THE AFTERMATH | 2021 ORLANDO SUPERCROSS 2 | CRASHES HAPPENING LEFT & RIGHT
THE AFTERMATH | 2021 ORLANDO SUPERCROSS 2 | CRASHES HAPPENING LEFT AND RIGHT
Wet weather had engulfed Florida the days before round eight of the 2021 Supercross season but when it came time for qualifying, the sky had cleared and the sun came out. The track proved to be the driest we have seen this season, even receiving comparisons to Anaheim from many. The top base was slick while the bottom was hard-packed proving that the smoothest riders would become victorious by the end of the night. Qualifying had commenced and Jason Anderson, who’s very familiar with this kind of riding terrain, would score the fastest time in the 450 class. In the 250 class, we saw many factory riders who we expected to do well achieve very fast lap times, while we also saw several rookies go remarkably fast, most notably Seth Hammaker. The Pro Circuit rookie was qualifying in Group B but would end up having the second-fastest lap time out of all the 250s. Justin Cooper would score the fastest lap time in the lites and would prove later that the track conditions would play in his favor. The slick course was already knocking plenty of riders over left and right and this was only the beginning of the day.
When the Heats began, we certainly did not expect what the night was to become. Seth Hammaker quickly got the jump on the rest of the pack for the first 250 Heat race with teammates Cameron McAdoo and Jordon Smith on his tail. Cameron eventually passed the rookie and would end up finishing first and Seth in second. Jordon flew off the side of the track but regained a few positions back. In the second heat race, Jeremy Martin’s time on the Yamaha had looked like it paid off as the number 6 beat his teammate, Justin Cooper, for the second West Heat Race of the 2021 season. In the 450 class, we saw the likes of Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson take the win in both of their respective Heat races. These two are some of the smoothest riders in the premier class and with having spent a lot of time on the hard packed California test tracks, the two felt right at home.
But when the time came for the Main Events, stuff really started to get crazy. In Motocross Action’s “The Aftermath”, we look back and analyze exactly what went down in the eighth round of Monster Energy Supercross and dive into the details of the race while sharing our favorite photos from the event. MXA’s Brian Converse and Travis Fant were at the Orlando Supercross to capture all the action. Scroll down below to see all the chaos that happened at the second round of the Orlando Supercross.
Photos by Travis Fant and Brian Converse
COOPER WEBB GOES BACK-TO-BACK IN ORLANDO
The 2019 champ is starting to show some of that fight we once saw.
Cooper Webb would qualify exceptionally well all day long but did not have a very good Heat race result, finishing fourth behind his competitor Ken Roczen. However, Cooper’s luck was cut out for him as the Factory KTM rider would get an excellent start in the 450 Main Event, squeeze past Adam Cianciarulo, and take the win with precision riding. Where many were struggling in certain sections, Cooper had meticulously studied the lines and would hit every obstacle with skill. Cooper now sits only 6-points behind the red plate holder, Ken Roczen.
LITERAL CHAOS IN THE 250 MAIN
Here is what went down in the 250 Main Event: Justin Cooper would grab the holeshot alongside Jace Owen but in the back, Jeremy Martin would fail to make a double and get landed on by Stilez Robertson. Then, Alex Martin went down one straightaway later and required medical attention. One of the Alpinestars medical crew ran onto the track right in front of Cameron McAdoo and he slammed into him and Alex Martin as the leaders came by on lap two. The race would get red flagged and they’d have to restart. The Main Event took off again and Justin Cooper would grab the holeshot for the second time, lead, and win the race. And now for the real action. Jordon Smith would crash at the end of the whoops section and go headfirst into the double following. Seth Hammaker went down after running into the rear end of Garrett Marchbanks. Mitchell Harrison went over the bars over the berm and onto the other side. Jarrett Frye went down resulting in a microphone cable getting stuck in the rear wheel. On the last lap, Jace Owen flew into one of the yellow Leader poles and slammed into the ground. That’s a lot of crashes and it’s not even counting many of the other non-factory riders that had spills.
Nate Thrasher was fast around the Orlando track but would have a tough time in Qualifying all the way to the Main.
JUSTIN COOPER: LIKE A HOT KNIFE THROUGH BUTTER
It almost seemed like he wasn’t even trying.
