View From The Floor: Turning Up The Heat In Indy

With the first East/West Shootout for the 250s, and Marvin Musquin's and Dean Wilson returning to form, it made for an interesting weekend in Indianapolis.

View From The Floor: Turning Up The Heat In Indy

Most pleasant surprise of the season so far in the 450 class? That'd have to go to Justin Brayton. He's shown some excellent speed, and he's enjoying the ride.

With the serious ruts on the track, sometimes style seemed more reactionary than intentional. The interesting part was that during the morning track walk, the racing surface actually looked and felt really firm. That didn't last long once the bikes hit the track.

It was interesting to see Blake Wharton back on the track after four years off, and he looked pretty solid, qualifying directly to the main, and finishing in 14th spot.

This moment with Blake and Joey Savatgy did spook us, though. Blake seriously swapped into this whoop, took a serious hit, soaked it up, and continued on like nothing happened. Whew!

The heats for the 250 class were gnarly...basically like main events for each coast, but with only the top nine (plus four from the LCQ) moving on to the real main. By the end of this one, Austin Forkner (35) and Zach Osborne (1E) were 1-2.

We've been wracking our brains trying to think of ways to make things safer. But when there are tight packs of riders, all of them are willing to hang it out, and one mistake happens, things quickly turn into big piles. Jordon Smith was working on his sprinting skills once he found his feet.

The 250 East is the closest of the three series. Even after the scramble of combining the East and West, Austin Forkner and Zach Osborne are only eight points apart.

Eli Tomac qualified second, grabbed a heat win, and looked all set to show off his speed in the main. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly work out that way. (More on that later.) After some disappointing attendance in St. Louis, it was nice to see a good crowd in Indy...despite the snow that blanketed the area on Saturday.

Justin Brayton grabbed another heat win. What's that...three so far this season?

That's a solid pack of KTM Junior Supercross Challenge kids heading for the first turn. Sometimes adrenaline (and a diverse range of skill levels) have them spread out more than this as they near the first turn. It's still one of the coolest experiences out there for a moto kid.

Doh! Michael Leib made a mid-LCQ pit stop. We do know that being a West guy, he's not used to the rutty terrain in Indy.

It was cool to see Justin Barcia hanging out in Indy. The team's hoping to see him return to action in Seattle. We have to say, his hand was still pretty swollen when we saw him.

Jake Vanada handles the Chaplain duties for Supercross and Motocross, and we often see him check in with riders before and after the races. Meanwhile, Jarred Browne installs a fresh Go Pro on Shane McElrath's helmet.

C'mon, Adam, pay attention...there will be a quiz at the end.

Buddy Antunez handles the helmet whispering duties for the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team, and here he gives some last-minute advice to Kyle Peters.

Sometimes we see Zach Osborne pull the helmet down to shut out what's going on around him.

What the...? Aaron Plessinger had just finished a Hammer Gel before the main, and had to share.

When the gate dropped for the 250 parade lap, something was cooking with Aaron Plessinger's bike. While the team was tight-lipped about what it was (and quickly went to work to remedy the issue) Aaron kept his cool, and Jeremy Coker let him know that the bike would be 100% when the gate dropped. He went from 17th to 5th in the main...an amazing comeback, which keeps him nine points up on Joey Savatgy in the 250 West standings.

The two points leaders were lined up side-by-side on the gate, both got horrible starts, and both had to do some serious work in the main to work to the front.

Meanwhile, out front, Jeremy Martin had grabbed a start that had his mechanic fist-pumping.

Luke Renzland was another rider who'd scored a great start. The team was already pumped for him to make the main. They'd never qualified a rider into the main in an East/West Shootout in all their previous attempts.

Zach Osborne went from 21st to seventh, and only lost one point to Austin Forkner. The 250 East series will resume in a few weeks in Minneapolis.

Luke Renzland was plenty pumped with his third-place finish and his first-ever podium.

Here's your top three in the 250s, with Jeremy Martin, Adam Cianciarulo, and Luke Renzland.

Jeremy Martin's win was big for him and the GEICO Honda squad.

Adam Enticknap had to remind his brother (and mechanic for the weekend), Tyler, where his race goggles were.

While there are still a bunch of guys out with injuries, there are still plenty of talented guys on the line. Marvin Musquin nailed the start, and settled in for what turned out to be a very lonely 27-lap main event.

Eli Tomac was in hot pursuit of Marvin Musquin, and looked like he might make it an interesting race. Unfortunately, it sounds like he drug the pegs up the face of a jump in the rhythm section after the first turn, and landed on his head. He hustled for the side of the track, took a minute or two to regain his wind, and finished up the main, eventually finishing in 15th spot.

Justin Brayton said he didn't get a great start, but made some moves early, and was in fourth by lap nine.

Best battle of the main? There was no doubt that was between Dean Wilson and Broc Tickle. Both were podium-hungry, and riding hard.

At one point Dean hooked a weird rut, and went way wide towards the mechanics area...and Broc got brought along for the ride. Broc later went into second and began to pull away from Dean, but then went down in the corner after the finish line. That gave Dean another shot at getting by. Unfortunately for Broc, he and Dean tangled in a corner, and Justin Brayton got by Broc while he was down. Broc had to settle for fifth.

What a bummer for BT. It looked like he had a lock on his first podium of the year.

We thought Eli Tomac's lead in St. Louis was big, and Marvin Musquin eclipsed that. Marvin commented afterwards about how it's odd that some wins come so easy.

Maybe the most amazing ride of the night went to Jason Anderson, who went from 21st to fourth. Afterwards he looked a bit shattered. Even with a big points lead, championship pressure is tough to deal with...especially in the 450 class. Right about now, it's time for the lone break in the season, and just about everyone, from teams, to riders, and race staff can all use a weekend off...though we know that some of them will use the time to start with testing for the upcoming outdoor season. The treadmill rolls on...


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