Photos by: Simon Cudby
Heading into the 2018 Salt Lake City SX, Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin was the only rider still with a chance of forcing the 450SX title to go down to the finale in Las Vegas. If Marvin won, Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson would have to get 4th or better—a position he has bettered at every race but one in 2018—to lock down the title.
All year long, Anderson has had virtually zero big issues to contend with, so when the gate dropped on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, everyone including Marvin thought Jason would be celebrating after the 20 minutes plus one lap were over. Instead, just 300 feet out of the gate, Jason was on the ground with a broken front wheel and Marvin was heading to the front to do what he needed to do.
After qualifying in 2nd in the morning and winning his heat race, Marvin got to the lead on lap four of the main event and never looked back. Not knowing anything about what had happened to the #21, Marvin ran away from the field while Monster Energy / Kawsaki’s Eli Tomac was struggling to come through the field from a bad start. In the end, Marvin crossed the line with his fourth win of 2018—tieing Jason on wins—while Jason crossed the line in 17th after his crash and having to pull into the mechanics area to fix his wheel.
Now, heading into the Las Vegas finale next weekend, Jason has a much smaller 14 point lead over Marvin and he still has some work to do. If Marvin wins in Vegas, Jason will have to finish 10th or better to secure the title. While it seems like that Jason can pull this off, Salt Lake City reminded us one more time that SX is anything but predictable.
Big night for you tonight. You go the win, Jason Anderson had some trouble and it’s now just a 14 point gap. Talk about your night and what it all means.
Yeah, for the points, I definitely did not expect that tonight. Jason’s been consistent all year. I really thought even if I was going to win tonight, Jason would have been consistent, safe and got the points, you know what I mean. That’s how crazy Supercross is. Anything can happen.
When Jason went down in the beginning of the race, you were probably thinking a lot of things. Or did you even know?
No, I didn’t know. I didn’t know what happened to Jason until I got to the podium and Frankie told me. At one point I was catching lappers and maybe expected to see Jason ’cause I knew he was going to try and be safe, stay on two and get some points but I never saw him. I was like, “Okay.” But then Frankie told me at the end what happened. It’s definitely going down to Vegas.
I like that move from Frankie, don’t tell you anything. (laughs)
I hate to get into this too far, but I have to ask it: was what happened between you and Eli Tomac last week on your mind at all? Was there a fear of retaliation from Eli?
Well, if he kills me over the berm there are rules so he would get penalized. You know what I am saying? He’s not going to kill me. I definitely expected to battle with Eli tonight and for it to get aggressive. It didn’t happen, but it will happen maybe next weekend. Or maybe at Hangtown. Maybe with Blake [Baggett] or maybe with anyone. That’s Supercross and anything can happen.
Lets talk about the track tonight a little bit. You’re known for being a guy that likes the soft dirt, but tonight was hard packed, dry and pebbly. The whoops were tough too and while you normally like to jump through them, you were skimming them more often than not. You were one of the only a handful of guys skimming them well.
Yeah, I know. If you looked at the whoops they were nasty. I just tried to get the safest and quickest way through them. I knew I was losing a little bit of time on the first set, but in the second set I was blitzing them and it was decent. I’m happy about that. It was definitely really tough conditions and I showed I was able to get it done.
If you win in Las Vegas next weekend, I believe Jason will need to finish 10th (13 points) for him to win the title. Otherwise, you are the Champ. How much does this change your mindset during this week heading into next weekend? The plane ride home tonight has got to feel a little better?
Yeah, it doesn’t change much, but I’m definitely surprised that it is going down to Vegas. I’m just going to do my best just like tonight and see what happens to Jason.