THE AFTERMATH: CHAOS AT THE 2ND ROUND AT INDY SUPERCROSS
THE AFTERMATH: CHAOS AT THE 2ND INDIANAPOLIS SUPERCROSS
Confused about what went down in Indy? Well, there was a lot that happened in such a short night of racing, and most of it happened so quickly, you might have missed it. But the day started normal similar to the previous Tuesday Supercross round held in Houston. With a later schedule so that people are able to view the races after they get off of work, qualifying started near the evening as the day began. Colt Nichols had secured the fastest qualifying times in both timed sessions while Ken Roczen scored the overall fastest time of the day. The two were going to make a big impact later as the day went on and the Heats began.
When the heats started, we weren’t expecting the kind of confusion and chaos that was to begin especially in the 250 class. From top riders taking soil samples to confusion about who AMA should allow on the gate, round five of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross was not to forget, and maybe not for all the right reasons. 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 Trevor Nelson was at the Indianapolis Supercross to capture all the action.
Photos by Trevor Nelson
Words by Trevor Nelson
KEN ROCZEN GOES FOR TWO IN A ROW
The 2021 season is looking bright for the 94 of Ken Roczen.
Ken Roczen would again have an extremely strong day in Indianapolis as he walks away with an even further lead in the points hunt. Ken dominated the qualifying times as well as his heat race, and the Main. We’ve said it before, but if Ken manages to stay this healthy, this may be the year where he grabs the 450 championship.
COLT NICHOLS WITH THREE WINS
Style for days.
Yes this is the finish line photo. If you are wondering where the giant fireball is and the sick NacNac Colt Nichols is known for, well there wasn’t one, unfortunately. As all the photographers lined up with two laps left, Colt Nichols crossed the finish line and the checkers flew, early. Either the white flag never flew or they waved the checkered flag early, there was obviously some miscommunication between AMA and the person in charge of the flags at the finish line. However, don’t let this little mishap distract you from the fact that Colt Nichols’ speed is still pretty insane. After making the pass on Michael Mosiman due to an unfortunate rider crashing in front of the 42, Colt held onto the lead for the remainder of the race. In fact, the leaders started putting down such fast laps that they managed to lap the guy in fifth place. This is the bummer of having so many of the top East Coast riders injured, the fast guys make quick work of everyone. Colt continues to hold onto the red plate as his teammate Christian Craig rides in second place in the points chase.
MITCHELL OLDENBURG MAKES THE MAIN EVENT DUE TO AMA COMPLICATION
Now, this is where things get really complicated.
In his heat race, Mitchell Oldenburg would have a huge get off due to his bike stalling midflight catapulting the Muc-Off Honda rider. Miraculously, Mitchell wasn’t hurt so the team took the loss and headed straight to fitting a new engine in his frame by the time the LCQ came around, which was about 45-50 minutes to put into perspective how fast some of these mechanics are. With a new engine in his steed, Mitchell rode up to the gate for the LCQ expecting to get on the line, however, the problems were far from being over. Both the team and AMA are already lined up behind the start gate discussing the issue of the suspiciously low amount of time it took for the team to swap out Mitchell’s engine. Thinking that the team had a secondary bike ready at hand due to the lack of documentation (frame sticker) on the bike Mitchell was currently sitting on, AMA decided to pull him off the start. The one thing AMA did not have in their database was the updated frame sticker for Micthell’s bike, which hadn’t received a new frame sticker since Houston. So AMA had assumed there was no possible way the team was able to switch out the engine and with no updated frame sticker they pulled Mitchell off the gate.
The team went back to the semi with AMA and displayed their evidence. They showed the engine that they replaced, the work they had done, and the fact there was no other bike they could have it replaced it with as they only had one bike with them. The bike you qualify on is the one you race on. Realizing their mistake, AMA allowed Mitchell to gear up and go down to the starting line where he would take the 23rd spot (second row) in the Main Event and start behind the rest of the competition. Due to even more complications, Jett Lawrence decided to preserve his current health condition due to multiple crashes throughout the day and not race the Main Event. This gave Mitchell the opportunity to line up on the gate with the rest of the competition. However, you may be wondering why Bobby Piazza, who got 5th in the LCQ, was not allowed to take Jett’s gate spot. The only rule that allows alternates within a race is in triple crown formats, not regular competition. This would prevent Bobby Piazza from obtaining Jett’s gate position. It is understandable to get upset as to the reason why Bobby wasn’t allowed in the Main Event but unfortunately, these rules only apply to triple headers, the reason why they don’t apply to all race formats is unknown. The night wasn’t over for Oldenburg though as he would yet again experience bike malfunctions in the Main Event. Now that all these complications are over, we hope that AMA can take this experience and adapt it properly to future races because yes, it was a bunch of weird circumstances and it can certainly be argued that it could have gone a lot smoother than it did.
