). Joey Savatgy was 20th with what looked like a mechanical issue. Anthony Rodriques was 16th, but he was the highest placing Star Yamaha rider for a change. Martin Davalos is back to being the Mar-teen we have known all of these years — blazing fast off the line and equally fast to the spot of his crash. Martin was 15th. (4) Davi we hardly recognized you (good). It took 11 races but Davi Millsaps is back to looking like his old self. Not his old self from 2004 to 2011, but the sharp, in shape and focused Davi of 2012 and 2013. Davi missed 2014 for a series of surgeries and started the 2015 Supercross season with lack luster performances. Davi was 5th at Indy, which is only his second top five of the the year. But, it wasn’t the final tally that was impressive, but the fact that Davi looked like he wanted to race, had adjusted to the Kawasaki and was on the upslope of a tough two years. (5) Blake Baggett (bad). Blake was not destined to have a great night in Indy. And, given his podium finish in Daytona there were obviously high expectations. Blake started mid-pack and made little progress over the first five laps and then crashed. By the time he got going he was lapped and that was all she wrote. His 15th was his worst finish of the year. (6) Chad Reed (bad). You hold winners to a higher standard than the rest of the pack, so where a 9th would be a career high for many riders, it isn’t what Chad wanted— especially on a night where Ken Roczen is out of action and Tomac, Baggett and Anderson were on the ground. Yes, he had issues right from the git-go and finished the first lap in 20th place. But that’s nothing for a rider of the caliber of Skippy. He’s come from the back many times. Not this time. He hovered as high as 12th for most of the race and picked off a few stragglers for 9th at the flag.

INDYMUSQUINBACKMarvin did not get the holeshot, but that didn’t matter much.

(6) SELL ON MONDAY: Nobody believes the “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” adage anymore because it has been proven false in the majority of cases. Ricky Carmichael put Suzuki on the map during his reign there, but the sales numbers didn’t reflect even a hiccup of a rise. Most local riders and racers, who the sales departments know as customers,  believe a different adage. It is “Product is King.” What KTM has been doing is mixing the two catch phrases together. They are on a roll of epic proportions in the dirt bike world. They have new product every year — not just once every 4 years like the Big Four. For 2015 they released two Factory Edition model for Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin to race and offered them for sale to the public. It’s no secret that the 450SXF and 250SXF Factory Editions are 2016 models released months before the Japanese brands will even send out a grainy spy photo of next year’s bikes. Plus, you don’t need to be a Supercross guru, although the internet is full of those, to see that the 2016 KTM’s that Ryan and Marvin are racing are working to perfection. Product is king and if that product looks omnipotent on the race track it simply reinforces the belief that perhaps orange is the way to go. It should be noted that when the Japanese came into the sport of motocross in the late 1960s, they did the same thing to the staid European brands that KTM is doing to them now. The Big Four changed the rules four decades ago.  They built creative new products, they lowered the weight, they upped the horsepower and they took advantage of old-school European manufacturers who thought they knew all there was to know about motocross. When BSA, Bultaco, Maico, Ossa, Montesa and CZ didn’t respond quickly enough to the pressure their sales went to the Big Four. What we are seeing now is a reversal of fortunes — with KTM doing the exact same thing that made the Japanese manufacturers so powerful. It might seem important for the Big Four to up the race budgets and try to beat KTM on the Supercross circuit, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t beat them in the product planning conference room.

 

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BLAKE BAGGETT AND JASON ANDERSON

(7) TOMAC’S BACK: Eli is “back. ” Back to crashing all by himself in the main events. Eli Tomac coulda, shoulda, woulda been a title contender in 2015 — except for one thing. He crashes. He crashes a lot, which costs him lots of points. Indy was no different. At the start of the 450 main event Eli was running in fourth behind Dungey, Seely and Short. Even to the casual race fan that is exactly where a title contender needs to be. In the future scope we could have seen Eli passing Short by lap three and then hounding Seely for the second spot on the podium. All good, but Eli crashed on the second lap and went back to 22nd place. It wasn’t until lap five that he got to 21st place. By lap 8 he got up to 18th place, but went right back to 22nd place on lap 10 with another miscue. And, horror of horrors, on lap 12 he was lapped by Ryan Dungey — which seemed to have a calming effect on Eli. He settled in behind Ryan and followed him around. There was no doubt that Eli was as fast as Dungey, but Dungey kept him at bay until the very last lap when the leader decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea have have the teammate of the two guys chasing him on his tail — so Ryan let Tomac get his lap back just before the checkered flag. Tomac finished 11th, lost 15 points to Ryan Dungey, but got a riding lesson on how Ryan goes fast without falling down.

INDYSEELY2015Cole Seely has proven his worth at Team Honda..especially for next year.

