450 start – Photo by: Ryne Swanberg
Round fourteen of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and round seven of the Western Regional 250SX Championship headed to Century Link Field for the Seattle SX for the first time since 2014.
In the 450SX class, Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin quickly passed Rockstar / Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson and basically went wire-to-wire for the second win of the season and the second of his career. In what was without a doubt the most exciting race of 2017, Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac got a bad start, later went over the bars in a big crash while tryinh to move forward and still was able to climb back to finish second just ahead of Anderson. The 450SX red plate holder coming into Seattle, Red Bull / KTM’s Ryan Dungey, crashed in the first turn, but in typical Dungey fashion he came from dead last to finish fourth. Heading into the weekend off now, Dungey and Tomac are now deadlocked atop the 450SX points.
In the 250SX class, Star Racing / Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger used the gnarly Seattle track conditions and his GNCC background to dominate the main event. Points leader, Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Justin Hill hung on to an 18-point lead with a solid second with Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / KTM’s Mitchell Oldenburg scoring his first podium with a third.
After the riders survived what was arguably the gnarliest track of 2017, we gathered some quotes to get their thoughts on the 2017 Seattle SX.
Marvin Musquin: (1st in 450SX) “My start wasn’t the best, I was really close to going down in the first corner but I was able to get out clean and get into the lead in the first lap, which was awesome. I tried to push as hard as I could but not too much because it was easy to make mistakes – the track was technical and had some rocks. It means a lot to get this [win], my first victory in Dallas I was missing my mechanic Frankie so today I’m really proud and happy.”
Aaron Plessinger: (1st in 250SX) “I got out front the first time and then they red flagged it. I thought to myself ‘I can’t catch a break.’ But I did it again and put my Yamalube / Star Racing / Yamaha out front, and it was amazing. I haven’t won a race this year and it feels great to finally get back on top of the box.”
Eli Tomac: (2nd in 450SX) “That was some chaos. I didn’t get the greatest start, but I ended up finding some rhythm combinations early on that were huge in getting me to the front. Once I got up to about Cooper [Webb] I hit a wall [in my performance speed]. Then I ended up making a mistake and went down. Luckily the bike was ok and I ultimately was able to get by Jason [Anderson]. It’s not something I expected after everything that happened.”
Justin Hill: (2nd in 250SX) “I could have been better. But we had seven weeks off and I have a little rust on me. All things considered, I can’t really complain. I still have the points lead and I’ve been on the podium in every race but one. I think I can learn a lot from this and be better [at the next race].”
Chad Reed: (8th in 450SX) “My race was not bad, actually. It was a positive main event. Unfortunately—for whatever reason—nothing has gone right this year. Tonight I rode tight in the heat race. It was actually good for me to go to the semi. Then, in the last lap of the semi I took a look at that triple onto the table. I knew it was doable and I was just going to bust it out in the main. I committed and looked as I launched it and Eli was right in front of me and he did the same thing. It was really, really fast. Eli was being really aggressive and taking a lot of risks so I just tried to gauge off of him. Like I said, I started doing that table onto the triple so we started passing guys pretty fast. I want to say on lap three or four, I jumped onto the table and then it was like my bike was stuck in gear, but there was a rock in the rear brake. I darted into the mechanics area and got the rock out of there. I feel like I rode well. I enjoyed the conditions. I liked the track.”
Jimmy Decotis: (6th in 250SX) “I wasn’t going to get fourth tonight, I was either going to get third or I was going to crash. It’s been a long seven weeks of having to think about getting two fourths at the last two races. During the break, I rode with Coop [Cooper Webb] and AP [Aaron Plessinger] and we had fun. And during the week, I can hang right in there with them if I’m feeling good. So, AP and I had fun battling in the heat race. I’m starting to fight back when I’m up there, because I’m starting to believe in myself now. I was just trying to do my best, I gave it everything I had. Mitchell [Oldenburg] passed me [for third] and I thought maybe I was dropping off, but then I saw we were starting to catch back up to [second place rider Justin] Hill. I knew we had two laps to go, so I laid it down and went as fast as I could on the next to last lap. Going to the white flag, I just missed the rut coming up the jump. And if I had hit the finishline jump, it would have been bad. I backed off at the last second, went into a mud hole, and a couple of guys ran into me. It ended up being a sixth, bummed about that, but I did everything I could. I passed a few guys back I put up a lot more fight than I have in the past, and I nailed all of my starts. That’s good progress.”
Ryan Dungey: (4th in 450SX) “Obviously going down in the first turn wasn’t ideal but from that point forward we just tried to pick as many riders off as we could and try to gain as many championship points as we could and not make any big mistakes. Overall it was a good night – we salvaged what we could. I felt great, the bike felt awesome and everything was all lined up – we just had a little mishap in the first turn, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Martin Davalos: (4th in 250SX) “It feels good to be back on the track. I got the holeshot in the main after the restart and I’m happy with a fourth-place finish. I’ll come back swinging next week.”
Cole Seely: (DNS in 450SX) “I’ve been dealing with torn adductor muscle since last weekend and dabbed my leg in practice today tearing it again. So bummed to be sitting out the race today in one of my favorite stadiums.”
Mitchell Oldenburg: (3rd in 450SX) “It’s amazing to be up here [on the podium]. We had an amazing off season and the whole team put in a lot of work. It was a big bummer to get hurt right after the season start and I just put my head down once I got back on the bike. This is where I want to be – I do want to win. I don’t know what it was but at the start of the week I just had a good feeling about this race. I’m really excited.”
Cooper Webb: (8th in 250SX) “Yeah, it was tough ’cause I felt smooth all day. I felt aggressive, but I felt smooth. I got into second and I felt like I could make a run at Marvin [Musquin]. I was sort of trying a lot harder and almost went slower. I made way more mistakes and I think that’s what allowed those guys to catch me. I tightened up and stuff like that. It was a gnarly track. You definitely have to go for it, but the biggest thing was picking lines. I feel like I switched a few lines and it costed me at least a second or so a lap. You had to be smart, but you had to push the edge. In the position we were in—were we 2-3-4—we were all pushing right there on the edge. You definitely had to go for it, but actually overall I thought the track was pretty cool. Obviously it was gnarly at the end, but I think it was something different and a lot better than the goat trails we’ve been racing.”
Shane McElrath: (5th in 250SX) “The track was pretty intense with how rutted it got. It was a lot about staying focused and minimizing the mistakes. I want to be on the podium, but after the conditions we faced today, we’re safe and healthy so we’ll take a fifth place.”
Dean Wilson: “I’m pretty happy that I won my semi. I didn’t get the greatest of starts in the main but I worked hard for that finish so I’ll take it. A top-10 is good.”
Malcolm Stewart: (14th in 450SX) “Tonight was a little disappointing, but we went down. It’s been one of those…I don’t know what’s wrong. Me and the ground is a magnet right now. Overall, I’m pretty happy about myself. The last two races—St Louis and even this weekend believe it or not—my attitude and my mentality have been good. I’ve had I picked up some confidence in myself. As far as that, I’m happy. The results didn’t come tonight, but the track was tough. Everybody was crashing tonight. There were a lot of people that were all over the place. I crashed and and I was stuck in the corner for probably thirty seconds, and I still managed to get 14th. At the end of the day, I still beat some factory riders and it is what it is. You got to just look past that and keep moving forward.”