We said the smoothest rider would prevail when the time came for the gate to drop and Justin’s exceptional riding would prove it. All day long, Justin effortlessly through down the fastest lap time and even during the races, rode very smooth. Justin grabbed two holeshots for the Main Event, the first being hard to tell whether or not Jace Owen got to the line first. But by time Justin got to the second turn he was already in the lead and would show his strength when in possession of first place. Justin checked out, rode his own race, and would win yet another Main Event for the Star Yamaha team.
THE POINTS GAP CLOSES UP IN THE 450S
Ken’s lead is smaller now with Cooper Webb knocking on his door.
There is no doubt that Ken Roczen was the fastest rider during the Main Event but when it comes to Supercross, starts are everything. The 94 got a terrible start, getting to the first turn all the way back in 13th. Ken would remarkably make up many positions throughout the race but with a field filled with elite 450 riders, each and every one of them would be challenging to pass. Ken made his way up to fifth place behind Adam Cianciarulo and Justin Barcia, but would spend way too much valuable time looking at their rear fenders. Adam Cianciarulo went down in the whoops section letting Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen by, but Ken would not make it on to the podium when the checkers flew. Ken walked into Orlando for the second time with a 13 points lead. Now, he sits with a very narrow 6-points. We can guarantee that the outcome of Saturday’s race would have been different had Ken gotten a better start, but starts are a part of racing as much as getting over obstacles the fastest.
EVEN COOPER WEBB CRASHED AT ONE POINT
SAME SAME, BUT DIFFERENT (TRACK)
The layout remained the same, with very slight tweaks.
When the rain hit hard in the middle of the week, Dirt Wurx made the executive decision to pull the plug on the track revamp as the rain and mud made it too difficult to get the heavy machinery around the track. The track remained the same layout as round 7, but with a handful of tweaks to the rhythm sections. All of the riders in the post-race Press Conference expressed that they were disappointed that the track hadn’t changed but understand that Dirt Wurx was dealt a difficult hand.
450 SX CLASS:
Cooper Webb’s excellent and precise riding paid off as he grabbed the lead in the Main Event and won the race. Cooper now sits just 6 points behind his competitor, Ken Roczen. Who will come out victorious in two weeks when the racers head to Daytona?
Marvin Musquin may have been overlooked during the Main Event because nothing really exciting happened to the French rider, but don’t be mistaken that the 25 rode fantastically in the Main. Sometimes the least interesting races are the ones where the rider doesn’t have to struggle to finish where they did in the race. Marvin made the pass on Adam CIanciarulo after Adam went down and proceeded to hold onto second place for the remainder, finishing close behind Cooper Webb.
Justin Barcia heard Ken knocking on his door, but the 51 has proven before to be quite difficult to pass. Justin didn’t let Ken by the entire race and would finish in third place.
Ken may have gotten a terrible start but the comeback that the 94 made was quite impressive. Unfortunately, his competitors at the front of the race were difficult to get by unless a huge mistake was made and Ken would struggle to make it happen by time the race ended. Ken salvaged an incredible amount of points had he not put on a massive charge through the premier class.
In timed qualifying, we saw Jason ride exceptional and we got a hunch that this would be a top 5 night for the 21. It turned out our hunch was correct as El Hombre finished in fifth place. If more of the races are hard-packed like this one was, we can expect to see Jason Anderson up there in the pack.
250 SX CLASS:
If everyone that was in contention for the championship got injured during the first round, then we may expect Justin Cooper to be a regular on top of the box. Justin’s level of riding just appeared to be above everyone else’s in the first round and many prospect riders that we thought would do well, crashed.
Cameron McAdoo won his Heat Race and was looking good heading into the Main Event. Once the Main started, he sat right behind Justin Cooper until the red flag was waved. Alex Martin was laying on the whoops section, a section of the track the riders hadn’t even gotten to yet. The Alpinestars Medical Crew and track Marshall ran onto the track to aid and protect Alex. It was an unfortunate situation. The red flag was being waved already, but the leaders hadn’t seen it yet. The medic knew the red flag was out so he ran onto the track and the lead riders who hadn’t seen the flag yet, thought they were still racing. Cameron had nowhere to go and ran into the medic and Alex.
Garrett Marchbanks had made it clear that he was out for redemption at Orlando. Stating that he was extremely displeased with not keeping his factory ride from the year prior and that no factory team would give him an opportunity for 2021. Garrett joined ClubMX for the Supercross season. Garrett rode very well throughout the Main Event and finished in third place.
