Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Unadilla

250 Class
The Good: Chase Sexton | 3rd Place Overall

It's good to see Chase starting to work his way back into the fight for podium finishes after how the season has gone for him. Florida really did a number on his body and it has taken him longer than he would have liked to get back to his early season form, but I am glad that they worked out the physical problems he was having before we reach the end of the season. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll win any races this year with how hard Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis are fighting for the title. But, I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the overall podium at the final two rounds which would give him some momentum heading into the off season (and eventually his Supercross title defense). Adam Cianciarulo won't be in this class next year, so I'm expecting Chase to step it up and take the fight to Dylan Ferrandis in 2020. 

Chase Sexton.

The Good Bonus: Jett Lawrence | 13th Place Overall

Jett's first moto in the big leagues didn't go according to plan as he crashed early on and found himself at the very back of the field, but he fought his way forward and almost got up to Jerry Robin for 20th place. It was still a great ride considering he's only 16, won't even race at the professional level full-time until next year, and is already showing that he has better race craft than most riders when they first line up in this series. His performance in the second moto was fantastic. He went from around 17th/18th place off of the start to eighth place by the time the checkered flag flew. The highest moto finish by any of the other rookies was 16th place, and that was by Carson Mumford in moto one. He's only one pro race in, but combine this performance with how he did at Loretta Lynn's and I'm starting to buy in on the hype around this kid. 

Jett Lawrence.

The Bad: RJ Hampshire | 8th Place Overall

RJ's day at Unadilla wasn't horrible. He was eighth overall at the end of the day and showed a lot of speed at times, but bad starts and mistakes continued to hound him as they have for most of the season. He has the skills to be inside the top five every weekend and challenging for podiums on the regular, but there is always something that holds him back. I'm not really sure what the solution is at this point since he's been in this same sort of situation for the past few years, but I am hoping that the switch to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna for next year gives him a breath of fresh air and allows him to take the next step forward.

RJ Hampshire.

The Bad Bonus: Jo Shimoda | 36th Place Overall

Oof, not the best pro debut for Jo. Of course, it should be noted that he didn't straight up get 36th overall. He had issues early in the first moto, and I saw him pull off the track in the second moto as I was shooting photos by Screw U. It's definitely not unheard of for rookies to have a few crashes at their first race, and I don't think anyone is going to hold this one against him. At the end of the day, he got some experience that should help him do better at Budds Creek. I will say that from what I watched of him during practice and the second moto, though, he has a really smooth riding style that is a joy to watch. I'd say (barring more crashes) that he'll finish in the 11th-15th place range at the final two rounds of the series. 

Jo Shimoda.

The Ugly: Cameron McAdoo | 41st Place Overall

A crash in the first moto ended Cameron's day early, which is never what we want to see. Luckily, he posted on Instagram that he's just banged up and didn't sustain any serious injuries. Apart from Unadilla, though, Cameron has done great since signing a fill-in deal with the Troy Lee Designs KTM team a few rounds into the season and should definitely move out of the fill-in type rider he was this year and into a full-time factory rider for 2020. With how much he has improved over the past year, give him some stability with a contract and I think he'll just continue to get better. 

Cameron McAdoo.


450 Class
The Good: Ken Roczen | 1st Place Overall

This latest break in the series was another opportunity for Ken Roczen to rest his body for over a week, and I'd say it made a difference as he absolutely destroyed the field on Saturday. This wasn't just a victory, this was an absolute smackdown and very reminiscent of some of his performances in 2016. He was three seconds faster than everyone else in qualifying, and then his fastest lap in moto one was almost two seconds faster than everyone else! Did I type that right? Yes, I did. He did say that he's still not back to 100% and won't be until after the season ends, but performances like this one are why Honda decided to commit to him for three more years and why he could still win some more championships before the end of his career. The final two rounds could be quite interesting.

Ken Roczen.

The Good Bonus: Justin Barcia | 6th Place Overall

Justin's overall finish doesn't really seem that great, but he looked far and away better than he has all season. The Justin Barcia we expect seemed to be back in the first moto, as he started outside the top five but was able to work his way into a podium position by the end of the moto. I believe he had an issue at the beginning of the second moto that put him a fair ways back, but he was still able to come through to tenth place and ended up sixth place overall. The bike is clearly working better for him and I'm hoping this is a sign of what's to come and not a flash in the pan performance. Racing is always more exciting when Justin is up towards the front. 

Justin Barcia.

The Bad: Cooper Webb | 41st Place Overall

Seeing a DNF/DNS on the scorecard for Cooper Webb is never something we want to see, but I'd say that it's even worse at the end of the season like this. He was just starting to come to grips with the KTM outdoors, and it looked like he was going to finish out the season with some solid results. Anyway, KTM just put out a press release not long ago, and the injury is a bone contusion that will force him to sit out of the final two rounds. The good news is that it's not an injury that requires surgery, but there's no doubt that he would rather not start his off season with an injury that needs some time to heal. See you next year, Cooper.

Cooper Webb.

The Ugly: Eli Tomac | 4th Place Overall

Eli Tomac has one of those days at Unadilla. It wasn't as bad as his partial meltdown in the mud at Unadilla in 2017, but it wasn't great by any means. He was dealing with some bad arm pump in the first moto and couldn't put up a fight with anyone for position. He was able to hold off each person for a little bit as he slipped down the order, but once they went to make a move he didn't try to counter as there was no use. He slipped all the way back to seventh place by the time the checkered flag flew, and he was in danger of letting a huge chunk of points go if he couldn't pull it together for the second moto. Luckily, he didn't get arm pump during moto two but he definitely wasn't on pace with Ken Roczen or Marvin Musquin and took the whole race to work up to third place. He still gave up 10 points on the day, but with two rounds left and a 40 point lead...I don't think Eli's sweating at this point. We'll see how he does at Budds Creek.

Eli Tomac.


Words and photos by Grant Dawson

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