The second to last round of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship occurred last night in East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium. And wow, what a crazy night it was.
The racing all night long was exciting. For instance, in both 450 semis, last corner attempts for the final transfer spot were made that caused crashes from both riders vying for the spot. But that’s just the start to the excitement, for the races in both the 250 East and 450 class caused some major changes to the points battle.
To begin with, Joey Savatgy entered East Rutherford with a comfortable lead in the points with only two rounds left (6 points over Jordon Smith, and 12 over Zach Osborne). At the start of the 250 main event, Joey looked to be in a position to extend this points lead when he got out to the lead and both Smith and Osborne got bad starts. However, Osborne found a gear that nobody else had, and quickly worked wonders as he moved through the pack. Halfway through the race, Osborne had not only caught up to Savatgy, but had passed him for the lead.
Despite losing the lead to Osborne, Savatgy still looked to be in a wonderful spot leaving East Rutherford. However, like many times so far this year for him, disaster struck late in the race. All on his own, while riding a comfortable pace, Savatgy crashed (making it 3 main events in a row that he has crashed in)! And to make matters worse, he cut the track majorly (by a full lane) whilst re-entered the track. Cutting the track like this allowed him to re-enter ahead of Adam Cianciarulo, Jordon Smith, and Christian Craig, even though they had all passed him while he was down. The AMA realized this, so despite Savatgy crossing the finish line in 3rd, he was docked 5 positions and ended up 8th.
With Savatgy’s penalty, Osborne winning, and Smith ending up in 3rd, the 250SX East championship is as close as anyone could imagine it. With one round left in Las Vegas, Smith leads by 1 point over both Zach Osborne and Joey Savatgy. At this point, it’s fair game between all three of them to decide who wins the title; whoever finishes better in Vegas will win.
After all the drama in the 250 race, things remained just as exciting in the 450s. For the first time since St. Louis, both Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac got off to a great start. Tomac quickly moved into the lead, but Dungey followed immediately. Then, before you knew it, Tomac crashed! A small tip-over caused by tucking his front-end in a corner blew the lead for him. At that point, we’re all imagining another insane come-from-behind for Tomac (aka Salt Lake City the week prior), but it never emerged. Tomac didn’t seem to be his norm all day long in East Rutherford, and continued to make pretty big mistakes after his crash. The best he could do was work his way up to 8th.
Meanwhile, the drama continued out front. Marvin Musquin was fast all day, and took over the lead from his Red Bull KTM teammate Ryan Dungey. He looked to have the win solidified on the last lap, but he bobbled in a corner, resulting in Dungey getting by. Immediately, team tactics were blamed, as this move gave Dungey 3 valuable championship points. We even asked the question at the post-race press conference, but as expected, both Musquin and Dungey denied any blatant team tactics. In Musquin’s words, it was a genuine mistake. Stay tuned for an article detailing what they had to say and our thoughts on it.
In the end, Dungey won with a clutch performance, while Tomac broke down and gave up his much-earned points lead. Tomac now trails Dungey by 9 points with one round left.
Here are the official results:
My Opinion: Wow. Wow. Wow. 2017 has been a year of incredible racing, and East Rutherford did not disappoint! I’m so glad that I got to witness this one in person, for I believe it will go down in the record books as a significant event. Both the 250 East and the 450 class championship battles dramatically changed at East Rutherford. Besides that, there was just all around great racing. Those 450 semis were gnarly! So much passion to make those mains, nobody was holding back whatsoever. I like seeing passionate riding like that.
I’m not going to go in that much detail about the team tactics we witnessed with Musquin and Dungey, but come on… that seemed very intentional by Musquin. As mentioned above, I’m gonna write an opinion piece on this later in the week, so stay tuned.
However, regardless to team tactics or not, Dungey rode super well in East Rutherford. All day he seemed like a different person, and it showed out on the track. Dungey qualified quickest, easily won his heat, and looked ready to chase down Tomac. All in all, Dungey was riding with a newfound passion and confidence last night, and I’m impressed by that. He lost the points lead the week prior, but instead of being deflated, he was fueled by this. Dungey gained many valuable points, and he definitely deserved it.
TOMAC!! NOOOO! He worked hard the past few months to gain back many points on Dungey. He won many races and was no doubt the fastest rider. But Dunge is tough to beat… Why? He’s soooo consistent! One mistake from Tomac in East Rutherford cost him this championship. Regardless, he showed us along the way that he’s the fastest rider out there currently. East Rutherford was a bad mistake, but Tomac should be proud of the work he’s put in so far this series.
In the 250s, Osborne deserves all the credit. He has been super fast all season, and that come-from-behind ride was no joke. He was WAYYYYYY back at one point, but before you knew it, he was in the lead. I honestly thought there was no way he was going to catch Savatgy at first, but that thought quickly vanished. Osborne was flying.
What’s up with Joey Savatgy in 2017? He has been super grumpy, and lacks the passion that all of us fans enjoy seeing. He also hasn’t had the raw speed that I expected from him. He has been consistently fast, just not the fastest. And his crashes!!! He just can’t seem to keep it on two wheels. The worst part about his crash in East Rutherford was him majorly cutting the track afterwards. I’m not sure what he was thinking, but you just can’t get away with something like that. If Savatgy loses this championship, that mistake is why.
So much to talk about, but as a quick side note, Dylan Ferrandis was super impressive in East Rutherford. He rode well that entire race, and passed his way into 2nd. He’s the real deal (meaning I believe he will actually find success in America), and I’m looking forward to watching him race outdoors this year.
Overall, very exciting racing, and I can’t wait for Vegas! Even though this 450 championship isn’t as close as we anticipated, the 250SX East battle will be one to remember.
Cover photo from Supercross LIVE