THE AFTERMATH | 2019 SAN DIEGO SUPERCROSS
Photos by Daryl Ecklund
Story by Josh Mosiman
The west coast swing is over with (for now) and the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season is well underway. The first five rounds of the series have been completely different than what we were expecting and it’s awesome! The weather has provided for some crazy track conditions and the underdogs have stepped their game up this year. Round five in San Diego was a mud fest and although they weren’t going very fast, it was still exciting to watch and we have some serious respect for the riders that navigated that track on Saturday night. MXA was playing in the mud in downtown San Diego with everyone else, capturing all of the excitement. How would it all shake down? Find out here in Motocross Action’s “The Aftermath.”
The conditions in San Diego were insanely tough. All week, the weather forecasted a monsoon on Saturday and everyone had plenty of time to get ready for it. The Dirt Wurx crew built the track early and prepared for rain by covering it with tarps. Although it didn’t start raining until the afternoon on Saturday, when it rained, it poured. AMA decided to adjust the qualifying schedule and eliminate free practice and first qualifying sessions to save the track. The rain came down hard and by the time the riders got out there for their one and only qualifying session, the track was a mudfest. Because there weren’t any ruts underneath the mud and the track had a hard base, the riders were still able to launch a majority of the jumps. It was crazy. We were shocked when we saw the top guys clearing the triple and finish line in qualifying. Some of the riders were still jumping them in the heat races, but by the time the mains came around the ruts and bumps were deeper and there were a lot less guys risking it.
When it rains, the Dirt Wurx crew usually adds lime to the track in order to absorb the moisture in the dirt. Construction workers will add lime to the dirt on their job site if they know it’s going to rain but they want to continue working. At Supercross, the lime is used to absorb the moisture out in hopes of making a better race track and a lot of times it works. There have been many occasions where a track receives rain and we think it’s going to be a mud race, but the Dirt Wurx crew is able to save the track by covering it with tarps and then and using lime. This time there was too much water and the lime didn’t help. And now we are seeing that the chemical has a negative affect on the riders and the bikes. Because of how muddy it was, every rider was covered. Now many top factory riders, privateers and mechanics have been posting on social media about the chemical burns they have on their skin and about the damage it has done to their bikes.
San Diego marked the halfway point for the 250 West division. Now these riders have three weekends off before they join the series again in Atlanta for the 250 East/West shootout. To add to the excitement of the 2019 season, the 250 East riders will be joining the series for their first round next weekend in Minneapolis. We also will have Zach Osborne joining the 450 class in Minneapolis for his first 450 Supercross race in America.
Eli Tomac first place: “Even from practice it (the track) changed. Once the rain stopped the dirt starting getting thicker, and you know, it starts making the bike really heavy and the rhythm sections and all the lines are just really sketchy and squirlley. It was really night and day (different) even between the practice, the heat and the main.”
Adam Cianciarulo first place: “It feels good going into the break to put the mind at ease. I haven’t had the red plate since I was basically a little kid so that feels good too. I think when you have a stressful kind of day like this you start thinking about a lot of unknowns and a lot of stuff out of control that can happen. I definitely felt better than usual so I’m excited to keep building on this, we’re only halfway through and we have a couple weeks to go back to work so I’m excited.”
Ken Roczen third place: “I thought I was in third and obviously I got passed by Marvin with one turn to go so I wasn’t really stoked about that. I could have had a second place and it’s all really important points, but all in all I’ve changed some things around this week and we also made some improvements for starts on the bike and also for myself I changed a couple little things that seemed like they paid off. Today starts were really important and I got a super good holeshot but sure enough threw it away in the second turn.”
Ken Roczen: “For the Championship we’re only four points behind and it’s super tight and I think in my mind the season doesn’t really start until round ten. That’s when you gotta think about being close to the front or leading. So right now I’m kinda just picking my battles a little bit and I just want to get out of the west coast because it’s been a long time since I’ve accomplished that.”
Marvin Musquin second place: “We all knew it was going to be tough conditions with a lot of rain. But in the end we’re here again in the press conference and that means another podium, another second place and a lot of good points.”
Eli Tomac first place: “It was a really good day, the first rounds were up and down. I was never like on you know, having that feeling. So today was kind of wild with the conditions, we weren’t on the normal dirt but overall it was the direction we wanted to go, qualifying good, getting better starts, putting ourselves in the right position and it paid off.”
Garrett Marchbanks second place: “I had a little turn track at my house that I used to ride at all the time from age nine to thirteen. Me and my Dad always used to water it with the sprinklers and flood it basically and make it all muddy. It’s basically what made me a really good mud rider, so it was kind of fun to ride out here in the mud today, it didn’t affect me too bad.”
