Photo by: Simon Cudby
Round 14 of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and round 7 of the Eastern Regional 250SX Championship and the inaugural Nashville SX saw a Kawasaki sweep on the top step of the podium in both classes.
In the 450SX class, Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac came from 11th on lap one to pass everyone and take his fourth win of 2019. Finishing on the podium with Tomac was Rocky Mountain ATV/MC / WPS KTM’s Blake Baggett in 2nd and Red Bull / KTM’s Cooper Webb in 3rd. Leaving Nashville, Webb leads both Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin and Tomac by 21 points.
In the 250SX main event, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos got his first win of the year. Joining Davalos on the podium was GEICO / Honda’s Chase Sexton in 2nd and Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Justin Cooper in 3rd. The 250SX East red plate holder, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, crashed in practice and did not race in Nashville. Austin still leads Sexton by 3 points.
After the 14th round was in the books, we gathered quotes from the riders to find out how their 2019 Nashville SX went for them.
Eli Tomac: (1st in 450) ““Man, what a day today was! It was up and down all day long. Being in the lead in the heat race and then getting sent to the LCQ was not something I wanted to do, but to come back and win the LCQ and then go on to win the Main Event was just insane. It has honestly left me speechless. I can’t thank my whole Monster Energy Kawasaki crew enough. They worked their butts off all week long with me. Tonight was a true team effort and I couldn’t be more proud to get them this win!”
Martin Davalos: (1st in 250) Wow! It is just crazy to be up here tonight. It has been a long road to get back up here with my neck and knee injuries last year. The journey has not been easy, so to be up here tonight just means the world to me. My Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki KX™250 was ripping all night. Some of my competitors decided to take each other out in the main event, which left me with a clear track to do my thing and I just rode a consistent race from start to finish.
Blake Baggett: (2nd in 450) “It was definitely one of the tracks that looked super tacky and had traction and the dirt color was awesome, but it was super slippery. The whoops were tough—they were cupped out. Some times you would get traction and some times you would hit the same spot and just spin. It felt like you were fighting the bike a lot. Even when you had a good run. It felt like you were using a lot of energy tonight. The top of the turns pretty hard packed with a rut and bumpy, but getting up to it was just crumbles. I had a few good spots, but the best man won tonight for sure. Eli took advantage of a few spots where I was slower. I tried to pick up on that and that’s what I did, but he just got away.”
Chase Sexton: (2nd in 250) “I got a pretty good start. I had a really good gate. I was just pumped to get out front. I feel like tonight was my night. I made a quick pass on Justin [Cooper] and I was honestly just trying to go and to sprint away. I knew it was going to be a gnarly track. I clipped the rhythm along the bleachers, Justin got inside of me and I really don’t have much to say about it. It’s a bummer we both went down, especially on the first lap. It put us all the way back.
Cooper Webb: (3rd in 450) “It was nice to get the holeshot and lead some laps in the Main Event. I made some mistakes and got passed by Eli and Blake – they were both riding really good tonight. I’m keeping the bigger picture in mind and a podium finish isn’t too bad, we were able to take away some points and extend the lead a little bit heading into the last three rounds.”
Justin Cooper: (3rd in 250) “I struggled to find my flow throughout the day, but was able to put it together for the main, pull the holeshot and get out front. I had a battle on my hands quickly and had some first lap adrenaline pumping, went to make a pass and ended up going down with Chase [Sexton]. It definitely wasn’t my intention, but hey, you live and learn, that’s racing and not everything goes right all the time. It was frustrating that I had to come through the pack again after two falls, but I’m happy to be on the podium and leaving safely. Thanks to my team for all the help this weekend and making sure I was comfortable out there when it mattered.”
Austin Forkner: (DNS in 250) “I am absolutely gutted right now. I should have been out there racing tonight, but a mistake in the second practice caused me to crash. We tried to give it a go in the third practice and everything felt fine until I over jumped one of the sections, which aggravated the issue. We still are chasing the championship and the team and I decided to play it safe and take the night off to make sure I am ready to go for the last two rounds.”
