THE AFTERMATH | 2021 ARLINGTON SUPERCROSS 2 | PENALTIES, COURSE CUTTING & CRASHING
Round eleven of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross season is finally over and with it came a lot of close passes, rival battles, and podium firsts. Before qualifying began, Dirt Wurx was hard at work developing a track that was barely recognizable from the previous version just a few short days before the Tuesday night race. There were a few lanes that were the same, but the rhythm had been completely changed. Now, boasting a massive start straight that takes up a third of the track, getting out front was more important than ever if you wanted to win the race. And those that did get in front of the pack had significantly better results than the rest of the competition. In qualifying, we saw Justin Cooper once again get the fastest qualifying time in the Lites class. In the 450s, we saw Eli Tomac get the fastest qualifying time beating out Championship points leaders, Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen.
When the Heat Races began for the 250 class, it was Seth Hammaker who grabbed another holeshot and led the entirety of the race. Seth would put another Heat Race win under his rookie belt with Hunter Lawrence getting a second. In the second Heat Race, it was Justin Cooper who got the holeshot but a mistake would let Cameron McAdoo and Garrett Marchbanks pass. Justin Cooper eventually got past Garrett but it was too late as Cameron McAdoo crossed the checkers first. Once the Main Events began, we witnessed even more exciting racing, course cutting, and a new winner. Scroll down below to find out what happened when the gate dropped at the night show.
COOPER WEBB WINS TWO IN A ROW AT ARLINGTON
Cooper Webb would extend his points lead over Ken Roczen after the Main Event.
The most dangerous thing that can happen to Ken Roczen in the points chase is Cooper Webb getting a good start in the Main. Unfortunately for Ken, that’s exactly what happened. Cooper led the entire race with Eli Tomac being the only one to keep up with the number 2. It almost looked like Ken had run out of steam and with how strong of a player Ken is at the beginning of the races, we were surprised by the lack of initiative that Ken held within the first five laps. Cooper felt the heat from Eli in the whoop section, but an unfortunate mistake for Eli right before the obstacle would cost him valuable ground that he had gained. Cooper now leads over Ken in the Points chase by twelve points. With how strong Cooper is in AT&T Stadium, we wonder if he can go 3 for 3 during this residency.
HUNTER LAWRENCE GETS CAREER FIRST WIN & POINTS LEAD
It was an exciting night for all three on the podium but it was even more exciting for Hunter Lawrence.
In the 250 Main Event, Mitchell Harrison grabbed the holeshot with Jalek Swoll in second, Kyle Peters in third, and Hunter Lawrence in fourth. The top five were all battling until the 10 minute mark where Hunter Lawrence pulled a card trick, passing both Jalek Swoll and Mitchell Harrison for the lead. Hunter’s lead only grew more as he crossed the checkers with a gap more than four seconds ahead of the rest of the competition. Jett Lawrence may have taken eight races in his career to win a Main Event but it only took six for his older brother. Plenty of emotions were shared on the podium. Then, even more came after Hunter learned about Cameron McAdoo’s penalty which pushed the Australian to the top of the points in the 250 West class.
COURSE CUTTING = PENALTIES FOR MCADOO, ANDERSON & HARTRANFT
Cameron McAdoo crashed in the whoops, and instead of getting on the track after the whoops, he cut across the mechanics area cutting off the second half of the whoops, a turn and the first part of the next straightaway. The real kicker, it was caught on TV. We aren’t sure why it took the AMA so long to decide his penalty and update the results. The incident was pretty clearly shown.
It was a strange sight to see multiple offenses of course cutting in both Main Events and in the 450 LCQ in one night. In the 250 class, Cameron McAdoo had a big getoff in the whoops. He regained his bike and rather than rejoining the course where he left it in the middle of the whoops, he skipped the turn after, got on the gas and cut through the mechanics area and jumped onto the track right in front of Justin Cooper. Cameron would feel the repercussion of his shortcut with the docking of three positions in the official results. Unfortunately Cameron’s original result wasn’t very good either as he only managed to finish seventh place. He still held the points lead, but only by a small margin over Hunter Lawrence who won the race and Justin Cooper who finished fifth. Then, after the updated results pushed him to 10th place, he dropped to second in the 250 West Point standings, 1-point behind Lawrence and 1-point ahead of Cooper.
Well, he doesn’t look like he’s on the racecourse.
In the 450 Main Event, Jason Anderson would fumble right before the whoops bumping into Vince Friese. Jason made the executive decision to jump off the side of the track and pin it right next to the flaggers. There’s no doubt that the whoops were kicking everyone’s butt in the night show but to skip them entirely? Might be a little bit faster than actually overcoming the pointy obstacles. Jason Anderson would only be docked one position in the race moving him from sixth to seventh.
