Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Budds Creek

250 Class
The Good: Shane McElrath | 1st Place Overall

Well, this seemingly came out of nowhere! It's no secret that 2019 has not been a career year for Shane McElrath. He did win a race during the Supercross season, but he wasn't quite as strong as many of us expected him to be and he eventually pulled out of the series due to a back injury. Fast-forward a few months and his results throughout the outdoor season have been mediocre to say the least. A slight percentage of the blame pie for his results this season can be blamed on bike setup, as there have been rumblings that the team has struggled to find ideal settings on the new generation of the KTM 250. Undoubtedly, though, a large percentage of it is just him not performing up to his full potential. I'm not saying that Shane should dominated the outdoor series up to this point, but hanging around tenth place for the first nine rounds of the season is not where he belongs. Thankfully, things went differently at Budds Creek. Shane put in the best performance of his outdoor career and made it look easy en route to 1-1 finishes and first place overall on the day. He even said in post-race interviews that he didn't feel that great in the first moto, but he was gapping the rest of the field anyway so he just kept going at a pace he felt was comfortable. Then he went out in the second moto and did the same thing, effectively proving that it was no fluke. It may be late in the season, but this is probably the best time for Shane to turn things around. If he can log another great result next weekend at Ironman, he'll have a decent amount of momentum heading into the 2020 Supercross season. 

Shane McElrath.

The Good Bonus: Ty Masterpool | 8th Place Overall

Ty Masterpool essentially took the Adam Cianciarulo route into the professional ranks, as he decided to forego a full year on a 250 as an amateur and instead jump straight into the 250 pro class. With that in mind, I think he's done a great job considering he's not that far removed from racing the Supermini class. He has stayed healthy, finished inside the top 20 in every single moto this season, and he has shown that his fitness level is pretty solid for a young rookie. He led a few laps during the first moto of Budds Creek, and even though he did fade back to seventh place by the end of the race I think it was merely a small preview of what's to come from him over the next few years. He's one to keep an eye on.

Ty Masterpool.

The Bad: Dylan Ferrandis | 4th Place Overall

Starts, starts, starts. Starts continue to be the killer of Dylan's championship aspirations. There's really not much more to it at this point. He started 16th in the first moto and 11th in the second moto at Budds Creek and there's just no coming back from that in this class. I think where he ended up in each moto (fourth place) was as far up the order as he could have possibly gone. His pace was great, his fitness late in the day was great, and the little bit of attitude he threw into his pass on Adam in the second moto was great. The final result? Not great. With a 30-point gap between himself and Adam heading into Ironman, Dylan's going to need a monumental fudge-up from Adam to walk away with the number one plate. 

Dylan Ferrandis.

The Ugly: Colt Nichols | 41st Place Overall

Colt has really improved on outdoor skills these past two years, and while he has fallen short of becoming a regular podium guy this year, I think that next year it's going to happen. I don't think he's hit the ceiling of his potential yet. Budds Creek, though, was rough for him. He went down hard during the first moto and that was the end of his day. The good news is that it sounds like he's just banged up, but at this time he's not 100% sure if he'll race at Ironman.

Colt Nichols.

450 Class
The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Place Overall

Three-time champ! I don't think anyone, including Eli, expected for him to wrap up the title at Budds Creek. He needed to gain ten points on Marvin Musquin, and the assumption was that Marvin would lay it all out there to at least go 2-2 and force the championship to go to the final round. Marvin didn't have a great day, though, and Eli was back to his usual self after an odd outing at Unadilla (which was brought on by overworking himself at his ranch, according to Eli). With this title, Eli will undoubtedly be included in the "all-time greats" conversation well after he retires. Winning three outdoor titles in a row ain't easy, folks, and that's why only a few guys have done it before. The one thing that's missing on Eli's resumé? A 450 Supercross title, and I'd imagine he's all-in on getting that one in 2020. 

Eli Tomac.

The Good Bonus: Kyle Cunningham | 10th Place Overall

Every once in a while Kyle Cunningham puts in a performance that makes you go "Ah, yeah, Kyle still has some serious skills on a dirt bike," and Budds Creek was one of those performances. He went 11-8 for tenth place overall and was rock solid the entire day. He hasn't made it to as many outdoor races as he probably would have liked to this year, but I'm just glad he still shows up and races, really. 

Kyle Cunningham.

The Bad: Marvin Musquin | 3rd Place Overall

Marvin tried his best to prevent Eli from clinching the title at Budds Creek, but in the end he just couldn't do it. He didn't quite get the start he needed in either moto and I'm sure the hot conditions didn't help Marvin out, either. If he hangs onto second place in the championship next weekend then it'll be the third year in a row that he has finished in that position, and I'm sure he's pretty frustrated by that stat at this point. 2020 can't come soon enough for him.

Marvin Musquin.

The Ugly: Justin Bogle | 20th Place Overall

It was almost painful as a viewer to watch Justin Bogle drop like a rock during the first moto on Saturday. He got the holeshot and led for a split second before Eli passed him, and then he started to slide backwards...and he continued to slide all the way back to 19th place. I figured it must have been arm pump coupled with the heat initially, but Justin made a post on Instagram today revealing that he's been dealing with the Epstein-Barr Virus all year long. He found out about the diagnosis back towards the beginning of Supercross, but he had to push forward since he is a fill-in rider this year and has been trying to secure a seat on a team for 2020. So that explains a lot, and it at least speaks to his determination to keep racing since a lot of guys sit out when they're diagnosed with this type of disease. I hope Justin is able to find a ride for next year, and I hope he's able to get recovered from the virus by then.

Justin Bogle.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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