Round eleven was another thrilling Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship event. The 450SX Class Main Event started and ended with Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin in the lead, but he had to fight off several attacks to become the fifth winner so far this year. Team Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS’ Blake Baggett kept it close all the way to the end in front of 61,106 screaming fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Rounding out the podium was points leader Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb. It was the third time this season that KTM has swept the podium, a feat that ties Honda’s record. In the Eastern Regional 250 SX Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner continued his win streak over his region’s riders to pull out to a 26 point lead.
Marvin Musquin grabbed the 450SX Class Main Event holeshot followed by Baggett, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy, and Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely. Before the pack completed the lap, Baggett had dropped back to fourth, Savatgy ran in second with his Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Eli Tomac right behind. Five minutes in, Savatgy hit the lane split Tuff Blox and went down; it then looked like it would be a Musquin/Tomac battle. Webb began to close on the duo but a mistake of his own allowed Baggett to re-emerge in the top three.
Eight minutes into the race Baggett caught and started to pressure Tomac for the runner up spot, while Cooper Webb was turning faster lap times and catching both of them. Musquin’s lead had shrunk to only a second and a half and the top four circled the track in a tight pack. Baggett made it around Tomac, and shortly after that Webb had a miraculous save; he cross-rutted and landed on the Tuff Blox on the inside of a 180-degree corner. Tomac checked up, Webb stopped in time, and the two avoided contact while Webb managed to make the pass.
First Tomac, and then Webb lost touch with the lead pack. Baggett pulled alongside but could not make the pass. Musquin kept his cool through the pressure and the lappers to grab his first win, a repeat of his Indy win last year. It makes Musquin the third KTM rider to win in a single season, a first for KTM.
Glad to get a 2019 win after seven podiums so far this year, Musquin explained what made the difference, “Definitely the start. I was really confident off the start. I had a great gate pick and made it happen. From that, it was just riding [within] myself and mistake free… The track was definitely pretty tough and I haven’t been in that position since last year. Definitely [I was] a little bit tight. I was trying to push, but that track was really hard, super choppy in the ruts. It was really hard to just be smooth and consistent. So I was riding a little tight and I saw they were coming and just tried my best not to get passed by, I think it was Baggett; I thought it was orange behind me, and I was like, ‘If he doesn’t pass me I can make it happen all the way to the finish.’ That’s what happened so I’m really happy, finally, so let’s keep it going now.”
Wishing he’d been able to capitalize on a passing opportunity, Baggett was a little frustrated right after the race, “The track just started coming to me and I was pushing, trying to get toward the front. Then we got into lappers, and they want to race you. It’s tough, you know, they’re in their own race but sometimes they just get in the middle of your race and mess things up.”
Webb was upbeat about landing on the podium, “It was a tough main. It wasn’t a bad start but the way the track was tonight a holeshot was really important. I think I came out fifth and was good, I was right there in the mix, we were all right there. I think I made a pass around Eli and Joey and then I actually stalled the bike, so that kind of stuff, lost some positions. And I caught back up,” Webb said while watching his near-crash on the stadium screen, “[I] had a Ricky [Carmichael] moment, landed on the bails, was lucky to save that. Watching it right now, woah, that was a true RC. But it was a good salvage. To stall it, have that moment, and in the end, I was making a run. The track was hard, we were all pushing, it was easy to make mistakes, there was a lot of lapped traffic, and it was tough, but it was good to have a stall and then that moment and still fight up there on the podium; it was cool. It’s cool to have Marv win, another KTM sweep, third one of the year. It’s pretty special. Obviously, I want to win, but it’s good to be up here and it was a good battle tonight. I think the fans really enjoyed it.”
It was another dominating performance by Austin Forkner at round six of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class. After qualifying with a fifth-place finish due to a first turn crash in his 250SX Heat Race, Austin Forkner made the best of a poor gate position pick and emerged from the first corner in the Main Event neck and neck with Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Mitchell Oldenburg. Within two corners Forkner had established the lead and would not face a challenge for the next fifteen minutes plus one lap. GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton put himself into second before the first lap was completed; he had Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos pressuring him for the early laps but worked away from Davalos after five minutes of racing. Rounding out the podium was Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Justin Cooper, who was pushed off the track in a first turn pileup and charged hard, making his final pass on teammate Mitchell Oldenburg on the final lap.
When asked if his heat race crash and fifth place finish drove his main event motivation Forkner answered, “Yeah, definitely. That heat race was mine, I gave it up. Pretty simple I just went into the first turn too hard, and that left me with like tenth gate pick. I’m not even sure, I think I got fifth, so ninth or tenth gate pick. I was so motivated, though, and I was so confident with my starts that it didn’t really matter to me where I had to line up, I was like, ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m putting the bike up front. If that’s a first or that’s a top three, either way, I can work with it.’ Ended up getting the holeshot, I think; we were real close along the back section, me and a Yamaha guy, I’m not sure who it was. I made the pass stick in the rhythm section and just tried to ride smooth laps. I didn’t really get the chance to do that in the Heat Race because I was getting through guys, so it was good to get out front and do some laps. I was pumped. I mean, smooth is fast, it’s that simple, and that was my goal tonight. I’m a little sick… so I knew that I couldn’t over-push because I just really didn’t have the strength to do that tonight. So smooth laps, jumping through the whoops, that got it done tonight.”
Chase Sexton was asked about Forkner’s speed, “He was going for it. I just didn’t get that flow in the beginning. I was [in the] first heat and the whoops were perfect; I went out in the Main Event and I just, I honestly didn’t know what do to. I was struggling with the jump line, and he was gone. That was honestly probably one of my worst rides all year. But second is good, man, it’s annoying to get beat by the same guy every weekend. But I didn’t ride good so it was… We got I think three more rounds, so we’ve still got some time for that win and I’m looking forward to getting out and work on my sprint speed for the first couple laps and just go, because he’s really good at that when he gets out front. He rode really good tonight. It was good, I got a heat win finally, and second place isn’t too bad, I’m second in points now, so yeah, just keep moving forward and make some progress on the bike in this off time…”
Third place finisher Justin Cooper explains what happened in the first turn: “I got pushed off the track. Everyone came in really fast from the inside. Someone caught my back end and I just went straight off the track, nowhere to go. Had to enter in the safest place which put me, I felt like I was last, and it was a really [bad] feeling, to be honest, ’cause I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me, but I was able to put my head down. [I] got really tired ’cause I had so many close calls out there. I’m happy to even walk away from this one, honestly, because trying to make a bunch of passes in a quick amount a time, so to get up to the podium I’m just speechless. It was a great ride and I put my heart into this one, I had to dig deep for this one.”
Next weekend Monster Energy Supercross goes to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington where the open stadium means weather could be a factor for the 450 racers and also the Western Regional 250SX class racers who resume their race schedule.