Photo by: Octopi
Round five of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and the San Diego SX brought us the second California mud race of 2019. While the rain stopped right before the night show began, the damage was already done. When the lights came on inside Petco Park the circuit was a wet deep sloppy mess that had most riders focused simply on keeping it on two wheels and making sure their bikes survived the shortened ten (250) and fifteen-minute (450) main events.
In the 450SX class, Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac had a near perfect round five in the most imperfect conditions. Eli qualified first, won his heat race and then went wire-to-wire for the main event win. If that wasn’t enough for the #3 and the guys in the green shirts to celebrate, they also took the red plate home with them. Finishing on the 450SX podium with Eli was Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin in 2nd for the third straight race and HRC / Honda’s Ken Roczen finishing on the 3rd step.
In the 250SX class, it was Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo heading into the West break with his second win in a row—giving the Kawasaki squad the red plate in both the 250SX and the 450SX classes. Grabbing the final two spots on the 250SX podium was Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Garrett Marchbanks with his first career podium in 2nd and JGR / Factory Suzuki’s Jimmy Decotis finishing in 3rd.
After the fifth round was in the books, we gathered quotes from the riders to find out how they got through the 2019 San Diego Swampcross.
Eli Tomac: (1st in 450) “Man, what can I say? Today was just insane with the weather conditions and the sloppy mud. For me, today was one of those days where I just felt on all day long. I had a few hectic moments in the main event, but we survived the mud, got our job done, and now we are leaving with the red plate which feels good. I am looking forward to racing back underneath a dome next week on a dry track in Minneapolis.”
Adam Cianciarulo: (1st in 250) “This feels so good because the mud brings in added stress and you never know what will happen. I just visualized the win, getting through the first turn first and focused on staying in control. My team made a great call going to the Dunlop paddle tire and it helped get me out front. I’ve never won two in a row before so that feels great.”
Marvin Musquin: (2nd in 450) “It was a crazy day, and a long day. We waited all day to get out and do only one practice but I was able to qualify good in third and take third in my heat race. I didn’t get a great start in the Main Event and the dirt was so heavy it was packed up in my goggles and my helmet was really heavy. I scraped my goggles on the first lap a couple times to save my roll-off and it worked until the end, which was great. I came back after that but I had no idea where I was to try to make passes. It’s crazy because you don’t want to crash, but you want to try to pass guys in front of you and make up time. But you also try to be safe and try to stay on two wheels, and that’s what I did. I knew Kenny [Roczen] was in front of me at the end but I didn’t know if that was for third or second – and then I crossed the finish line and looked at the board and it was a second, which is great. I’m glad I’m on the podium tonight and now go to the east coast with a dome stadium and a dry track!”
Garrett Marchbanks: (2nd in 250) “I didn’t even know what place I took until after I crossed the finish. The whole race I kept pushing, trying to make passes. Maybe not knowing took the pressure off me, but I love this feeling and repaying the team for all their hard work. I would love to see it happen again this year.”
Ken Roczen: (3rd in 450) “Today was a really weird day. We didn’t even get on the track until after 5 p.m. and only had the one qualifying practice. I got 12th, which wasn’t great, but the conditions were absolutely brutal. I got off to a pretty good start in the heat race and ended up winning, which was great. Going into the main and being able to pick whatever gate I wanted was huge. I got off to such a good start, it was crazy, and actually almost went down in the first turn because it was so slippery but pulled it off; then I actually went down in the second turn, which I was really bummed about. In those conditions, you don’t want to be anywhere but in the front. Going back to fourth or so was not what I wanted and just made it harder on me. I thought I was third most of the time but I guess I was second, and then Marvin [Musquin] got by me with just a turn left so I was pretty bummed. There was so much craziness going on, you can lose 10 seconds in a lap—or gain it, for that matter. I’m glad to be on the podium and be getting out of here safe. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten out of the West Coast healthy, so I’m happy about that and looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Jimmy Decotis: (3rd in 250) “I kind of knew where I was the whole moto—I was in 4th—and I crossed the finish, put my head down and was like, “Man, another 4th place for this guy.” I’ve had enough of 4th place. Then my mechanic was all happy and I’m like, “What’s going on? I got 4th! What’s so great about 4th?” It was kind of given to me. I don’t feel like I earned it, but I worked hard that whole moto. It’s so sloppy. With my little legs, I was struggling. I’m really thankful the Suzuki is so good. It takes the pressure off of me. The San Diego mudder was an absolute blast. I surprised myself in the muddy conditions. I pulled off my first podium of the year in some of the craziest conditions I’ve ever seen. I’m loving this Suzuki RM-Z250 so much. I’ve been so comfortable, and we are just continuing to build each and every week. I’ll have several weeks off before we head to Atlanta. I’m excited to keep progressing! Thank you to all the crew and everyone on the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team.”
