Unadilla - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 2

Grant Dawson's weekly fan perspective look at who crushed it, and who needs to kick it up a notch.

250 Class

Jeremy Martin.Click photo to change size and caption

The Good: Jeremy Martin | 1st Overall

Jeremy is definitely someone who I think benefited greatly from the one week break the series had, since it was pretty obvious that something was not clicking and he needed some time to figure out what it was. The week off gave him that much-needed time, as he stated that he's much happier with the bike now, and a happy Jeremy is a fast Jeremy. He wasn't able to nail down the moto one win, but he got the holeshot of the muddy moto two and held a comfortable lead the entire race. Now it is kind of disappointing to see him return to form this late into the season, but at least this is a good sign for next year (and he'll be on Honda's new 2018 250F by then). Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see if he can keep the ball rolling for the final two rounds.

Justin Cooper.Click photo to change size and caption

The Good Bonus: Justin Cooper | 5th Overall

Justin Cooper came into Unadilla as the "hot amateur" of the year after he grabbed two titles and the Horizon Award at Loretta Lynn's. I thought he looked great in his final amateur race, and it was pretty clear to me that he had the potential to do big things in the sport; but rookies tend to show flashes of speed followed by a hard fade or some mistakes in their pro debut, so I had him slotted around 10th-14th in my pre-race predictions. Well, first moto he got a mediocre start and battled for 12th-13th the entire race before crossing the line in 12th. Pretty solid, right? So I was thinking he'd hover around the same level for the second moto, but then the rain came, and I guess Justin must have some mud experience under his belt because he came out of the first turn in second and stayed there until the checkered flag flew 20 plus minutes later. That put him fifth overall on the day, which is one heck of a debut, if you ask me. Of course, some people will try to discount his second moto finish because of the weather, but if anything a second place finish by a rookie in those conditions should be more impressive than if it was dry. Now that he's had his first taste of pro action, I'll be rooting for him to score a couple of top ten finishes at Budds Creek this coming weekend.

Aaron Plessinger.Click photo to change size and caption

The Bad: Aaron Plessinger | 7th Overall

When the rain started falling, I figured Aaron was probably outside dancing in it chanting some sort of song that would make it keep raining. He seems to love the mud, and he tends thrives in it. Thus, I expected for him to make his way towards the front in the second moto after getting an alright start. And he did start to turn it up after a few laps, but then he went down and it was pretty much over. His bike, gloves, and grips were all kinds of muddy and there was no way he was going to charge his way back to the front. He ended up having to settle for 10th in that moto, and seventh overall for the day. Definitely not the result he was looking for, but it is what it is. He'll be looking to do well over these final two rounds to at least end what has been an up and down year in a positive way. 

Joey Savatgy.Click photo to change size and caption

The Ugly: Track Conditions

This could have been the Ugly for both classes, because, my goodness, those second motos were a mudfest! It was still fun to watch, but I'm betting that it wasn't a whole lot of fun for those guys to ride–especially the guys hanging around mid-pack. But hey, sometimes we need a good mud race to shake it up a bit. Of course, now that we've had one, I really, really hope that the last two rounds are mud-free. Dry conditions makes for better racing, in my opinion. 

450 Class

Cole Seely.Click photo to change size and caption

The Good: Cole Seely | 3rd Overall

Announced as a member of Team USA for the Motocross of Nations, solid in qualifying, and third overall...could the day have gone any better for Cole Seely? Yeah, he's been solid all year, but this weekend just came together for him in a perfect way. And while some people may not agree, I truly think he was the best choice for the MXGP spot out of who was available to race the MXoN. He wants to go, he's fast, he has team support, and he's someone who's going to give it everything he's got. So even though this year's team may not have been our "starting" roster, it's probably one of the most motivated teams we've had in the past few years. Heck, if anything, this team has gotten me even more excited for the event. I'll be glued to my monitor on October 1st, that's for sure.

Eli Tomac.Click photo to change size and caption

The Bad: Eli Tomac | 9th Overall

Eli's been called the "silent assassin" before, but at Unadilla he was just "silent". Seriously, I hardly heard anything about him the entire day. He didn't do so hot in qualifying, did uncharacteristically mediocre in the first moto, and just settled down in the number five spot for almost the entire second moto. It was...weird. Now, it did look like Eli was having some serious goggle issues in the first moto (it looked like he was out of tear offs and trying to wipe by lap four) and that was probably the main reason for his struggles–especially when the rain started falling. But, at the same time, he did seem to just be off of the pace of the leaders all day, so even if his goggles were clear I'm not sure he would have finished much farther up than the sixth or seventh spot he was hanging around early in the race. As far as the second moto goes, it was probably a combination of him riding conservatively and, well, just the nature of it being a mud race. It's hard to put on a charge in those kinds of conditions, especially when you have a championship on your mind. Thus, settling into fifth and riding his own race was the best option for him. He does need to stop the bleeding, though, because Marvin Musquin took a big chunk out of his points lead at Unadilla. So I'd say winning Budds Creek is pretty high up on his to-do list. Will he get it done? Well, if he doesn't, we're gonna be in for an interesting final round of the championship.

Phil Nicoletti.Click photo to change size and caption

The Ugly: Phil Nicoletti | 16th Overall

Phil Nicoletti made his long-awaited return to racing at his hometown race at Unadilla. And of course, because it was Phil's first race back, the skies had to open up and absolutely destroy the track. It was kind of metaphorical, actually, and I bet he was cursing at everyone and everything he could see during that second moto (I'd pay to listen to a mic'd up Phil during a moto like that, or really any moto). On the bright side, the BadNewsPhil Instagram account got some solid content from the day. He'll probably have a better day at Budds Creek...or maybe he won't, you never know with Phil. 

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson


View replies to: Unadilla - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The Latest