The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
2017 Monster Energy Supercross
Round 6 - Arlington
The Good: Austin Forkner | 2nd Place
Austin Forkner had a ton
of hype surrounding him coming into the season. And personally, I think he's lived up to the hype. Yes, he's had a few miscues and crashes, but overall he's had a great season for a guy that is in his first year racing Supercross. In Arlington, he was fast all day and for a while during the main event it looked like he was going to try to run down Justin Hill for the win. That didn't happen, but he did come away with a very solid second place finish. Now he gets to chill out for several weeks as the series heads east, and I'm sure he's pretty pumped about that. Look for him to be up on the podium once again when he returns to action in April.
The Bad: Martin Davalos | 7th Place
Has Martin's season been bad? No. Has Martin's season been great? No. And I don't think he's going to argue that Arlington was a great race for him, either. This week, his lackluster finish was primarily due to a first lap crash that put him pretty far back in the field. He quickly charged through the pack, but he hit a wall when he got up to Jeremy Martin and had to settle for seventh–which is definitely not where he wants to be. In fact, I highly doubt that Martin has been satisfied with his season as a whole. He was never a quite a threat for the title and has just been quietly riding to podium and top-five finishes all season. I don't know... I guess I was just expecting more out of him this year. Maybe he'll grab a win or two when the series comes back in April. We'll see.
The Ugly: Shane McElrath | 22nd Place
I hate it when a mechanical failure ends a great championship battle, but that's exactly what happened in Arlington. Shane was well on his way to winning his third race of the year and re-claiming the points lead when disaster struck; he had some sort of issue with the bike and was forced to pull into the mechanic's area. He eventually rejoined the race, but he made sure to be very cautious and ended up finishing 22nd. This sucks. I mean it really sucks for Shane, but this sucks for the fans as well. We went from witnessing a great championship fight to really no fight at all. Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Justin Hill has a 21-point lead now, and I don't think anyone is going to be able to narrow that down with only three rounds remaining. On the bright side, the 250 East Coast Championship starts this coming weekend.
The Good: Marvin Musquin | 1st Place
Finally! Marvin finally grabbed the first 450 main event win of his career. He did it pretty convincingly, too, as he led for almost the entire race and never showed any signs of slowing down. There's no doubt that this is a big step for him, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him win at least one more of these things before the end of the season. Congratulations, Marvin.
The Good Bonus: Dean Wilson | 5th Place
All of the hard work Dean has been putting in over the past few months is finally starting to pay off. First, he got picked up by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna after racing the first handful of rounds as a privateer. And now, he has secured his first top-five of the season. I say his first, because I fully expect for Dean to have finishes like this several more times throughout the season. He's always had the speed, and now he's completely healthy and on a great bike. It's finally coming together for him, and the entire MX industry is pumped for him. So, can he get a fourth? Or perhaps even a podium? I think so, but we'll just have to wait and see.
The Bad: Cooper Webb | 14th Place
Cooper had a great race going until a slow pit stop forced him out of podium contention. Hopefully next week he can get himself back into the NASCAR championship chase. Oh wait, this isn't NASCAR? Huh, interesting. Seriously though, the amount of mechanical issues riders had during the 450 main event in Arlington was insane. It seemed like every few laps someone different had to pull in and get some kind of work done on the bike. Unfortunately, Cooper was one of the guys who had to pull in with what looked like a flat tire. They got it changed super-quick (not really) and got him back out there. He was already a lap down by that point, though, and had to take what he could get. What he ended up with was a disappointing 14th-place finish. Bummer deal, but mechanicals happen in this sport. Hopefully Cooper bounces back with a solid finish next week.
The Ugly: Eli Tomac | 15th Place
Well, it happened. Eli made the mistake that we all feared he would make, and with this mistake our hopes for a tight 450 championship battle have been dashed once again. The crash was nothing spectacular: he tucked the front wheel while setting up for a tight inside rut. A very simple mistake, but a costly one nonetheless. Luckily Eli wasn't injured in the crash, but his bike was pretty jacked up and he had to get the front brake line clipped in the mechanic's area. He was several laps down by the time the crew got his bike ready to rejoin the race, and he was only able to salvage a 15th-place finish as a result. Well–it was fun riding the Eli hype train for a few weeks, folks, but it looks like the train has veered off course and is gonna take a while to get back going. Hopefully it gets back on track next week.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson