Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Arlington

250 Class

The Good: Justin Cooper | 2nd Place

It may not seem like it, but Justin Cooper has only raced three Supercross races in his career when you include Arlington. He got hurt at the very beginning of 2018 and didn't race again until the Pro Motocross series. So really, this is his rookie year in Supercross, and with that in mind he has been very impressive. Third place last week, and a second place this week are setting him up to be the guy that is right there waiting for Austin Forkner to make a mistake. He didn't necessarily light up live timing during the Main Event with his lap times in Arlington, but he was consistent and didn't make any major mistakes while the guys that were initially in front of him did. With that in mind, I'd have to imagine that he'll be in contention for a win at some point this season, and with his outdoor skills...maybe that win will come at Daytona?

Justin Cooper.

The Bad: Jordon Smith | 4th Place

Jordon Smith's Main Event was mirroring Minneapolis very closely for most of the race. He didn't quite get the start, but moved his way forward and into second place behind Austin Forkner. This time, however, he was much closer and started to chip away some of Austin's lead. I'm not sure if he would have caught Austin by the end of the Main Event, given where the gap was when he crashed in the whoops. But it would have been another second-place finish, and he would go into the third round still fairly close in the championship. He's still not out of it, but I doubt being ten points down after two rounds was in his game plan for the season. I also have to say that his crash (from my angle on the floor) looked pretty rough, so it's great news that he's just a little banged up and apparently uninjured. Anyway, Jordon needs to grab a win sooner rather than later, because Austin's confidence is rising rapidly.

Jordon Smith.

The Ugly: Thomas Covington | DNQ

It was a rough day in Arlington for Thomas Covington. His timed qualifying result of 25th wasn't the best, but he didn't qualify the best in Minneapolis, either, and he still did perfectly fine during the night show. Arlington's night show, though, was different. He looked very timid, and he was struggling with a couple of the rhythms and even more so in the whoops. He gave up positions easily (even after he had slipped out of a qualifying spot), and he wasn't fighting hard to get spots back. He did try to make a block pass during the LCQ to stay in contention for a transfer position, but it backfired as he couldn't make the triple and lost a couple more spots. The dude has some serious skills on a dirt bike, so I think this is more of an issue with how he's still very new to Supercross. I've seen some comments that, "He's been practicing for months," so he may just be a bust for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna. The first problem with that statement is calling a rider a bust after two races, and the second is that practicing Supercross with a couple of guys at a test track is very different from racing with 21 other riders. Some guys pick up on it quickly, some don't. Amateur racers get to dip their toes into Supercross (or Arenacross) pretty early these days, and can step in and be pretty solid right away (see Jordan Bailey). Thomas has been racing the GPs for a while now, and he didn't race Supercross as an amateur, as far as I know. We've gotta give him some time before jumping to conclusions. The main thing for him right now, in my opinion, is for him to keep his head up and not let doubt creep too far into his mindset. 

Thomas Covington.

450 Class

The Good: Main Event Action

What a race! I honestly didn't think that he track would shape up well enough for such an exciting Main Event. Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen going back and forth for a moment got the crowd warmed up, and then it was all about Cooper Webb's charge to the front. I didn't think he'd make it happen, but he was catching the guys in front of him in chunks and I'm guessing it was primarily because of the quad he was doing towards the end of each lap. No one else had been doing that all day as far as I know, and he was getting it pretty cleanly the couple of times I saw him do it. He also just looked more comfortable than everyone else. And then going into the last lap I doubt anyone thought that he'd make the pass happen unless Ken made a mistake, but he took a shot in the last corner and while it wasn't a perfectly executed block pass, it did just enough to allow him to win by less than a second (it's officially the closest finish in Supercross ever). So it was another win for Cooper, and another one that got away for Ken. Cooper really has proven himself to be the guy to beat his season, and I'm still surprised every time I say that.

Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin.

The Good Bonus: Cole Seely | 6th Place

Cole has been fairly quiet this year as far as results go, but he has been solid. No big mistakes, just good results that I'd imagine everyone is satisfied with when you consider the injuries he sustained in Tampa last year. It has been said many times before, but there was a time last year when he was considering retirement, so to see him back racing and doing well is great. He also looks to be getting more comfortable almost every week, and I wouldn't be surprised if he starts landing top fives more regularly.

Cole Seely.

The Bad: Zach Osborne | 22nd Place

I wasn't expecting the world from Zacho in his 450 debut, but I was hoping that he'd have a drama-free night and walk away with something to build off of. That's not what happened, though. He did well in timed qualifying, but he went down at the start of his heat and had to claw his way back into a transfer spot. Then in the Main Event, he was riding well until he got a bad kick in the whoops and went over the berm. He didn't finish the race after that, so we really only got a little tease of Zach's abilities on the 450. Let's hope that he keeps it on two wheels for the entire day in Detroit.

Zach Osborne.

The Ugly: Eli Tomac | 12th Place

Eli didn't look great the entire day, if I'm being honest. It never quite looked like he figured the whoops out, and he looked fairly average everywhere else. Arlington has been a weird place for Eli throughout his career, with most of his results in Jerry World skewing towards the negative side of things. That's how it went this year, too, even though he got a great start in the Main Event (which with Tomac, many would expect that it's lights out for the competition), but Ken Roczen closed the gap quickly and was able to make a pass. Eli tried to counter, it didn't work, and then he went down in a corner before one of the rhythm sections. He lost several positions there, but then he continued to drop down the order throughout the race until he settled into 12th. He lost a few of those positions in the whoops, which is a little odd for Eli, since he's typically been known to be strong there. As far as I know, there haven't been any sort of rumors or explanations for his performance. It just sits at the facts, which are that he went down and then faded back to 12th. Weird, but weird isn't exactly new for Eli. Detroit is going to be a big weekend for him now that he has slipped back in the championship chase. If there was ever a time for him to reel off some wins, it's now.

Eli Tomac.

Words and photos by Grant Dawson