MXA’S THE AFTERMATH: PENALTIES, CRASHES & SUCCESS STORIES AT 2021 HOUSTON SUPERCROSS 2
The second round of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross season at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, is finally over. In order to provide something new for the racers, Dirt Wurx remodeled the track lanes, turned the direction of the track around and added a sand section that ultimately led to the demise of Chase Sexton, Adam Cianciarulo, Marvin Musquin and Martin Davalos in the 450SX Main Event and it took down many more riders in the other races and qualifying sessions.
The new layout would prove to be very fast and less technical than the previous Houston round which resulted in considerably shorter lap times. Many riders benefitted from other rider’s mistakes throughout the night with crashes happening everywhere. But, riders like Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson, Martin Davalos and Vince Friese each had points stripped from them as they head into the Houston Supercross 3 round.
In Motocross Action’s The Aftermath, we look back and analyze exactly what went down in the second round of Monster Energy Supercross and dive into the details of the race while sharing our favorite photos from the event. MXA’s Travis Fant was at the Houston Supercross to capture all the action.
Photos by Travis Fant
Words by Trevor Nelson
KEN ROCZEN AND JASON ANDERSON PENALIZED
There was some confusion on Tuesday night after the race we waited for the official results to come in. Supercross stated on Tuesday evening “As of press time 450SX Class results had not been certified due to pending appeals with the AMA and FIM regarding flag rule infractions.”
After getting the results back on Wednesday morning, it turned out AMA was evaluating a race incident involving Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson, Martin Davalos and Vince Friese after they jumped through the rhythm section where Chase Sexton had crashed with the red cross flag waving.
Official quote from Supercross: “Per AMA Rule 4.16.E.9.C, four riders in Tuesday’s Houston Supercross have been penalized for jumping on a red cross flag. The penalty for each rider is the loss of championship points and purse equal to two positions for that race, plus two additional points. Riders affected are Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson, Vince Friese and Martin Davalos.”
Ken Roczen was not happy about the situation and he took to Instagram to explain his side of the story: “Before I get into my night I wanted to say that I am disappointed in how this situation was handled. I got docked 4 championship points because of jumping on a Red Cross flag even though my vision at this part of the track was blocked because Dylan took the outside line and as I came around the sand turn he was positioned perfectly in front of the flag and I could not see it. I have never disrespected the Red Cross flag ever before and in my eyes this was clearly not a BLATENT VIOLATION. This situation was very unique and the timing of it was so special that a warning or a fine would have been a lot more appropriate. I have spoken my peace. I am just disappointed with the decision especially since it says it black and white in the rule book. A situation like this ( points docked ) instead of a fine is not fair. It just simply wasn’t “BLATANT”. There were more factors than just simply jumping on a red cross flag anyway. I’ll just deal with it. That means no red plate. It’s all good though.”
Ken highlighted AMA Rule 4.16.E.9.C and 4.16.E.9.G in the rulebook:
C. During a Main Event race, if no positions were gained, the penalty will be points and purse to two equal positions in the final results for that race plus two additional points.
G. If at any time, Race Direction determines that it was not a blatant violation of the rule, a warning or fine may be issued.”
The HRC Honda team filed for an appeal but ultimately the penalty stood.
JUSTIN BARCIA LOSES SHIFTER BUT KEEPS RED PLATE
Everybody is wondering what happened to the red plate holder, Justin Barcia, in the Main Event for the premier class. Was his win season opener luck? Obviously not, he held off a hard charging Ken Roczen and won the Heat race again at Round two. However, the 450SX Main didn’t go so well. During the race Justin was seen looking down and pointing at his bike when passing the mechanics area, and now we know why.
Justin Barcia posted via Instagram: “Wild night! Salvaged a decent finish I made a mistake and crossed rutted which sent me into the tough blocks causing me to snap my shifter off and stuck in first gear for a decent part of the race. Looking forward to round 3 with a new track layout”
Justin ended up getting a ninth place and for riding a 450 stuck in first gear, that’s pretty good. Justin would’ve lost the points lead to Ken Roczen, but with Ken’s penalty of 4 points, Justin remains in possession of the red plate going into Houston 3. Now, if you are truly wondering where the shifter went, NBC Sports commentator Daniel Blair has it. Daniel Blair jokingly said on Instagram that Justin will have to hit up his Venmo if he wants the broken shifter back.
17-YEAR-OLD JETT LAWRENCE WINS 250SX MAIN EVENT
The young Australian Jett Lawrence went on to have the smoothest ride of his career so far and ride exceptional compared to the rest of the competition. Heading into the 250 Main Event with a Heat win under his belt, Jett’s approach to the Houston 2 layout looked really good. Once the gate dropped in the night show, Jett grabbed the holeshot and would ultimately secure his place on the podium leading every single lap of the race. It’s been a year since Jett’s crash in Anaheim that resulted in a broken collarbone and him sitting out for a large portion of the season while he battled with the 14 of Dylan Ferrandis. To come back with such little Supercross race experience and win at 17 years old is quite remarkable. We expect big things from the 18 of HRC’s Jett Lawrence in the future and this is only the beginning.
