Feature photo from ” Talladega Nights,” 2006 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and GH One LLC

“Cooksey’s Hard Truth” presented by Scott Sports is a weekly editorial written by Chris Cooksey. Chris will be diving in and out of controversial subjects and bringing you his hard truth about the racing and the riders from around the world of Supercross and Motocross.

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This past Saturday, the 2018 Lucas Pro Motocross series hit the halfway point in Southwick, MA, and we have some serious storylines developing. In the 450 class, Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac continued their intense career rivalry. In the first moto, Tomac and Musquin battled like their lives depended on the victory. I cringed multiple times as they crossed lines at ridiculously high speeds. We have a real USA vs France rivalry brewing here and the hard feelings are real!

Fans have clearly embraced Tomac as a “Ricky Bobby” figure while treating Marvin like “Jean Girard” both characters from the movie Talladega Nights. Despite Marvin being one of the most pleasant and polite riders involved in motocross, fans boo him unmercifully every time he is on the podium. Personally, I have no idea why people dislike Marvin, but I do think it is a good thing for both Marvin, Eli and the sport. I had coffee with an old friend this weekend, I asked what he thought of the outdoor series. He told me he quit watching because the guys were too vanilla. My friend is a big fan of the UFC and the drama associated and while UFC drama is a bit much sometimes, they are onto something. Marvin and Eli have shown us drama on the track and in press conferences. Their disdain for each other is something that is difficult to fake. Every time they are in close range of each other on the track, I can’t help but start watching closer. I start analyzing the lines they are using to block each other and wonder when and if a dirty move will come. Clearly, I am not the only one. Whenever they battle the crowds go nuts!

Since High Point the #1 and the #25 have been going at it in nearly every moto. Photo by: Octopi

I do not know why PR representatives and agents are not deferring to other sports and their success with organic drama. While scripted drama or guys fake fighting in the pits is not the answer, we should not hide the real drama. I get annoyed when these guys are told to contain their emotions on camera. Whether they show us the drama or not we eventually find out. The PR advisor for KTM should tell Marvin to embrace the bad guy role. If the fans want to boo, then he should tell them to piss off, maybe go on a little rant about how he just left his heart on the track and the fans should shut the hell up. I honestly believe Marvin would gain fans rather than lose them with this approach. He really has nothing to lose. Can you imagine how many people would show up to Red Bud this weekend to boo the French rider as he battles Ricky Bobby on 4th of July weekend?

Speaking of bad guys, Alex Martin played the role of bad guy when he took out some of his frustrations on Austin Forkner. Alex has been very good as of late, but can’t seem to close the deal on a win. Those frustrations boiled over in Southwick’s second 250 moto. Late in the moto, Alex was unable to find a way around Forkner and straight blasted him. “I thought I had the inside and he didn’t let off. We have seen a lot of crashes like that with Forkner,” Alex stated. I was not aware of any bad blood before the incident, and while Alex did apologize, he also eluded to the fact that Forkner has been in several collisions like this which seems to retract his apology. I did not see the incident the way Alex described, and I am guessing when he watches the video, he too might rethink his take on the situation.

Looking at this picture, it becomes nearly impossible to throw blame at Austin, but that did not stop Alex from trying. Photo by: Octopi

This is one of the many situations where racers have been taught to deny and make excuses about dirty riding. I say let it go; Alex should have told us his frustrations, maybe also informed us if Forkner crossed lines or dated his ex-girlfriend. Whatever the case, I want riders and the industry to loosen up. We aren’t curing cancer, so let’s have some fun. Stop pretending there is no room in the sport for growth or change, most riders are not even full-time racers. Embrace the roots of competition and have some fun!