10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LAS VEGAS SUPERCROSS

 

 

The team of the year — Frankie Latham, Marvin Musquin, Roger DeCoster, Ryan Dungey and Carlos Rivera (and a boatload of gaudy metal).

(1) WHERE THE BOYS AREN’T: As happens at the end of a long series, there were lots of missing riders in Las Vegas. The difference between Anaheim I and Las Vegas is startling. The riders didn’t show up for Las Vegas in droves — at least not to race anyway. The combination of injuries, disinterest or National prep made for a vastly depleted field. The obvious missing 450 riders were Ken Roczen (healthy, but not interested), Jason Anderson (injured), Davi Millsaps (in limbo), Trey Canard (injured), Mike Alessi (not interested), Andrew Short (injured), Jake Weimer (injured), Brett Metcalfe (not interested), Josh Hill (injured), Dean Wilson (injured) and Fredrik Noren (not interested). When you throw in James Stewart (banned) and Ryan Villopoto (vacationing on the Continent) you have a completely different AMA Supercross series sitting on the sidelines.

We waited all season for a head-to-head match-up between Dungey (5) and Tomac (3) and this is how long it lasted. After this, Ryan Dungey set sail for blue water.

(2) THE PERFECT BREEZE: If you fall for catch phrases, the ones that make dummies of us all are — “Who’s Next” and “The Perfect Storm.” The 2015 season was not anywhere near the perfect storm. It was more like a gentle breeze. Ryan Dungey won 8 of 17 rounds, made 16 podiums, led the 450 points from round five on and clinched the crown with three races to go. Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin, albeit racing in much shorter 8-race series, were equally dominant. If you bought a Supercross ticket, at what rivals Barbra Steisand’s tenth “Last Concert” ticket prices, for a 2015 Supercross with a sense of wonderment about who might win you are magically naive.

(3) 250 DEFECTORS: Although on this night in Las Vegas it was unlikely that any rider in the 250 class, from whichever coast, could have come close to beating Movin’ Marv — lots of them didn’t try (for a variety of reasons). If you assume that the 250 East/West Shootout would logically pit the top 20 from the 250 East against the top 20 from the 250 West you are sadly mistaken. Not even close! The AMA doesn’t apply logic to its race programs because logic would have the top riders from the East face off against the top riders from the West — using the AMA points standings from first on down until you have the 20 best healthy riders. But that might require work (or even travel money to help the East riders make the long trek to Sin City), so it’s not worth it to the powers-that-be. But the AMA’s failure to do due diligence weakens the show. In fact, 9 of the top 20 from the 250 East did not race in Las Vegas (including 2nd place, 3rd place, 8th place, 9th place, 13th place, 14th place, 18th place, 19th place and 20th place). The West was a little better as only  6 of the top 20 didn’t make the race, but three of those were in the top 10 in the Championship. Most notable among the missing were Justin Bogle, Jeremy Martin, Cooper Webb, Jessy Nelson, Tyler Bowers, Jimmy Decotis, Kyle Cunningham, Tommy Hahn, Chris Alldredge, Arnaud Tonus and Jordan Smith. With 15 of the 250 class’ top players missing, their spots were filled with riders who had never made a night show before, never made a main or were lesser lights.

Marvin’s pants say it all.

(4) EAST/WEST IS A TIRED HORSE: The idea of breaking the 250 Supercross Championships, which aren’t officially AMA National Championships, into two coasts came about because of a massive inferiority complex from East Coast riders. This was in the day of the 125cc two-stroke, when all of the good factory rides were going to California-based riders. Thus, the idea of holding a separate series for riders from the East Coast and another for the West Coast riders was a way of giving non-California riders a leg up. It never really worked that way. Why not? Because there is nothing East and West about the eligibility rules. Instead of dividing the nation at the Mississippi River and having the East series limited to riders from one bank and the West rider from the other bank, the AMA failed to enforce those rules. And for a while the factories would just move their West Coast riders to an East Coast address to pretend they lived back East. But, they soon realized that no pretense was necessary because the East/West was an imaginary line (sort of the motocross version of the French Maginot line—which Hitler’s Army just went around). It turned out that the sport never needed to be split in two to help East Coast riders, they were already on the rise. Led by Floridians, the East Coast produced homegrown talent immediately. Yet, now, 30 years later, we still have this fake divide. And spectators are buying tickets to only see half of the good 250 riders at their local stadium. It is sort of like buying a ticket to the Ringling Brothers circus, but they don’t bring the elephants, just the giraffes. Who wouldn’t want to see Musquin against Webb every week (with Bogle, Martin, Cianciarulo, Tonus, Osborne, Stewart, Hill, Bowers, Nelson, McElrath and Decotis thrown in for good measure). It’s time for a 250 Supercross Championship that rivals the 250 AMA outdoor National Championships —not half a show for the full ticket price.