Justin Bogle: (4th in 450) “It’s definitely coming around. It’s just progress and that’s all I can ask for. Tonight was muddy, so we’ll take it for what it is but I’m getting confident and comfortable with this team. I’m having fun man. I was close to a podium out there, but we’ll take what we can get. ”
Shane McElrath: (4th in 250) “Honestly, with two 4th the last two weekends, it’s really a blessing, So many things went wrong today, other than qualifying 1st—I did two laps and qualified first. What a crazy night! We kind of expect anything to happen, but I feel like everything happened against us all day today. I’m thankful to be here—god’s good to us—and we’re still working.”
Chad Reed: (5th in 450) “San Diego is always a race I really enjoy. I had a great week in California leading up to the race. It was a rain schedule, which is always challenging. There was a lot of sitting around going on. The track was gnarly. My heat race start was okay, but I was splashed with mud and couldn’t get clear vision quickly enough. I had to stop, but I came back to seventh. The main event wasn’t my best mud performance, but I’m really happy to get up into the top five. I’m back in North Carolina this week and looking forward to continue working with the team to get up on that podium.”
Jess Petis: (5th in 250) “That was an awesome main event for me. I’m so pumped right now. My KTM 250 got off to a great start—I almost ripped the holeshot. I just told myself to stay calm. You can’t let the nerves get to you out there or ride too over your head because it’s slippery and gnarly out there. I ended up making a few mistakes. I crashed once, then I ended up going down again on the last lap, but I’m so stoked right now. ”
Aaron Plessinger: (6th in 450) “It was a mudder! I had a really good heat race, I got passed at the end for first and ended up second, but was happy with my progress. I definitely think my off-road background helps in the mud a bit, but I’m still getting used to the 450. It’s power. It’s weight. It’s a tough transition from 250s. You know, I’m learning still. I just have to get the starts, get the bike to where I can really man handle it. I felt pretty good throughout the race. My stomach was still not feeling great, I had food poisoning on Thursday and I really didn’t know what to expect coming into the race weekend. So it was a decent result, but I’m still not satisfied. I want to get inside the top five. I’m going to work hard this week and prepare for Minneapolis.”
Dylan Ferrandis: (7th in 250) “Emotions are not really good for me at the moment… Being third and not being able to finish the race because of a technical issue, is unfortunate. The track was really muddy and slippery; and the conditions were really extreme. So, to finish seventh; it’s not what I wanted but it could have been worse. We will continue to fight hard until the end of the season to get the best result as possible. We will prepare for the shootout and for a better weekend for the whole Star team at Atlanta.”
Joey Savatgy: (7th in 450) “There were a lot of positives for me to take away from this weekend. I got third in my heat race, which gave me a good gate pick for the main event, which is so important on a night like tonight in these muddy conditions. I got a good jump out the gate, but the mud got me on Lap 1. I didn’t know what place I was in so I just put my head down, stayed calm, and tried to catch one guy at a time. I am already looking forward to next weekend.”
Cooper Webb: (8th in 450) “It was an up and down weekend here in San Diego. It rained a lot, so it made for a challenging day but I qualified second, which was good. The heat race went well, I got a second in that, too. In the Main Event, I had a decent start and was running fifth but I got held up – I’m not sure if Marv’s bike stalled in front of me but I ended up going over the handle bars and was able to manage an eighth place for tonight. It’s definitely not where we wanted to be but I’m happy to make it out of this race with some points and I’m looking forward to getting back up on the podium next weekend in Minneapolis”
Dean Wilson: (12th in 450) “Wow! That was gnarly. Crashed and stalled 4 times. Could have Probably beat me running around the track. Made it through the night tied for 5th in points. Phew, happy to get that one out the way. Complete quagmire.”
Cameron McAdoo: (15th in 250) “San Diego was a crazy one, it was my first actual full mud race in supercross. All you could do was have fun and embrace it and that is what we did. I ended up backwards and stuck in the mud in the second turn, and we ended up coming back to 9th! In the mud, that’s what it’s all about.”
Cole Martinez: (13th in 450) “Track was insane last night. Let a few positions get away towards the end.”
Colt Nichols: (10th in 250) “It was horrible night for me really. I can’t say it was all bad though, because I am leaving healthy, and tonight was a night to look at the bigger picture. Mud races can go well like it did at A1 or on the flip side, like it did tonight. I’m looking forward to using this break to get better and come out swinging at Atlanta. I’m looking forward to the challenge and clawing my way back up to the top of the standings.”
