East Rutherford Supercross - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 16

Grant Dawson's weekly look at who crushed it, and who needs to kick it up a notch.

East Rutherford Supercross - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

250 Class

The Good: Zach Osborne | 1st Place

What a great ride by Zach Osborne, in what has been a year to remember for the veteran. Yeah, he had that unfortunate mechanical in Detroit which gave away a huge chunk of points, but he has claimed multiple wins and has been "the guy" for the most part. Plus, his ride in East Rutherford really shows how much he wants this title. He got a mediocre start and just sliced his way through the entire field to grab the win. That wasn't even the best part, though, as long after the race was over it was announced that Joey Savatgy had been penalized five spots–which now puts Zach only one point behind Jordon Smith in the standings with one round left. The title is back within his grasp, but will he be able to get it done in Las Vegas? I think so. Barring a crash or some sort of team tactics, Zach Osborne should leave Las Vegas with a big trophy and a rather large bonus check.

Zach Osborne

The Bad: Joey Savatgy | 8th Place

When Joey Savatgy got out front early in the main event and looked to open a little bit of a gap over Adam Cianciarulo, I thought that maybe we'd see him motor away from everyone and add a little padding to his points lead going into Las Vegas. But nope, he got caught by Osborne (who came from way back), and then he made a pretty big mistake and crashed. The weird part is when he crashed he just cut an entire section. Not a couple of Tuf-Blox, an entire section. Kinda weird, right? Unsurprisingly, Troy Lee Designs KTM and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna protested the move after the race (though it was already being reviewed by the officials) and Savatgy was docked the five spots he gained, which relegated him back to eighth. Due to the huge points swing that came with that penalty, he's now one point behind Jordon Smith and tied with Zach Osborne for second in the standings. This is not good news for Joey or the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad, as Osborne definitely has more speed and confidence than him right now and even Smith has proved that he can hold Joey off when he needs to. Joey's going to need to dig deep and try to bring back some of the magic that he had in Vegas last year (yeah it was muddy, but he still won) if he truly wants to win his first career Supercross title. Please fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen, because it's going to be one hell of a race this coming Saturday.

Joey Savatgy

The Ugly: Christian Craig | 5th Place

Oh, the season that could have been. Christian Craig came into 2017 with one thing on his mind: the 250 East Coast Supercross Championship. He wasn't looking for just podiums or top-five finishes; he wanted to win races, and ultimately the title. Unfortunately, his season never really got off the ground as he only managed a 12th in Minneapolis, and then hit his head in Atlanta. His run at the championship was pretty much over after two races. He did bounce back and grab a podium in Toronto, but that has been the highlight of his season thus far. Honestly it's been weird to see him struggle so much, because we all know he has the speed to win. But unfortunately, that's what bad starts, crashes, and what appears to be a lack of race stamina will do. Raw speed can only get a rider so far. He's got one more round to make something happen, but then it's time to start looking forward to riding the MX nationals on a 450 for Team HRC Honda.

Christian Craig


450 Class

The Good: Ryan Dungey | 1st Place

This was a picture-perfect night for Ryan Dungey. He qualified first, won his heat race, and won the main event. Yeah, he might have had a little bit of help taking that win, but a win is a win to him and KTM right now. That pass on the last lap gave him three very valuable points, and now he has a nine-point lead over Eli Tomac going into Las Vegas. Besides, let's not let "the pass" overshadow the fact that Dungey responded to many of the questions we had going into East Rutherford. We were all wondering how Tomac's come-from-behind win in Salt Lake City would affect him. If anything, it seemed to fire him up to come into East Rutherford and fight for the title. He further cemented himself as a rider who will not, no matter the situation, let the pressure get to him. It's incredibly impressive. Now, the championship isn't over yet; anything can happen in Vegas. But I'm not willing to bet against Dungey at this point. If he walks away from LV with his third straight title, he absolutely earned it.

