View From The Floor: Battle Time

There was a boost in the aggression levels on Saturday night, with lots of riders exiting the track or hitting the deck.

Maybe it was the unusual afternoon schedule. Maybe it's that the "new" has worn off the start of the season, and now guys are digging in and getting more aggressive. Either way, in OaklandĀ  we saw more battles, hard passes, and guys hitting the ground than we've maybe seen all season...and this was only round five. The charge is definitely on for pecking order in the pack.

Let's see what caught our eye...

These days, the race schedule isn't quite as consistent as it used to be. Glendale was a couple hours earlier than normal, and Oakland even earlier than that. Look for some more bouncing around later this season. Benefits? Warmer temps, and an earlier departure. Drawbacks? Occasionally challenging lighting for the riders, and having to check the calendar each week to see what time things get rolling.There's been enough concern about the demise of F1 grid girls, and the future of Monster Girls in the era of #metoo, that we figured we'd drop this in here to calm some of our forum posters.

As we travel around the country, riders sporting the colors of the home teams is often a thing during opening ceremonies. Jason Anderson was holding it down for the Raiders in Oakland. He had a dirty crash in the early morning practice, where the bike pretty well ate him up. Fortunately, after crawling off, he checked out okay...but we know he was sore.

Ken Roczen is hungry for the first win since his crash.

It takes a crew to do the remotes from the floor. Here's Daniel Blair with his small tribe. There's generally the cameraman, a lighting person, and one crew member with a remote playback monitor.

Ah yeah...golden hour.

He won a main event here, but problems in the main event may have stuck a fork in Shane McElrath's chances of a 250 West title for this season. He's now 19 points behind Aaron Plessinger.

Justin Hill locked in on the starting grid before his heat race. He made a big turnaround in performance in Oakland compared to the first few rounds.

Josh Mosiman was making his first Supercross start, not far from his hometown. He had to hit the Arenacross series to earn his Supercross points via the Ricky Carmichael Road To Supercross.

We're starting to see more tablets being used to track data and results among the team personnel.

It's interesting to watch the riders zone out and visualize their start procedures before the gate drops.

It was a little weird to see the heat races go off in the late afternoon sunshine...though we do appreciate the good lighting.

Michael Leib was riding in his first race of the year in Oakland. He went down hard in the whoops in his heat race, and then pulled off to kick the front end into something resembling straight.

It's often said that you win championships on your worst nights, and that could prove true for Aaron Plessinger in '17. From when we first spotted him on Saturday morning with a paper towel stuffed into one nostril, it was obvious that he wasn't feeling well. He scored a heat race win, and then backed it up in the main event. We're not sure how many of the Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha crew will come down with the same ailment this week (since they were all huddled up with him), but he crushed it in Oakland.

Cole Seely is worth keeping an eye on. He's been putting it to all the top riders in the heat races lately, and we'd guess it's just a matter of time before he puts it together in a main event.

For those confused about the gear that Ken Roczen was wearing on Saturday night, it's a colab effort between Fox and See See Motorcycle Company. See See does some cool retro bikes and gear, as well as having a KTM dealership, and are big supporters of the motorcycle scene in the Pacific Northwest. We've been by their combo moto/coffee shop, and it's definitely worth a visit.

During the heat races, riders were getting lit up by the reflection off the suites on the east side of the stadium. If there was any hope of Eli Tomac making it back up to the top of the standings in the 450 class, they may have been squished in the 450 main here. After he went down, it took him a while to return to the action, and he finished in 12th spot.

Justin Barcia grabbed a heat race win to start his, afternoon.

Oakland was only the second time this season that Justin Barcia missed out on the podium, as he was fifth here. There's no doubt he was on the aggressive side, and some contact with Eli Tomac didn't help the Kawasaki-mounted rider. We caught Justin after the race for his take on the incident (and more), and you can listen in here.

Click below to listen in to Justin Barcia's post-race well as some heckling from an Oakland P.D. squad car.

Here's hoping the later stages of the '17 season are better for Chad Reed. While he did get cleared to ride, it's clear that the talus he broke during the off-season is still bothering him.

We're not sure what's not clicking with Broc Tickle, but he's a bit off of where we expected to see him this season.

Here's hoping that Tyler Bowers is okay. He had a brutal crash in the main event that ended his night early. He's been flying, though.

Dakota Tedder has stepped up his game this season. He's made a few mains, and has been in the LCQ battle every week to make it to the main.

Nick Wey is the Adam Cianciarulo whisperer. He's got the speed, and arguably could have already won a race or two this season. Adam had Tuf-Blox problems at the start of the main in Oakland, which didn't help out his night.

Christian Craig could have, and probably should have won the 250 race in Oakland. But a cross-rut-to-off-track-excursion-and-crash while leading dropped him to fourth on the night.

It was really good to see Alex Martin back in action, and he was looking plenty speedy, as he got fourth in his heat race, and a fifth in the main event after grabbing the holeshot. We'd love to see a season where he stayed healthy.

Aaron Plessinger looking back at Joey Savatgy. He had to suffer for this win.

The battle between Justin Hill and Joey Savatgy was fairly epic. Justin was riding better than we've seen him so far this season, and seems headed in a much better direction.

Savatgy and Hill chatting after the race.

Aaron Plessinger left it all on the track. We're not sure what was ailing him (cold, flu, etc.), but after he rode up to the podium area, he was on his hands and knees trying to get his breath back.

Joey Savatgy looked a little frustrated afterwards, but he put in a solid race.

After a few minutes of recovery time, Aaron Plessinger looked less pained. While on the podium he said that his lungs felt like they were on fire, and he did opt out of the post-race press conference.

Make that his third win of the season, and second in a row.

When the gate dropped we were focused on this portion of the gate, and watched Cooper Webb ping-pong between Justin Barcia and Broc Tickle.

Blake Baggett got that long-awaited holeshot, and he ended up in third spot for the night.

Hang on, Blake. The big main rut through the whoops made for some interesting style among the competitors in the main. Guys were sending it.

Josh Grant went down in this corner, and tried riding up and around the berm to get going...but there was a little too much traffic, and as the rear end lost traction, he ended up hanging a right instead of going straight...

Marvin Musquin scored a fourth even after hitting the deck when Jason Anderson put a pretty tough block pass on him early in the main.

Early in the main, Cole Seely looked like he was headed for a win. An ill-timed off-track excursion didn't help, and he had to settle for a sixth-place finish.

KROC's fans had their highs and lows during the main.

The rhythm following the whoop section caught more than a few guys, including Benny Bloss, and Justin Bogle (shown here). Justin had a little bit of a wrestling match to get free of the bike, and since he was between lanes, there was no easy way to quickly get help to him.

Here's how close Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson were as they started their last lap.

These guys weren't holding anything back, and there's nothing quite like no holds barred, no limit Supercross.

As you'd expect, Jason Anderson was pumped on the win.

Blake Baggett was a mix of emotions afterwards. Happy to have moved back up the results ladder, but bummed that he'd gotten held up during the latter part of the race. You can listen to him talk about his night below.

Click below for Blake Baggett post-race audio.

Ken was so frustrated with the last lap pass that he was repeatedly smacking himself on the side of the helmet afterwards. That was an intense main. He's an intense competitor. Both he and Jason Anderson made mistakes, but unfortunately, he was the one who made the last one. He'll win some this year for sure.


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