THE AFTERMATH: PENALTIES, CRASHES & SUCCESS STORIES AT 2021 HOUSTON SUPERCROSS 2
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
Ken Roczen would’ve been the points leader, but now he sits fifth in points, three behind Justin Barcia.
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
At some point during the 450 Main Event, Justin Barcia lost his shift lever and was forced to circulate the track in first gear.
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
He might not be old enough to vote, but he sure does know how to ride a dirtbike.
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
Many riders met their fate in the short sand section.
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.”
Martin Davalos taking the plunge.
Chase Sexton didn’t land in the sand, he lawn darted himself onto the second jump in the rhythm section after he swapped in the sand section.
DYLAN FERRANIDS SCORES FIRST 450 PODIUM
For his second time racing in the premier class, Dylan would sit on the box by the end of the night.
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
The Australian Honda team has earned a 450 Supercross podium in their second year of racing in America. Last year they were called the Penrite Honda team.
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
The 450 class decided to play pinball in the first turn.
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:
Eli stated with all of his competitors running out of luck, it was easier to race with clean air in front of him.
Dylan Ferranids would leave the night with a second place trophy in hand as his consistent riding throughout the day and his competitors’ downfall would pay off. This was Dylan’s second-ever race in the premier class and he’s already sitting on the podium.
Justin Brayton’s third place finish was huge for the Muc-Off Honda team, and the podium finish was his first time on the box in three years.
We may have seen the real Cooper Webb come out last night. He didn’t get the best of starts in the Main, but proceeded to race everyone in front of him and passed up to fourth at the checkers.
Ken Roczen would finish in fifth place however he would be deducted points for jumping with the Red Cross flag out.
Marvin Musquin got a great start but like many before him, would fall victim to the sand section.
Malcolm Stewart has been very consistent with his top 10 finishes so far whether it’s heat races or Main Events. Malcolm finished in seventh place during the night show.
Jason Anderson finished in eighth place but would also suffer the consequences that Ken Roczen had for jumping during the Red Cross flags being waved. Four riders were penalized for jumping the Red Cross flags, was the flag visible to all of them?
Despite having no shifter, Justin Barcia would salvage a ninth place finish.
Christian Craig versus Jett Lawrence on the opening lap of the 250 Heat race. Craig got close but Lawrence narrowly held onto his lead and went on to win his first Heat race and eventually his first Main Event.
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.
Jett Lawrence had a lot of crashes during his rookie season and even at the season opener, he made some big mistakes. This time, at Round 2, Jett Lawrence was smooth and steady out front in his Heat race and Main Event.
250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS ROUND 2 of 9
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Marvin Musquin via Press Release: “I got a great start in the Main Event, which was once again the key. I was right there and felt like I was going to have a good race but unfortunately, I crashed in the sand, it was really tricky. I got up and lost so many positions but I tried to fight back and make up the most points possible but there’s not much to say about sixth place. It’s tough but you have to stay on two wheels and stay up front.”
Cooper Webb via Press Release:“It was a bit of an up-and-down night. I was still trying to find a really good setting for me that I liked and I kind of struggled throughout the day. I didn’t have a great start in the main but at the end I really started going. I made some late passes, got a few gifts and ended up fourth. It’s not what we want but it’s still early in the points and we’ll rebound. There’s still room for improvement to get me more comfortable on the bike and with that I think this week we’ll be right there where we need to be.”
Justin Brayton via Press Release: “I am so pumped to have got onto the podium in the second round. These podiums are not easy to come by when there are 15 factory riders who are all capable of being on the podium in any given night, so I am going to cherish this moment and continue to chase for podiums throughout the rest of the championship. We definitely have the speed, we just need to stay consistent with our good starts. With how fast everyone is going now, there are tenths between us so it is vital to get a good start every round. ”
Zach Osborne via Press Release: “I just felt really supreme all day and things were easy for me. I had a good heat race, felt really good gelling with the track, and in the Main Event the same thing. With two to go, I just pushed the front in a rut and there she went. It’s a big mistake that veterans like myself typically shouldn’t and wouldn’t make so it’s disappointing and frustrating but I’m healthy and safe and my bike is really on point right now so I’m happy to come back and give it another go on Saturday.”