The Bad: Dean Wilson | 10th Place

After Dean Wilson qualified in third position, I thought that East Rutherford may be where he would grab his first 450 Supercross podium. It wasn't meant to be, though, as he didn't get the best of starts in the main event and got cleaned out by someone later in the race. Oh well, I guess Deano can consider this season a success considering he's back on factory equipment. Plus, he's healthy and should do pretty well outdoors. Things are looking up for the number 15.

Dean Wilson

The Bad Bonus: Marvin Musquin's "Mistake"

I'm not saying it was a bad move. I understand that he is on the same team as Ryan Dungey, and that the team really wants to win the 450 Supercross title. He's also very good friends with Ryan and probably wants to see him win the title as well. I get that, but from a fan's perspective, this was not a good move. It took what could have been a six-point gap heading into Vegas and turned it into a nine-point gap. And that three points will make it infinitely harder for Tomac to overcome and win the title next weekend. Everyone wants a close battle all the way to the end, and most of the fans feel like they were denied that because of Marvin's "mistake". But at the end of the day, what happened in East Rutherford happened. People can talk about it for weeks or even months to come, but it's not going to change the fact that Ryan Dungey won the race and Marvin Musquin got second.

Marvin Musquin

The Ugly: Eli Tomac | 8th Place

I guess you could say I was mildly concerned after qualifying, because Eli did not look good. He was making mistakes, casing jumps, and he even had a small crash. He didn't look to have much of a flow and was visibly frustrated at the end of the second qualifying session. Then the night show came, and he struggled once again in the heat race. He was able to qualify straight through to the main and put down a rather quick time, but he still didn't look all that comfortable.

When main event time rolled around, he got a good start and quickly worked his way into the lead, as he's done for the past several races. He looked to be in full attack mode and honestly quite a bit more comfortable than earlier...but then the mistake happened. He lost it in one of the ruts before the triple and hit the deck. In that moment, there seemed to be almost a complete change in his demeanor. The urgency was gone. He didn't hop back on his bike and get going as fast as possible. He just gingerly picked his bike back up, found neutral, grabbed the kickstarter, and kicked it back to life. It was really...weird. Then he just looked like he was riding around for the rest of the main event. There was none of the aggression or flash that we're so used to seeing at this point. It looked like he was just trying to survive more than anything. He was able to work his way up to eighth, but he lost a ton of points and is now nine down heading into the final round of the season. Obviously, I have no idea what happened to him in the 18 or so seconds that it took him to get back going after his tip over. But I can speculate. He could've flat out given up when he saw how far back he was dropping, but we all know that Eli isn't really the type of rider to give up when it's not looking good. I think that he may have panicked and perhaps tightened up a little bit, or he might have been afraid that he would make more mistakes and crash more if he pushed it, so he decided to ride as safe as possible (he still ended up having a very sketchy near-crash later in the main). We'll never really know unless he makes some sort of statement or answers the question in an interview, but it's pretty clear that something happened to him. We were talking about where Dungey might have been mentally after a tough loss in Salt Lake City, but where might Tomac be mentally right now after a horrendous day in East Rutherford? Will he lose the confidence he's had for the past ten races and let Dungey take it without too much of a fight? Will he be pissed off and absolutely go all out for the win in Las Vegas? I'm not sure, but we'll all see it unfold in a few days.

Eli Tomac


Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

16 comments
  • Scott C.

    5/5/2017 11:28 PM

    I can understand Marvin's decision at a pragmatic level but I can't help but harken back to the 1977 "Let Broc Bye [sic]" Yamaha team orders. Bet Hannah is still upset about it 40 years later.

  • Dee Mack

    5/4/2017 3:56 PM

    Got to respect Musquin either way that's a good teammate and if he was going for the championship Dungey would have done same thing if he was out of the points! He's was being a good teammate. Lamay did that for Jace Owen same week in arenacross in Denver and everyone saying how that was a smart and unselfish move by Lamay to help out his teammate. There is no I in team for you Musquin, Dungey, KTM, and Roger haters. Heck I can sit here and blame Chad Reed for holding Dungey up one week. If anyone is to blame it's Tomac the pressure got to be to much and what you saw was a choke. He looked liked the rider we saw at the beginning of the season. But if Tomac would have been closer to Grant at the end I'm sure he would have pulled over or cross threaded too that's just what happens when points are this close teammates will help each other out. I would ve thought if Musquin won that would've shown what a selfish person to potential cost his teammate and team a championship when he has no shot at it and I wouldn't want that type of rider on my team, who would? Hope to see another great weekend of racing in Vegas!!!

