Photo by: Simon Cudby
The penultimate round of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and round 8 of the Eastern Regional 250SX Championship in East Rutherford, NJ. brought two riders a lot closer to their first Championships.
In the 450SX class, Red Bull / KTM’s Cooper Webb put aside a sickness and the massive pressure of his first-ever 450 title and went on to win his seventh main event of 2019. On the 450 podium with Webb was Rockstar / Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne in 2nd—first-ever podium—and Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac in 3rd.
In the 250SX main event, GEICO / Honda’s Chase Sexton scored his first-ever main event win and took firm control of the Eastern Regional 250SX Championship at the same time. The Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha duo of Mitchell Oldenburg and Justin Cooper took the final two spots on the podium. The points leader heading into round 16, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, tried to ride through the pain of his knee injury but pulled off early on after aggravating the injury, ending his shot at the title.
After the 16th round was in the books, we gathered quotes from the riders to find out how their 2019 East Rutherford SX went for them.
Cooper Webb: (1st in 450) “Overall, I felt like it was a good race. I felt like I rode in a nice pace that was consistent and I’m not saying that the other guys weren’t, but the mistakes they made were definitely the difference. I’m happy, another win is incredible and we’re inching a little closer to the final goal.”
Chase Sexton: (1st in 250) “Finally!. Maybe I came into Austin a little bit off the start, and he was really [getting aggressive]. I can’t knock him. He was going for it, he was riding so much better than he did in his heat race. I felt like I had a target on my back, which was kind of odd because he’s the one that was leading the points. After those couple of incidents, I was just like, “I better let this race come to me” because I felt like I had the speed to go get those guys. Track was gnarly, though. It was probably the toughest 15+ 1 [minutes and laps] I’ve ever done. I feel like I’ve done a good job of taking it race by race. Now I have the red plate and it feels so good now.”
Zach Osborne: (2nd in 450) “It’s pretty incredible to take my first podium today in the 450 class after some trials and tribulations to start the season. To finally be up here feels pretty incredible and gives me a lot of motivation to continue working on going on the path that I’m on.”
Mitchell Oldenburg: (2nd in 250) “It’s unbelievable. With all the injuries… I just didn’t know if this was for me anymore. My wife has always been behind me and this feels amazing. Everyone in my corner have been so awesome and the people around me have never stopped believing in me. It feels good to finally get this done. It feels like we finally got this monkey off our back.”
Eli Tomac: (3rd in 450) “I just have to chuckle about it right now. I made the same exact mistake in the whoops twice and although it’s pretty frustrating, ultimately, I was still able to land on the podium. I gave it my all tonight and I feel proud of the way I rode my KX450. It’s not over, that’s why we line up each week; so we’ll head to Vegas next week and I’ll continue to give it my best effort.”
Justin Cooper: (3rd in 250) “I just struggled to find my flow. I didn’t feel good the whole race so to I can’t really complain about a podium finish. It would have been nice to get second, but I’m pumped for Mitchell. We’ll see what we can do in Las Vegas.”
Marvin Musquin: (5th in 450) “It was a huge bummer to have that crash in the first turn, considering I was feeling great all day today. From dead last I came back to fifth-place, it’s a good race but it didn’t bring me what I wanted points-wise and I wanted to win tonight. But is what it is, it’s racing and things like that obviously happen.”
Austin Forkner: (DNF / Injury in 250) “Obviously I’m just really disappointed right now. I gave it my all tonight and unfortunately this is something we all have to deal with at some point in this sport. It’s frustrating to work so hard all season long and feel confident about the possibility of winning my first 250SX championship and then having that stripped from me because of a small mistake I made in a practice session; we were just so close! The entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team and my family has been so supportive and I’m so thankful for them as I start my recovery process. I hope to get back to what I love doing as soon as possible, but for now, I will be focused on fully recovering and come back strong.
Martin Davalos: (4th in 250) “I’m a bit frustrated with my results in the main tonight but only because I know I am capable of winning, and I expect to. I was running up front for nearly the entire first half of the race but I made some errors and allowed myself to get passed. I can’t be too down about it though; my entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team and I have really made so much progress and made many improvements throughout the season so I’m confident we’ll wrap up the season next weekend back on top.”