THE DEADLY SAND SECTION IN HOUSTON
When Dirt Wurx decided to add the sand section in the second round being held in Houston, they probably were not expecting the list of rider that the sand would kick back and swallow. Qualifying would be a nightmare for some while podiums would be thrown away for others. A list of riders who crashed in the sand section includes: Chase Sexton, Adam Cianciarulo, Marvin Musquin, Colt Nichols, Austin Forkner, RJ Hampshire, Martin Davalos, Michael Mosiman and more. Chase Sexton obviously had the worst get off of all of them when he swapped in the sand and launched off his bike landing shoulder first into the second jump. Chase appeared to be holding his arm getting off the track and he said:
Chase Sexton:“I put a pretty good gap between myself and [Eli] Tomac but made a small mistake that cost me big—hit the ground pretty hard. I’m really sore and my right shoulder is pretty beat up. I hope to be back racing here soon and try to finish the job and get my first win.”
DYLAN FERRANIDS SCORES FIRST 450 PODIUM
Whether it was skill or the fact that the majority of the 450 class would end up making costly mistakes in the Main, you cannot deny that Dylan Ferrandis showed some real speed. For his second time racing the 450, Dylan would creep throughout the field and land in second place by the time the checkers flew. Dylan stated in the post-race press conference that he was shocked and honestly didn’t think it was supposed to happen, but then again racing isn’t just about raw speed, it’s about staying on the bike too. Dylan had a consistent ride throughout the whole day and we even saw considerably better qualifying times for the French rider as well. For someone who spent a huge chunk of the offseason injured as a 450 rookie, getting second in the night show in the second round is pretty impressive.
36-YEAR-OLD JUSTIN BAYTON GIVES MUC-OFF HONDA A PODIUM
Despite winning a Heat race last year, Justin Brayton would find many hardships throughout the 2020 season as he struggled to find that edge during the races. Now with the start of 2021 and the opportunity to be the premier 450 rider for Muc-Off Honda, Justin has changed his outlook on racing. Justin said in the post-race press conference that he enjoys being on the smaller team with Yarrive Konsky. The two have had success all over the world, in Australia and Canada. Now being on the biggest stage of dirt bike racing, Justin would secure a third place finish after nearly getting taken out by Vince Friese’s cartwheeling Honda heading the opposite direction off the start. This podium finish is huge for Muc-Off and many emotions were shared through both Justin and Yarrive. It is pretty awesome to see a lot of fight in one of the teams that may be overlooked in the championship hunt.
LOOPTY-LOOP START STRAIGHT MADNESS
With the new layout of the Houston track, the start straight’s length was cut short with an even tighter first turn. This meant if you weren’t first, you might very well be last as the first time the premier class started the first heat race, multiple riders would ricochet off of each other resulting in a red flag. A group of the 450s came into the first turn too hot pushing towards the outside causing riders like Justin Bogle, and Deven Raper to be ejected from their bikes. The 250 class would also have a first-turn pileup in their first heat race involving Austin Forkner, Kevin Moranz, and a few others. With the speed of the track being faster than previously, it was considerably more dangerous for the riders.
450 SUPERCROSS CLASS:
Coming into Round 2, Christian Craig had all the momentum. He was the fastest qualifier, heat race and Main Event winner from Round 1, and he came into the night show with the fastest qualifying time again and he lined up for 250 Heat race two. This time, Jett Lawrence took the holeshot with Craig in second. It was shaping up to be a battle, but the 17-year-old Australian made it a simple race and slowly pulled away from Christian Craig to grab his first Heat race win.
In the first 250 Heat of the night, Colt Nichols led with Michael Mosiman in second, but a crash in the sand section knocked Nichols back to second place giving Mosiman (younger brother of MXA’s Josh Mosiman) his first ever Heat race win, and the GasGas motorcycle brand’s first 250 Heat win as well. Austin Forkner was caught up in a big first turn crash in his Heat race and came from dead last to finish fourth.
In the Main Event, Jett Lawrence repeated his Heat race holeshot and got out front early with Austin Forkner and RJ Hampshire sitting second and third. Hampshire quickly moved passed Forkner into second, but Jett Lawrence was already turning on the afterburners and putting space between himself and the pack. Mitchell Oldenburg, Colt Nichols, Josh Osby and Max Vohland were next in line with Christian Craig, Michael Mosiman and Jo Shimoda behind them. Mosiman and Craig passed their way through the pack and were up to the fifth and sixth spots by lap seven.
Austin Forkner had been trailing RJ Hampshire ever since the Husky rider passed him on lap two. On lap eight, after triple-triple-tripling through the rhythm section after the sand corner, Forkner dove to the inside of Hampshire to block pass him and they collided which resulted in them both going down. It was a tough move for both Austin Forkner and RJ Hampshire and it caused them both to lose positions. Forkner got up in sixth place with Hampshire ineighth. After analyzing the video footage originally shown on TV, it is a toss up as to who’s fault the crash was. Forkner obviously instigated the collision by coming up the inside of Hampshire, but RJ also slid in the middle of the turn causing him to lose balance and traction which made him fall over onto Austin Forkner who was right there.
Austin remounted his Pro Circuit Kawasaki and went on to finish sixth place and RJHampshire went on to make more mistakes and come across the line in ninth place.
250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS ROUND 2 of 9
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
RJ Hampshire stated: “It was another rough night, I started off with a pretty big practice crash and then did what I could to salvage the heat,” Hampshire said. “I got a good start in the main, the bike is awesome out of the gate, it was just an unfortunate situation with Forkner because I had the speed and was just clicking off my laps. I’ll give it a couple of days to recover and knock off a win here soon.”