Here’s Mitchell’s take on the events:
JETT LAWRENCE HAS A ROUGH DAY
It was tough watching what Jett went through the entire day.
Jett Lawrence might have had one of the unluckiest days this season so far as the young rider would be plagued with crashes, tough luck, and a tough decision not to race. Jett had suffered a nasty crash right at the beginning of the day in practice when he went through whoops, got sideways, and the handlebars smacked him in the face resulting in him landing on his shoulder hard. In the first heat, Jett would make contact with a tuff block, that we will also go over, and makes more contact with the ground as he yet again hits his face and shoulder. Jett would gather enough strength to line up at the LCQ and race, however it was easy to notice that he was in a lot of pain, shaking his shoulder after winning. Jett lined up at the Main Event but walk away so that he would not suffer more injuries and cost himself the season. Personally, we think this was wise of him to do because if the Honda rider got injured, there would only be a couple top 250 riders left in the season. Here’s what Jett had to say about the day:
KILLER TUFF BLOCK. WHY?
Do you see that tuff block just left of Dylan Ferrandis in the pic? Do you see the race line going straight for it? Probably a bad place to put one.
One weird question we had all day is, “Why would you put that there?” We understand that some kind of protection should be needed for where the mechanics stand at the beginning of the race but a tuff block on the base of a landing? Bad idea. This one single tuff block would be the omen for many throughout the day as their bikes would catch it when they’re on the gas. Jett Lawrence’s second big crash occurred on this very tuff block and granted, he did land on it. But there was no indication a tuff block would have made its way several feet onto the track. In fact, the single tuff block was causing such a hindrance to riders, they just removed it by the start of the 250 and 450 Main Events.
450 SX CLASS
Ken managed to stay lower than anyone else on the Over-Under shaving off time on his laps. Once again, Ken’s performance throughout the day would be dominant on the rest of the 450 field. Ken may have missed the holeshot this go around but would shortly pass Justin Barcia a lap later and hold onto the lead for the rest of the race.
Justin Barcia would finally get the start that he needed in Indy 2. The GasGas rider has shown that once he gets a good start, he is very much capable of staying upfront with the rest of the pack. Justin would lose his lead to Ken after the opening lap but would hold onto his second place spot in the race.
Eli Tomac had another successful night and would finish in third place. The 2020 champ may be a little behind Ken in the points chase but consistent top 5’s will certainly help with catching up.
Cooper Webb would finish in fourth widening the gap between himself and points leader Ken Roczen.
Aaron Plessinger has secretly been having a fantastic season. Aaron got an amazing start and would finish fifth in the Main Event.
250 SX CLASS
Colt Nichols once again showing that his brief hiatus from racing to heal from an injury may have been beneficial as he’s hit the ground running this season. Now with four rounds left, will he be able to hold onto the red plate or will teammate Christian Craig take it?
Christian’s battle for the 250 championship has been extended over multiple years and this year seems like it may be the one. However, his teammate is currently his toughest competition in the points chase.
Michael Mosiman said last weekend that he has the race pace to keep up with the Star Yamaha boys and he showed it loud and clear in Indy 2. Unfortunately, a lapper would crash in front of him resulting in a loss in positions after leading the race but would still get a third by the end of the night.
We cannot ignore the huge comeback that Jo Shimoda had after getting caught in the first turn pileup. After being dead last, Jo made his way all the way up to an extremely impressive fourth place! What a ride!
Grant Harlan finished in a very respectable fifth place.
As my first time being allowed on the floor of Supercross, not all photographers are allowed to be on the track during opening ceremonies. However, this didn’t deter me from getting a couple of photos while they commenced.
Adam waiting for his moment of fame.
Jordan Troxell holding up the board as Ken goes by.
The Indianapolis skyline through the giant windows of the stadium.
Teammates rubbing during the start of the 250 Main.
A collection of helmets lining a large wall inside.
That probably didn’t feel too good.
A panorama of the track when only a few people were inside.
Okay this was pretty cool. Vince taking the super low-aggressive line.
A mechanic sitting by himself in the stands.
Ken right after finishing the Main.
Here are some interesting black and whites I’ve always wanted to take pictures of. The emptiness of an early morning stadium provided interesting lines and lighting.
Y’ALL LIKE RUTS?
Might be hard to tell but this is the whoops at the end of the night. What line are you choosing?