The Good: The Championship Battle
The lack of depth of the 250 championships this year has been a popular talking point, and I've hit on it a few times now. However, the championship battles between the top couple of guys has been fantastic in both series. On paper, this 250 West series is a three-way title fight heading into the break, but I think it's going to come down to Justin Cooper and Cameron McAdoo. I don't think Hunter Lawrence will hang with them for very long after the break. Justin and Cameron seem to be pretty dang even right now, with a slight edge to Justin in the fitness department. The first round in Atlanta will be huge for both of these guys, as whoever comes out on top will set the tone for the final stretch of races. Given Justin's outdoor skills, I'd say that he has an edge heading into Atlanta, but Cameron did win Daytona a few weeks ago... Yeah, this has the potential to be a great title fight.
The Bad: Hunter Lawrence | 5th Place
I don't think that Hunter originally expected to be the points leader at any point during this season, but I'm sure it stings a little bit that his time with the red plate lasted only one race. He should hold his head high, though, as he has made some crazy improvement since last year, and he's on a path of development that should see him become a legitimate title threat in 2022. It's also wild that this dude went flying over a berm and landed in a net, but he was still able to finish in fifth place. I'll always respect the mindset of these guys who will have a major crash, dust themselves off, and go back to clicking off laps as if nothing happened.
The Ugly: Carson Mumford | 12th Place
Carson has had a rough time in Supercross so far, and it's a real bummer to see. He was once a highly touted amateur for GEICO Honda, but he ended up losing the GEICO Honda ride after the team folded and found himself with the FXR/Chaparral Honda team that Michael Lindsay runs. It's a solid team with solid equipment, and I think that's why Carson's performance this season has been so perplexing. He has the skills, the equipment, and the team to succeed in Supercross, but he only has three Main Event finishes of 19-19-12. Arlington 3 was a step in the right direction with all things considered, but the season has still been a bit of a disaster for the young man. The good news is that his finish on Saturday should give him something to build off of heading into the break. Of course, I don't think any of us expect Carson to contend for wins at this point in his career, but it'd be a huge deal for him to rack up some top 10 finishes in the remaining rounds. The more confidence he builds, the better his results will be.
The Good: Ken Roczen vs. Cooper Webb
The championship battle between Kenny and Cooper is still raging on, although it's pretty clear that at this point, Cooper has all of the momentum in the actual Main Events. Kenny still has the speed, as evidenced by his performance in the heat race, but he doesn't have an answer for Cooper's late-race charges. As with any time Kenny hits a mid-season slump, we have to question if it's mental, physical, or both. I think at this point, even Kenny would have to acknowledge that how Cooper has risen to the top of the standings has hurt his confidence by a noticeable amount, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's also struggling a little bit with fitness that makes things look more mental than they are. Kenny's body has been through a lot, and this wouldn't be the first time he has dealt with body fatigue during the second half of the season. Ultimately, I hope that Kenny comes back from this break refreshed and ready to make another run at the title.
The Good Bonus: Jason Anderson | 5th Place
Jason continues to look much better than his early-season form, but I think the expectations for him are starting to get a little bigger as we head towards the final stretch of the season. After his free practice performance and timed qualifying, I thought he had the speed to finish on the podium or even contend for the win on Saturday, but things just didn't come together once it was time to drop the gate. For this season to be considered a "success," I'd say that he needs to land on the podium at least two more times. I will admit that it's odd that a rider who just won this championship a few years ago has seemingly had to go into a full rebuild mode just to get back to racing at a podium level.
The Bad: The Break
I've listed this as "The Bad" as any time the series goes on a multi-week break, my initial reaction is that I have no clue what I'll do with my next couple of Saturdays. However, I think this break is coming at the right time. There are several riders in both classes that need to hit the reset button, let their bodies rest, and come back ready to fight for the remainder of the season. I think this break will also ensure that a few riders that are currently out with injury will be able to make it back before the season is over. I still think that breaks suck, but they're necessary.
The Ugly: Marvin Musquin and Chase Sexton Crash Out
Marvin Musquin and Chase Sexton have really struggled with crashes this season, and it looked like both of them will be spending this first week off trying to get their bodies back to 100%. Chase posted on Instagram that he didn't sustain any injuries but that he was feeling extremely sore. The break should provide him with plenty of time to heal up, though, and hopefully, he can make it through the rest of the season without any more huge crashes. I can't be the only one surprised with how much Chase has struggled to keep himself off of the ground since moving to the 450 class.
Marvin's crash wasn't shown on the broadcast, but it sounds like he came together with another rider and messed up his wrist. He didn't say to what extent his wrist is hurt or if he'd be missing any time, so I imagine that he's going to see how things go over these next two weeks and then decide before it's time to head to Atlanta. It's a shame how Marvin's last few seasons have gone. I'd still like to see him make one last run at a 450 title, but, unfortunately, I think that he missed his window to win a title in this class.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson