THE AFTERMATH | 2021 ORLANDO SUPERCROSS | RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
THE AFTERMATH: 2021 ORLANDO SUPERCROSS RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
After the riders were finished with the extremely cold rounds in Indianapolis, they all looked forward to the sunny state of Florida as they finally get to leave their trailers without having to worry about frost-bite. But what they probably weren’t expecting was the huge thunderstorm that was approaching Orlando just off the coast of Florida. The thunderstorm was advancing on Camping World Stadium and with no sign of letting up, would end up downpouring on the Supercross track. Thankfully Dirt Wurx had anticipated the weather and decided to cancel press day practice to cover almost the entire track with tarps. The thunderstorm and showers would continue throughout the night and into the morning of race day resulting in the riders missing the first practice sessions. However, the sky had cleared up right before timed qualifying began and the riders were fortunate to participate in both sessions.
In timed qualifying, the first session was quite “soupy” with the track being slick, wet, and fairly muddy. Some riders like Christian Craig went full force into the first session, acting like the muddy conditions had no effect on them. But when the time came for the second session, the sun had been baking the Orlando dirt quite a bit and the track was actually turning out to be fairly decent. In fact, the dirt only continued to get better as the night went on. In the second session, both Adam Cianciarulo and Christian Craig would get the fastest lap times as they got ready for the Heats.
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 Brian Converse and Travis Fant were at the Orlando Supercross to capture all the action.
Photos by Travis Fant and Brian Converse
COOPER WEBB STOLE THE THUNDER BUT NOT THE RED PLATE
See what we did there, the pun.
There is no doubt that Cooper Webb has been on his game this season as he currently sits second in points under rival, Ken Roczen. It all started in the qualifying sessions as with years previously, Cooper Webb had been one to qualify well but never near the top of the pack. This year, the Factory KTM rider now has been seen running near the top every round in lap times. Cooper has struggled to perform exceptional in the Heats but when it’s time for the Main, the number 2 can usually be seen battling up front and Orlando was nothing short of this. Cooper got a decent start but wasn’t in the lead when the gate dropped in Orlando. However after Zach Osborne gave the lead away to competitors Justin Brayton, Ken Roczen, and eventually himself, Cooper set his eyes on the two Honda riders. In one swift move, Cooper made the pass on the two leaders and would remain in possession of the lead for the remainder of the race. Ken put a hard charge on Cooper but it was too little too late as Cooper would cross the checkers in front of the 94. Cooper now sits 13 points behind Ken.
KEN ROCZEN HOLDS ON TO POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND PLACE FINISH
It was a close battle between Ken and Cooper.
Ken rode well all day long in Camping World Stadium but when the time came for the Main Event, he would have a couple of hiccups that would cost him the win. After the two made the pass on Zach Osborne through the whoops, both Justin Brayton and Ken would battle for the lead. However, Ken would be held up by the Muc-Off rider through one of the rhythm sections letting Cooper Webb make the pass on the two Hondas. Ken would then make short work of Brayton and put the charge on Cooper. Ken rode great but Cooper rode just slightly better. The two had sections where they would make up time but the smallest little mistakes would slow down Ken. Cooper never left the sight of the 94 though as Ken was always within a second and a half behind but put the final charge too late in the race and would cross the checkers in second.
The Fun Spot is right here.
ZACH OSBORNE HAS FIRST SEASON PODIUM
Zach Osborne would get his first podium of the season.
Zach Osborne got a fantastic start to the Main Event but would lose some of his fire as the race went on, losing several positions including Justin Barcia after nearly crashing in the whoops. Justin put a hard charge on Ken Roczen’s rear fender but how work was not cut out for him later in the race. In the whoops again, Justin Barcia would have the save of the night as the GasGas rider would get bucked off his bike, run next to it for about ten feet, and then hop back on. This mistake gave Zach the opportunity to make the pass and finish in third place.
JETT LAWRENCE BEATS THE STAR BOYS
Jett looked good throughout the day but we had anticipated it would be a Star Yamaha night.
The top runners in the 250 East division qualified well as usual and from the looks of it, it was going to be a Star Yamaha night with how fast the lap times were getting between Christian Craig and Colt Nichols. When the gate dropped for the Main Event, Jett Lawrence would snag the holeshot and lead the entire race with Colt Nichols on his tail. The championship may be out of sight for the Australian rider but that doesn’t mean he can’t ride well.
It’s cool to see competitors talking about the race next to the podium.
THE GAP GET TIGHTER HEADING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Colt Nichols still holds on to the red plate.
Colt Nichols would finish in second place when the night came to an end but the gap between himself and teammate Christian Craig gets smaller as the two finished right after each other in the Main Event. Christian Craig qualified the fastest in timed qualifying but in his Heat Race would have a nasty crash resulting in an injured wrist and a ticket to the LCQ. Christian finished first in the LCQ but given the circumstances, things weren’t looking up for the 29. Once the gate dropped in the Main Event, Jett grabbed the holeshot followed by Colt Nichols, and Christian a few riders back. Christian made quick work of those in front of him but would not be able to catch his teammate in second place. Despite being injured, the fact that he continued to ride exceptional meant that he was able to salvage a serious amount of points and with Colt getting second, the damage dealt, was minimized. Now, Colt sits eight points ahead of his teammate, and with 2 months off from racing, we expect Christian to fully heal up and the battle for the championship between the Star Yamaha riders to be epic.
450 SX CLASS
Cooper had a fantastic night in Orlando. He may not have gotten the greatest start in the Main Event but none of that mattered as his precise riding and quick thinking landed him in the first place position. He remained to hold onto the first place spot in the race and finish on top of the podium.
Ken rode amazing in Orlando but just did not quite meet the level of riding Cooper was riding at. Ken still finished in second place and would hold onto the 13 points lead.