Jalek Swoll put the Factory Husqvarna upfront in the top five and finished in fourth place in the Main Event.
Hunter Lawrence has been plagued with injuries for the past couple of years and has struggled to do well in Supercross. Being back on the bike, Hunter finished in a respectable fifth place in the Main Event.
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Cooper Webb via Press Release: “This one is huge, back-to-back wins is amazing! It was a great race battling with AC [Cianciarulo] and great points for tonight. Marvin was riding great. I knew he was coming there at the end and I know how strong he is because we ride and train together every day. I felt like start to finish I was in my comfort zone just clicking laps away and it felt really good. KTM going one and two is incredible, this is an awesome feeling.”
Marvin Musquin via Press Release: “It feels really good to be running up front. The whoops started to be very tough so I was trying to be careful but at the same time I wanted to gain time on Cooper. I felt like I was a little bit quicker at one point but I didn’t want the track to bite me and go down. At least I had a great feeling out there. I want to thank the team for their hard work, I felt better today.”
Justin Barcia via Press Release: “It was a tough day for sure, I had a crash in practice and kind of destroyed myself. I had to regroup and I felt like I got a little bit better. We made a lot of changes on the bike for the Main Event and I got off to a great start. I picked my speed up at the end of the race and I got into a flow, which was cool. For how the morning went, to be up on the podium was a solid race. Obviously, I want a lot more out of myself but it will be nice to have a week off, regroup and get the body right before heading to Daytona, which I’m excited for.”
Ken Roczen via Instagram: “That was some fun racing last night. Yeah, I lost some points but I’m not the one being in the points deficit. Have some room to play with! Unfortunately, I picked the wrong gate last night. Once the 250s were done they moved the tuff blocks and then I noticed that my rut was messed up and had a big kicker in it. Gate dropped and I fed my clutch and my front wheel hit it dead on causing me to really lift up and kind of deflected my handlebars. 22nd around the first turn and 17th around the second turn made for an intense main event. I’m leaving on a high note as I feel like I was riding well and I had a lot of fun. Ultimately I wish I could have eliminated a couple of mistakes and made the pass on Eli stick on the first try as I feel like I could have gotten to the podium. Good battles throughout the night though.”
Jason Anderson via Press Release: “My night was a lot better,” Anderson said. “I had a good practice and ended up P1, had a good battle in the heat race and got first in that. In the Main Event, I kind of had a bad start and worked my way up to fifth. I’m getting better and feeling better, so hopefully we’ll have an even better weekend in Daytona.”
Justin Cooper via Press Release: “It feels awesome to get the win. That’s definitely the way you want to start the series. I had a foot injury coming in, so I was a little bit nervous about that, not having enough time on the bike, but it all started out well. I was fastest in all of the practice sessions. I just didn’t have my starts down. We didn’t really practice too many of those at home, so that was a struggle until the Main Event. Luckily, we pulled it off twice, so I’d say they came around at the right time. It was good to get out of this place safe. There’s always a lot of hype around the season opener. You don’t really want to throw away the championship at the first round. I got myself in a good position where I could ride my own race and was able to take it easy to the finish line. It was a pretty perfect night for me. I’m excited to keep building on tonight and getting stronger since I didn’t have much time to prep for this round. I want to be on the podium every weekend and do the best I can. I’m glad to have a weekend off before Daytona. We can definitely work on some things to be a little bit stronger heading into the second round.”
Garrett Marchbanks via Press Release: “Feeling really grateful right about now.. About 8 months ago I was dealing with a knee injury and wasn’t sure if I would be making it back to the races on a team. So I want to give a huge thank you to Brandon and the whole Club Mx team for believing in me and for this amazing bike underneath me. I will continue to do my best and make you all proud!!”
Jalek Swoll via Press Release: “It was a pretty decent night. The heat race was a little hectic and I got shuffled back a bit and finished sixth. That didn’t set me up for a very good gate pick in the Main Event but I made the best of it. I felt like toward the end of the moto I started coming around but by that point it was kind of too late. I’m a little disappointed but we’ll be back next weekend.”
Max Anstie via Instagram: “Nice to be under the lights racing my first ever 450SX event! Was a dream to ride in to the stadium with the best supercross riders in the world. I came into this race without much preparation time so to leave with some points on the board and laps under my belt was all I could ask for. Myself and the team will get to work and make progress and I’m looking forward to Daytona in 2 weeks!”