Jimmy Decotis third place: “I actually had no clue (what place I was in), I put my head down on my bars and I was like, ‘man I got another fourth place.’ I’m over fourth place, and Mikey G came over and told me I got third. I had no clue, I guess Dylan Ferradandis’ bike died right there at the end so I really didn’t even know at all. I was just trying to do my best to stay up, with my little legs when I’m dabbing and struggling, it’s tough. So I was just trying to stand up and stay focused and hit my marks and tonight it ended up being a third so I’m thankful for it.”
Cooper Webb was running fifth on lap five right behind his teammate Marvin Musquin when he went over the bars in a rut. Cooper said: “Not sure what happened but wasn’t ideal! Not the best night but felt good riding all day. Was right on track until this (crash). Onto Minneapolis!”
After his Anaheim 1 win in the mud, we had high hopes for Justin Barcia in San Diego and he was riding well. The Yamaha rider qualified sixth, placed fourth in his heat race and he ran third place in the main event until his bike quit on him on the third lap which resulted in a DNF.
Justin Bogle is one rider who seemed to accelerate in the mud. With only days on the KTM before Anaheim 1, Bogle was behind the 8-ball when the 2019 season started. However, in San Diego the rider from Oklahoma was set out to take advantage of the wild card conditions. Bogle ran second for over half of the 450 main event and after Roczen and Musquin passed him, he finished fourth.
Marvin Musquin talks about his knee injury: “I’m really happy because I don’t have anymore pain in the knee which feels awesome. I can do all the training I want during the week and just ride pain free so it’s a big plus. It was tough at the beginning for the first three rounds. I would say for the first two it was tough and for Anaheim 2 it was a lot better. Now that’s behind me and I’m totally focused on the training and the racing.”
Chad Reed has now made 18 starts in San Diego and won it six times (2003-2005, 2007-2008, & 2011). With his fifth place finish on Saturday he has 11 podiums, 14 top fives, and 16 top-10 finishes in those 18 starts.
After the first four rounds Eli Tomac didn’t look like the same guy that we were used to. He has played it smart and it seems like he’s been content to finish on the podium or even in the top five. We expected Tomac, Musquin and Roczen to be battling for wins at the first few rounds, but it wasn’t until round five when Tomac earned his first win of the year. The other two are still looking for the top spot. But their strategies seem to have worked out for the three of them. Tomac is now in the points lead and Marvin and Ken are close behind.
450 CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 5 OF 17)
- Eli Tomac-106
- Marvin Musquin-102
- Ken Roczen-102
- Cooper Webb-98
- Blake Baggett-80
- Dean Wilson-80
- Justin Barcia-74
- Aaron Plessinger-66
- Chad Reed-65
- Cole Seely-65
Shane McElrath salvaged some major points in San Diego. A thirteenth in the heat race forced Shane to go to the LCQ where he finished second. This gave him the twentieth gate pick for the main event. In the main, the KTM rider went down and picked his bike up in last place. Shane crossed the finish line in nineteenth on the first lap and charged through the pack to end the race fourth earning nineteen points and keep his title hopes alive.
Dylan Ferrandis leans back through the rolling whoop section. Dylan had a rough go in San Diego, the Yamaha rider was in third with only one corner left when his bike quit on him before he could cross the finish line. Luckily for Ferrandis, Adam lapped up to seventh place. Dylan was only passed by four riders which gave him seventh place in the 250 main.
Colt Nichols won the opening round of 2019 and he held the points lead in the 250 class up until San Diego, but a tenth place finish in the mud would drop the Yamaha rider to third in the championship.
250 POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 5 OF 10)
- Adam Cianciarulo-114
- Shane McElrath-106
- Colt Nichols-104
- Dylan Ferrandis-102
- Rj Hampshire-75
- Jimmy Decotis-73
- Cameron McAdoo-72
- Garrett Marchbanks-71
- Chris Close-70
- Jess Pettis-66
Colt Nichols had a rough go in San Diego, he was running in eighth at the beginning of the main event and a crash on lap five put the points leader in fifteenth. He passed a few riders but would only make it back to tenth.
Jess Pettis has continued to impress in 2019. At San Diego the Red Bull KTM 250 rider from Canada almost grabbed the holeshot and he stayed at the front of the pack to finish fifth place in the 250 main event.
The BarX Suzuki rider from Ecuador, Martin Castelo had a career best sixth place finish in San Diego. Martin’s deal with the BarX team was only to race the first five rounds of Supercross and now he is searching for another ride to finish out the season.
Dean Wilson said: “Wow!!! That was gnarly. Crashes and stalled four times. Could have probably beat me running around the track. Made it through the night tied for fifth in points. Phew happy to get that one out of the way. Complete quagmire.”
We were surprised to see the KTM Junior Challenge 50 riders attempt to race, it did not go very well and the best 50 riders only made it to the third corner before the whole class was stuck and they red called the race.