Zach got the best possible start in the Main Event but drop down to fourth place after making a mistake in the whoops and losing third to Justin Barcia. Then, with 3/4s of the race finished, Justin Barcia would fumble through the whoops, saving it, but let Zach Osborne by and a spot on the podium.
Justin Barcia had a great comeback of a night after crashing hard in the previous round. Justin moved up to third place and was closing the door on Ken Roczen but would make a mistake in the whoops section costing him a podium position. Justin Barcia was quick on his feet and may his way back on the bike and into fourth place at the finish line.
Eli Tomac won his Heat Race but would not be so fortunate during the Main. Eli didn’t get a very good start sitting all the way back in eighth and with the field being so tight, would only manage to maneuver his way through three positions landing him in fifth place.
250 SX CLASS
Jett Lawrence had another first place finish in the 2021 season. Even though the championship may be out of the question, it is still good to see the young rider put it all out there when the gate drops.
Colt Nichols rode well but could not make the pass on Jett Lawrence. Finishing in second may only gain him a small points lead on Christian Craig but he still remains with red plate in hand.
Christian has shown us that some of the toughest battles are won on your worst nights. Christian would injure his wrist in his Heat Race but would redeem himself after having a very respectable third place finish in the Main. Now on an eight-week break, we hope the 29 can heal up in time for the final racing in Salt Lake City and make the championship chase even closer.
It’s hard to name a rider more consistent than Jo Shimoda in the 2021 season. With another fourth place finish under his belt, Jo remains to be one of the smoothest 250 riders in the sport. However, his starts have not been quite dialed in and the minute he figures out how to start in front of the pack consistently, we can expect more podium finishes.
Another very consistent rider is Mitchell Oldenburg, Mitchell hasn’t been very consistent with his starts. When Mitchell gets ahead of the pack, he remains upfront for a while but we often see that his energy seems to die off. Mitchell has what it takes for a podium finish but where he slows down in other sections, the four in front charge hard. Mitchell finished in fifth place, another respectable finish for the Muc-Off Honda team.
WORDS FROM RIDERS:
Cooper Webb via Press Release: “It was a great race tonight, we were one and two for pretty much the whole thing, tooth and nail. It was a tough race, the track really broke down a lot, especially from the beginning laps and it’s definitely a little different when you are leading the majority of the Main Event. I made a few mistakes those last few and Kenny caught up, but I was able to get it done and man does it feel good.”
Jett Lawrence via Instagram: “That’s more like it! Great night for me and the team. Can’t thank Honda Racing, Christien Ducharme, and all the boys enough for their hard work. It’s been a battle since Indy 2 trying to get back healthy so this felt good. Much love to all the fans and everyone who stopped by and tagged me appreciate you guys.”
Ken Roczen via Instagram: “Orlando was a good time! Unfortunately not enough for the win but I m still happy to leave with a 2nd. Looking forward to next weekend’s race already Thanks Team for the support and the fun on a weekend basis”
Colt Nichols via Press Release: “I was just a touch off of Christian all day in practice. I was able to get the heat race win, which was nice. I got to line up where I wanted on the gate. I just didn’t quite execute the start as well as I wanted to. Jett (Lawrence) got ahead of me and was able to control the inside. So that was kind of the race right there. The track was a little difficult to pass on, and it was so slick. The moisture started to come up, and it got slicker and slicker as the night went on. So that made it tough. But overall, I can’t complain. I got some points in second place, and that’s always a good thing. I just was a little bummed about my riding. I felt really flat at the beginning of the race. I didn’t have much intensity there, so that’s why I was a little frustrated. We’ve got a long break now, so I’m going to try to enjoy things and get some outdoor riding and come back swinging in a few months.”
Zach Osborne via Press Release: “It feels so good to get back on the podium and kind of find some mojo tonight. It felt good to get a start, that’s where I have really been struggling. It felt so good to get out there out front, getting in some clean air and breathe a little bit. I am super grateful to be up here.”
Christian Craig via Press Release: “The weekend started off great. I qualified first. I loved this track, everything about it. The dirt was hard-packed, just like the test track, so I was feeling so good. I got off to a good start in the heat race, and then on the second lap, some sort of little case turned into a big fall. I’m sure everyone has seen it on TV. I banged up my hand pretty good. I wasn’t sure I was even going to race, but we had it taped up by Dr. G. and had to grit it out. I knew I had to do what I could to get through tonight. We have 10 weeks after this, so I can heal up then. I was able to get out to a good start from way on the outside in the Main. I got into third quick and stayed with Colt for a lot of the race. Then I had some sketchy moments, so I backed it off and finished third. I only lost two points to Colt. After the Heat race, if you would have told me I’d get third, I would have been jumping up and down. It was a win in my books after that crash. We’ve got a long break, so we’re going to heal up and get ready for Salt Lake.”
Justin Barcia via Press Release: “It was a bummer mistake in the whoops that really cost me the podium. I pushed as hard as I could to try to get the pass on him but wasn’t able to get it done. I definitely know I have the speed, I just need to put everything together and move on from it. It was a little frustrating but it was good riding and I’m healthy and ready to move onto the next Orlando.”
Jo Shimoda via Instagram: “Orlando P4 on the night… I slipped off the start and didn’t get good start and I was riding ok and starting catch little bit but about lap 15 I got mistake on whoops which knock the wind out of me couldn’t breathe for couple corners, but we have now two months till next one and just have to be better.”
FROM WEATHER NIGHTMARE TO TEST TRACK CONDITIONS:
Fortunately for the riders, the unpredictable weather shaped up to amazing riding conditions. Here are some pictures of the track while it was getting prepped for the racing.
But the racing continued in Orlando and will next weekend when the 250 West riders join the series!