Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: St. Louis 8

It's been a wild, wooly, and (achoo!) unpredictable season so far. Let's check Grant's picks for the G, B, and U from STL.

Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: St. Louis

250 Class
The Good: Austin Forkner | 1st Place

In St. Louis, Austin Forkner got things back on track with zero crashes or mistakes and a win in the Main Event. This win wasn't as dominant as most of his wins from last year, as he only beat Justin Cooper by a margin of 1.6 seconds, but I think we can all agree that we'd rather see him keep it on two wheels and win by a small margin than go all out to gap the field and hurt himself again. And with Dylan Ferrandis struggling with first lap issues and dropping back in the points chase, are we now set for a re-match of last year's 250 East series with Austin Forkner v. Justin Cooper? It looks like it could become a reality, but Austin will be dealing with a much improved Justin Cooper...and potentially an angry Dylan Ferrandis if he can string together some wins. Anaheim 2 will paint a pretty good picture of what we can expect for the rest of the series. Can Austin make it two in a row? Will Justin respond with his second win of the season? Or will Dylan Ferrandis claw his way back into the fight with a win?

Austin Forkner.

The Good Bonus: Brandon Hartranft | 3rd Place

The first podium of Brandon's career was relatively quiet. He just rode his race and took the gifts that were given to him by Christian Craig and Jett Lawrence in stride. Nonetheless, it was a special night for him. He seemed relieved to get his first podium out of the way in his post-race interview, and this will probably provide him with some newfound confidence moving forward.

I'm curious about what Brandon's goals for this season were. Landing on the podium was almost certainly one of them, but did he think it would happen this quickly? I was expecting him to take a bit to warm up to his new status as a factory rider. I mean, it wasn't long ago when we were impressed that he was pulling off occasional top five/six finishes on a Rock River Yamaha. Seeing the leaps in performance some of these guys are able to make from year-to-year is honestly one of the best parts of keeping up with this sport. I look forward to seeing him fight for more podiums in the future.

Brandon Hartranft.

The Bad: Cameron McAdoo | DNQ

Honestly, I knew that Cameron had a crash during practice, but I didn't think much of it at the time. When he came out for the final qualifier and swiftly went back to the pits after one lap, though, it was clear that something more serious was up with him. We didn't hear anything else about him for the rest of the day other than the fact that he would not be racing. Then on Sunday, he revealed that the practice crash he had resulted in a partially collapsed left lung and a fully collapsed right lung. That's a gnarly injury, and I expect it'll keep him out of the series for a decent bit. This wasn't how anyone wanted to see his second race with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki end. Still, hopefully he can come back at some point during the Supercross season and put in some great results. 

Cameron McAdoo.

The Ugly: Dylan Ferrandis | 12th Place

We've come to the point where we have to accept that poor starts will always be the biggest weakness of Dylan Ferrandis. He occasionally gets a decent jump off of the gate, but it's extremely rare, and most of the time he's forced to expel an incredible amount of energy charging through the field. It's impressive that he's able to push to the very end and never seems to tire out, but that effort level only matters so much when he ends up in second or third place and loses points to a title rival. This week, it was a combination of a bad start and bad luck. Dylan did get a bad start, but Alex Martin made a mistake on the first lap that forced Michael Mosiman to fade over and collide with Dylan. It was a hard hit, and for a split-second, I wasn't sure if he'd even re-join the race. He was able to get back on the bike and charge back to 12th place, but his quest to claim two West titles in a row just got a whole lot harder. A win at Anaheim 2 is a must.

Dylan Ferrandis.


450 Class
The Good: Ken Roczen | 1st Place

Holy cow, it happened. Ken Roczen was able to secure his first Supercross win in nearly three years (yes, time flies, it's been that long) in St. Louis! I'm sure the entire industry couldn't help but smile when he was handed the first-place trophy. It's been such a long and painful road back to the top spot for him, and there have been times where many of us were unsure if he'd ride again, let alone compete for wins and championships. It was a fantastic ride on his part, and this also moves him squarely into the center of the championship fight. Justin Barcia still has the red plate, but now that Ken seems more comfortable on his bike and he's tasted victory again...this could get interesting. 

Sidebar, is anyone else sick and tired of seeing the replays of Ken's crashes every time he's leading a race? I get that it's part of his storyline, but talk about beating a dead horse. I hope now that he's won a race they'll chill out with showing it all the time. It's time to move on.

Ken Roczen.

The Good Bonus: Malcolm Stewart | 6th Place

Malcolm had a great weekend considering that he's still sore from a recent crash. He was the only non-factory/factory-supported rider in the top 10, and there were a few laps during the Main Event where I thought he might be able to take the fight back to Eli Tomac (who had just recently passed him). Sixth place was where he'd ultimately finish, and that's a fantastic result considering he's on a private team. I still think that the most significant thing for Malcolm this year is getting through the entire season without any serious injury. If he can do that, and if he can continue to put in results like St. Louis, he should be the next MotoConcepts Honda rider to receive a factory ride of some sort for 2021. One step at a time.

Malcolm Stewart dueling with Eli Tomac.

The Bad: Justin Bogle | 15th Place

In a post-race interview with Swapmoto Live, Justin did mention that right before the Main Event started, he noticed the front end of his bike was still a little messed up from his heat race crash. He couldn't do anything about it at that point, though, so he just had to ride the best he could, given the circumstances. A bad start didn't help things any, and he ended up finishing around the position that he started in. Regardless of bike issues, there's no denying that Justin's first two races of the season do not look good at all on paper. He is on factory-supported equipment but only has 16th and 15th place finishes on the scorecard. That's not going to cut it in what will inevitably be another contract year for him.

Nonetheless, he did put in some great rides last year, so I'm looking for him to slowly make his way up the order as the season progresses. As far as I know, he's healthy. And if he's healthy, he should be near the top ten every weekend. He has the skills to do it, as evidenced by his performance in his heat race before he crashed.

Justin Bogle.

The Ugly: Cooper Webb | 12th Place

If I were a betting man, I'd say that racing this weekend was not what the doctor ordered for Cooper Webb. The latest word from the team is that he may have a chest/lung infection, which makes it sound like the flu-like sickness he has been dealing with has evolved into pneumonia or something similar. The fact that he was able to finish 12th in the Main Event even with a fairly severe sickness? Incredible. However, this was not a great weekend for his hopes to repeat as the 450 Champ. While the 17 points he trails Justin Barcia by is not an insurmountable deficit, he is going to have to start gaining points back very soon. And that may not be easy if this sickness hangs around for another week or so, and he is forced to keep racing in survival mode. Between Jason Anderson struggling at A1 in 2019 and then breaking his arm a couple of weeks later, and now Cooper Webb dealing with a severe sickness early in the season...it's been a rough time for defending 450 Champs lately. 

Cooper Webb.

You can check out my personal Power Rankings here.


Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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