Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Nashville 3

Well, there were certainly some flip-flops on previous GBU weekends. See Grant's picks.

Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Nashville

250 Class

The Good: Martin Davalos | 1st Place

This was...unexpected. Martin's season prior to Nashville had been a minor train wreck, to be honest. No podiums, and he really never even seemed like a threat to run up front for an entire race. According to Martin, though, he hasn't been 100% all season. He's still dealing with neck issues that were brought on by his crash in Arlington last year, and it sounds like it has been hindering him more than any of us could really imagine. I'm glad that he finally opened up about what has been ailing him, because up to this point it was just a mystery, which opened up the door for a lot of assumptions to be made. Luckily, it sounds like they've found a temporary fix for his neck which should hopefully help him get through the season, but I'm sure the goal is to figure out a permanent solution so he can go back to focusing solely on racing. Anyway, he rode great all day and put himself in perfect position to capitalize on a poor choice made by Justin Cooper, which put Martin into the lead. From there, he never really felt any pressure as the other top guys were buried and just cruised to the win. I hope that this could lead to Martin at least finishing out the season with a couple of podiums. He really needs to pad this season with a couple of more good results, especially since he's looking to sign a decent 450 deal for next year.

Martin Davalos.

The Good Bonus: Chase Sexton | 2nd Place

Chase said several times after the race that he felt like Nashville should have been a race that he won, and I agree with him. He has been the best guy besides Austin Forkner all season, and with Austin out I'm not sure if anyone else can match his current pace and racecraft. Unfortunately, he got taken out on the first lap of the Main Event and was pushed back to around 16th or so. He was able to come back to second place, which netted him a 23-point gain on Austin in the championship, but he clearly had the speed to win and it was a bummer to see things turn out how they did. It's pretty clear that it's only a matter of time until he finally gets a win, though. As far as the championship goes, it'll be interesting to see how things shake out even if Austin is able to race the remainder of the rounds. There is no room for error for any of the championship hopefuls.

Chase Sexton.

The Bad: Justin Cooper | 3rd Place

All three of the riders fighting for the championship in the 250 East division; Austin Forkner, Chase Sexton, and Justin Cooper; are fairly young. They've all been racing for a couple of years now at least, but they're not seasoned veterans by any means. So when Austin pulled out of the race after injuring his knee in practice, Chase and Justin were suddenly the frontrunners in the championship. Both of them wanted to maximize how many points they could gain on Austin, especially since it's unclear if Austin will even be able to finish out the series. So, yeah. A couple of young guys got thrown back into championship contention on short notice, and with that in mind I'm not surprised that Justin Cooper just threw it in there on Chase Sexton on the first lap of the race. That doesn't make it any less of a stupid move, but again, I wasn't surprised to see it happen. He was able to come back to third place, but he also crashed a second time a couple of laps after the first incident, so this definitely wasn't a performance he's going to look back on fondly. If anything, this should serve as a lesson to Justin in how not to approach a potentially championship-altering race.

Justin Cooper.

The Ugly: Austin Forkner | DNQ

What a heartbreaking day for Austin. Five race wins on the season, a 26-point lead in the standings, and none of it mattered when he crashed hard during the first qualifying session and injured his knee. He tried to come out for the second session, but he overjumped one rhythm and that was all she wrote. He's getting some tests this week to find out exactly how bad it is, but I'm sure he and the team have braced themselves for bad news. I sincerely hope he's able to come back and race the final rounds of the series, even if he's not completely 100%, because it would just suck to see his near-perfect season fall apart so suddenly.

Miss a whole race and still have the points lead? Yep, that's the situation Austin Forkner is in now.


450 Class

The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Place

Cool. I'm still confused. It's clear that Eli was off the pace for most of the day but it seemed like he found a better setting before the night show because he was on it. He did have a mechanical failure that sent him to the LCQ for the second time this season, which has to be frustrating, but the extra track time probably just helped him become more comfortable. Then in the Main Event he got some help from multiple guys going down, but he was able to close in on Cooper Webb and quickly made the move for the lead. He was gone after that. So, are all of his struggles related to bike setup? Doubtful, but it's definitely part of it. So we'll see how he does in Denver since he seems to like his chances there. Side note: I'd still like to hear why he rolled the finish line in Houston.

Eli Tomac.

The Bad: Ken Roczen | 8th Place

Ken could offer Lady Luck a blank check at this point, and she'd laugh, shred it up, and throw it back at him. I cannot believe how unlucky he has been recently. Whether it's sickness, injuries, or other incidents that are out of his control, he cannot catch a break. Like Chase Sexton, I think he was the fastest guy in Nashville. He was absolutely obliterating the whoop sections. He was completely unmatched, no one was even close to him. It looked like he was going to use those two sections to pass pretty much everyone in the Main Event, too, until Joey Savatgy went down in front of him and Ken ended up going over a berm. It was a racing incident. It happens, but I'm sure Ken feels like win after win are just being taken away from him at this point. Rough times for the #94.

Ken Roczen.

The Bad Bonus: Marvin Musquin | 6th Place

This one was completely on Marvin. After some KTM-on-KTM violence last week, I think we were all curious how thing would pan out if the two teammates found each other in the Nashville Main Event. And, well, it was set up from the get-go. They were running 1-2 on the first lap and chances were a nice battle was about to erupt, and then Marvin went down in the whoops and was buried in the pack. The battle was snuffed out before it began, which gave Cooper Webb the opportunity to extend his championship lead to 21 points with only a few rounds left. So unless Marvin wins out and Cooper has a rough race or two, it's looking like Cooper will win the title in his first year with Red Bull KTM. Wild.

Marvin Musquin.

The Ugly: Joey Savatgy and Justin Barcia

One thing that we don't like to see towards the end of the Supercross season is riders getting injured, because that means they'll probably have to sit out some of the outdoor season as well. The field is really starting to get a little beat up, too, with Justin Brayton, Chad Reed, Joey Savatgy, and Justin Barcia all sustaining one injury or another recently. Granted, Justin Brayton and Chad Reed wouldn't have raced outdoors anyway, but Joey Savatgy and Justin Barcia should both be podium contenders when we head outside, so it's going to be a huge disappointment if either of them have to miss some of the outdoor season. This especially sucks for Savatgy, who has bounced back from a rough start to the season to have an incredible rookie campaign. He has definitely done enough to secure himself a factory ride for the next few years. Anyway, I'm sure we'll hear more about Savatgy and Barcia sometime this week.

Justin Barcia.

Joey Savatgy.


Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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