A Matthes Report: Mid-Season

PulpMX's Steve Matthes on a few topics

· 5 minutes read

We are back racing this weekend! The Monster Energy Supercross series picks back up after the first weekend off since January. A lot of the riders and teams tried to squeeze in some outdoor testing during the off week and I remember as a mechanic this being a very hectic time. Having to maintain the supercross machine along with building all-new outdoor test bikes and juggling the testing that comes with that mean long hours in the shop.

Then of course before the outdoors start there are long hours switching everything in the truck over, building new motocross race bikes, disassembling old supercross bikes and trying to make sure you have enough parts laying around for everything. Ah, good times!

It seems inevitable that Jason Anderson will win this thing (Husqvarna/Simon Cudby)

Anyways, with just five rounds to go in the series and with this thing basically wrapped up for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, here are some things that have got me interested going forward from here.

– Eli Tomac: Yeah, that is right. I am interested in how many races Tomac wins from here on out. He has got five already and, basically, if he does not crash, he wins. Outside of the Atlanta Triple Crown race that is. Tomac has already admitted to me that if he wins a ton of races, but does not win the title, it is a lost season but that does not mean he does not want to show everyone else what is up. We have got a probable mudder this weekend in Seattle (he was amazing there last year with similar conditions), a Triple Crown race in Minneapolis after that and two day races before Vegas so each round has some uniqueness. Can he go five for five and break his record of nine wins last year? I can’t see it but it’s going to be fun to watch.

– Jason Anderson: Look, he is going to have the last laugh in this thing unless he gets hurt but you have got to think that racking up podium after podium without winning is a bruise to the ego. Does Anderson just go for it and try to race Eli mano-a-mano? His team hopes he doesn’t. By the way, his two most impressive rides of the year were two races where he did not end up on the podium (Indianapolis and Daytona).

– Minneapolis: The final round of the Triple Crown series and, so far, we have seen five out of six different winners at the first round and six different winners out of six races at the second round. So, yeah, it is working. I think these three races are a precursor to having more of these things in 2019, but I am interested in seeing if they have worked out the bugs in the program to stop it from being so long and also, what are the team’s reactions to this format? That will go a long way to seeing more or less of these things in 2019.

Justin Brayton tends to thrive at the Triple Crown events (Honda Racing Corporation)

– 250SX title chases: Yeah, they are still exciting! Aaron Plessinger has got nine points on Joey Savatgy and Zach Osborne has got seven points on Austin Forkner. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki guys are runner-ups in both classes and they probably have the guy with the most speed in either class in Adam Cianciarulo, but they do not have those red plates. Plessinger is great in conditions like we are going to have this weekend and Osborne, in my opinion, can manage this title home even when he has not been the best guy at most of the races. But, anything can happen when the two coasts meet again in Las Vegas for another shootout.

– Justin Brayton: Man, this 2018 season is all coming up Justin Brayton. The MCR Honda rider of course won Daytona, he has podiumed another one and won a Triple Crown main, heat, whatever the heck we are going to call them. Confidence is a scary thing for a rider and, right now, Brayton has got a ton of it going on. I really think he can take home another win before the year is out if he gets a couple of breaks like he did at Daytona. He is putting himself in a good spot to do it – that’s for sure.

– Justin Barcia: The Yamaha rider was the surprise of the series before getting hurt and giving that mantle to Brayton. Well, Bam-Bam’s back this weekend in Seattle and it’ll be interesting to see what he looks like when he hits the track [Ed. Note: Justin Barcia will miss Seattle. Josh Hill will act as his replacement]. I mean, let’s give him a race or two to get into the swing of things but there is no doubt that, with the injuries that have hit the class, if Barcia hadn’t been hurt he would have won a race or two by now. So, what Barcia do we see? The early ’18 one or the ineffective one we have seen the past couple of years? I’m betting on the former.

– Podiums: Ten riders this year have hit the podium in the 450SX class (Anderson, Musquin, Tomac, Baggett, Brayton, Wilson, Roczen, Webb, Seely and Barcia) and so. the question remains, who is going to be the next guy after Wilson just did it impressively at Indianapolis before the break? Well, seeing as how Weston Peick has been getting a bit beat up here lately and although Malcolm Stewart’s been riding better he is still a bit down on fitness, I’ll go with KTM’s Broc Tickle. The Tick has had a so-so season on orange but he rode well in Indy and would have for sure had a podium if Wilson had not knocked him down. I’ll go with Broc to be the next guy to grab a spot on the box for the first time this year.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Husqvarna/Simon Cudby

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