Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Salt Lake City 1

Ready for a blitz to the finish? It's also time to refire the Goods, the Bads, and the Uglies.

Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Salt Lake City 1

250 Class

The Good: Shane McElrath | 1st Place

The multiple week-long break brought on by COVID-19 must have been good for Shane, because he looked to be back to the Shane McElrath that we saw in Tampa a few months ago. His starts were on point, and although Chase Sexton kept him fairly close, Shane never seemed to be in real danger of losing the lead in the Main Event. If there is one thing that became very clear during this first race back, it’s that Shane and Chase are head and shoulders above their competition right now. Sure, Garrett Marchbanks won Daytona, but I think we’re going to see the Shane and Chase show for the remainder of the season. The bad news for Shane is that he’s still seven points down and Chase hasn’t finished worse than second place this season. So there’s a good chance he’s going to need to win out to take the title home. These next few races will be very intense.

Shane McElrath.

The Good Bonus: Pierce Brown | 5th Place

Pierce Brown’s ride in the Main Event didn’t receive much attention on the broadcast, but he came from 21st place (due to a crash early in the race) all the way to fifth place by the time the checkered flag flew! An unreal ride by the youngster. I believe he actually slipped into fourth place for a brief moment at the very end of the race, but he gave the position back to Jeremy Martin when he was lapped by the leaders. If he can stay upright for an entire Main Event, I think a podium is in the cards for Pierce before this season is over. I don’t think he could necessarily take the fight to Shane McElrath and Chase Sexton for a win, but I think he could beat Garrett Marchbanks or Jeremy Martin to land on the podium.

Pierce Brown.

The Bad: Colt Nichols | 15th Place

This was Colt’s first race back, so I’m not here to rag on him for a performance that was brought on by a crash early on in the race, but I don’t think any of the “big name” guys want to finish in 15th place when they return to the series. The good news about the bi-weekly races, though? He doesn’t have to stay frustrated for long, as he has another shot at a good finish at the next round. Regardless, I’m just glad to see Colt back out there.

Colt Nichols.

The Ugly: Jeremy Martin | 4th Place

Alright, I know what you’re thinking. Fourth place isn’t a horrible finish, and generally isn’t worthy of the “Ugly” classification. And you’re right, Jeremy Martin dealt with arm pump in the Main Event and just wasn’t capable of holding off Garrett Marchbanks for third place. So he settled for fourth place, which is fine, but I do think that it’s pretty important for Jeremy to get a better finish than third or fourth place before the end of this season. He is returning from a horrific back injury, but he’s also a veteran and two-time outdoor champion, and I think it would be a bit of a disappointing season for him if his best finish on the year was a pair of third place finishes.

Jeremy Martin.

450 Class

The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Place

Well, Eli sure did pick up where he left off, eh? Another win for the red plate holder, and he did it with his fellow title contenders right behind him once again. Now, it wasn’t a squeaky clean race for Eli. It’s not like he grabbed the holeshot and checked out. He did have to work for it and at one point it actually looked like Cooper Webb had the upper hand, but then Eli turned it on and got the job done. He now has an eight point lead which should be a nice cushion given how consistent he has been this season, but as we’ve seen in the past, Eli can be the best rider all season and then he will make one or two mistakes that costs him the championship. We’ve got six more of these races to go, and Eli’s going to have to avoid any costly mistakes in every single one of them.

Eli Tomac.

The Bad: Blake Baggett | 7th Place

Blake’s performance in SLC was a bit of a head-scratcher, as he actually got a great start and then slipped all the way back to seventh place by the end of the race. In a post-race interview with GuyB, he basically said that he fell apart out there and he didn’t have much else to say about it. To be fair, this was the first race back for these guys since March and Blake also mentioned that he was basically in full blown outdoors mode up until it was announced the Supercross series was coming back. So that could very well explain it right there. We’ll see if he’s any better on Wednesday.

Blake Baggett grabbing the holeshot in the 450 main.

The Bad Bonus: Adam Cianciarulo | DNF

Unfortunately, we’ve seen that in his first year on a 450 Adam has slipped back into his old ways in terms of hitting the deck on a fairly frequent basis. He mentioned on Instagram that he just got a bit too excited when he got a good start and, well, we all saw how his race ended. This has largely panned out to be a typical 450 rookie season for Adam. Lots of speed, a few good results, and a handful of crashes with an injury or two sprinkled in. He has plenty of time to figure it out, and he will, just like he did in the 250 class.

Adam Cianciarulo.

The Ugly: JGR Suzuki

My goodness, will anything ever get better for these guys? Every time we think their trend of bad luck is over, somehow it gets worse. Broc Tickle broke his hand in Arlington, was given a bit of a gift with the series delay so he could heal up, and then breaks his other hand upon returning in Salt Lake City…holy crap! You can’t make this stuff up. I believe Broc plans to take tomorrow’s race off and then attempt to race on Sunday, but there’s no doubt he’ll be doing some pain management for the remainder of the series if he’s able to race. Fredrik Noren also had an incident in the Main Event that led to a tweaked ankle and he was forced to pull off. He has been rehabbing it since Sunday and plans to race tomorrow, but we’ll have to see how well the ankle holds up with only a couple days of rest.

Fredrik Noren.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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