Brandon Hartranft also got caught cutting the track on TV. His obtrusion cost him a trip to the 450 Main.
In the 450 LCQ, Brandon Hartranft would battle Cade Clason for the transfer position however when the two came into a corner, Cade ran Brandon up high into the berm but did not make contact. Brandon jumped off the course on his own will, went around the single jump and passed Clason, cutting the track and getting back on in front of Cade. Hartranft finished fourth, the final transfer position into the Main, but the incident was caught on TV and the AMA docked him, allowing Cade Clason to qualify . Typically when there are penalties in the race, it takes the race officials and AMA a while to make an official statement so as the races finished. It wasn’t until halfway through the Post Race Press Conference when Hunter Lawrence found out that he gained control of the Points lead.
JUSTIN BRAYTON HUGE CRASH
Unfortunately, Justin Brayton had a big crash in the 450 Main Event when his bike locked up.
The Muc-Off Honda rider had some cartwheel action in the night show after his bike locked up on a triple jump, causing the bike to nose dive and Brayton to jump off. Justin Brayton posted via instagram saying: “Well here’s what happened last night. Bike locked up in the air and sent me over the bars. At this point point I’ve just got some minor hand injuries but I’ll keep everyone posted as I know more.”
450 SX CLASS
Cooper Webb has grown to be the thorn in Ken Roczen’s side. With how flawless Cooper was riding during the night show, it seemed like no one could catch him. Eli got close, but close didn’t mean making the actual pass. Cooper won another night in Arlington and with how his riding had been looking, a third win may be on the horizon.
Eli Tomac secured his second place position in the Main Event by riding almost as flawless as Cooper Webb. Unfortunately, Eli Tomac is at a large 36-point deficit. If Eli wants to be in contention with the leaders for the title, he’ll have to make up a serious amount of points. A second place spot is one step forward from his eighth on Saturday at Arlington.
Ken Roczen rode exceptionally well in the Main, just not as good as the two in front of him. Ken has struggled to get back on the box for the past few races but now scored a third place finish in Arlington. Ken stated in the Post Race Press Conference that he’s glad to finally get a podium finish again and will continue to focus on himself.
Ken Roczen after a long 450 Main Event.
It’s not often we see Cooper Webb grab the holeshot, but he’s gotten a few lately!
Cooper Webb’s mechanic Carlos Rivera giving him his lap time and the lap he’s on.
Justin Barcia battled Chase Sexton in the Main Event after getting a poor start and coming through the pack. The two would go back and forth but ultimately, Justin Barcia would make it past the 450 rookie and finish in fourth place.
Chase Sexton is riding well, especially after missing six rounds due to injury.
250 WEST SX CLASS
Hunter Lawrence worked hard coming into the season and even spoke of the tough times he had last year when he wanted to quit racing. Saturday at Arlington was Hunter’s first podium finish in Supercross and just three days later, he would see himself standing on top of the box in the night show. Hunter grabbed an early lead after making the pass on Kyle Peters and Jalek Swoll, and would have clean air through the track finishing several seconds ahead of the pack. Hunter now also sits on top of the leaderboard after Cameron McAdoo was penalized for cutting the track.
Hunter Lawrence trying to soak in the moment.
It was refreshing to see a rider so happy to win a race. The guys are turning into robots now and we love seeing the raw emotion like this.
Carnage in the 250 Heat race. Kyle Peters (56), pictured on the ground here, would rebound to finish on the podium in the 250 Main Event.
Once again, we saw Justin Cooper struggle at the start of the Main. Justin was the fastest one out of the gate in his Heat Race but would sit all the way back in seventh during the Main. The night would become more difficult for Cooper as he would slide out in front of Jordon Smith and Cameron McAdoo on one of the short straights. After getting back up, Justin Cooper would still make a very impressive comeback and make his way all the back to fifth place.
Jalek Swoll had another successful night of racing finishing in second place, just in front of Kyle Peters. The night was not made easy by getting around Mitchell Harrison and holding off Peters but when the checkers flew, Jalek would sit in second. This is the last year of Jalek’s contract with his current team, so now more than ever is the time to prove that has what it takes to race up top.
The Arenacross champion showed up to Supercross and honed in his indoor skills as he would get by Mitchell Harrison and take third in the Main Event.
Garrett had a mostly quiet night of racing after getting passed Mitchell Harrison for fourth place. His smooth and consistent riding wouldn’t catch him up to third place but would solidify his fourth place finish in the Main Event.
