Monster Energy Supercross Dallas 3 Observationsby Jack Gaffney March 22, 2021 0 comments
Heading into the two-week break, a certain Red Bull KTM Rider once again found his way onto the top step of the podium. And once again, the 250 West point lead has shifted hands as Justin Cooper retakes the red plate he lost after Orlando 2. Here we break down what was likely the dagger in the 450-championship race and go into what is going to be an excellent final act of the 250 West Title Hunt in this recap of Round 11 of Monster Energy Supercross.
It was a picture-perfect night for Star Yamaha’s Cooper to close out the tenure at AT&T Stadium. Once again, he qualified first, won his heat race, and then won the 250 Main Event leading wire to wire. And on top of that, Cooper has now retaken the 250 West Points Lead with just four rounds remaining. However, the red plate in the west has been the centerpiece of a month’s long game of hot potato, so it will be interesting to see if he hangs on to it with a few riders just single-digit points behind him. But for now, it’s big for Cooper as this was his first-ever win that was not a season opener, and he looked unstoppable from the jump on Saturday.
Lawrence, who was the points leader, had an eventful finish to his night. Crashing into The Steve Matthes Memorial Nets™ with just minutes remaining from third place, and ended up in fifth place on the evening. So, despite a very costly miscue, Lawrence only sits six points back of Cooper and still had four races to reclaim his red plate. On a side note, the red plates on a Honda look stunning.
McAdoo, after his penalty on Tuesday night, was able to rebound very nicely with a second-place finish and sits just one point back of cooper. He seemed dejected in his post-race interview, as he got left behind by Cooper and had no answers to catch him all night.
Club MX Yamaha rider Marchbanks easily had the most eventful evening of any rider in either class on Saturday. Firstly, in his heat race, he got involved in the aftermath of a mid-air collision between Jordon Smith and Mitchell Harrison coming off the start. In the same heat race, Garrett wrecked in a 90-degree corner, and his bike landed on his leg once he went to the ground, forcing him to go to the 250 LCQ.
After winning that race and making it to the main, Marchbanks would wreck once again, making an unforced error going onto the back rhythm section and fell off to the side of the track falling back to ninth place. Despite all this, Marchbanks was able to rally to a sixth-place finish, which does not tell the whole story. And finally, I hope the formerly mention Smith is ok, as he did not return after getting hurt in his heat race wreck.
#2 Cooper Webb – Red Bull KTM (1st Place)
Stop me if you have heard this one recently. Now five wins in the last six races and podiums in nine of his last eleven. And despite looking brutal in his heat race, running terribly in the whoops, losing to Ken Roczen straight up, and finishing fifth, he has now all but nailed in the coffin on his second Supercross World Championship in the process at the end of the night. He settled in behind Roczen for the first 15 minutes of the main event. Webb then proceeded to rail around the outside on the short chute and bully Roczen to take the lead and eventually win.
Strategy came into play as Webb, despite a brutal gate pick, by some divine intervention, got the gate to the right of Roczen. I do not know how this happened. Webb must have been as shocked as I was since he had a good start play into a good finish.
Now, with just five races left in the season and up 15 points on his Honda HRC rival, after being down 16 points after Roczen swept Indianapolis. I think this championship is good as done, baring catastrophe. Despite Webb being an immensely talented rider who has proven over the last three years he is one of the best in the business and worth every penny, KTM pays him. I cannot help but feel nothingness at the realization that this championship is as good as done.
Webb does not come off as the biggest personality in the sport by any stretch, and quite honestly, is far from being the best interview in my view. And I would imagine that the powers at be and a solid portion of fans would want this next rider to be in his position at this moment. Also, the editor of this article but is neither here nor there (Sorry @Thompson22Mason).
#94 Ken Roczen- Honda HRC (2nd Place)
This segment is a little longer than it typically would have been due to what happened. The optics for Roczen to start Saturday looked good. He started out qualifying third behind Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton. Then, he beat Webb in his heat race. Rozen got his first main event holeshot of the entire season and was leading his first main event laps in about a month. Webb was close behind him, but Roczen had everything under control, at least for 75 percent of the race.
Webb slowly but surely got to him, then made his move coming out of the whoops. Roczen had the best opportunity he has had all season to send a message to Webb and put him wide and even into the mechanic’s area if he wanted to. Despite this, Roczen went with option C, letting Webb rail around him on the outside with zero resistance. That was any chance of Roczen winning this championship passing him by as well if you would want to go that far.
What’s Wrong With Roczen?
