#24 Austin Forkner (Pro Circuit Kawasaki):
Forkner ended off his rookie motocross season in 2016 with an overall win; a career first for him. Due to this, I think many people expected big things from him in the 2017 supercross season. However, he never really blossomed into that same Austin Forkner we saw at the end of outdoors last year. It wasn’t like his supercross season was bad, it just wasn’t great.
Truthfully, after being somewhat let down by his supercross results this year, I didn’t expect big things from him in outdoors this year. Top 10 rider consistently, top 5 sometimes, podium on his good days; that’s what I was expecting. However, he proved me wrong! It was tough to tell after his first moto, but he came from waaaaaaaaayyyyyyy back up to 12th. Decent ride for sure, but what really impressed me was his push in the second moto. Forkner had some fast guys in front of him (Cianciarulo, Savatgy, Plessinger, Alex Martin,) and one really fast guy behind him (Jeremy Martin). What did Forkner do? He passed all of those guys in front of him (excluding Osborne) and held off a hard-charging Jeremy Martin for 2nd place in moto 2.
Not to mention passing all of those people in front of him (a really solid come-from-behind ride), but holding off J-Mart was impressive enough. Together, these guys charged through the pack all the way until the checkered-flag on a super rough course. When most riders were entering safe-mode to just finish the race, these two guys kept pushing! They even caught right up to Osborne by the end (who most likely was cruising it in for the finish, but still!). Holding off a charging J-Mart and maintaining that pace shows some great promise for Forkner in 2017 MX. Super impressive indeed.
Cover photo from Transworld Motocross by Mike Emery