Ken Roczen: (6th in 450) “Today started out a bit rough. I haven’t ridden [a] supercross [track] since Denver—so two weeks ago—just because we did some outdoor testing and then because of what I’ve been dealing with, I wanted to give myself a little break. It’s taking a long time to figure out what’s going on with me, but the good thing is I felt better tonight than I have in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, we had a little mishap at the start with my holeshot button popping out, so that’s why I got that bad of a start, which obviously makes life a lot harder. I also rode pretty tight toward the end of the main event. The track was super gnarly. Overall, I’m happy that I felt better most the day and didn’t get as tired in the main as I have been. I’m going to see a few more specialists in the next couple weeks to get some legit answers. It’s been tough because I feel like I haven’t been able to show my full potential in quite a while. In the beginning of the season you could see how well I was doing, and then it went downhill from there. We’ve had a few other good runs, but it’s been a challenge for sure. It’s tough because there’s nothing more that I want than to go out there, feel good, and do good for the team. I think we’ve been making the best of it and we’re doing everything we can to get things figured out.”
Kyle Peters: (6th in 250) “I was feeling really good when I woke up Saturday morning. However, I kind of struggled throughout the day. I don’t know if it was the dirt or the track layout. I should have been more willing to hang it out and not be so calculated. I crashed twice in the same turn. In the heat race I started riding better, but then I fell and knocked my front brake down and couldn’t use it. I had a decent start in the main and got stuck. It was tough to pass, and guys were riding well. I’m disappointed in sixth, because I have a lot more in me.”
Alex Martin: (7th in 250) “I enjoyed racing at MetLife Stadium. Practice went well, but we had less track time than usual due to the revised schedule. I was able to get a nice gate pick for the main with a second-place finish in my heat race. I was really pumped to get the holeshot in the main! Of course, I’m bummed that I made a few mistakes, which put me back to tenth at one point. I came up to salvage a seventh”
Joey Savatgy: (7th in 450) “It was nice to have the extra week to care for my shoulder, I feel it benefitted me this weekend. I made a mistake in my heat race, which caused me to have to race in the LCQ; it’s never ideal to have to do that, but we lined up and got it done. After winning the LCQ, we just got back to our normal routine and I focused on running my race in the main. I chalk everything up as experience in order to continue learning and improving. We had great success at Monster Cup just a few months ago, so I’m looking forward to returning to Vegas and finding that podium!”
Josh Grant: (8th in 450) “’m really stoked on how my night went. The track conditions were really difficult and made for some tough passing. All in all, I am happy with an eighth-place finish and looking forward to finishing off strong in Las Vegas.”
Jordan Bailey: (8th in 250) “Wrapping up the final east coast round before the East/West Shootout, it was a pretty good weekend. I think we got a little better and looking forward to Vegas.”
Cole Seely: (9th in 450) “In my mind, things were pretty mediocre today. It didn’t go great, but it also didn’t go terrible. The track was really tough. It had a bit of a weird flow and I thought the obstacles seemed a little rushed because they had to finish building the track and get it covered before the rain on Friday. I didn’t qualify great and my heat race was just alright. I felt like I rode pretty good in the heat race, just didn’t get off to a good start, which limited me from placing well. The main event was going pretty well and I felt like I was making some good passes in the beginning. I had a good amount of aggression that I thought I could hold for the whole race, but around the halfway point I fell over and lost a few positions, then rode around by myself for a while. I got pretty bad arm pump trying to make my way forward. Everything was good with the bike, so we’re looking good heading into Vegas. I just need to put together better starts and minimize my mistakes in the main.”
Justin Hill: (10th in 450) “After the weekend off and having some time to do therapy on my back, I was looking forward to MetLife Stadium. Things were clicking, as I was inside the top ten in overall qualifying times. I finished fourth in my heat race and was ready to get a great result in the main. I had a pretty good start, despite some carnage around me off the start, and was just outside the top five. Then my back tightened up, and I brought it home in tenth. I’m not happy with my result, but I’m looking forward for what’s to come.”
Christian Craig: (DNQ / Crash in 250) “I’m pretty bummed on the weekend as I felt I was pretty good to go. I have been riding my regular schedule and finally feeling close to back to normal but once I crashed in the second qualifying, I realized it’s probably not the smart thing to do these last two. Thankfully I wasn’t hurt, I’m just banged up, but I took it as a sign to just get ready for outdoors. I should be out there with these guys so I wanted to do anything I could to be racing.”