A Matthes Report: RedBud

Insight from PulpMX's Steve Matthes

· 5 min read

This past week's RedBud national over here in the USA was interesting for a few reasons. No, not the fact that Eli Tomac pulled an Eli Tomac and made this series way more interesting than it should have been. Of course it is not all on him, he did not make his factory Kawasaki KX450F break. But, man, we have got ourselves a series now, don't we? Marvin Musquin has won the last two overalls and sits three points ahead. Again, I know this is a broken record but I think Tomac's the fastest guy in the series and should be able to recover from this.

Then again, he "should've" been able to win the last two 450SX titles also right?

Eli Tomac is not the 450MX series leader anymore (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

Anyways, some random thoughts on a random Thursday…

– I was watching RedBud from the announcer's tower and thinking about how I'll be back there the first weekend of October for the Motocross of Nations. By the way, Michigan in the fall is beautiful. After that I started thinking of all the things that will change with the track once the folks from Youthstream come in. With two sizes of bikes out on the track, how will the famed Larocco's Leap be modified? Only about five or six 250's jumped it this past weekend so I get not wanting to leave it as is. We could have some potential for danger, if so, but how do you change it? What do you do to it is the question? I hope, but not holding out hope, that it is still an uphill triple of some sort and not knocked down.

Then there is the start. The MXGP guys like the start to be heavily favoured towards the riders that qualify the best and they love the hairpin turn. So the current RedBud start will not do and, in fact, I heard for sure it is changing heavily and a new one will be made over by where the pro pits are now and it will turn right at where the third turn is now.

Now, here is the part where I say that its simply ridiculous to have a first turn that favours the inside so much and then draw clothespins for the starting gates for Saturday qualifiers. I mean, I know that if I am a country that's not one of the big five and spend tens of thousands of dollars to go to the race and then see my chances of making the A main evaporate with a thirty-ninth place clothespin drawing by a Monster girl, I'd be the opposite of stoked. But I'll save you this rant for before the race… Oh wait.

RedBud is a great track in just about every way but to see a new start, to see the leap be modified drastically and see some of those "waves" put in among other things are going to be upsetting to me. I'm just saying.

Eli Tomac has stated many times that he will race the Motocross of Nations (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

– A lot of the time on race days I run Racer X Twitter and this past weekend at RedBud, we had a collision with Austin Forkner and Aaron Plessinger right after Forkner had passed him for the lead. Forkner ended up on the ground when he hit the back of Plessinger's Yamaha as he dove to the inside to re-pass Austin. Immediately the tweets started coming in about Aaron being dirty and what a B.S move it was etc. Live TV gives everyone the ability to be a motocross expert. Me, I saw it as a racing move and wondered why Forkner didn't protect the inside immediately after getting by Plessinger. After the race I got a chance to ask Austin about it.

"I left the door open a little bit in the first moto," he told me. "I went outside and even at the apex of the turn I kind of glanced down and I was like, all right, he's not going to get there. Then just, bam. My front tire hit his back tire and it got sucked up and just basically looped it. I landed on my knee."

In the post-race press conference, Plessinger gave his version of events. "He was riding really good and he got by me," Plessinger said. "Then he took an outside line and I saw an opening, so I went for it. I don't know if he didn't let off or what, but all I felt was him hit my back tire and then I had a twelve-second lead. I don't want to say I did it intentionally, but a win is a win and I got to make it happen."

I think Forkner captured it perfectly there with the words "I left the door open a little bit…" and Plessinger with the "I saw an opening so I went for it…" bit. That is called racing everyone. If the two riders involved didn't have an issue with it then maybe all the fanboys on Twitter shouldn't either?

Austin Forkner has been involved in intense battles recently (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

– If you listen to the PulpMX Show then you know that Jason Thomas and myself rarely agree on anything. It was the case this past weekend when we were discussing Jake Nicholls racing RedBud. I thought that he had done enough, with 9-13 scores, to get on the Great Britain team while JT said that he would go with Tommy Searle. I think Ben Watson and, although he's not having a great year, Max Anstie, are locks, yeah? So to me it comes down to Searle or Nicholls and I know Jake doesn't have near the experience that Searle has over the years, but I thought a top ten on the very track that the race is being held on would be enough to push him over the edge.

I asked Jake if he thought he had done enough after RedBud. "I think so," he said. "I think second race wasn't the best, but I think I showed that I'm there and I have got my bike set up. I have got an idea to make it better for here. It is always difficult coming into a domestic championship. If any of these Americans, apart from maybe the top three, came into our national championship would probably get pushed. That is just how it is. I am pleased with that. I think I deserve a spot, but it is what it is." I guess we will see soon enough whether or not Nicholls caught the eye of the British people.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Octopi

Fantasy MX Manager
Play & Win Prizes!