: (4thin 450) “I qualified third, so the speed was good today. In the heat race, I rode a bit tight and ended up fourth. In the Main Event, I got a good start and avoided some carnage early on and got into second. I got passed by a couple of guys and from there I rode in a pretty solid fourth the whole race. Fourth is a good finish but the podium was so close, so I just have to keep pushing for that.”
Zach Osborne: (5th in 450) “Progress is progress, even if it’s slow or small. I started off a little slow on the day but a third in the heat race and fifth in the Main Event definitely feels like we’re going in the right direction. I’ll keep plugging away and looking forward to outdoors.”
Marvin Musquin: (6th in 450) “Qualifying eighth in the heat race kind of put me in a bad position for the Main Event but I was able to get a decent start in second. Unfortunately, I made another mistake in the first set of whoops and I went down. From last, I came all the way back to sixth place, which is okay but the end result is not good so we’ll keep on fighting.”
Kyle Peters: (4th in 250) “The whole day was a lot better than previous rounds. I felt good in practice and qualifying. I was loose and comfortable right away and looked forward to a good night. The heat race came around, and where they prepped the track it was hard pack underneath and marbles on top. I washed the front end out and came back up to seventh. Once I saw Sexton and Cooper down, I knew it was time to go. I rushed it a bit and made some mistakes. I didn’t ride the race like I should have. I wasn’t hitting my breathing spots and tried too hard. Overall, it was a good night. It was awesome to have my family there, and the team was on it all day. We’re making progress, and we’ll get up there in New Jersey.””
Cole Seely: (7th in 450) “Tonight was good but still not great. I’m still happy though. I was running really good for the first 14 minutes of the main event and then just got tired there toward the end. It’s kind of been the story of my season, unfortunately. I’ve been struggling with my fitness—more strength-wise than cardio. I’ve been working on it, but it’s hard to build during the season because you can’t work yourself so hard during the week then be flat on the weekends. It’s a fine line but I think I’m doing a good job in my routine. We’re just taking the positives away from tonight. I feel like I rode really well and rode with more confidence than I normally do when I line up.”
Ken Roczen: (8th in 450) “I don’t even know what to say because nothing surprises me at this point. I feel like I just can’t catch a break. Things started out so great and I really felt like tonight could have been my night. Everything was flowing well in qualifying and I got another heat-race win. My bike was working great and I was having fun. I didn’t get the start that I wanted in the main event but was making passes quickly. Unfortunately, [Joey] Savatgy went down while I was right behind him and I hit his bike. There was nothing I could do; I had nowhere to go. By the time I got going again I was last, so I just tried to dig deep and do whatever I could to make up as many positions as possible. I’m not happy with eighth but it’s okay considering what happened. We’ve got a few more opportunities to make it happen, so on to Denver.”
Mitchell Oldenburg: (6th in 250) “It was a bit of a frustrating night for me. Obviously going down the first lap and getting connected with Martin [Davalos] was really a bummer. But I got up, put my head down and charged as hard as I could and we came out with a sixth. I really struggled with the whoops tonight, so that’s something we can definitely work on this week to try and get better at. Will go back to the drawing board, put in some more work and hopefully get this thing going here with two more races.””
Alex Martin: (10th in 250) “It was one of those days. The heat race was the highlight of my weekend. Nashville is a pretty cool city, but the racing was rough. We made some changes going into the night show and they didn’t work out like we had hoped. It was frustrating, but we’re going to rebound.”
Justin Hill: (20th in 450) “I was really vibing with the track this weekend, but I made a small miscalculation in a rhythm section and damaged my L5 vertebra and a few other things I can’t pronounce. I rode the remainder of the night as best as I could, but I was in a lot of pain. Ultimately, I couldn’t finish the race, because my back was giving out on big jumps after ten minutes of the main. It’s very disappointing, because I liked the track a lot. The bike is working really well right now. I’m going to get my body checked out and take it from there. I hope to make it to Denver.”
Joey Savatgy: (22nd in 450) “Nights like tonight are a tough pill to swallow. We were running great all day. I felt strong and fast in the heat race, and felt like I was in position to do the same in the main event. I just landed off that triple and hit some slick spot and washed the front end. I dinged myself up pretty good and will go get everything checked out on Monday to make sure I am ready to go in Denver.”