Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Spring Creek 3

Mud often changes things up. Did it add to the mix for this week's GBU?

Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Spring Creek

250 Class
The Good: Alex Martin | 2nd Place Overall

After getting robbed of an overall podium at RedBud because of a radiator broken hose clamp that led to an engine failure, Alex bounced back at his home track and put in two great motos to finish second overall. The team has recently developed a new motor package and clearly it's helping out big-time. Alex and Kyle Peters have been in the mix for the holeshot of every moto since RedBud, and there's no doubt that they're closer in power to Pro Circuit Kawasaki and Star Racing Yamaha than they've ever been. I think this is actually pretty significant news for the team, as a competitive engine package could help attract some bigger names to the 250 squad in the future. Considering that JGR's approach has started to shift more towards hiring cost-effective riders, I'm not sure if they'd actually lay down big money for someone in the future...but the potential is there. Anyway, Alex has really turned things around lately and I expect that he'll continue to be in the top five for the rest of the season. Also, how about his penalty in the second moto? He went off the track for a while, sure, but as far as I could tell he re-entered at the safest point and lost time and positions because of it. A one-position penalty because of that seems kind of random. Now, I should say that I'm not necessarily opposed to issuing penalties for going off track, but there is absolutely no consistency in the decisions being made right now. It may not happen this year, but this rule needs to be re-addressed before next season.

Alex Martin.

The Good Bonus: Adam Cianciarulo | 1st Place Overall

The day started off a little rough for Adam as he was quite sketchy in the first moto. He went off the track a couple of times, had a crash, and he had to toss his goggles before the end of the race due to a roll-off issue. He was still able to finish in third place, but it wasn't pretty and he knew it. He said multiple times after the race that he was legitimately pissed off after the first moto and spent most of the time he had before the second moto trying to calm himself down. The emotions didn't get the better of him, luckily, and he went out in the second moto and ran away with the win like it was nothing. That gave Adam the overall win, and he extended his lead by 11 points over Dylan Ferrandis. This was exactly what he needed to do since it looked like Dylan was getting ready to go on a run after RedBud, and his lead in the standings now sits at 36 points. That puts him in the same boat as Eli Tomac, and I'm willing to say at this point that Adam will be the likely titleholder at the end of this season. Given how his career started, it's kind of wild that Adam might win a motocross title before a Supercross title, but that just shows how much he has evolved over the course of his career. It's also perfect timing, as he'll be caring a ton of momentum into his rookie season in the 450 class.

Adam Cianciarulo.

The Bad: Dylan Ferrandis | 4th Place Overall

Spring Creek killed the momentum Dylan had started to build over the past two rounds, and it drastically hurt his chances at winning the title, too. He's not completely out of it, of course, as anything is possible while the lead is under 50 points. But, at this point he'd need Adam to either crash out of a race or have a mechanical issue. He's not going to gain 36 plus points over four rounds without something drastic happening. The crazy thing is Dylan has not been lacking speed at any point this season...his starts just suck more often than not. If he gets the holeshot, I have no doubt that he'll probably win, but if he starts 12th in this class (like he did in the second moto) there is no chance that he'll be able to get to the front three. The only hope is that he uncovers the secret to getting top five starts on the regular at some point.

Dylan Ferrandis.

The Ugly: Justin Cooper | 7th Place Overall

Justin's last three moto finishes have been a sixth, a seventh, and a 10th. For a rider who was looking to be a serious title contender at one point...this ain't good. I think his season has proven that while he already has the raw speed to win this title...he does not have the consistency or testing skills to put it all together at this time. He's prone to having motos where he is very off the pace, and as I've mentioned before it seems like this is linked to his struggles with bike setup and making changes on race day. Granted, he did have a run-in with Alex Martin at Spring Creek that messed up one of his motos, but he was already looking a bit sketchy before that happened. It also doesn't help that Justin came in with a ton of hype despite this only being his second full season in the class, but that's what happens in this sport sometimes. I do think that he'll make huge strides over the next year and be in the title chase all the way to the end in 2020. 

Justin Cooper.

450 Class
The Good: Cooper Webb | 1st Place Overall

We all knew that Cooper would start to make his way towards the front at some point this season, but I have to say I didn't expect him to bang out a 1-1 performance at Spring Creek. A podium? Sure, but this 1-1 sweep came out of nowhere. He didn't absolutely dominate the field in either moto, as he dealt with Eli Tomac in the first moto and Ken Roczen in the second moto, but every time he was challenged he made a counter-move that put him back into control of the race. That's what we've come to expect from Cooper at this point. He may not always be the fastest guy on track, but he is incredibly hard to pass and he's nearly impossible to break even if he does get passed. That's how he won the Supercross title, and I expect that is how he will be in contention for the motocross title in 2020 now that he's starting to come to terms with the bike. With Eli looking to have this championship under control, it'll be awesome to see another guy fighting for wins and making these last four rounds interesting. 

Cooper Webb.

The Good Bonus: John Short & Henry Miller

Muddy conditions are always an opportunity for privateers to take advantage and put in some solid results, and that's exactly what John Short and Henry Miller did. They're both true privateers who have been known to be skilled outdoors, but this was a whole new level for them as they finished in fifth and sixth place in the first moto. Regardless of the conditions of the track, that's an awesome result for these two guys and I'm sure they were absolutely pumped after they crossed the line. The second moto didn't go as well for Henry, but John went out and finished eighth! No one can say this result was a fluke, either, because the track conditions in the second moto were the closest to regular conditions the track was all weekend. John has made a lot of progress since turning pro in 2014, and I don't see any reason why he can't become a regular in the top 12 in the future. 

John Short (far left), and Henry Miller (far right); along with another fast privateer, Isaac Teasdale (middle) on the first 450 moto start.

The Bad: Jason Anderson | 11th Place Overall

The rain may have stopped before the gate dropped at Spring Creek, but the dark clouds were still hanging over Jason Anderson's head for the rest of the day. He legitimately could not catch a break in either moto. He crashed two times on the first lap in the first moto, and although his charge back to 12th place was impressive, I'm sure that he'd agree it was a bit of a sh*tshow out there. The second moto was more of the same with him hosting a yard sale with several other riders in the first turn. He came back to 10th place in that one, but ended up 11th overall. Better days are ahead for El Hombre. 

Jason Anderson.

The Bad Bonus: Marvin Musquin | 4th Place Overall

A mediocre start in moto one and a first turn crash in moto two defined Marvin's day, and he lost another chunk of points to Eli Tomac in the process. I'm not sure what more there is to say about Marvin's season at this point. The speed is clearly there, but he has had mid-pack starts and first lap crashes so often this season that it's absolutely no surprise the gap in the standings now sits at 38 points. Washougal is a good track for Marvin, but Eli won there last year and finished second there in 2017 so I'm not expecting Marvin to make up any significant ground in the championship. 

Marvin Musquin.

The Ugly: Joey Savatgy | 15th Place Overall

I believe that Joey has a lot of potential on a 450 outdoors, but his season so far sure hasn't shown it. He has had crashes, bad starts, or bike problems at almost every round since returning from injury. The bike problems are the most notable since it seems like he's in the mechanic's area at least one time at every round, but I have no clue what's going on there. Ultimately, though, this outdoor season doesn't matter for Joey. He came in late, has been behind all season, and already knows that he'll be on a factory bike next year. I still believe that he's giving it everything he has got, but the pressure isn't necessarily crushing down on him right now. Still, it'd be nice to see him string together a few solid finishes before the end of the season.

Joey Savatgy.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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