Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

10 Things to Watch: Arlington

US Supercross 2016

maddix park mx

www.racerxonline.com By Aaron Hansel, Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt

Break Time

Including Arlington (or Dallas, whatever twists your grip), there are three races left in the 250SX West Region, but this weekend is the last chance Cooper Webb will have to even the score before season resumes on April 2 in Santa Clara. And after three straight losses and giving up sole possession of the red plate to Joey Savatgy for the second time, you know he wants nothing more to be holding the lead again. Of course, Savatgy is determined to keep the lead too. We’ll see if Webb, Savatgy, or even both, are in the driver’s seat at the end of the night. – Aaron Hansel

Last Chance

Let’s toss out the “it ain’t over ‘till it’s over talk” like a crusty old Dunlop for a minute and be honest—unless something drastic happens, there’s really only one guy not named Savatgy or Webb who has a shot at this 250SX West title, and that’s Christian Craig. And since he’s facing a sixteen-point deficit (thirteen to Webb) with just three races left, even his chances aren’t great. In order to really get back into it, he’s going to have to win in Arlington and hope Savatgy and Webb don’t go 2-3. Craig could definitely win the race, but to expect Savatgy or Webb to finish a few spots back isn’t realistic right now. Still, with those two battling over the red plate you never know what might happen. Let’s see what Craig’s title picture looks like after the roost settles in Arlington. - Hansel

Running the Pace

Nobody thought Trey Canard would be rolling around at the back of the pack when he returned to racing last week after missing the last two races due to a cut hand, but even with those expectations, he was surprisingly good in San Diego. He held a podium position for over half the race and finished fifth. In today’s field, that’s a good night even if you aren’t coming back from injury! We really shouldn’t be surprised though, we’ve seen Canard come back from worse injuries and be instantly fast—a fifth in St. Louis after missing most of 2014 with a broken arm comes to mind. If he was that good in his first race back, how good will he be in Arlington? – Hansel

Canard was solid in his return last week. Can he snag a podium this weekend?
Canard was solid in his return last week. Can he snag a podium this weekend?Cudby

Green Mercury

Last week our own Steve Matthes talked about how Eli Tomac has been up and down over the course of the day this season, and it was true again in San Diego. Tomac was fastest in qualifying, but struggled big time in the main trying to keep Ken Roczen’s pace, and later in getting around Canard. Granted, it wasn’t the easiest track to make passes on, but it didn’t stop Jason Anderson from passing both Tomac and Canard late in the race. Tomac’s doing what he needs to do in avoiding a big, season-ending soil slam, but if you’d have predicted he’d only have a single podium at this point you would’ve been in the minority. We’ll see if Monster Energy Kawasaki and Tomac find a setup that does the trick in Arlington. – Hansel

Holeshot Hunter

We mentioned Tomac struggling and getting passed by Anderson, but let’s be careful not to make it sound like Anderson was able to make the move stick on account of any fault of Tomac—Anderson was ripping in San Diego! His main problem has been poor starts, a problem that persisted in San Diego where he found himself back in eighth after one lap. Earlier this week, we chronicled Anderson’s quest to get better main-event gate picks, which he hopes will help his starts. Keep your eye on him through practice and his heat in Arlington—it could tell the story of his entire night. – Hansel

Alex of Old

Following a breakout two-podium season in 2015, Alex Martin has struggled in his first year with Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha. Last year, while with CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha, Martin finished outside the top ten just once in eight rounds. This season, Martin has finished outside the top ten in four of six rounds. Arlington was an East Region race last year, but Martin did finish ninth here in 2014. A good finish will go a long way over the break. – Chase Stallo

The Roc

It’s hard to poke holes in Ken Roczen’s 3-2-1-3 finishes over the last four rounds. But when you’re main competitor goes 1-1-2-1 over the same span, well… Already 26 points back of Dungey, Roczen would need to make up 2.6 (three) points a round over the next ten to capture the championship—one he still feels he’s in. “I feel good about where we are,” said Roczen today in a team statement. “My starts have been much better so obviously, that’s important. I think as long as we can be consistent with our starts and race without mistakes, we’re in good shape. Ryan (Dungey) is having a great year and he’s got a fairly decent points lead but everyone knows this is a long season and anything can happen. As long as we stay focused and keep doing what we’ve been doing, the rest will take care of itself.” This weekend is big if Roczen is to make a run. - Stallo

Can Reed bounce back from a few down races?
Can Reed bounce back from a few down races?Cudby

More Mojo

Chad Reed had some magic going after back-to-back seconds to Dungey in San Diego 1 and Anaheim 2. He was second in the series at that point, but since then he’s gone 5-6-8 and is now tied with Tomac for fifth. As always with someone of Reed’s age, as soon as a few sub-par races go in the books, it starts to look like a downward trend. Reed’s always been the type of rider who can bounce back from anything, though. Never, ever count him out. Guess we can’t be shocked by anything this weekend. –Jason Weigandt

Slaw

The Cole Seely of Anaheim 1 is back! After a mini-slump of 6-6-8 finishes, where he admitted he was struggling and “had to just lie down and take it,” Cole and his HRC Honda boys made some bike changes for San Diego, and it helped. Specifically, they worked on the low-end power of his CRF450R, and that allowed him to run a gear higher and hook up on the slick dirt. Well, Arlington’s dirt is often slickest of all. Combine that with Cole’s precision and his revised engine settings, and last week’s second place might just be the start. – Weigandt

The Real Comeback

BTOSports.com KTM is brewing a nice story this year with Davi Millsaps returning from career hell to show his old speed. He’s still working on going that fast for twenty laps, and three incomplete SX seasons have left him in a big hole, but he could be a podium threat before long. His teammate Justin Brayton also struggled big-time in 2015, this year he’s been in the top ten in every race and sits eighth in points. The final piece is Andrew Short, who will be much better than we saw in San Diego, where his return from shoulder surgery began with a huge first-turn heat race crash. You’ve got three veterans here that can start with anyone, and know what they’re doing when they’re up there. – Weigandt

 
Bookmark and Share