Vital MX Perspective: East Rutherford

Well...that was unusual. Weird crashes, stalls, championship implications, and more.

Vital MX Perspective: East Rutherford

There's often a bit of extra excitement heading into East Rutherford. Riders and team staff dig it, with the proximity to New York City. The series like it, with the possibility scoring some extra corporate sponsor and NY media visibility. On the racing side, there was the added elements of a 250 East series that's been heating up; and a 450 series that's already been red-hot, with the battle between Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac.

Let's take care of a few highlights, and then dive into the mains.

Ronnie Stewart has struggled this season while on the mend from a seriously tweaked wrist. He's only made a handful of mains in '17, but you can count on the home state New Jersey fans coming out strong for him in East Rutherford.

One of the best battles during the prelims was this Semi between Cole Seely (Team Honda HRC) and Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna). They traded the lead and went bar-to-bar for a bit, with Cole coming out on top. Unfortunately, he reinjured the adductor muscle that had kept him out of the previous couple of rounds, so his attendance in Vegas is questionable. Dean went on to finish tenth in the main.

Tyler Enticknap and Deven Raper were duking it out for the last transfer spot in the first semi, and both were looking to make their first main 450 event. In the last corner, with the finish line in sight, this happened. Tyler dove inside, and Deven's leg got sucked into the rear wheel, grinding all forward progress to a halt.


250 Main Event Action

Jordon Smith (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM), Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), and Kyle Cunningham (AutoTrader.com/Suzuki/JGRMX) led the way into the first turn. But that's not the wildest thing about this photo. Check out how far back Zach Osborne is in this photo...and we'll revisit that in a few.

Dylan Ferrandis (Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha) has been on the podium a few times during his rookie season here in the U.S., and has challenged a few other times. But East Rutherford was his best effort so far, scoring a second-place finish.

In his first race with the GEICO Honda squad, Cameron McAdoo matched the best finish of his 250 SX career so far, with a ninth.

Joey Savatgy led the first eight laps, but he had an off-track excursion, and rather than trying to restart in the direction that he was going at the time, he picked up the track on the next lane. Two teams (Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM) protested, but that wasn't entirely necessary...it was already going to be reviewed by the officials. He finished in third, but ended up being docked the number of riders that he passed, and was bumped to eighth in the final standings.

With his fourth-place finish (later amended to third after Joey's penalty), Jordon Smith goes into the final round as the 250 East points leader...but he's only one point up on both Joey Savatgy and Zach Osborne.

After the race, it looked like Joey Savatgy was having some issues with one arm, but when asked about it, he said it was okay. On the podium, it looked like someone had replaced his normal arm with something off of a mannequin.

Zach's ride through the pack puts him squarely back into the running for the 250 East title, but with the points up for grabs coming from the combined East/West Shootout, just about anything can happen. Next week should be wild.

450 Main Event Action

Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna) grabbed the holeshot, and looked to be in a prime spot to take a win here...until he crashed in the corner after a triple. He did end up remounting and grabbing the final spot on the podium.

Among the championship contenders, Eli Tomac and Ryan Dungey were third and fourth at the end of the first lap. Eli was on the move, and made it to the lead, with Dungey following him through the pack...

...but a lap later he lost the front end in this corner, and started what seemed like an excruciatingly slow process of picking the bike up and restarting. By the time he crossed the line again, he was 15th, and had work to do just to catch the riders in front of him. By the midway point he was 12th, and with an additional off-track excursion and stall thrown in, he made it back to eighth at the finish.

Davi Millsaps (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS) scored a fourth in NJ.

With Jason in third spot on his Husky, and a pair of KTMs in front and behind him, they swept the top five spots.

As per usual on highly technical tracks, Marvin Musquin was making it look easy, and he moved past Ryan Dungey and into the lead...until the last lap. He looked like he was looking for guidance on what to do. To be honest, it wasn't a great position for him to be in. He clearly had the speed to win, but what if he finished ahead of Ryan, and then Ryan lost the championship at the final round by three points?

If you've seen the race, you know that Marvin bobbled on the last lap, allowing Ryan to get by. With Eli's eighth-place finish, that gives Ryan a nine-point advantage heading into the final round. It Eli wins, and Ryan finishes in fifth, they'd tie, but Eli would take the tiebreaker.

Frank Latham didn't look particularly happy about the result. For his part, neither did Marvin.

It was a great weekend for Aldon Baker's riders, with a sweep of the 450 podium, and Zach Osborne taking the 250 win.

Photos: GuyB

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