Round four of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, landed at University of Phoenix Stadium for the 2018 Glendale SX. 2018 has proven to be a total dog fight for both the 450SX and the 250SX West Championships and that continued in Arizona on Saturday night.

In the 450SX class, Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac took another huge step towards climbing back into the title race with his second-straight win. The #3 led the main event wire-to-wire, but not without plenty of pressure from Monster Energy / Knich / Yamaha’s Justin Barcia–who finished 2nd on the night. Standing up on the overall podium with Tomac and Barcia was Team HRC / Honda’s Ken Roczen with his second podium on ’18.

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In the 250SX class, Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger was on a mission to reclaim the red plate he lost a week earlier, and that is exactly what he did. Aaron wrestled the win and the red plate away from Troy Lee Designs / KTM’s Shane McElrath–who finished 2nd–after a hard-fought main event battle. Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo took the third spot on the 250SX podium

250 overall podium

After the races were over and the points were tallied, we gathered some quotes from riders to get their thoughts on the 2018 Glendale SX.

Eli Tomac: (1st in 450) “Starts were a big push for us this week and I was happy to get out front. I was hitting every line today and the guys were still right on me, so I knew it was going to be a long race. I am really happy that we were able to run a clean race with as few mistakes as possible and take home the win. We have worked really hard to get as healthy as possible and I’m feeling really good about where we’re at.”

 

Aaron Plessinger: (1st in 250) “Honestly, I did not realize it was that gnarly of a pass [on Shane McElrath]. I seen him in the corner of my eye and I didn’t realize I was that close. I apologized to him. I’m definitely not trying to be dirty in any way. I’ve never really had that aggression in me. This year… I’ve gotten second two years in a row, so I’m kind of getting tired of getting 2nd. I’m trying to get that aggression to win this Championship.”

 

Justin Barcia: (2nd in 450) “Last weekend was tough for me. I got bad starts and kind of did damage control for the most part. Which was a little frustrating, but I stayed positive because I rode good last week. I backed it up this week, which was great. Ken was coming from behind, that’s for sure. He kept the pressure on. Eli was obviously riding really good up front, but at the end we were all pretty close. It was pretty exciting. I definitely made a couple of mistakes. I missed that rhythm section in the middle before the finish line a couple times, which was a couple of 10ths [of a second]. That allowed Eli to chip away a little bit.”

 

Shane McElrath: (2nd in 250) “The track was really slippery and fast, making it challenging to find spots to gain time. It was hard to push while trying to minimize mistakes. I had a lot of fun battling with these guys up front. We are learning every week and will come back even stronger next week.”

450 overall podium

Ken Roczen: (3rd in 450) “We found ourselves on the podium again tonight with a third place, which is awesome. We had a good heat race, but I really need to work on improving my starts. I have the speed and fitness, but I just need to put myself up front in the beginning. I was in sixth off the start, made some passes, and got myself into third. I rode some solid laps and was inching up on Justin [Barcia], but unfortunately, we ran out of time. All in all, I’m happy with tonight’s racing. Obviously, we want to win, but after last weekend it was important to me to come out here and ride how I did. It was a big confidence booster. The team and everyone has been putting in a lot of work each week. I’m having a lot of fun right now and loving where we’re at, so we’ll keep building from here.”

 

Adam Cianciarulo: (3rd in 250) “I feel really good this season. Honestly, better than I ever have. I just need to focus on my starts to put me in a better position, but I’m really happy to be on the podium this week. The team is good, the bike is good and I am looking forward to continuing the progress.”

 

Jason Anderson: (4th in 450) “My practices were great today. I was able to figure everything out. I got pretty set up and was good for the night show. I qualified first in practice and was able to get another heat race win. I started out great in the Main but got shuffled back to around seventh but then worked my way back to fourth. I just need to keep the ball rolling.”