(5) VICKI GOLDEN: Vicki Golden became the first women to qualify for a 250 Supercross — although since the East/West Shootout isn’t officially part of the AMA 250 East or West Regional Supercross series, she won’t be in those results. However making the night show is a big step. And it opens the door to more significant highs—like making a 250 main event. Vicki did something no other women has ever achieved and it will probably lead to a host of women racers entering the Supercross series and displacing the men. Okay, maybe not. There are always little trivial tidbits that go along with record breaking achievements. For example, when Mariana Balbi became the first women to earn Grand Prix points at the Brazilian Grand Prix — it is often forgotten that virtually every rider in her class at the Brazilian GP got FIM points that day. Her feat has been duplicated since then, but almost always under the same circumstances. It doesn’t diminish her place in history — it only adds color to the story. As for Vicki Golden’s fateful day as the first women to make it into the “Fast 40” qualifiers, only 41 riders showed up (and the 41st rider only rode his first timed session and pulled out of the program). Thus, everyone left made the “Fast 40.” It should be noted that Vicki Golden qualified 35th and got in on her merit — not a math equation.

Next year Dungey will have number one on his bike for the Supercross series, but for the Nationals he will have to put the 5 back on.

(6) RYAN DUNGEY’S NUMBERS: There is no doubt that Ryan Dungey had a phenomenal year, but it is just part of a great six-year Supercross run.
Here are Ryan’s numbers:
Supercross starts…100
Supercross wins…22
2015 Supercross wins…8
2015 podium…16 out of 17
Supercross top threes…72
Supercross top fives…88
Supercross top tens…98
Supercross titles…2
Laps led in 2015…148

 

 

Marvin Musquin had a bike length lead on the 250 East/West Shootout at the drop of the gate. He was never seen again.

(7) 2016 SUPERCROSS SCHEDULE: What you need to know about next year’s series – six months before you need to know it. (a) Anaheim loses one of its three rounds, but will still have two. (b) University of Phoenix Stadium will replace Chase Field for the Phoenix round. (c) San Diego will get the extra Anaheim Stadium round — giving them two rounds in 2016. (d) Canada is back on the schedule on March 12, 2016 (after being dropped in 2015). (e) Atlanta returns to only one round in 2016. (f) Boston gets the dropped Atlanta round. (g) The Houston round is not on the 2016 schedule. (h) The first five rounds are on the West Coast — but there are 6 California races in total (two in Anaheim, two in San Diego, plus Oakland and Santa Clara.

2016 AMA SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
Jan. 9…………………….Anaheim, CA
Jan. 16………………….San Diego, CA
Jan. 23………………….Anaheim, CA
Jan. 30………………….Oakland, CA
Feb. 6……………………Glendale, AZ
Feb. 13………………….San Diego, CA
Feb. 20………………….Arlington, TX
Feb. 27………………….Atlanta, GA
March 5………………….Daytona, FL
March 12………………..Toronto, CAN
March 19………………..Detroit, MI
April 2………………..….Santa Clara, CA
April 9………………..….Indianapolis, IN
April 16………………….St. Louis, MO
April 23………………….Foxboro, MA
April 30………………….East Rutherford, NJ
May 7…………………….Las Vegas, NV

Jason Anderson (21) played it safe in Vegas and decided to wait for the AMA Nationals.

(8) JASON ANDERSON: Jason Anderson was third fastest in 450 practice, but decided to sit the night out after crashing hard during one of his practice sessions. He finishes his 450 rookie year 7th overall in 450 points. He will spend the next two weeks testing and training with his focus on preparing for the upcoming 450 outdoor motocross season. “I was having a good practice.  I felt really good on the track, but came into a corner, slid out and hit the ground pretty hard and decided to call it a night. I’m focusing on outdoors, and have been riding that really well, so I didn’t want to take a risk tonight.”

(9) HOLESHOTS: With Andrew Short on the sidelines with a broken kneecap, someone was going to break the 10-way tie for second in the Supercross Holeshot Sweepstakes. That man was Ryan Dungey. His holeshot in Las Vegas gave him 2 for the year. That was way behind Andrew Short’s 6 holeshots, but ahead of everybody else.

