Monday 17th December: Tracks Closed.

10 Things from Oakland

USA Supercross 2015

maddix park mx

www.motocrossactionmag.com

OAKTRACKSXONThe Oakland Coliseum track.

(1) CONFRONTATION: “You never want to be involved in a confrontation, especially with someone that you looked up to your whole life,” said Trey Canard on the podium after winning the Oakland Supercross. It was an olive branch to Chad Reed and a nice thing to say. But Canard didn’t have to be nice to anyone because he was on the top step. Canard wasn’t even in the top five on lap one, but but motored his way to the lead before the halfway mark. He even had the opportunity to pay Chad Reed back for last week’s “love tap” when he turned under Chad at the finish line jump and had a wheel on him up the face. Reed’s brain must have been reeling with thoughts about what would happen if Canard just gave him a little shove before the lip of the jump. Under the circumstance, it would have been considered fair play and a “racing incident.” Canard, to his credit, didn’t retaliate for last week and let Chad live to fight another day.

OAKLCHADChad throws up a wall of sand in practice.

(2) FUELED BY ANGER: Oakland proves that Chad Reed was sleep walking through the first couple rounds. He wasn’t a player at A1 or Phoenix and although he looked like a player at A2, he wasn’t going forward anymore when he came together with Canard (and got black flagged). Chad could easily have been relegated out of A2’s top five by races end. But, the AMA disqualification “awoke a sleeping giant” and, fueled by anger, a new Reed (well, really the old Reed) showed up in Oakland. He knocked Millsaps out of qualifying position in his 450 heat race and got a third place start in the 450 Main, which he quickly turned into a second by passing Roczen. Skippy held second all the way to lap 16 when Dungey pushed him back to third (actually Dungey had nothing to do with it, as Reed jumped off the track and landed in the infield…twice). All in all, a good night for Chad and the 20 points he earned, although not making up for the 25 he lost at A2, squeaked him back into the top ten — albeit 40 points out of first.

KEN ROCZEN’S OAKLAND CRASH

(3) KEN’S LOOK BACK: Don’t confuse Ken Roczen’s 16th place finish with a poor performance (except over one jump). Roczen’s crash came about because he dove to the inside of Chad Reed in a left-hand turn that led to a big gap. Whether Kenny was spooked by what Reed might do in the corner, or his inside line killed his momentum, from the instant Ken left the lip of the jump he knew he wasn’t going to make it. At the apex of what promised to be a very hard landing, Ken took a long look back over his shoulder to see if anyone, which he assumed would be Chad Reed, was going to land on him. It was a fruitless look-back because if someone was in the air above him, there is nothing he could do about it. Luckily for Ken, Reed had bobbled when Ken went under him and couldn’t jump the gap (and was rolling it when Roczen cased the top of the landing zone). Ken took a tremendous jolt to his wrists, hands and face before crumpling in a heap. It looked bad for awhile, but he remounted and rode around for the rest of the race, going a lap down, but picking off enough stragglers to get credited with 16th place. After the race, Blake Baggett, Vince Friese and Martin Davalos were docked 2 places for jumping while the Red Cross flag was out. This moved Roczen up to 15th (and Baggett from 7th to 9th). Kenny gained one point and is now 4 points behind Dungey. The revised race results and series points are at the bottom of the the page.

OAKDungey55The Tortoise came out in front in this round.

(4) DIESEL DUNGEY: We all know that Ryan Dungey can muster the speed when he needs it, but he doesn’t always seem to think he needs it when we do. It is frustrating for a Dungey fan to watch Ryan click off laps in the draft of someone that the diehard fanboys are sure he could blow by. Well, the truth is, Dungey doesn’t have any “fan boys.” He attracts either a more mature or much younger fan base than the ears-in crowd (he’s more ears-out). Either way, they want him to pull the trigger. So, now that he’s in the points lead and his tortoise approach has put him there, you gotta wonder how long it will take before the hares run him down again. And, when they do, will he up the ante? He are pretty sure that when we get to the crux races near the end, Ryan will kick out the jams. How do we know? Because he has in the past.

OAkwebbhill!Justin Hill (32) looks good here, doesn’t he? Then, Cooper Webb (31) must look twice as good because he’s blowing by Hill.

