Racing action from San Diego’s Petco Park has wrapped up; 2 down, 15 left in the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Championship. A quick look at the results sheets aren’t too exciting, as results in both classes were very similar to the opening round last weekend in Anaheim. However, the results sheets don’t give justice to the great racing that occurred. In both classes, battles for the lead raged on the track from the moment the gate dropped all the way until the checkered flag flew.
It’s only round 2, but the intensity between Roczen and Dungey is picking up right where it left off last year. These two guys are a step above the rest of the field. Heading into the season, everyone was talking about the deep field and the large amount of potential race winners. However, K-Roc and Dunge lapped all the way up to 9th, and had a 20 second lead over Musquin in 3rd place behind them; this is an insane intensity level.
Much of the focus entering San Diego was on Dungey to see if he could match Roczen’s intensity from the week prior. Dungey answered, and pushed Roczen on a very rough, rutted, and choppy track for all 20 minutes. Both Dungey and Roczen are on the top of their game, and look absolutely amazing. We’re in for an exciting season of racing between the two of these guys.
In the 250 class, McElrath proved to everyone that he’s a serious title threat. You never know what to expect after a rider’s first win; we’ve seen them crash out and fail miserably afterwards, or go on to dominate. So far, it’s looking like it’s the latter for McElrath; two wins in a row is not an easy feat.
However, the real talking point of the 250 class isn’t McElrath’s win, but rather the great battle in the top 4 until the very end. Entering the last lap, McElrath, Hill, Plessinger, and Davalos were all separated by just a few seconds. This is made much better by the fact that McElrath, Hill, and Plessinger all had to come through the field to get up into these positions. Races like this are what keep us fans loyal enthusiasts of the sport; it doesn’t get much better than this.
Here are the results:
My Opinion: Wow. What a night of racing. Both main events had me on my feet in anticipation of what was to come next. It’s kinda crazy looking at the results; them being so similar to last weekend, yet the actual races being polar opposites. It makes me think that we have a clear hierarchy in both classes, where a group of similarly paced riders are always going to finish in the same area. In years past, the field has been much more even, where a guy like Reed who finishes 10th one weekend could potentially win the following weekend. I just don’t see that happening right now, as the top group of riders (being Roczen and Dungey in the 450s, and McElrath, Hill, Plessinger, and Davalos in the 250s) are clearly a few levels above the rest of the competition.
Dungey answered any doubts in San Diego about him not being able to match Roczen. Truthfully, I was worried after the heat race, where Roczen opened up a gap quite easily over the reigning champ, but those worries vanquished after 20 minutes of Dungey pressuring Roczen in the main. It seemed like Dungey had Roczen’s pace covered (plus a bit more even), which made me think Dungey was holding off to pass Roczen until the end. If this was the case, Dungey waited just a little too long; he should have pounced on the second to last lap. Regardless, San Diego was a huge confidence booster for Dungey, and a sigh of relief for us race fans. It looks like Roczen has something to be worried about now.
In regards to the 250 class, I’m thinking Hill and Plessinger were the guys to beat in San Diego. They came from WAY back, and probably would have been the top two given a few more laps.
All in all, you have to give it up to all of these guys though. The track was VERY gnarly, with lots of ruts and chopped out transitions. To race on a track like this at such a high intensity level for the full duration of the main is a very challenging feat in itself. Most of the time when we see a track like this, one rider walks away with the lead, and the rest of the race becomes a challenge of rider vs. track to merely finish. But not last night… last night was AMAZING. You have to watch it for yourself if you haven’t yet.
Back to Anaheim for round 3 now… I can’t wait for next weekend!
Photo from Supercross LIVE.