The Good: Colt Nichols | 1st Place
It was a dominant win for Colt at the first round in Indy, and it's starting to look like he's the favorite to win this title. I still don't think Jett is quite ready to win a title yet, and the past two races have shown that Christian Craig still struggles to close out races. Colt's straight-up the most complete rider in this class right now, and it's kind of wild that none of us would have picked him to be "the dude" this year...but that is one of the best parts of the 250 class.
The Good Bonus: Jett Lawrence | 4th Place
Jett showed a lot of heart and determination on Saturday as he carved his way through the field after a rough couple of laps early on and nearly made the pass for second place on the last lap. Christian Craig ended up taking them off the track and cost them both some positions, but Jett still salvaged a lot of points and showed that he is maturing much quicker than most riders his age. And, yes, I know I just said above that I don't think he's quite ready to win a title yet, because I still feel like he's prone to making small mistakes (like when he got stuck on the wall) that will cost him way too many points against someone like Colt Nichols. Next year, though, I think Jett will be the title favorite on whichever coast he races on.
The Bad: Depth of the Class
Losing RJ Hampshire, Austin Forkner, and Max Vohland to injuries has definitely hurt the East Coast series when it comes to depth. And maybe I've just been spoiled by the sheer amount of depth in the 450 class this year, but there's a sharp drop-off in talent after the top six guys, and really, there's only three guys that can win right now in the East series. Don't get me wrong, the Main Event was entertaining on Saturday night with Jett charging through and the late-race shenanigans that ensued. However, I can't help but think about how great this championship would be if the 250 class wasn't split into two coastal series. I used to not be bothered by the split series, but with every year that passes, I support the idea of one 250 series more and more.
The Ugly: Christian Craig | 5th Place
Christian is still in the championship fight as he's only eight points behind Colt Nichols, but Colt has beaten him in three straight races, and Indy 1 was the most vulnerable Christian has looked so far this season. Colt left him in the dust, and he looked tired out there towards the end of the race. His run-in with Jett seemed like a combination of desperation, fatigue, and a mistake as he clipped the face of the jump while heading into the corner. I still think he was going to run Jett wide, but how things transpired was certainly not what Christian thought would happen when he was heading into that corner. This is still the best Supercross season that Christian has ever had, but it's always a bummer when a rider starts out the season with an incredible win, and then things start to slowly fizzle out from there.
The Good: Ken Roczen | 1st Place
This was an incredible performance by Kenny, and it may have been the best ride he has had in the past couple of years. Eli Tomac had the lead two different times, but he had nothing for Kenny, and they were both giving it everything they had. I recently said that Cooper Webb was my personal favorite to win the title, but if Kenny is able to get to the halfway point of the season without any sort of fatigue/physical issues like we've seen in recent years...it may be time to revisit that thought.
The Good Bonus: Joey Savatgy | 8th Place
I doubt Joey is very excited about an eighth-place finish as I'm sure he thinks he could reach the top five, but this was a huge step forward for him after an abysmal 2020 and a rough start to the 2021 season. This was his first top 10 of the season, and I believe he could become a top 10 regular if he can keep it on two wheels. He has always had the ability to start up front, and now that he's done it on his new bike and proven to himself that he can hang with the fastest guys in the class....his confidence should be on the rise.
The Bad: Dean Wilson | DNQ
Ugh, Deano is one of the best guys in the paddock, and to see him deal with injuries seemingly every year is gut-wrenching. He crashed while practicing during the week and ended up with a broken toe, sprained ankle, and a bruised knee, which he had to get some fluid drained out of. He tried to give it a go on Saturday, but it was pretty obvious during the first practice session that he wasn't going to be able to race, and he eventually pulled out and made a post about it on Instagram. He didn't say how long he'll be out, but I'd have to imagine that he'll miss the next two rounds in Indy, and then we'll see if he's back for Orlando. This is another contract year for Deano, and I think he's going to need more than a handful of 11th and 12th place finishes to hold on to his Husqvarna ride for 2022. Hopefully, he's able to come back and put in some solid performances.
The Ugly: Justin Barcia | 13th Place
After a 13th place finish at Indy 1, Justin has now slipped back to fifth place in the standings, and he's 17 points behind Ken Roczen. It's starting to look like Justin will once again start the season red-hot and then struggle to get back to his early-season form for the remainder of the series. I still think he'll get a couple of more podiums and maybe even another win, but I don't think he'll even sniff the points lead again. I really don't know what happens to Justin after the first round, but we've seen it happen three years in a row now. He can't blame it on the bike this time, as the GasGas is thought to be a much better fit for him than the Yamaha was. We'll see if he's able to surprise us and bounce back from the slump this time or if the pattern will continue.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson