Photo by: Octopi
Round six of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and round one of the Eastern Regional 250SX Championship and the Minneapolis SX continued to deliver some of the best racing we have seen in years.
In the 450SX class, Cooper Webb once again rode like the last two years are permanently erased from his memory bank, as he patiently made his way to the lead on lap fifteen and rode away from the field for his third win of 2019. Finishing on the box with Cooper was HRC / Honda’s Ken Roczen in 2nd and Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin with his fourth consecutive podium in 3rd. Leaving Minneapolis Roczen once again has the red plate with Webb, Musquin and Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac all within just two points of one another.
In the 250SX class, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner scored the first Eastern Regional 250SX main event win of 2019 by dominating every aspect of the Minneapolis SX. The #24 qualified first, led every of his heat and every lap of the main event. Picking up the other two spots on the opening round podium was Troy Lee Designs / KTM’s Jordon Smith in 2nd and Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Justin Cooper in 3rd.
After the sixth round was in the books, we gathered quotes from the riders to find out how their 2019 Minneapolis SX went for them.
Cooper Webb: (1st in 450) “To get three wins this year is pretty spectacular, especially bouncing back from last week – having that bad race in the mud – but I never lost belief, never lost faith and knew I was still good. I felt good all day today and to be able to apply it in the heat race, win that, and then win the main was pretty special. It’s cool, I have to pinch myself because I’ve come such a long way in a short amount of time. It’s crazy what a year or half a year will do to you. The last two years this place ended my season, so it’s pretty cool to bounce back from that and never give up, never doubt myself, make a change and stick to it. I want to keep doing well and doing what I’m doing. I definitely feel like I have a lot to improve on and a lot to learn but we’ll see if we can keep going.”
Austin Forkner: (1st in 250) “Today was like a dream come true. You put in a lot of work all off-season and you come to the first round never sure of where you will stack up compared to competition. I would have never believed you if you told me I would come here today and be fastest in qualifying, holeshot my heat race, win my heat race, holeshot the main event, and then win the main event. It’s just crazy and I can’t thank my whole Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for giving me the best possible equipment to accomplish what we did today. I am excited for Dallas and ready to keep this train rolling!”
Ken Roczen: (2nd in 450) “I had a little wheelie on the start, and I came around in third. I was just in third forever because it’s just really hard to pass out there; it gets rutty and we’re all kind of taking similar lines. I felt really good, but I couldn’t ever make the pass happen, and once Cooper [Webb] got by Joey [Savatgy], he gapped us. I wish I would’ve had a clear lap earlier because I feel like I could’ve done a charge toward the end, but with these turns and the intensity we brought, I didn’t want to just do a silly, aggressive move and bump up on the inside. I just took a little bit too long, but I’m happy with second place and back in the points lead. I still want to win, but it’s all good to get out of here healthy”
Jordon Smith: (2nd in 250) “I got a flat tire [on the sight lap.] Christian, my mechanic, did an amazing job to get that thing changed. I didn’t know what to think. They started their bikes before he even had the nut off of the wheel. I was definitely getting a little nervous that the gate was going to drop and I wasn’t going to be ready. I felt like it was a pretty mellow track. It was very intense. Nothing too technical out there. It did get tougher as the night went on with all the ruts. As far as the track without the ruts, it was pretty mellow.”
Marvin Musquin: (3rd in 450) “It was definitely a tough night. I made it really hard on myself going down in the heat race while running in second – I made a little mistake that cost me big time and then again, I hit neutral and went down again. With a really bad gate pick, I knew it was going to be hard to choose either inside or outside on the gate but I chose to go very far inside and I didn’t get the start I wanted. I was tight inside and came out top-ten but on a track like that, it’s super tough to be in that position to make passes. It took me a long time to get into the top-five and I was pushing to get around [Blake] Baggett and unfortunately, he went down hard, hopefully he’s okay. Once I was in third, I tried to give a push for second but there was a gap and physically I gave a lot when I was trying to pass guys for most of the Main Event. Definitely tough, but to be third on the podium tonight is a good result considering where I came from with the heat race and the start, so I’ll definitely take it”
Justin Cooper: (3rd in 250) “The bike was awesome all day and the team made adjustments to fix anything I was uncomfortable with. I was able to predict exactly what the bike was going to do throughout the race, even with the track conditions getting worse. I had a terrible start, but felt great on the bike the whole main and just had to maintain the race as best I could with all the chaos around me. Everything about the day went smooth except a little first race jitters in the heat race. First podium at my second Supercross race ever… what more is there to say? It’s a great feeling!””
Joey Savatgy: (4th in 450) “Man today was just awesome. Of course I would have liked to win the main event, but we learned so much. You have to start somewhere with getting the experience of leading laps and tonight we accomplished that. My KX450 was a rocket ship all day long and helped me get the day started properly as we qualified first and then got third in the heat race. In the main event, I got a great jump out the gate and was able to make a quick pass into first. I need to clean up a few mistakes but tonight was a big step in the right direction.
Eli Tomac: (6th in 450) “Championships are won on your bad days and today we managed everything thrown our way. The positives are that it is a long season and we leave Minneapolis healthy and only two points outside of first place. I’ll get back to work with the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki crew and continue to improve each week”
Chase Sexton: (5th in 250) “It was fun getting back to racing!” said Sexton. “My riding and speed were solid I just struggled with some mistakes in the night show. Main event I was feeling decent and was looking to make a pass for third but AMart [Martin] ended up missing a rhythm and I almost landed on him. I really had nowhere to go and I went down. I ended up fifth which is not what I wanted but we will improve this week and come out swinging at Dallas.”
Mitchell Oldenburg: (6th in 250) “Today was decent. Practice went well for me, I felt really comfortable and the bike was working awesome. Tonight though, just wasn’t the best night for me. I didn’t feel that great. Not racing for a year was tough, and it showed tonight. I’m looking forward to building off of this and getting ready for the next few races and Dallas next weekend.”
Dean Wilson: (8th in 450) “The night wasn’t great but not too bad, either. I’m not super pumped on it but I came out healthy. I think the past couple weeks of not getting into my normal schedule, due to the rain and resting the week after Oakland because of my knee, definitely had me feeling it and it was a tough Main Event the whole time. I think just trying to get back to my normal schedule will help a lot. It was awesome to be back with the team this weekend and we’re just going to get better from here”
Justin Barcia: (9th in 450) “Going into the main event I didn’t make any bike changes, or anything like that I was really comfortable. I was right on the main pack of guys in front of me, I just came into the corner pretty quick, pushed my front end and ended up going down pretty hard and rode home to ninth. For me it was a frustrating race to say the least because I felt like I was capable of being on the podium tonight and fighting for the win. It’s definitely frustrating, but I felt like I was back to myself again, comfort wise and stuff, I felt good on the bike. I was happy with my riding, just wish I could’ve done better in the main event. Moving on to next weekend I just want to have good starts and get back up front.””
Jordan Bailey: (9th in 250) “t was a good start to my first supercross. Practice went well and the track was pretty good. I got fourth in the heat race, and in the main my start wasn’t very good but we got ninth. I’m happy with it to start with but we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Aaron Plessinger: (10th in 450) “It was a rough one for me. I definitely struggled on my starts. I got a break in the heat race. I got a bad jump, but shot the gap and made it. In the main event I didn’t have that gap and I got shut off; I definitely need to keep working on it. We’re going to go back to California this week, we’ll get some more testing in on the bike and try and dial it in a little more for me. I just need to keep working on it, getting used to it. I’m going to go back and do some more homework and come back ready for Dallas.”
Cole Seely: (11th in 450) “The track was pretty simple so the practice times were pretty close. I knew going in that the start was going to mean a lot, but unfortunately I didn’t get a good one in the heat race. Still, I found my lines and was happy with my speed in the second half of the heat race. That translated into the main event because I was riding really good, and then just before the halfway mark I got cut off by another rider when I was trying to make a pass. I got up and tried to keep my focus forward even though my bike was a little banged up. I managed to pass a few guys. I feel like I’m riding well, but things aren’t really going my way. I’ll keep plugging away and wait for my luck to turn.”
Thomas Covington: (11th in 250) “It was a solid first weekend for me. I was definitely a little bit nervous and tight throughout the whole day but each session got a little bit better and I squeaked into the Main Event in the heat. In the Main Event, I just went out and had as much fun as I could out there and it turned out pretty good. I was happy with how the bike was working and everything, just have to get back to work this week and hopefully progress next weekend.”
Blake Wharton: (15th in 250SX) “Going to take away all the positives from round one, riding up front plus a massive save in the heat race. Other than some tire marks on my back from main event crash we are all good. Have some adjustments to make on bike set up that I’m hoping will get us that much closer to where we want to be! Stay posted for more info and see you all at dallas”
Martin Davalos : (16th in 250) “I was feeling good and the bike was good all day, but just struggled to connect the dots tonight. Unfortunately, things happen in racing and stuff like this happens to the best of us. I’m happy to get the first round jitters out of my system and proud of my entire team. We’ll get back to work and just keep grinding.”
Christian Craig: (20th in 250) ““I’m bummed on the night obviously but going into it we had no idea how my thumb would hold up,” said Craig. “I rode supercross one day and made the call to race one day before we had to leave. It’s healing and gets better weekly but wasn’t strong enough to last all day and night. I surprised myself in the heat race. Someone ran into me and I was about dead last. I was able to fight to seventh which I was happy with. The main was hard. I could fight for a few laps, but then it was getting so bad I couldn’t hang on at all. Most people probably wouldn’t have raced if they felt like I did but if I could I gotten a top 10 and had a chance at the championship it would have been worth it so I had to try. I’ll probably take next weekend off and hopefully come back for [round three in] Detroit. I’m doing all I can to get this thing feeling better but it just needs some more TLC right now”
Feature Photo by: Octopi