Vital MX Pit Bits: Salt Lake City 1 1

Things are a lot different as the Monster Energy Supercross series returns to action.

Vital MX Pit Bits: Salt Lake City 1

Here's something we never expected to see. Before they could be admitted to the event site, everyone had to get a Covid-19 test. Apparently we have a very healthy population in SX, as we haven't heard of any failed tests.

There were plenty of handwashing stations around, and everyone has to get their temperature checked every time they enter the secure pits.

We're not fond of when the "real world" and Supercross intersects. We spotted this message early on Saturday morning. By the afternoon, there was plenty of civil unrest in downtown SLC, which was only a couple of miles from the Rice-Eccles Stadium. We know of several of the truck drivers who went up to keep an eye on their rigs, but there weren't any problems.

Here's our venue for the final seven rounds of this year's Supercross season. What have we learned about her so far? Well, she looks good on the surface, but is a little rough around edges (pretty rocky), and she may have a drinking problem. (Lots of water gets added, but with the heat, wind, and lack of humidity, the track dries out really quickly.) The Dirt Wurx crew was watering between races...something that we rarely see happen.

Yep, the surface here can get pretty skatey. Check out Jason Anderson's front wheel.

Masks are mandatory for everyone in the pits and in Rice-Eccles Stadium, short of riders when they're on the track. Lots of teams and companies (like Ron Hinson, here) have done up custom masks.

While not having fans on the stands is unusual, we do have to say it's nice not wrestling with the crowds when it comes time to navigating around the pits.

Normally, there are signs at most semis that will mention that it's for Race Staff only, but Monster Energy Kawasaki stepped up their game for these races. Of course, they've also got a lot on the line, with Eli Tomac leading the series.

In most cases, we'll now be shooting from outside the awning...at least until things get a little more settled.

Yep, they're taking it seriously. Back at Daytona, during the early days of Coronavirus, we'd switched from a two-mic setup for interviews, to a single mic that GuyB would pass back and forth. Back then when he mentioned it to some riders, they sort of shrugged it off as unnecessary. Now, some are very serious about it, and others not so much.

With no fans to cater to, or visitors under the tents, some teams look like this.

The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing are already well-versed in mask use. They have a daily online questionnaire and temperature check at the Cup shop before they head to their own building, and they've also been using masks ever since going back to work.

Honda was a little more open for the return to action, but we're still on the outside of the tent.

It was cool to see the Team Honda HRC crew give a nod to one of their early heroes, Marty Smith, who recently passed away in a dune buggy accident along with his wife.

Carlos Rivera buttoning up Cooper Webb's KTM. He was among the folks who mentioned they were really happy to get back to work.

There's a subtle difference for Coop's race bike. There are some silver flecks in the numbers that light up under the sunlight (and not so much here). DeCal Works calls it "silver shimmer". They also changed up a few bits of plastic, so that everything is orange. Before, bits like the numberplate, and some of the bits inside the shrouds were white.

Man, that's a mean-looking snout on the front of the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS rig. Check the bonus water tank that the team brought for their stay here.

With fewer race team staff members allowed in the infield, it means fewer hands for things like fast wheel changes. We spotted the Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha crew rehearsing their wheel changes. That's Shane McElrath's mechanic, Matt Winters, going all NASCAR pit crew as he sprinted around the front of the bike after dropping it onto the stand.

This was the maiden voyage for Chad Reed aboard a KTM for Supercross.

When racing went quiet after Daytona, Chad had sold all his previous race bikes, and just planned on riding some motocross at home for fun. Once things got refired, he opted to come back on a KTM. It's low-key, but he's got good parts 'n pieces.

Much like Eli Tomac, Chase Sexton has had the red plate for quite a while.

Things look a bit different during morning warm-ups.

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We have to say, between the heat and altitude in SLC, and the restricted breathing the masks naturally provide, it gets a little tough wearing them.

Chris Loredo and the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna crew go more for the ninja style.

Even things as simple as tech inspection are now done more remotely. Rather than rolling the bikes through tech, they now get a Ziplock back with their transponder, numberplate and frame stickers, and a self-quiz for tech.

Carlos adding his frame sticker.

For the races here, there are defined functional groups. For example, teams are a functional group. Media is a functional group. The individual groups aren't supposed to mingle. Gear and helmet reps? They're outside of each team's functional group, so now rather than pitting in the rigs, they all have to operate outside the confines of the team awning.

We caught Kenny Day just after he'd finished cleaning Broc Tickle's helmet. Unfortunately, Broc had crashed in pratice, broke his hand, and was unable to race.

Buddy Brooks and Jordan Bailey waiting to hit the track.

We'd like to know what the punchline was for this joke was. Malcolm Stewart and Jalek Swoll were cracking up.

Jalek knows when to turn on the serious, though,

The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM squad had been mounting their GoPro cameras on the front fender after Brian Moreau's crash and spinal injury in Tampa. During the downtime, they found a more permanent solution. Check the center of the front numberplate.

They made use of their steering stabilizer mounting position on the clamps to set up the camera.

After the first practice session, Aaron Plessinger's mechanic, Billy Hartle, we getting busy with a tire grooving tool.

That's Roger DeCoster under there.

We like the message on the FMF masks.

We haven't spotted them yet, but apparently ODI has made some strap retainers that not only tighten the straps, but take the pressure off your ears. That's Derik Dwyer dialing in Jeremy Martin's bike.

We never thought we'd see Justin Barcia muzzled.

The morning routine is now a lot different. Rather than a track walk (not good for social distancing), the riders get a chance to view the track from the stands and get a couple of laps of wheels on the ground rolling around to get a feel for it before being cut loose.

These four will go at it to determine the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross 450 champ.

It was good to see everyone back on the track, and we can't really say that we saw any rust on these guys. They were getting after it in short order. One benefit (maybe the only one?) was that it gave some guys who were wounded after ten rounds a chance to heal up and come back stronger. Justin Brayton was in that club.

Fredrik Noren was back in action, too, after going out with a leg injury in St. Louis.

Chris Blose had more injuries than we can list here, including a lacerated liver and fractured after a gnarly crash in Arizona.

Just a quick style stop with Justin Barcia.

While in the mechanic's area, all the crew guys had to keep their distance from each other. Normally they'd be on top of each other at the barrier.

Garrett Marchbanks and Adam Cianciarulo were both wearing this new Fox gear.

Ken Roczen was sporting some new Fox gear that was really clean.

Jeremy Martin with a quick pit stop. We dig that shift gear.

Shane McElrath nabbed the top spot in 250 qualifying.

Chase Sexton was a few tenths off of Shane McElrath's fast time, but he's still got the 250 East points lead.

It was good for Colt Nichols that all the nonsense has been going on. It gave him a chance to get back into the game and get in some rounds of Supercross before the season was over.

Jeremy Martin? Add him into the fifth qualifying spot for the 250s.

Credit Garrett Marchbanks with fifth in 250 qualifying.

Ken Roczen topped the 450 time sheets.

Man, Eli Tomac has held onto that red plate for quite a while now. Never mind that we haven't been racing, it still counts. He was second on the time sheets during practice for SLC1.

Man, it's good to see Adam Cianciarulo back in action. He was third-quickest.

Cooper Webb toughed it out through several rounds after his crash in Arlington. He's looking more like his usual feisty self here, and set the fourth-fastest time.

Dean Wilson was fastest in the first 450 timed practice and ended up fifth overall. That's the checkers on this edition of Pit Bits. See you on Wednesday.


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