Well the drama of 2018 continues… injuries, crashes, you name it: it’s happening at every round! Arlington was no different. While the racing itself wasn’t the most exciting, a lot of stuff happened nonetheless, which means a lot of things to talk about!
Firstly, we are adding two more riders to the injured list in the 450 class: Justin Barcia and Josh Grant. I didn’t see what happened to Grant, but I noticed him pulling out of one of the qualifying sessions early, and it was later reported that he sustained a broken lower leg. On the other hand, we all saw what happened to Barcia in that heat race: his hand was landed on by Tyler Bowers! Barcia made a big mistake by not jumping that triple. He then tried to complain about it by saying that they should have the tuff blocks removed after the second jump so that people can bail out of situations like that (a.k.a. Justin Bogle last weekend). The funny thing is, they did have them removed! The truth of the matter is that Barcia was in the heat of the moment, and was racing his way forward. He wasn’t thinking about riders behind him, and he could have easily bailed out to the side, or roll the landing of the triple slower and further to the side. There’s no way this was Bowers fault (and Barcia didn’t suggest this) but there’s no way it was the fault of the track design or tuff blocks. This was one hundred percent avoidable by Barcia himself; he should have been more aware of his situation. There’s no doubt racing is dangerous, and all riders should do their best to race smartly and safely.
And this transitions well into our next point: that crazy 250 first turn carnage. Come on… this was insane. The way I see it, there were two riders (Anthony Rodriguez and Jordon Smith) that went into the turn way too quickly. I get it, it’s their first race of the year for the 250 east riders; they’re young and want to prove themselves, but these guys need to be smarter! There was no way they were going to stop in time. I noticed right away walking the track that the first turn was really tight; the finish line landing was forcing a sharp apex. The older, more experienced 450 riders handled this just fine by getting on the brakes early. Some 250 riders did as well (Osborne mentioned after the race that he knew he had to get on the brakes early), but two of them didn’t, and unfortunately it caused a lot of riders to crash. A simple mistake here by just a couple of riders ruined the start of many riders’ seasons. This was gnarly to watch too. In person, it all happened so fast with bodies flying everywhere; it was probably the scariest first turn crash I’ve ever seen. I’m gutted for Martin Davalos and Dylan Ferrandis who got the worst of it. These guys were looking great all day and were podium picks for me. Now, they will have to heal up their bodies and come from 26 points down.
Osborne seemed to capitalize the most from the pile-up. He was smart and avoided the chaos. Two of his big title threats got better starts than him, but were cleaned out in the craziness of the first turn. Osborne was smart here, but one thing I will judge him for is his super aggressive riding. People know to expect it from him by now, but eventually this is going to come back and bite him. For instance, his clean out of Austin Forkner was completely unnecessary. It was the first lap, and he had lots of time to make a pass. Not only that, but he was quite far behind him entering that turn… he really had to force the issue. These types of things make other riders really mad. Even as a neutral observer, watching him race his way through the pack and make super aggressive moves like this leaves me shaking my head. I just don’t understand it; it’s like he’s riding with so much anger! Regardless, he made it work for him tonight and started his championship defense off with a win in the opening round. Osborne is no doubt the title favorite.
I don’t have much to say about the 450 race truthfully. A couple of things that stand out though are Tomac’s win and the Webb/Seely battle. Tomac annihilated the rest of the field here in Arlington; it wasn’t even close. Sure, Anderson crashed while behind him, but even then, I don’t think Anderson was able to match Tomac’s pace. Tomac seems to either win or crash… seriously, in every race he hasn’t won this year, he has crashed. Now, in regards to the Webb/Seely battle, this impressed me. These two were together for literally the entire race. Kudos to Seely for riding well under that constant pressure, and kudos to Webb for remaining patient. I thought Webb would for sure try to force an aggressive pass. But no, he’s showing signs of maturity! Webb is really starting to improve as of late. Soon he will be back on the podium I think.
That’s all for me on Arlington. Thanks for reading, and always feel free to reach out with questions or opinions.
Cover photo from Supercross LIVE