2015 HOLESHOT STATS
1. Andrew Short…6
2. Ryan Dungey…2
3. Mike Alessi…1
4. Eli Tomac…1
5. Blake Baggett…1
6. Ken Roczen…1
7. Chad Reed…1
8. Weston Peick…1
9. Cole Seely…1
10. Justin Barcia…1
11. Jimmy Albertson…1

Justin Hill wants to put the 2015 Supercross season behind him. He needs a good 250 National season to justify his factory KTM gig. Hill only made two podiums in 2015.

(10) OLD NEWS: When Jeremy McGrath decided that he was only going to race Supercross and skip the AMA National, he was shocked by how quickly he fell off the public radar. “I thought I would stay in the news longer than one week,” he said. But, as Jeremy found out, motocross fans look ahead. Last week’s winner is quickly forgotten as this week’s winner is raised on a temporary pedestal. The focus now shifts to who is healthy, whether Roczen will defend his number one plate, if Dave Millsaps will have to buy a bike to race the Nationals, whether Stewie will race the final two Nationals after his doping suspension is lifted (he says that he won’t) and whether or not Suzuki and Kawasaki will field two-man teams (or stick with what they’ve got). For the next two weeks all the news generated will come from the outdoor testing in the form of videos — in which every rider will look like the fastest man in the world. Then, on May 16, the fastest man will be revealed.

2015 AMA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
May 16…………….…Hangtown, CA
May 23…………….…Glen Helen, CA
May 30………….……Thunder Valley, CO
June 6………………..Muddy Creek, TN
June 13……………….Mt. Morris, PA
June 27………………Budds, MD
July 4…………………Red Bud, MI
July 18………..……..Millville, MN
July 25……………….Washougal, WA
August 8………….…Unadilla, NY
August 15……….…..Miller Motorsports, UT
August 22 …………..Crawfordsville, IN

 

LAS VEGAS RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Ryan Dungey…KTM
2. Eli Tomac…Hon
3. Weston Peick…Yam
4. Cole Seely…Hon
5. Josh Grant…Kaw
6. Blake Baggett…Suz
7. Chad Reed…Kaw
8. Justin Barcia…Yam
9. Justin Brayton…KTM
10. Broc Tickle…Suz
Other notables: 11. Kyle Chisholm; 12. Nick Wey; 13. Ben Lamay; 15. Thomas Ramette; 18. Kyle Partridge.

Marvin Musquin will race the AMA 250 Nationals, starting in two weeks, and will then move to the 450 class full-time in 2016.

LAS VEGAS RESULTS: 250 EAST/WEST SHOOTOUT
1. Marvin Musquin…KTM
2. Malcolm Stewart…Hon
3. Matt Biscelgia…Hon
4. Aaron Plessinger…Yam
5. Alex Martin…Yam
6. Zach Osborne…Hus
7. R.J. Hampshire…Hon
8. Shane McElrath…KTM
9. Cole Martinez…Yam
10. Kyle Peters…Hon
Other notables: 11. Mitch Oldenburg; 12. Zach Bell; 18. Josh Hansen; 19. Anthony Rodreiques; 22. Justin Hill.

FINAL 2015 AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
1. Ryan Dungey…390
2. Eli Tomac…305
3. Cole Seely…277
4. Chad Reed…226
5. Blake Baggett…223
6. Trey Canard…204
7. Jason Anderson…200
8. Broc Tickle…194
9. Andrew Short…180
10. Westin Peick…160

FINAL 2015 AMA 250 WEST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
1. Cooper Webb…186
2. Shane McElrath…124
3. Zach Osborne…117
4. Justin Hill…116
5. Aaron Plessinger…113
6. Alex Martin…111
7. Malcolm Stewart…107
8. Jessy  Nelson…106
9. Tyler Bowers…105
10. Josh Hansen…91

FINAL 2015 AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
1. Marvin Musquin…194
2. Justin Bogle…171
3. Jeremy Martin…143
4. Joey Savatgy…133
5. R.J. Hampshire…100
6. Anthony Rodriquez…98
7. Kyle Peters…91
8. Jimmy Decotis…87
9. Kyle Cunningham…72
10. Martin Davalos…63

 

Photos by KTM, Husqvarna, Supercross Live, Travis Fant, John Basher

 

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