Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: East Rutherford

250 Class
The Good: Chase Sexton | 1st Place

The day couldn't have gone any better for Chase Sexton. He was the fastest qualifier, he won his heat race, and then he won the Main Event. No one was on his level at any point during the day, and he looked extremely smooth out there. I don't remember seeing him make one notable mistake. He was just clicking off lap after lap like he was at the test track. Yes, Chase did get some major assistance from Austin Forkner's unfortunate situation. Austin pulling off will likely follow Chase around for most of his career, especially if he walks away from Las Vegas with the title. And it's not like that's unexpected. It's easy to make the argument that Chase was basically handed the title, but to win the championship you have to finish the championship. Austin won't be finishing it. Of course, Chase isn't completely out of the woods yet. Justin Cooper is nine points down, and while that's a nice cushion...anything can happen in Las Vegas. I can't wait for next week.

Also, I have to say that Chase was the best looking rider out there by far, with some Jets-themed Shift MX gear and a custom-painted version of Fox Racing's brand new helmet. 

Chase Sexton.

The Good Bonus: Mitchell Oldenburg | 2nd Place

How about this?! Not only did Mitchell finally get his first podium of the year with a second-place finish, but he passed his teammate to get it! I think most of us figured that there would be some team orders in place for Mitchell to not actually pass Justin Cooper since he still has a shot at the title, but I am glad that Mitchell wasn't given any restrictions and could go for the best finish possible. This has been a long time coming for Mitchell, who has battled injury after injury these past couple of years. He even said on the podium that at one point he wasn't sure if this sport was for him anymore, but I'm glad he got those thoughts out of his head and came back stronger than ever. He's finally giving Star Racing Yamaha a return on their investment in him, and I'm sure he's slowly solidifying another factory contract for next season. I'm pumped to see that things are finally going his way. Now, I'm sure one of his main goals is to make it through the entire outdoor season healthy as well.

Mitchell Oldenburg.

The Bad: Justin Cooper | 3rd Place

Justin Cooper looked off every time he was on the track in East Rutherford, and he acknowledged that he wasn't the most comfortable on the bike a couple of times throughout the day. The dirt seemed to be catching a lot of guys off guard throughout the day, so it's not a huge surprise that some guys just couldn't get a handle on it. Justin is still a rookie in Supercross, too, so a third place isn't bad at all. But, any time a rider is given a shot at a championship he's inevitably going to be disappointed when it starts to slip away. That's what happened with Justin on Saturday. He's not out of it completely, and like I said, anything can happen in Las Vegas. But a nine point gap isn't anything to scoff at. He's going to have to find a nice comfort level early on next week, go all-out for the win in the 250 East/West Showdown, and hope something happens to Chase Sexton. 

Justin Cooper.

The Bad Bonus: Alex Martin | 7th Place

I've been waiting for Alex Martin to get another good start in a Main Event, and it happened in East Rutherford! He was out front with the top guys a few positions back, so it was a perfect opportunity for him to try and sprint away with the lead. The next thing we saw was him on the ground, though, and that was it. Another missed opportunity in Supercross for Alex, and unless things go his way in Las Vegas next week I think it's safe to say that this has been a pretty disappointing season for him. I have to imagine at this point in his career Alex has grown a little frustrated with Supercross. He has come into every season these past few years looking quick, but stuff inevitably doesn't go his way. At least the outdoor season is almost here, which we all know is where he really excels.

Alex Martin.

The Ugly: Austin Forkner | 22nd Place

Just like a couple of weeks ago in Nashville, Austin Forkner's day ended with absolute heartbreak. He gave it his best shot given the condition of his knee, and, honestly, I thought he was going to be able to pull it off during those first few laps of the Main Event. He looked like his old self and didn't seem too be laboring as much as he was in his heat race. In the end, though, all it took was one over jump and that was it. He quickly pulled off and looked like he was in a tremendous amount of pain. He then rode back to the pits with his mechanic, and I'm sure by now it has actually set in that his year is over. There's not a whole lot to say in this kind of situation. He was the dominant rider all season long, but he also crashed a lot. One of those crashes was bound to bite him eventually, and then one of them did. We never want to see this happen to a rider, but I'd say that the hope is that Austin will mature a little bit more between now and the next time he races Supercross. He has the race craft part down, but he's going to have to eliminate the frequent crashes in practice, otherwise he could end up in this same situation next year. 

Austin Forkner (24).

450 Class
The Good: Cooper Webb | 1st Place

This is it, guys and gals. Cooper Webb is going to be your 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Champion. And yes, I'm aware that he didn't technically clinch it in East Rutherford, but he has a 23-point lead with one race left. The only way he doesn't win this title is if he DNFs, and I don't see him riding aggressively enough to crash out, nor do I see his KTM having a mechanical issue. So I fully expect for him to be holding up a number one plate at the end of next Saturday. We've said it a million times this season, but this has been a truly unpredictable season with an unlikely victor. Talk about a great redemption arc for a rider that a lot of people (including myself) were starting to think might be a bust in the 450 class. You just never know what might flip the switch for some of these guys. At this point, with the huge strides Cooper made in Supercross this year, I'm incredibly curious to see how he'll do outdoors. Could he challenge Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin, and the other big hitters for the outdoor title, too? I don't see why not. Hangtown can't get here fast enough.

Cooper Webb.

The Good Bonus: Zach Osborne | 2nd Place

After passing Cooper Webb for the lead, one mistake cost Zach Osborne what would have been his first 450 win. But, he still snagged the first podium of his 450 career and showed that all of the hype surrounding his pre-season speed wasn't just a bunch of talk. He looked great...dare I say even better than he did on a 250...which is something I never thought I'd say about Zacho. He's getting back to top form at a great time, too, as he has the opportunity do well in Las Vegas and then carry this momentum straight into outdoors. Zach's not the youngest man on the circuit, but he may be a serious contender for the next couple of years in the 450 class if this was any indication.

Zach Osborne.

The Bad: Eli Tomac | 3rd Place

I mean, it's not like many of us thought Eli had a true shot at the title at this point. He was 18 points down with two rounds left, and there are always about three million variables in play when he's racing. He needed to beat Cooper Webb this week and then hope something happens to him next week. He put himself in position to do that, crashed in the whoops, got himself back in contention to take some points back, and then crashed in the whoops again. Nothing surprising here. He now sits 23 points down with one race left. On the bright side, though, this means all pressure will be off of him next week. He's also typically blazing fast in Las Vegas, too, so maybe we'll see Scary Fast Eli next week. Then he'll be turning his attention to his quest for a third-straight outdoor title. 

Eli Tomac.

The Ugly: Justin Bogle | 22nd Place

It was a mechanical problem that took Justin Bogle out of the Main Event, which is actually a bit of a relief since that means he didn't crash. Still, Justin has been riding great recently and he was looking feisty in East Rutherford, so I'm sure he feels like he was robbed of what could have been another solid result. He has one more Supercross race left to impress, and then it sounds like he'll do some outdoor rounds until Benny Bloss is ready to come back. I've said it before, but I feel like at this point Justin deserves a shot with a team next year, and not as a fill-in rider. Fingers crossed that he ends up with a contract.

Justin Bogle.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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