I am not even a Roczen fan (Tomac guy), but if I were, I would be livid after tonight due to the way he got beat. Roczen spent his entire post-race interview after Daytona complaining about Webb’s move on him, which quite frankly was not even bad in the slightest, and then seemed very much ok with how Saturday night went.
With the single best opportunity Roczen is likely to have all year to send a message to Webb that he is not a pushover, he lets him by? This is frame for frame Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr in the final few races of the NASCAR season in 2018, where Truex talked a big game after Martinsville and then let Logano by on the outside clean as a whistle to win the championship at Homestead with zero fight. So, in short, Roczen in 2021 is All Bark No Bite.
Is The Championship Over?
To see Roczen get his lunch money stolen by Webb consistently since 2019 is beyond concerning at this juncture. This is a guy who has won a 250 World Motocross Championship, A Motocross Des Nations with Germany, multiple US Motocross Championships, and double-digit 450 Supercross Main Event wins. On top of that, he came back to riding after being nearly hours away from having his arm amputated after his 2017 Anaheim wreck.
What we’re seeing from Roczen is not who he is. Roczen a fighter, and a good one at that. So, to see his continuous struggles with Webb is very disheartening. Roczen winning a championship would easily be one of the biggest stories in the history of the sport and one that I would want to see just as a fan of the sport. I just do not think it is ever going to happen at this rate, unfortunately. Something must change, and preferably in this double bye week for his sake. Sorry if that felt a little harsh and/or tangent-y. I just needed to get that out.
#3 Eli Tomac- Monster Energy Kawasaki (3rd Place)
For the second main event in a row, The Eli Tomac Good Start Alarm™ was raised. Tomac getting good starts in Supercross feels like Halley’s Comet, so this was gigantic for this to happen two races in a row. And for the second main event in a row, mistakes cost the defending champion a shot at a win when it looked to be in reach. Tomac, while running in third, ended up running into a tuff block on the down ramp of the finish line jump. The mistake allowed Justin Barcia to pass him. Tomac was able to navigate his way back around him and secured his third podium in his last four races.
While his championship hopes are done at this juncture, Tomac’s hopes of getting back to the top step of the podium could take a positive turn as the series heads to the infield of Atlanta Motor Speedway in a couple of weeks. Tomac is to Daytona in Supercross as what Earnhardt Sr was in NASCAR (not the 500 but just in general), so to have three-track layouts that are going to be like Daytona must have Tomac excited. If he were to win out the rest of the season, Tomac would tie Kawasaki legend Ryan Villopoto for fifth all-time at 41 wins, so at least there is that for him to chase.
#23 Chase Sexton- Honda HRC (21st Place)
Sexton’s crash out on Saturday night was disappointing to see. He had just come back a mere two weeks ago and was able to string together some strong results and even qualified on top for the final of three Dallas rounds. However, Sexton would end up going up and over the bars and landed hard in the sand section when he was running in about fifth place. He ended up taking a fair amount of time getting to his feet and spent a good amount of time afterward sitting down near the control tower area, where he ended up crashing. This would end his night and would put him second to last.
Luckily on Sunday morning he indicated on his Instagram that he is ok, but said: “My face looks like I just went rounds with Mike Tyson.” Between Saturday and his James Stewart Wall Jump at Daytona. Sexton should just not hurt his face/jaw. I would not try to get hurt at all, an even bolder strategy. All jokes aside, I hope to see him ready to go at full strength at Atlanta.
#25 Marvin Musquin- Red Bull KTM (22nd Place)
After missing Tuesday night being in concussion protocol, Musquin, like Sexton, would end up wrecking in the sand section his first time through. Whether he ended up hurting something or his bike suffered a mechanical issue, Musquin would make the call to pull off track shortly after. I feel for him. This season has gone about as bad as it could have gone to this point. If this were to be his final run in Supercross, this would not the way he would deserve to go out, seeing as he has been a consistent title threat for his entire 450 career when he is 100 percent.
Now with a two-week break on the horizon, there are only five races left in the season, and while the 450 championship may be wrapped up, the 250 West championship chase is about to get extremely exciting, with Cooper, McAdoo, Lawrence, Marchbanks, and Jalek Swoll all separated by just 15 points. With every race left being outdoors, I would bank on at least one mud race before we end this Supercross season, and I think the series is due for one. That could even help Roczen as well. All bets would be off at that point because nothing is guaranteed in a mud race. Chad Reed from Daytona in 2008 is a prime example of this.
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