The Alpinestars medical crew helping a rider off the whoop section.
Justin Cooper has had a string of bad races, but he’s still in the fight only two points back.
Ryan Surratt, a Southern California local, stretching out his PRMX Kawasaki KX250 on the start of the 250 LCQ.
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Cooper Webb via Press Release: “That was a huge confidence booster for me, to lead the whole race again with that amount of pressure. Eli was probably the faster guy tonight but I just tried to hit my marks and not make any mistakes. After that [practice] crash today, sometimes it’s good for you to get those big hits, get that fear back in you and ride the thing that kicked you off. I’m super pumped on that Main Event, to battle with those guys and be able to lead wire to wire, it’s awesome.”
Ken Roczen via Press Release: “Arlington 2 was a lot better than Arlington 1. We threw a little bit of something at the bike and made a change and left it in all the way through the heat race. And after the heat race, I decided to go back to base and what I knew, and that was definitely the right way to go. In the main event, we started near the front, and I just stuck in third there. I got messed up by lappers a little bit, and unfortunately it just wasn’t good enough for the win tonight. We settled on third and lost a little bit more points in the championship, but as long as we’re keeping the dream alive, I’m looking forward to bouncing back next Saturday. It felt good to be back on the podium after a couple rounds of not being there. I’m proud of my team and how we’ve been working together, and looking forward to a couple of days off and coming back on Saturday.”
Justin Barcia via Press Release: “My riding was awesome in the Main Event. I just pushed through and got as far as I could but unfortunately missed out on the podium, which is frustrating, but all-in-all it was a good ride and I’m looking forward to getting back up on the podium on Saturday. The bike is really good, the team is good and I’m good, so we just need to nail those starts and we’ll be up there.”
Chase Sexton via Press Release: “It was an okay day. Qualifying was pretty average–I got sixth, which was okay for me but I just didn’t get a really good lap in. In the heat race I got a good start, battled for the lead near the end and almost had the win. I had a good gate pick for the main event, which was good because the ruts were pretty messed up after the gate. I got a good start in the main and put myself in a good position, but I couldn’t keep the pace after six or seven laps. I didn’t feel super comfortable and faded backwards a bit. I was a little flat but was still top-five–not a great result, but we’ll keep building. I’m looking forward to testing a little bit on Thursday and coming back for Saturday.”
Aaron Plessinger via Press Release: “It started out a little shaky. We made some changes to the bike that I didn’t really gel with, so we decided to go back to what we had before, and it was better. We got a really good start in the heat race, and I pulled off the win again. So with two heat race wins under my belt, back-to-back wins, I was feeling pretty good going into the main. I got a decent start but got pinched off by a couple of guys. The track was super hard-packed, kind of slick and sketchy, and the whoops broke down a lot. It was a solid race, but not the result we wanted. We’ll come back and be better on Saturday.”
Jason Anderson via Press Release: “My riding was actually really good once I figured out some issues we were having,” Anderson said. “I had a little mishap in the heat race and ended up eighth. In Main Event, I had a not-so-good of a gate pick and had a first corner fall, starting in dead last, but I was able to get back up to sixth. I’m looking forward to the next round, I think we can do some damage.”
Dylan Ferrandis via Press Release: “It was a tough day for me. My leg was hurting me a little, but I was lucky to have a shot from the medical crew to get rid of the pain. Unfortunately, I had a big crash in the second timed qualifying, and I couldn’t get a good lap. After that, I gave everything I had for the main. I didn’t get a good start, and then there was a racing incident, and I had to go off track. I still didn’t feel the best on the bike, and also had a little bit of arm pump for pretty much the whole race, so it was hard to manage. It’s good to be back in the top 10, but it’s not where I want to be. It’s part of racing, though. We’ll come back Saturday and work to get a better result.”
Hunter Lawrence via Press Release: “Amazing day here in Arlington–couldn’t have dreamt it any better! I got off to a good start, made some good passes in the first few laps and just rode my race. I’m extremely, extremely grateful and thankful to do what I’m able to do. I can’t thank everyone that supports me enough–everyone in the team and away from the track. It’s a team effort and believing in myself and man, it feels amazing. It’s awesome, and I’m stoked that we could get this one under our belts at round 4.”
Jalek Swoll via Press Release: “I’m so happy right now, I can’t even put the words together,” Swoll said. “It was such a long road but I kept my head down and I knew I was going to get here. First podium – I’m pumped and just happy to reward the people who have stuck behind me. I definitely want to carry the momentum into Saturday.”