Round 5 of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Championship occurred last night in Oakland, CA, and what an exciting race it was! There were lot’s of storylines entering the race… could Tomac repeat? Was it going to be a mudder? Could Plessinger finally get it together for a win?
Well, yes, Tomac most definitely did repeat, with perhaps an even more dominating win than the weekend prior. No, it wasn’t a mudder, but super soft conditions provided an extremely rutted and difficult track that was a challenge just to complete the main on. And no, Plessinger couldn’t get it together for a win, but mostly due to a racing incident that wasn’t his fault.
For the first time in his career, Eli Tomac has won back-to-back 450 supercross races. Tomac started outside the top 10, but was able to maintain excellent lap times throughout the race, catching all the way up to Dungey and making a late-race pass for the win. This Tomac is very reminiscent of the 2015 MX Tomac who dominated the first two rounds; he’s looking unstoppable.
It was another rough night for Shane McElrath, who crashed hard in his heat race with Decotis and had to go to the LCQ once again. He managed to still end the night with a podium finish, but lost the points lead to the winner Justin Hill; Hill now leads McElrath by 1 point.
The track in Oakland was brutal by main event time; it got super rutted and was a struggle to simply ride around. The track bit quite a few people, including 250 winner Justin Hill, who crashed but was still able to rebound for the win; that’s how large of a lead he had! At the beginning of the 250 main, it claimed Austin Forkner with a vicious crash in the first turn, resulting in a pile-up with Aaron Plessinger and Josh Hansen. The track also re-claimed both Plessinger and Hansen later in the main, as they both crashed again. In the 450s, Marvin Musquin, Justin Bogle, and Malcolm Stewart all crashed as well.
Other items of note: Dean Wilson got his best finish of the year with a 10th place ride onboard his brand new factory Husqvarna, and Cooper Webb obtained his first 450 podium with stellar riding all day.
Here are the results:
My Opinion: Wow, exciting racing continues in 2017! I think the main thing to note about the Oakland race is how brutal that track was… when the best riders in the world are struggling to get around cleanly for a single lap, you know it’s super difficult. Those ruts were massive! It’s really impressive how Tomac and Webb continued to do the triple-quad even late into the race… these guys are incredible riders.
Let’s talk about Tomac… he’s is on IT. When Tomac is this fast and confident, it has to be scary to the rest of the competition; seriously, if I were Dungey, I would be scared. Tomac is simply unstoppable when he’s like that… no one in their right mind should be able to start outside the top 10, and catch 3-time champion Ryan Dungey like Tomac did last night. Honestly, Tomac caught up to Dungey SOOOO fast, and passed him like he were standing still. This has to piss off Dungey… Dungey mentions on the podium that he was struggling with the bike all day and just wasn’t feeling right… but minus Tomac, Dungey would have won quite easily, and would he still be saying that? Or is that all just an excuse considering how dominant Tomac was? I’m thinking Tomac is going to go on a winning streak…
Heading into the night, my bets were on Marvin Musquin and Aaron Plessinger for wins. Honestly, both riders looked great, but crashes held them back. Not sure what happened to Marvin?! He crashed half way through and was riding around slowly with what appeared to be an injured arm at first. He dropped all the way back to 17th, but then regrouped and rode super well to finish 9th. Marvin has suffered from wrist injuries in the past, and I hope he didn’t retweak anything last night. On the other hand, Plessinger was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and got tangled up with Forkner’s bike on the first lap. Bad luck for him, because I really thought he would have won last night… he got a good start as well! Sad thing is, if Plessinger had gotten a worse start like he normally does, he wouldn’t have got involved in the pile-up, and could very well have won. How ironic… oh well, what could have been.
I’m interested in hearing what you all have to say about the race… let’s talk! Comment below, or contact us with your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
Cover Photo from Racer X Online by Rich Shepard