The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
2017 Monster Energy Supercross
Round 2 - San Diego
The Good: Justin Hill | 2nd Place
Justin may not have had as much time as he would have liked to get prepared for the 2017 season, but the lack of preparation has not held him back in the slightest. He is fast, building fitness, and is determined. He's also starting the 2017 season exactly like he started the 2016 season, with a fifth-place at the opening round of the championship and a second-place at the second round. Will he pull off the win at Anaheim 2 like he did at Toronto in 2016? I definitely think he could, but he has to stay healthy for the entire championship if he wants a shot at the 250 Supercross title that has eluded him for a couple of years now.
The Bad: Jeremy Martin | 7th Place
Even with the longer main events, the top riders can only come so far through the pack with a bad start. That has been the story of Jeremy's 2017 season so far. Two bad starts, and two disappointing finishes. There's no doubt that he has the speed to run up front with McElrath and the others. But if he continues to get bad starts and mediocre finishes over the next two rounds, he may be out of this championship. Hopefully he gets a good jump out of the gate at Anaheim 2. Side note: How about that crash
that he had during timed qualifying?! That was gnarly, and he was lucky to walk away from it unharmed.
The Ugly: Fox Sports Didn't Show the LCQ
I'm all for the Military Appreciation night that FELD has every year; we should show some appreciation for those that protect us. I also love seeing the bikes, gear, and helmet paint jobs that are made specifically for it. But the main reason I tune into FS1 every week is to watch Supercross, to watch the racing. And I enjoy every race of the night, especially the LCQs. I mean, they sometimes have the best racing of the night! So I have no clue why they decided to cut out the 250 LCQ and show a poorly executed military appreciation clip. It was quite frustrating to be perfectly honest, and several people on the forum weren't too thrilled about it, either. Slaton / JMR Racing's Justin Starling should have had a decent amount of TV time during the LCQ, but he was replaced by a clip of riders butchering military songs... Please, FS1, don't skip anymore LCQs this year.
The Ugly Bonus: Mitchell Oldenburg Breaks Collarbone
Mitchell has steadily improved every year since 2014, and he's gone from full privateer to full factory rider in that time as well. Things were really looking up after he grabbed a fourth-place finish at Anaheim 1. He looked like he could grab at least a couple of podiums this year, and perhaps even a win. But unfortunately, disaster struck during the first timed qualifying session at San Diego as he crashed hard and broke his collarbone. His run at the championship may be over, but I bet he'll be more determined to win than ever when he returns.
The Good: Ryan Dungey / Ken Roczen Battle
After a pretty lackluster Anaheim 1 main event, Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen made sure to put on a show for us in San Diego. They made a 20 minute + 1 lap main event feel like maybe 10 minutes. It was a display of near perfection from both of them, and it was just a small mistake by Dungey in the end that gave Roczen a comfortable win. Seriously, what a race that was. Now we just have to hope that they start near each other every week so we can get more races like this.
The Good Bonus: Fredrik Noren | 19th Place
Fast Freddie made the main event on a 250F! That's pretty dang impressive. He's improved quite a bit every year since he started racing Supercross, and I think this may be the year that he challenges for top tens and top fives when he races the 250 East Coast Championship.
The Bad: Cooper Webb | 14th Place
Cooper isn't looking so great out there, folks. Yes, it's his rookie season. Yes, it'll take him a while to adjust to the 450 class. But, the Cooper Webb we are seeing out there right now is nothing like the Cooper Webb we are used to seeing. He's fading back even in the shorter qualifiers, and he was barely holding onto a top 15 for the majority of the main event. Something else has to be going on... Possibly an injury? I am not sure, but it'll be interesting to see whether or not he improves over the next few weeks.
The Ugly: Blake Baggett | 20th Place
Not an ideal night for Blake. He looped out
during his heat race (according to GuyB, he was having clutch issues before the gate dropped), and he pulled in after four laps of the main event. These first two rounds have not been the way Blake wanted to start out the 2017 season, especially since the word before the season started was that Blake was flying at the test tracks and at his personal compound. So while we may not have seen much out of him in the main events yet, I think he'll have some impressive rides before the season is over.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson