High Point - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

High Point produced more heartbreakers and winning moments. Scope out Grant's picks for each...and everything in between.

High Point - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

450 Class

The Good: Eli Tomac vs. Marvin Musquin

Eli and Marvin put on an absolute clinic in the second moto. Ken Roczen may still be getting up to speed, but Eli and Marvin beat him by over a minute! That's insane. What's even more impressive is that while most of the riders in the field were running fairly inconsistent lap times, Eli and Marvin were holding the same pace the entire race while being a mere second or two apart from each other. And then those last three laps, my goodness, my heart rate started to rise and I was sitting on the couch at home! That's the kind of ending to a race we all hope for. Eli may have a 28-point lead in the championship standings, but Marvin showed this past weekend that he doesn't plan to let Eli open up a Jeffrey Herlings-style gap in the standings on the rest of the field. The next few rounds should be very good.

The Good Bonus: Justin Hill | 5th Place Overall

After a disappointing start to the series in the 250 class, Justin Hill moved up to the 450 class at High Point and was very impressive. Really, he looked great out there. He's so much smoother on a 450 than a 250. He was also the top JGR rider on the day, and if he is able to churn out results like this for the rest of the rounds he's scheduled to do...I think it'll be time for people to stop saying he's going to be a Supercross-only guy in the 450 class.

The Bad: Alex Ray | 12th Overall

We still haven't gotten a dedicated A-Ray cam during the motos, and I'm slightly disappointed. I think it would have been especially entertaining to watch him go full-send on a track like High Point, which was incredibly gnarly. I think he has done exactly what he was hired to do in his time at Factory Yamaha. Unfortunately, it sounds like Muddy Creek may be his last race on the bike, which is a huge bummer. Maybe he'll finally sneak into the top ten overall?

The Ugly: Blake Baggett | 7th Place Overall

It looked like Blake was going to finally stick his bike into the championship battle after showing some serious speed in qualifying, but then he got caught up in a first turn crash in moto one and that really was about it for his day. He came back to in fifth place from dead-last in the first moto, but another bad start in the second moto really put a damper on any chances he had to salvage points for the day. He's now 67 points down in the standings, and while we're only a third of the way through the season and there's plenty of racing still to come, it's not looking good. He's going to need some major mistakes from Eli and Marvin to really get back into this thing. I wholeheartedly hope that he gets a couple decent starts next weekend so he can battle with Marvin and Eli for race wins.

250 Class

The Good: Aaron Plessinger | 1st Place Overall

Aaron was back to looking like Aaron at High Point, and it sounds like his struggles at Thunder Valley were largely due to going the wrong way with his suspension. He got out front early and opened up a very comfortable gap on the rest of the field in the first moto. I thought that Jeremy Martin might pose a challenge later in the moto, but he struggled to get around Justin Cooper and when he finally passed him Aaron was long gone. Then in the second moto around the halfway point, Aaron was given a bit of a gift when Jeremy Martin's bike decided it wasn't very interested in continuing. Because of Jeremy's misfortune, Aaron now has a 20-point lead in the standings. If there is one thing that Aaron has drastically improved on this year, it's his sprint speed. He has shown that if scores the holeshot...he's likely gonna be gone within the first ten minutes...unless someone challenges him early. And then once he has that big gap, he backs it down just a tad to a pace that's still fast but also more comfortable. I wasn't sold on him being championship material after he took the red plate for the first time, but if he's able to manage this little cushion he now has in the standings...he could very well win this thing.

The Good Bonus: Austin Forkner | 2nd Place Overall

Austin's back! I was wondering when he'd make his return to fighting inside the top three, and it looks like he's ready to do so for the rest of the season. He did have a weird start to the season with not as much preparation time as he'd like and then the rib injury, but it seems like he has moved past it and finally has the pace and stamina to potentially fight for race wins. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get his first moto win of the season fairly soon. Also, the battle that he had with Justin Cooper was pretty awesome. Just two young dudes going at it, passing each other time and time again, but not getting dirty. That's what we like to see.

The Bad: Chase Sexton | 16th Place Overall

Chase's season has been slightly underwhelming so far, no? This is his second year doing the full slate of Nationals, but so far his results have mirrored his results from last year pretty closely. Now, I wasn't expecting for him to come out and set the world on fire or anything, but I did expect some gradual improvements...such as battling in or around the top five each weekend. It is true that he has been struggling with starts all season, which definitely hasn't helped his cause, but I'm still surprised he hasn't done better. Maybe this is just a testament to how stacked the 250 class is this year. Anyway, his bike locking up during the second moto (which, ironically, he got a decent start in), was no muy bien. It sounds like the Honda boys weren't too keen on discussing why two of their bikes were so anxious to take a nap during the second moto, but maybe next weekend they will top off the gas tanks with a little bit of Red Bull for an extra kick.

The Ugly: Jeremy Martin | 10th Place Overall

Shucks, boys. Jeremy was absolutely givin' his red machine the beans for the first half of the second moto. It was looking great. He'd retain the points lead and head into Muddy Creek with an eye on extending it. And then disaster struck. He gave it a little too much beans, if you will, because his bike quit on him. Jeremy has some really crappy luck sometimes. But, hey, he's only 20 points down. He's not completely out of this championship just yet. But this was his one throwaway round. One more like this one and his hopes of winning his third outdoor title will be on life support.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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