(8) HONDA HAD AN INCREDIBLE NIGHT: In what might seem like an awesome night for the red riders, Honda had 9 out of the top 10 finishers in the 250 East race and 2 of the 3 podium spots in the 450 class (Seely and Canard). It may look good on paper, but what looks bad on paper is that after 11 races Honda has only won a single 250 race (Malcolm Stewart in Oakland) and three 450 races (Eli Tomac in Phoenix and Trey Canard in Oakland and San Diego). Meanwhile KTM has won five 450 mains to Honda’s 3, Suzuki’s 2 and Kawasaki’s 1. In the 250 East/West, KTM and Yamaha are tied with 5 wins each to Stewart’s lone Honda victory. KTM has also swept both classes on the same night 4 times (with the Dungey and Musquin combination). Honda did it once (because they only won the 250 class once).

Windham_1First Cole Seely takes his fabled number 14 and then Ryan Dungey knocks him out of the top ten on the all-time win list this weekend. We think that Kevin Windham (14) can handle it.

(9) MOVING ON UP: Ryan Dungey’s win at Indy knocked Kevin Windham off of the top ten all-time Supercross winners list. Indy was Ryan Dungey’s 5th win in 2015 and his 19th career Supercross win, which moves him into a tie with Damon Bradshaw for ninth on the all-time list. Jeff Ward in next in line with 20 wins and could be moved down a spot later this season by Dungey, but with only six races left in 2015, Bob Hannah’s 27 wins is safe from Dungey — at least until 2016.

ALL-TIME SUPERCROSS WIN LIST
1. Jeremy McGrath…72
2. James Stewart…50
3. Ricky Carmichael…48
4. Chad Reed…44
5. Ryan Villopoto…42
6. Ricky Johnson…28
7. Bob Hannah…27
8. Jeff Ward…20
9. Damon Bradshaw…19
9. Ryan Dungey…19

(10) THE HOLESHOT WAR IS OVER: In the 10 races leading up to Indianapolis, KTM 250SXF engines (whether in a Husqvarna or a KTM) holeshot every 250 East or 250 West main event in 2015. It is was a phenomenal streak, but privateer Nick Gaines on a KX250F finally put an end to it at Indy. It didn’t matter that Gaines would end up 21st for the night or that Marvin Musquin KTM blasted by Gaines a few feet after the white line to take a wire-to-wire win—the trivia-laced record was over.

INDY450PODIUM28Cole Seely (left), Ryan Dungey (center) and Trey Canard (right) at the post-race trophy presentation and can holding contest.

INDY RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Ryan Dungey…KTM
2. Cole Seely…Hon
3. Trey Canard…Hon
4. Weston Peick…Yam
5. Davi Millsaps…Kaw
6. Andrew Short…KTM
7. Josh Grant…Kaw
8. Broc Tickle…Suz
9. Chad Reed…Kaw
10. Jake Weimer…Kaw
Other notables: 11. Eli Tomac; 12. Kyle Chisholm; 13. Phil Nicoletti; 14. Nick Wey; 15. Blake Baggett; 17. Jason Anderson; 19. Ben Lamay.

indy250podiumJustin Bogle (left), Marvin Musquin (center) and R.J. Hampshire (right) on the 250 podium.

INDY RESULTS: 250 EAST CLASS
1. Marvin Musquin…KTM
2. Justin Bogle…Hon
3. R.J. Hampshire…Hon
4. Jordan Smith…Hon
5. Kyle Cunningham…Hon
6. James Decotis…Hon
7. Kyle Peters…Hon
8. Colt Nicholls…Hon
9. Vince Friese…Hon
10. Jace Owen…Hon
Other notables: 11. Luke Renzland; 12. Gannon Audette; 13. Mitchell Oldenburg; 16. Anthony Rodriquea; 18. Taylor Potter; 20. Joey Savatgy.

2015 AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 11 of 17 races)
1. Ryan Dungey…249
2. Trey Canard…204
3. Eli Tomac…169
4. Cole Seely…160
5. Ken Roczen…156
6. Chad Reed…152
7. Jason Anderson…144
8. Blake Baggett…141
9. Andrew Short…124
10. Broc Tickle…120

2015 AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 5 of 8 races)
1. Marvin Musquin…122
2. Justin Bogle…106
3. Jeremy Martin…85
4. R.J. Hampshire…74
5. Joey Savatgy…73
6. Martin Davalos…62
7. Vince Friese…58
8. Jimmy Decotis…57
9. Kyle Peters…57
10. Anthony Rodriquez…52

cooperwebbsandiego15Cooper Webb has a 30-point lead in the 250 West with Houston, Santa Clara and Vegas left.

2015 AMA 250 WEST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 6 of 8 races)
1. Copper Webb…136
2. Jessy  Nelson…106
3. Tyler Bowers…104
4. Zach Osborne…102
5. Shane McElrath…86
6. Aaron Plessinger…81
7. Justin Hill…79
8. Josh Hansen…79
9. Alex Martin…75
10. Malcolm Stewart…69

 

 

Photos by KTM, Husqvarna, Troy Lee Designs, Geico Honda, Yoshimura Suzuki, Honda

 

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