We’re a third of the way through the 2015 Supercross season and there is still a lot of racing to be done, but the field is starting to shake out, with less than a handful of riders looking like they have a serious chance at the title.
The San Diego SX stop was at a new venue this year, Petco Park, and was the second year that Feld Motorsports paid tribute to members of the United States Armed Forces while supporting Operation Homefront. A donation from Feld Motorsports, as well as a charity auction of rider’s race worn gear, helps Operation Homefront provide assistance to service members and their families.
Back to racing – let’s see who came out on the upside, and who slid down, at the sixth round of the 17 race series.
San Diego Supercross Upside
Trey Canard – Team Honda: Bouncing back nicely from last week’s fifth-place result, Canard put his CRF450R into second before the end of lap one, and caught leader Ken Roczen just two laps later. Canard’s aggressive ride right out of the gate made it clear he would pass Roczen and, once there, Canard made the pass, pulled a little gap, and settled into a comfortable pace. Importantly, Canard was able to hold off Roczen’s second effort later in the race, and claimed his second win of the season. This moves Canard solidly into third in overall points. Canard said, “I opened a gap and Kenny [Roczen] closed it right back in. He kept me on my toes the whole time.”
Ken Roczen – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki: This was an important race for Roczen after not making the podium for the two previous races. While a win would have been nice, the next best thing is second with points leader Ryan Dungey finishing behind him. Said Roczen from the second step of the podium: “Overall that was a super fun race. We battled quite good. I just am so mad, I made too many mistakes, I noticed it but I just kept doing that and that’s what cost me big time. I got screwed up with lappers a couple of time that cost me big.”
Yes, Nick Wey was in the way, but lappers are a part of racing that everyone has to deal with. Roczen earned the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award and sits nine points behind Dungey.
Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM: Dungey had a low-key night at Petco Park, but, as usual, he got the job done by taking his 61st podium in 89 starts, which has him on the box 69-percent of that time. It’s amazing that he only has 15 wins in 5+ years in the top class, and having taken a 450SX title, but it’s the power of consistency that fuels the Minnesota rider. This may be the year that Dungey can pull off another championship, as the top four riders are starting to break away from the field, and Dungey remains focused on the big picture: “A podium is a given. We’re going to have to be up here and be consistent. The guys are on our heels every weekend.”
Josh Grant – Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki: Getting the holeshot in the LCQ isn’t something to tweet about if you’re a factory-supported rider, but making the Main any way you can is getting the job done. Grant was in the LCQ thanks to a bump by his boss, Chad Reed, in their Semi, that knocked Grant off the track and out of a qualifying position. Grant threw out a big whip when he took the LCQ checkers, and then made the best of a crummy start in the Main when he went down in the first turn. Bringing his KX450F from 18th to a season-best 12th place finish is something to build on.
Phil Nicoletti – Toyota/JGR Yamaha: Continuing to fill-in for injured teammate Weston Peick, Nicoletti was fast in his Heat and in position to take the final transfer spot straight to the Main when Reed made a mistake. Nicoletti rode his YZ450F to a respectable 14th place finish, matching his Oakland result.
One Guy: Ronnie Stewart made the Main and took his first points this season by taking his DirtCandyGraphics/PRBC.com sponsored Suzuki RM-Z450 to a 19th place finish. Great to see the Pennsylvania rider has found his stride again, as he lined up for the Main over half the races last year.
San Diego Supercross Downside
Davi Millsaps – Monster Energy Kawasaki: He looked so good in his Heat where he battled with Tomac for a couple of laps before the GEICO Honda rider got by him, leaving Millsaps to take 2nd. For some reason, Millsaps can’t keep it together in the Main this season. It it must be immensely frustrating, as he has the speed. In the Main, Millsaps got a great start and was third at the end of lap one, but then went down two laps later, dropping him down to 11th. Millsaps fell a second time a few laps later, and this time he picked up the bike dead last. He ended up getting lapped and finishing the race in 20th, his worst result of the season. Sitting in 11th place in the points, this is not what he was expected to do with his factory Kawasaki ride.
Justin Barcia – Toyota/JGR Yamaha: Getting injured during practice earlier in the week left Barcia unable to line up at Petco Park. While injuries are part of the sport, and certainly not his fault, they’re not helping his mediocre results this year, his third year in the 450SX class. While his results have not been terrible, they’re below expectations, and with rookies like Anderson and Seely stealing some Top five finishes, life in the 450SX class is getting difficult. Barcia was considered a serious challenger for the title this year, but he’s in eighth place in the points, more than two races back of Dungey.
Josh Hill – CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha: Signing with a new team this week as his previous six-race commitment with Valli Motorsports Yamaha had come to an end, Hill continues to struggle to make the Main. He got caught up in the first turn pileup in his Heat, couldn’t qualify out of his Semi, and then just missed with a fifth place finish in the LCQ. Hill is having a tough time, but has support for the remainder of the season with his new team, so we hope to see the veteran rider get back on track at Arlington next week. Hill’s 16 points in six races means his average finish is worse than 18th place.
It’s a Wash
Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda: Tomac looked great in his Heat, but was too aggressive early on in the Main, bumping Reed on lap two and taking himself down in the process. He battled from deep in the pack to a 5th place finish, and is in 4th place in the series standings. However, Tomac needs to be hitting the podium with his CRF450R every week if he wants to remain one of the contenders. Of his fall, Tomac said: “You never want to let the leaders gap you, so I was pressing hard and just went down. I’m not happy right now, but sometimes over the course of a 17-race season you have to be content with a 5th place finish and the points you earn.”
San Diego Supercross Results 2015 450SX – Round 6 – Petco Park:
1. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
2. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
3. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
4. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
5. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
6. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
7. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
8. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
9. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z-450
10. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC450
11. Brett Metcalfe – Suzuki RM-Z450
12. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
13. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
14. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
15. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
16. Kyle Chisholm – Kawasaki KX450F
17. Nick Wey – Kawasaki KX450F
18. Jimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
19. Killian Rusk – Yamaha YZ450F
20. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
21. Kyle Partridge – Honda CRF450R
22. Ronnie Stewart – Suzuki RM-Z450
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX Standings:
1. Ryan Dungey, 127 points
2. Ken Roczen, 118
3. Trey Canard, 109
4. Eli Tomac, 100
5. Jason Anderson, 85
6. Cole Seely, 82
7. Chad Reed, 75
8. Justin Barcia, 71
9. Blake Baggett, 68
10. Andrew Short, 66
11. Davi Millsaps, 55
12. Broc Tickle, 51
13. Jake Weimer, 48
14. Brett Metcalf, 40
15. Weston Peick, 32
16. Mike Alessi, 29
17. Kyle Chisholm, 28
18. Dean Wilson, 23
19. Josh Grant, 17
20. Josh Hill, 16