Cole Seely: (14th in 450) “Man, tonight was brutal. It was definitely one of the toughest mud races I’ve ever raced. With the rain schedule, we had a lot of downtime and it was a pretty long day, just sitting around. We didn’t even ride until past 5 p.m. for qualifying, but I actually had fun and felt like I was riding pretty good. Unfortunately, I had some issues in my heat, barely transferring and giving me a terrible gate pick for the main. I didn’t get the best start in the main, so I had to come in after a few laps for new googles, then went down a couple times. It was pretty much survival out there. Definitely not the result I wanted, but it’s still early in the season. We’re heading into dome stadiums, so hopefully I can get back to where I know I can be.”
Kyle Chisholm: (17th in 450) “Well that was fun last night. I had fun. The heat race was good. Start was good and raced up front for a bit. In the main I had a decent start going into the first turn but I got plastered with mud and couldn’t see or get the tear off pulled quick enough and hit someone and fell. It was all downhill from there with 2 or 3 more crashes trying to catch back up. Just couldn’t stay off the ground. A little bummed because I wanted a good result. But the HEP Motorsports team and my mechanic, Pat Kutzer, busted their butts all day so it’s a bummer not to repay their hard work with a good main result. But we’ll try again next weekend. ”
Michael Mosiman: (12th in 250) “After a long day of waiting around, we finally got on the track and it was muddy to say the least, but I was enjoying the mud and having a blast,” Mosiman said. “I got another poor start in the Main Event – I jumped out and got pinched off but I was kind of not concerned because I knew I was riding well in the mud; and then three turns in, I crashed. I started coming through the pack and making passes, and someone cut over and clipped my front wheel and I went down. I got back up and went down one more time and ended up 12th. I’m really disappointed with this one because I felt like I had a shot to do really well and I don’t think I ride the mud too badly. But I’m going to go back, process it and learn from it. Obviously, the conditions are super unpredictable but I still just want to be better. I’m disappointed but we’ll get better and look to the next round.”
Cade Autenrieth: (19th in 450) “Crazy night in San Diego, ended up finishing 9th in the heat and made it straight to the main. My motor ended up over heating and finished 19th in the main.”
Carson Brown: (14th in 250) “Crazy night at San Diego. Went down off the start in the main and climbed my way up to 9th. On the last lap I had a tip over and a few mistakes that lead to a 14th. I love the mud! Huge thanks to everyone who made it happen.”
Justin Barcia: (DNF / 22nd in 450) “It was a crazy day, lots of rain so the track was super wet. I got a bad start in the heat race and got some water under my goggles, so I had to ditch them in the first turn and ended up stalling as well. I came from about last to fourth, so, ultimately, I was super happy with that ride. In the main event, I had a much better start than I’ve had lately. I felt like I was riding well enough to contend for a podium, or battle for the win, but I had a technical issue, and it took us out of the race. I just have to move on from this weekend and stay positive and keep on doing the things I have been doing and return to the podium sooner rather than later. The goal is Minneapolis, to get right back there. It’s been a tough few weeks but we’ll keep charging and never give up.”
RJ Hampshire: (15th in 250) “Won my heat which was cool. Got a good start in the main and probably crashed in the worst spot on lap two. I was stuck for almost an entire lap! Really I’m just glad that’s over and ready for this break. I’m driving back east now to do some work there. I’ll be exited to go racing in Atlanta.”
Enzo Lopes: (19th in 250) “The day started off well. We all had one practice due to the rain, so I tried to put the whole practice together. I qualified seventh, which I was happy with. I had a good gate pick and started around fifth in my heat race. I was blind midway through the start because I got splashed in the pond that had developed right after the gate. I moved up to third and was making time on the leaders. Then I went off the track, caught up to some lappers, and couldn’t do a few sections cleanly. Still, I was happy to get third in the heat. I had fifth gate pick for the main. The track was brutal. I had a decent start, made a few passes, and moved up to second. Right before the finish line the bike stalled out. Then I fried my clutch and couldn’t regroup. I’ll take the positives away. I feel like Jimmy [Decotis] and I would have put the team on the box, but it is what it is.”
Justin Hill: (Did not race / DNS in 450) “I had a blast in the mud for a few laps, before I hit a hole in the whoops that was hidden under standing water. I smashed my rib cage into the handlebars pretty badly, so I went to the Alpinestars Mobile Medical Rig to get checked out. Unfortunately, there was a suspected puncture on my spleen that required a trip to a nearby trauma center. Results for my spleen came back negative. It turned out to be cartilage damage on my ribs. As soon as I can heal up from that I’ll be good to go.”