The Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX qualifying provided perhaps the most eventful races at NRG Stadium in Houston as top riders in both Heats were involved in crashes, leading to an LCQ with four must-qualify riders hogging the transfer spots that privateers usually fight over.
Oh, yes, and the 250 West Coast Champion was crowned when Cooper Webb took over the lead on Lap 9 of the Main. Let’s see who else filled out the Upside and Downside card this weekend.
2015 Houston 250SX Commentary, Upside
Cooper Webb – Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha: In 2014, his freshman year in the 250 class, Webb hit the podium several times, but could never manage a win. He’s certainly found his groove in 2015, taking five wins in seven races and clinching the championship with one round to spare (and a 45-point lead) – not an easy job in the 250SX division.
Savoring the win, Webb posted on Instagram: “Such an unbelievable night in Houston, heat win main event win and was able to clinch my 1st ever championship! Since I threw a leg over a dirtbike at 4 years old I knew I wanted to be a champion and to see it pay off is so amazing. The sacrifices made by my parents and I all paid off lastnight! Honesty can’t thank everyone who is in my corner. My family, friends, sponsors, team love you all! Thanks everyone for your support! Champion baby!!”
Shane McElrath – Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull KTM: Duplicating his season’s best performance in San Diego, McElrath was fast off the start in both his Heat and the Main, and brought his 250 SX-F to the second step of the podium in Houston. In the opening laps it looked like he might run away with the race, but Webb was on another level and chased McElrath down two-thirds of the way through the race. “Getting back on the podium was exactly where I wanted to be when we came back from break,” said McElrath. “I had a lot of family drive from North Carolina and it was great to get this good finish in front of them. I’m ready to do it again next week.”
Malcolm Stewart – GEICO Honda: Stewart had a tough day in Houston, but has clearly matured this season as he rebounded from adversity, refocused, and pulled off a 3rd place finish in the Main. “I had to fight for everything today,” Stewart said.
“I mean nothing came easy at all. When I crashed in practice I was just mad at myself, and then Zach [Osborne] came across me in the heat race and I went down hard again. I was so mad after that I didn’t even go back to the pits. I just waited at the starting line for the LCQ. I wasn’t going to let this one get away from me.”
Stewart is ninth in the standings, but is still fighting for every point. “I had a bad gate pick for the Main and got around the first turn in 11th place. All I could do was work it from there. I just raced hard and passed dudes when I could.”
Two Guys: Taking their first supercross points this year, privateers Rhett Urseth and Chris Howell finished 19th and 20th, respectively, in the Main.
2015 Houston 250SX Commentary, Downside
Matt Bisceglia – GEICO Honda: After taking the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award, Bisceglia looked ready to contend for a podium, but a mistake after the triples on the Lap 5 cost him several positions. “It happened so fast I couldn’t even react. I just kind of slid out.” Bisceglia remounted and rode hard, bringing his CRF250R to an eighth-place finish. “I gave it my all in Houston last night. I rode well all night but made a few mistakes. Bummed I threw it away in the Main, but was happy to be racing, considering a little over two weeks ago I wasn’t for sure if I was going to be able to.”
Zach Osborne – Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna: A good start is supposed to keep you out of trouble, but if you’re sloppy maintaining your line, it’s all for naught. Getting the holeshot in Heat 2, Osborne drifted into Stewart’s line, causing Stewart to go down and his Honda to cartwheel into the next lane just as Osborne came around the turn. Osborne landed on the CRF250R off a small jump, and a trip to the LCQ ensued. Osborne’s 22nd qualifying position left him starting mid-pack and he never managed to truly get going, eventually finishing seventh. While he still holds second in the overall points, the poor finish gives him just an eight-point cushion over McElrath.
Tyler Bowers – Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki: Motivation and desire couldn’t overcome a back that was failing, and Bowers ended up retiring before reaching the halfway mark of the Main at NRG Stadium. The four-time Arenacross champion had been in the title chase early in the season, but has been struggling with the back issue from the beginning. He will miss the rest of the Supercross season, as well as the entire AMA Pro Motocross Championship season. A disappointed Bowers said, “It’s a big bummer, I love racing and love my entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, which is why it makes it so difficult to force myself to sit on the sidelines.”
Jessy Nelson – Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull KTM: Nelson crashed hard while testing is 250 SX-F at Glen Helen Raceway leading up to Houston, and the mishap will leave him sidelined for the rest of the Supercross series. “It’s definitely tough to make that call, especially when you are sitting second in points,” Nelson said. “I have good people around me and we all think the smart move is to take the time I need and line back up when I’m completely ready. I’m already looking forward to Hangtown.” Unlike Bowers, Nelson will be back for the AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
2015 Houston Western Regional 250SX Class Results:
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
- Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Husqvarna
- Matt Bisceglia, Weatherford, Texas, Honda
- Chris Alldredge, Powell Butte, Ore., Kawasaki
- Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda
2015 Western Regional 250SX Class Season Standings:
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 161
- Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Husqvarna, 116
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM, 108
- Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM, 106
- Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki, 105
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha, 99
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM, 94
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 91
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda, 89
- Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki, 89