Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Ironman National

250 Class

The Good: Brandon Hartranft | 3rd Place Overall

Last week was a rough one for Troy Lee's team, but they were able to bounce back nicely this week with Brandon landing on the podium for the first time in his career and all three of the team's riders finishing inside the top 20 overall. I will say that I think this is the performance ceiling for Brandon and TLD KTM as a whole this season. Podiums are the equivalent of wins for them with how young and inexperienced their roster is right now. Plus, Brandon looked dang strong out there, but I don't see him beating Dylan Ferrandis or Jeremy Martin this year unless they both have some serious issues. I am curious to see what Pierce Brown's best finish will be by the end of the season. I think he has the raw speed to reach the podium, but he's still in that phase all of the youngsters seem to go through where they can't stay off the ground. 

Brandon Hartranft.

The Good Bonus: Justin Cooper | 4th Place Overall

A step in the right direction for Justin, who revealed this past weekend that he actually did sustain an injury shortly after the Supercross season ended. That explains his underwhelming start to the season and signals that we'll most likely see him get stronger towards the end of the season. He doesn't seem to have the speed or fitness to win yet, but if he continues to progress at this rate, I could see him winning in the last two or three rounds. I gotta imagine next year's going to be a big one for Justin. He'll be heading into his fourth full year in the 250 class, and with Dylan Ferrandis (and, as of now, Shane McElrath) leaving Star Racing's 250 team, he will be the guy the team looks to bring them another title. 

Justin Cooper.

The Bad: RJ Hampshire | 12th Place Overall

RJ had a very "Classic RJ" weekend at Ironman. He was fast and looked like a podium contender...until he hit the ground. He was even able to come back to fifth place in the first moto after crashing! In the end, though, he went 5-17 for 12th place overall, which doesn't look incredibly exciting on paper. With an 18th in the second moto at Loretta's 2 and a 17th in the second moto of Ironman, I hope this isn't the start of a "Second Moto Curse" for RJ. He looks good out there and deserves to have a solid season.

RJ Hampshire.

The Ugly: Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki

Well, I mean...Pro Circuit did have to hire two fill-in riders for this outdoor season after literally everyone on the team, but Cameron McAdoo got hurt, so I guess expectations weren't exactly sky-high. It also doesn't help that one of their fill-in riders, Darian Sanayei, got hurt pretty quickly. So with two guys at Ironman, Mitchell Harrison and Cameron McAdoo, they came home in ninth place overall and 13th place overall, respectively. That's not a complete disaster with all things considered, but for it ain't good for Pro Circuit. I think seventh-to-ninth is about the best Harrison is going to be able to deliver for the team, but that just puts more pressure on McAdoo to reach the podium at some point this season. We'll see if he'll be able to do it because it sure would be weird for this team to not have a podium finish in an outdoor season. 

Mitchell Harrison.

450 Class

The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Place Overall

This was exactly the kind of weekend Eli Tomac needed after sliding to 40 points behind in the championship chase at Loretta's 2. He was able to cut Zach Osborne's championship lead down to 27, and it's only going to take one more rough weekend for Osborne for this thing to be real close once again. I have to admit that I didn't expect Osborne to give up this much this fast, and as a result, my "Is Tomac's championship over?" question from last week has already been invalidated. Tomac will still have to beat Osborne a lot and hope for more mistakes like we saw in the first moto, but there's a solid chance now that we're going to see one heck of a title battle between these two. Marvin Musquin and Justin Barcia are lurking in there, too.

The Good Bonus: Justin Barcia | 4th Place Overall

Take away Justin's DNF in the second moto at Loretta's 2, and he would be right in the battle for the points lead. This is the best we've seen him look in a long time, and with how this championship has gone so far, we can't count him out just like we're not counting Eli Tomac out (especially since Justin is actually one point ahead of Eli in the standings). It doesn't sound like Justin will be back with Yamaha next year, but it is great to see him comfortable on the bike and riding like a mad man out there. If Justin's able to win at RedBud, this championship is going to heat up real fast as standings tighten up. 

Justin Barcia was fully sending off of everything in sight while trying to chase down Eli Tomac at the end of moto two.

The Bad: Zach Osborne | 5th Place Overall

Small mistakes cost Zacho a lot of points this weekend and kind of made it look like the red plate got heavier with each mistake he made. The momentum has now swiftly shifted over to Musquin, Tomac, and Barcia, and Osborne is going to have to respond at RedBud or risk becoming another one of those riders who starts out on fire and then fizzles out after a few rounds. We'll probably re-visit this one way or another after this coming weekend's double-header. 

Zach Osborne duking it out with Adam Cianciarulo.

The Ugly: Jason Anderson | 41st Place Overall

It sounds like the metal that Jason had put in his arm back in 2019 started to bother him recently, and it got to the point at Ironman where he couldn't stand it anymore. I haven't seen an update on his condition since last weekend, but it was said that he would get an MRI, so I'm sure we'll receive some PR about it sometime soon. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see him sit out the rest of the season. He's 10th in points, and he's clearly going to have to deal with this issue one way or another, so what does he have to gain from racing the rest of the season? The best thing he can do is get everything squared away and be 100% healthy for the 2021 Supercross season.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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