 

Joey Savatgy: (4th in 250) “I’m grateful to finish the night healthy and with additional points. I had a rough night and it wasn’t how we wanted it to go, but mistakes happen. I have a great team behind me and we will work on the errors and come back strong next week in Oakland.”

 

Marvin Musquin: (5th in 450) “Given the last few weeks and all the rehab work I’ve put in to strengthen my shoulder, I’m happy with 5th place tonight. I was able to get a reasonable start around 8th and just tried to put in solid laps until the end. I’m happy to make good gains this week and I look forward to building from here.”

 

Chase Sexton: (5th in 250) “Phoenix was pretty solid. Felt pretty good on the bike all day qualifying fifth in practice. Track was fun and super hard pack which was tough for sure but I think this was our most technical track so far, which I felt suited me well. In the night show I never really felt that intensity and spark that I’ve had at the other rounds. I felt like I was riding good at times and my speed was good once again but I have to work on being more consistent. Overall thankful and happy to come away with a top five and looking forward to Oakland.”

When Plessinger is on, he’s unstoppable.

Weston Peick: (6th in 450) “Glendale wasn’t too bad. Like the previous rounds I didn’t have the best qualifying time, but everyone was very close in speed. I got off to a decent start in the heat race and worked my way up to third place. In the Main Event I came out swinging, passing into second and running there for a few laps. Then I started making dumb mistakes and lost some ground. Once I got into sixth place I kind-of settled into that pace and kept it there until the finish. The track developed pretty well. The rhythm section before the finish line was pretty big. Jumping up onto the tabletop and jumping off was tough. If you didn’t get it perfectly it would really slow you down. As far as the RM-Z450 was, the only change we made was to stiffen-up the shock a bit. My hand is a lot better after taking some time off this past week [after the crash at Anaheim 2]. I’ll be back on a regular riding schedule this week and get prepared for Oakland.”

 

Christian Craig: (10th in 250) “Hard day overall in Glendale. Couldn’t get comfortable at all but worked my way through it. Had a solid second in my heat race. My start for the main was pretty bad. I started mid pack but was able to work my way up pretty quickly then got taken out by [Justin] Hill early on which put me half a lap down because I had to go into the mechanics’ area. Then made my way through the pack up to tenth. Super bummed on the night as that’s one of my favorite races of the year but hopefully I got my bad race out of the way! Lucky to be healthy and moving on to Oakland where better things are in sight.”

 

Cooper Webb: (8th in 450) [About his run in with Barcia in Houston] “Yeah. (laughs) It’s funny, Vital [MX] asked me that too. It’s funny how it all gets stirred around. Everyone was asking if we got into a fist fight and this and that. It was a simple thing after the race. He had hit me and it was unintentional. I didn’t know that at the time, so after the race I just went, “Hey dude, what the heck?” He said, “I didn’t know you were going to cut down.” It was really no big deal and we were fine within a couple of minutes. It’s crazy how it turns. I had five or six people say, “I heard you swung at him.” I was like, “I don’t know where these people come up with that stuff.”

 

Mitchell Harrison: (8th in 250) “I felt amazing on the bike all day. I had a great heat race, but I unfortunately fell. I was able to get up quickly finish sixth. I worked my way through the pack in the Main and finished eighth. It was good progress for me, and I’m looking forward to more progression at the next race.”

 

Josh Grant: (10th in 450) “I was able to ride well all day. I made a few little mistakes in the main that caused me to give up my position, but we came out with another top-10 finish and will apply what we learn from this week at Oakland.”

Barcia is getting more and more comfortable on the ’18 Yamaha and more and more comfortable doing podium celebrations after every race.

Malcolm Stewart: (13th in 450) “It was a great day for me. Practice went better than last weekend. I was very happy to finish second in the heat race and run that top pace. In the Main Event I rode really tight, which made me frustrated, so I stopped moving forward through the pack. That’s part of racing. I learn from my mistakes, and I’ll keep pushing forward to get better. My starts are improving every week. Overall, the day was great. I can’t complain, and I couldn’t be happier. I just need to clean up a few things and keep digging.”

 

Kyle Chisholm: (9th in 250) “I’m happy with another solid Top 10. I actually thought I was riding tight in the heat race, but it’s good to finish up front like that and have times that were close to the leaders. In the Main I was able to click off consistent laps and take advantage of other rider’s mistakes. The bike’s great, my fitness is up to par, and I’m ready to keep the momentum moving forward.”

 

Cole Seely: (12th in 450) “It wasn’t the night I was hoping for, but it was slick out there and hard to pass. The track didn’t favor pushing forward and making passes so after starting where I did, I tried to move forward without making too many mistakes. We’ll regroup and get ready to be at our best in Oakland. I’m really disappointed with tonight. I didn’t have a great gate pick and somehow my boot got snagged on the metal start grate so I got a terrible start in the main. I worked my way forward a bit, but I almost went over the bars coming out of the sand and it kind of knocked the wind out of me. Mentally, I couldn’t regroup after that. I wasn’t tired physically but after that I struggled to focus on hitting my marks.”

 

Hayden Mellross: (14th in 250) “Arizona was a tough weekend for me. I was involved in an unlucky crash in my heat race and also crashed another two times in the Main. I wasn’t riding myself this weekend but I’m going to train extremely hard and do everything I can to bound back this coming weekend in Oakland.”

 

Dean Wilson: (15th in 450) “This weekend was definitely better than last weekend. I’m still trying to heal from my Anaheim 1 injury. It’s unfortunate to be riding where I’m at, but I’m out there trying to get some points. I definitely want to keep trying hard, improving, and healing.”

Weston Peick has been super consistent in 2018, and sits 4th overall in the 450SX points.

Justin Hill: (7th in 250) “We’re looking a little bit better than in previous rounds. I felt like I rode well. Unfortunately, I contacted another rider about a lap-and-a-half into the Main Event and lost my clutch for the whole race. The silver lining is that I felt like I was riding well once I put the pieces together. The speed is back, and I’m feeling confident. Glendale was more like a Supercross track and less like a fair race. I’m game to go after what’s needed to get where I feel I belong. On paper the result doesn’t look good, but this weekend was a bit of a win. I feel in tune with the RM-Z250. Every race has been about the start. I’m getting a good jump, but we are going to work on some details. This weekend I changed the gearing by going to a 50-tooth rear, which was way more manageable. Contrary to popular belief, I’m still in this thing. I can’t wait for next weekend.”

 

Broc Tickle: (11th in 450) “Overall it was a positive end to the night in the Main Event. I think riding-wise I gained some confidence and felt a lot more comfortable on the bike, so I’m really happy with that. I need to work on my starts but from there I’m feeling really good on the bike. I think we can tweak a couple more things here and there to be better in other places but overall I’m happy with the progress on the bike.”

 

Phil Nicoletti (11th in 250): The weekend was going decent for me. I really enjoyed the track. The dirt was super muddy and rutted in practice, while in the Main it was very hard packed and slippery. I had made a few improvements with the bike during the week, on things we had learned in the past few weekends. My heat race went okay, which led to a decent gate pick for the Main. I got a great jump, but when I got down to the first corner I had nowhere to go. Still, I was riding well and made some passes. Then I tipped over, and I had a hard time mentally recovering after that.”

 

Justin Bogle: (17th in 450) “It’s always tough to come into a series unprepared and a few races in. I didn’t feel comfortable all day. I will get better with more seat time and testing. It was far from a good night of racing for me, but it can only get better from here. We made changes every time I hit the track. I was trying to find some comfort. Not having much seat time meant that I haven’t been able to do much testing. Basically, we used every practice and race to try different settings. It was a trying day, to say the least, but it will come around. Regardless, I’m happy to be back racing.”

Photos by: Ryne Swanberg and Garth Milan