Round 2 of the Monster Energy Supercross Series at San Diego’s Petco Park provided for some great racing in both of the classes. What a thrill that was to watch the last laps battle in the 250 class as Mcelrath, Davalos, Hill and Plessinger all were within a few seconds. In the 450 class we were lucky enough to witness one of the closest race between 2 riders for the whole 20 lap main event. Excuse me, I mean the 20-minute plus one lap main event. That is exactly the point of this article as this race was the first real test of the new format.
So lets first look at that awesome race between Dungey and Roczen in the 450 class. Instead of the usual 20 lap mains, these guys battled for 24 laps! Now it may have not made much of a difference in the results for this class as the top 10 would have surprisingly still remained in the same position if the race finished on lap 20. Roczen still would have won and the points would be the exact same. However, those last 4 laps of the main were the most exciting laps of the race. We got to witness some of the closest racing I have ever seen thanks to the rule change. Dungey was slowly reeling in Roczen every lap before he would pull away again in the whoops. I could watch another 20 minutes of that race. It was simply fantastic and the timed main events made it so!
Now lets dive into the 250 class. Unlike last week, the main did not run for 15 laps, but instead ran for 3 extra laps resulting in the longest 250 main yet, 18 laps! We witnessed a fantastic 4-way battle between the top 4 in those last few laps that we would have not seen with the old format. Another very interesting thing to note is that those last 3 laps greatly changed the end results. If the race ended after 15 laps like the previous rule, the results would be as followed:
15 Laps 15 Minutes
- Martin Davalos Shane Mcelrath
- Shane Mcelrath Justin Hill
- Justin Hill Aaron Plessinger
- Aaron Plessinger Martin Davalos
- Austin Forkner Austin Forkner
So as we can see, the new format did in fact make a difference, not only in the excitement level, but the finishing order and ultimately the points. Davalos would only be 2 points off the lead if this were 2016 (Mcelrath-47 pts, Davalos-45 pts). So the fans obviously loved the way the timed races impacted the race, Davalos probably not so much.
The consensus around our sport was that timed racing was the right move, but ultimately would make the racing more boring and not better. Well I think we can all agree that in our first test of the format, it provided for great racing near the end of the mains. Lets see if this rings true for the rest of the season.
Photo from Racer X Online