  • QUADS

    5/6/2017 11:54 AM

    "Heck I can sit here and blame Chad Reed for holding Dungey up one week.'

    Dungey and Reed got into it in the heat race. Dungey whined about it, when interviewed, as he won the heat. He pulled a Rodney Dangerfield, and said .........Noooo respect........bla bla Reed,bla bla....insert more whining here......But when they went to the replay, Jeff Emig pulled a Sergeant Schultz and said....I see nothing!.........wtf is Dungey talking about? No one knows!!!

    So good ol Reedy thought, ...........I willl give you something to bitch about, girly boy!........
    I was cheering him on........Chad is the Man!......Dungey wears the skirt............

    Second quote- "If anyone is to blame it's Tomac the pressure got to be to much"

    Such a joker.....Bwahahaha

  • Az_UncleDonny

    5/3/2017 10:40 PM

    Props to Deven Raper's boot sponsor after that Semi #1 last turn disaster.

  • MM is Dungeys bitch

    5/3/2017 7:35 AM

    Marvin Musquin SOLD OUT! Plain and simple. Sold out his fans too, and just lost one more.

  • tcallahan707

    5/3/2017 11:50 AM

    Or he did what most would do and make sure his employer is happy, especially after signing on for 2 more years.

  • QUADS

    5/3/2017 3:53 PM

    Partly true. He made his employer happy. He also outright lied to his fans. So, I would have to agree, that he did in fact, sell his fans out.

  • Madc32

    5/3/2017 12:36 PM

    I highly doubt you were ever a fan.

  • andymoto

    5/2/2017 8:01 PM

    His first 3 races of the series were 5th, 6th and 8th followed by 2 wins and the Arlington disaster. A podium or two in those first 3 races, he'd likely be leading for the title despite last Sat's race.

  • Zundapp125

    5/2/2017 6:50 PM

    Win or lose in Vegas, Eli has proven he is the fastest rider, and really the only one who could match Roczens's speed early in the season. Yes KTM might win the title again, but it is with an asterisk, which is really unfortunate for Dungey.

  • K-dubbb

    5/3/2017 5:12 AM

    As much as I agree with you, Eli has been the most impressive and strongest on MOST Saturdays.....And Dungey winning, I wouldn't call that unfortunate....He finished every race in the series within the top 4, it is really hard to argue that he hasn't been best overall, and that's what composes a championship winner. Just my 2 cents...

  • ktm212

    5/3/2017 9:11 AM

    This asterisk you speak of? Where does it come from? The asterisk comes from the reigning champ not being in the series and guess who's won it the last two years? Tomac has been an animal and definitely will be able to say he earned it IF he wins, but Dungey does what Dungey does and that's get the job done.. for the 4th time.

  • BobPA

    5/3/2017 9:24 AM

    You know Dungey got second in the first two rounds while Eli went 5th, 6th...

  • tcallahan707

    5/3/2017 11:48 AM

    Funny how Dungey was leading the race that the 94 crashed in and matching Kenny's pace. What's unfortunate is KR crashing out and RD not given the chance to prove he can beat him. That doesn't fit your narrative though so we can pretend that isnt true.

  • zehn

    5/2/2017 5:26 PM

    The way Tomac looked after the race, I almost wonder if he wasn't sick. He looked exhausted and spent in a way that we've almost never seen. That might help explain his performance and lack of urgency as well.

    He's not one to make excuses though so we may never really find out what happened that night.

  • tcallahan707

    5/3/2017 11:52 AM

    There's been rumors of a concussion floating around. He was riding like James was after he came back from his concussion last year. Just not nearly as sharp.

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