THE BOWERS & WEBB INCIDENT

(5) NOT CHUMMY ANYMORE: It takes nothing away from the first win of Malcolm Stewart’s career to say that he owes Tyler Bowers a big hug for this one. How so? Stewart got the lead from Bowers’ Pro Circuit teammate Chris Alldredge early in the 250 West final. Cooper Webb was barely in the top ten early in the race, but was on the move. Webb came forward quickly until Tyler Bowers, Webb’s self-proclaimed buddy, did a combination brake slide/elbow-to-the-face/body slam on Cooper in a hairpin. Webb went down as Bowers moved up to third place behind Stewart and a surprising Alex Martin. Webb regrouped back in 12th and blitzed his way way back up to the lead trio. There were no fireworks as he went by Bowers for third, as Bowers had run out of steam (just as he had the week before) in the closing laps. Next, Cooper Webb blew by Alex Martin and starting the last lap he was still a couple seconds behind leader Malcolm Stewart, but one lap later, at the checkers, he was right behind Stewart. One more lap, or one less Bowers, and Webb would have won.

JASON ANDERSON’S OAKLAND CRASH

(6) THE JOSH HILL SAGA: No one believes in Josh Hill, not even Josh Hill. Once a 450 Supercross winner Josh Hill is a virtual outcast on the motocross market. No one wants him anymore. Last year he raced the Supercross series for RCH Suzuki and finished a respectable 8th for the 2014 season. But, RCH didn’t believe that he was good enough outdoors to waste their money on—so they let him go (not maliciously, as they had signed him to a Supercross-only deal). This year, nobody wanted him. He spent all winter waiting for the phone to ring. It didn’t. Finally, at the 12th hour, former L&M team manager Larry Brooks took him on as a personal project. Larry got Yamaha to help and Yamaha got Valli to help and Josh Hill had something to build on. It is believed that the Brooks/Valli/Hill deal is only a six-race package that was designed to have Josh show his stuff during the first six West Coast rounds so that he could hopefully get a fill-in ride somewhere (and right now there are potential fill-in deals looming at Monster Kawasaki, Red Bull KTM and even RCH Suzuki). But, Josh hasn’t risen to the occasion. He failed to make the Main events at 3 of the last 4 rounds and as the clock ticks down to race six in San Diego, Josh Hill’s career is at a cross roads. Do we think he is washed up? No. Last year, at this same juncture in the 450 series, Josh Hill only had 16 points (and had failed to make the Mains in two of the four races), but by the final Supercross of 2014 he had 159 points and had even scored a third place in New York. We think he can do it, does he?

VILLOPOTOTOEURO

(7) SPECTRE: As this Supercross season started the spectre of Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart hung like a pale over the Supercross scene. With Villopoto headed for Europe and Stewie out a drug bust suspension, everyone worried that the 2015 season would be lacking in excitement. Wrong! We have no way of knowing what Villopoto and Stewart would have added to the new season, because they aren’t out there, but it would be hard to beat the fever pitch of the battles between Roczen, Dungey, Canard, Reed and Tomac. Not to mention that we have a new Holeshot King in Andrew Short (Andrew had been the Holeshot King one time before back in his Honda days, but he lost the mojo—his new KTM Factory Edition has given it back to him). As a fitting cap on the transition to life without RV and JS, Ryan tweeted out his farewell as he hopped on a plane this weekend to move to Europe to race the GPs, while James Stewart’s brother won the 250 West race and said, “I just want my brother back” to which James tweeted from his couch that Malcolm’s win was, “One of the proudest moments of my career.”

OAKSHORTAll hail the king!

(8) THE SAND: Finally, the Supercross track designers found a way to make the weekly sand section work the way it should. They build a two-lane sand section, piled the sand deep and put a hump on the inside line. It was great. Yes, they did come out and ruined it for a race or two, but they got it back to the right configuration (and the riders did the rest). It was an awesome sandy S-section that resulted in lots of passing…and actually looked like something you would see on a motocross track instead of in Nitro Circus. We want more wheels-on-the-ground racing, more technical sections, more bar-to-bar racing and less dive bomb turns. That sand section should be moved lock, stock and barrel to the next 13 rounds.

OAKDavalosMartin Davalos got to race the 450 class for the first time. He ended up 20th (after getting dinged two places for jumping on the red flag).

(9) FAST FREDDY: Much like Josh Hill, who is feeling the pressure to perform, Swedish rider Fredrik Noren is equally perplexed. Noren was lucky enough to get a fill-in ride at Team Honda in last year’s outdoor 450 Nationals. He replaced Justin Barcia and, once Fast Freddy adapted to the factory CRF450, he reeled off 12 top ten moto finishes. Noren, who had given up his chance to be the Swedish National Champion when he moved to the USA, hoped that Honda would reward his performance by giving him a full boat ride for 2015. It didn’t happened. Why Not? Noren didn’t have enough Supercross experience. Honda said that if he did well in the 2015 AMA Supercross season, they would look at him again later. Unfortunately, Fredrik Noren hasn’t had a very good start to the 2015 series. He’s 28th in the 450 standings and has only made one main event out of four. At least, he can hope that by the time the AMA Nationals start that someone needs a fill-in rider who can make the top ten outdoors.

OAKALLEDRGEChris Alldredge didn’t have a great night, but he’ll remember it forever. It was the first time he ever led an AMA Supercross.

(10) NUMBERS GAME: There were 49 riders signed up for the 450 class at Oakland. That means that only 9 riders were sent home before the night program. Better than the 450s was the 250 West which had 60 riders in timed qualifying (thus 20 didn’t move into the heat race portion). By the time they had winnowed everyone down, there were some name players who didn’t make the Mains. In the 450 class that included Jimmy Albertson, Nick Wey, Josh Hill, Ben Lamay and Aussies Matt Moss and Adam Monea. In the 250 West, Jake Canada, Morgan Burger, Mitch Van De Mortel, Broc Shoemaker and Ryan Breece got a head start on the trip home. The Last Chance winners were Chris Alldredge (250) and Phil Nicoletti (450).

treyyyyyoakTrey was unstoppable in Oakland.

OAKLAND SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Trey Canard…Hon
2. Ryan Dungey…KTM
3. Chad Reed…Kaw
4. Eli Tomac…Hon
5. Cole Seely…Hon
6. Justin Barcia…Yam
7. Davi Milsaps…Kaw
8. Andrew Short…KTM
9. Blake Baggett…Suz (penalized two spots)
10. Jason Anderson…Hus
Other notables: 11. Jake Weimer; 12. Brett Metcalfe; 15; Ken Roczen; 17. Fredrik Noren; 22. Broc Tickle.

oakmalcomstewartMalcolm Stewart won in his 36th try.

OAKLAND SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 250 WEST CLASS
1. Malcolm Stewart…Hon
2. Cooper Webb…Yam
3. Alex Martin…Yam
4. Tyler Bowers…Kaw
5. Zach Bell…Hus
6. Zach Osborne…Hus
7. Aaron Plessinger…Yam
8. Josh Hansen…Kaw
9. Justin Hill…KTM
10. Jessy Nelson…KTM
Other notables: 11. Shane McElrath;  14. Jackson Richardson; 16. Tommy Hahn; 20. Nico Izzi; 21. Chris Alldredge.

CURRENT AMA 450 POINTS STANDINGS
(after 4 of 17 races)
1. Ryan Dungey…82
2. Ken Roczen…78
3. Trey Canard…68
4. Eli Tomac…64
5. Jason Anderson…62
6. Justin Barcia…58
7. Cole Seely…45
9. Davi Milsaps…44
8. Andrew Short…44
10. Chad Reed…42

CURRENT AMA 250 WEST POINTS STANDINGS
(After 4 of 9 races)
1. Cooper Webb…86
2. Tyler Bowers…78
3. Jessy Nelson…71
4. Zach Osborne…69
5. Justin Hill…65
6. Malcolm Stewart…64
7. Aaron Plessinger…54
8. Shane McElrath…49
9. Alex Martin…47
10. Josh Hansen…47

 

Photos: Geico Honda, KTM, Husqvarna, Travis Fant, Dennis Stapleton, Supercross Online

 
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