Ken Roczen via Press Release: “This was a bit of a tough one for us. We didn’t get good starts again, which I have to figure out, and that made life on this kind of track very difficult. I came around in maybe 17th and had to fight my way up, eating roost the whole time. The track deteriorated very quickly and it was a long main event, but we made the most of it and salvaged fifth place. There was an incident with the Red Cross flag where I got docked four championship points, which I’m in disagreement with, as my view to the flag was blocked by Dylan [Ferrandis]. I think a warning or a fine would’ve been appropriate for the simple reason that I have never been involved in an incident with jumping on a red cross flag; I just don’t think the situation was as clear as they made it out to be. I’m a little bit frustrated about it because we would’ve had the Red Plate, but at the same time, it is what it is. We’re just going to look forward to Saturday and make the best of it.”
Jett Lawrence via Press Release: “Everything just clicked together really well. Qualifying was really good–I was consistent, finishing third in the first one and second in the next. I was struggling with the track then, but when it came to the heat race, everything just clicked together really nicely. I got a really good start and controlled the lead. I had that adrenaline going after my first heat win, and going into the main event I was trying to stay calm. I nailed my start, and the rest is history. I just clicked off laps, and it felt like a video game. I had such a good flow and was doing everything with ease, almost; I was relaxed, and it felt like a practice day. I couldn’t ask for a better day.”
Chase Sexton via Press Release: “The day started off pretty good. I had pretty good practice qualifiers and was second in both of them. I got my first heat-race win in my second race on a 450, which was good. In the main event, I got a good start and was really feeling good out front—in control and hitting my marks really well. 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 Ferrandis via Press Release: “I never expected this race. It’s a big surprise to be here on the podium, honestly. I always work really hard and it looks like it paid off. I gave everything I had all the way to the checkered flag. We had to think a lot on the bike to be creative and find new lines and to try and do some different things on track to be better. I wasn’t trying to rush anything and some guys made mistakes. I was on a good pace and finished second, which is unbelievable. A big thanks to my team that has put in so many hours for me in the last few weeks because I couldn’t ride before. We had to do a lot of stuff in those last two weeks before the race. So it’s unbelievable to be here.”
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.”
Christian Craig spoke about his race:“It was a pretty eventful Main Event. It’s cool to have these red plates. I’ve never been in this situation before, so I didn’t know what to expect. But yeah, it’s awesome. The Main Event started okay. I came around mid-pack and then went to work on passing people. I ended up getting Colt midway through, and then two riders went down. I had to manage a couple of things throughout the race. In the last three or four laps, I made some mistakes, and Colt got by me. I finished third, so I can’t be too mad, but on the other hand, I need to fix those mistakes for Saturday. It’s a quick turn around again. We’ve still got the red plate, which I’m happy about, and maintained some of our points lead. I’m ready to move on to Saturday now.”
Colt Nichols’ race in his own words: “Tonight was pretty good overall. I got second, so I can’t really complain about that because I got some good points. I just didn’t execute the start like I needed to compete for the win, I’m kind of kicking myself for that. I need to be a little better at the beginning of the Main. The track broke down really well, and once it started to break down, I felt like I rode well. It just took too long to get going, and I was too far back to do anything for the win. I need to work on that, and we’ll be good to go to try and get a win. We’ll be better on Saturday.”
Michael Mosiman said: “Getting a heat race win and a fourth on the night is a huge step in the right direction. I’m excited it’s my first heat race win! It feels good to come across the line first, so I’m hoping for a lot more of that shortly. When you’re riding good everything else just comes easy and is fun.”
Mitchell Oldenburg’s race in his own words: “Tonight was so much better for me, I feel more relaxed on the bike and that showed in the main event when I was able to get a good start and get inside the top six. I know I am riding well, I definitely have the speed and drive to move forward, I just made a small mistake which set me back. I was glad I was able to come through the back to seventh after having to pick the bike back up. It is still a good place to be in at this point in the season so I can build on that for the third round. I am so pumped for Brayton to get onto the podium, that was cool to see!”