Ready to recap another excellent round of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series? We patrolled the pits and the perimeter of the track during the 2020 Salt Lake City Five Supercross and took a ton of photos and notes of the things we saw and heard. It’s been great to be back in the flow of things at the track and putting together this article is always a good time, so give it a read, learn something, laugh, and share the link with a friend.
Will this orange Rocky Mountain KTM be a red GasGas next year? That’s a big question that is on people’s minds in the paddock as we wait and see what the Pierer Mobility AG (that’s the parent company for the KTM-Husky-GasGas brands). It would make sense, seeing how they essentially did the same with the Standing Construct team in MXGP for 2020. As much as you probably don’t want to hear it, the thing that could determine the outcome of this will be the corporate reaction to COVID-19 and if they are able to build bikes and bring them to the dealer level in the US. Even the bare minimum number of 500 or so bikes in red plastics would be enough.
Contactless delivery. Race Service reps were considered essential employees for these Utah races, but they must adhere to the strict guidelines that are enforced on site, which includes limited time and only the necessary interaction at the teams they work with.
There’s something about those foil details on the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM bikes. They’d look so good in the full light of a dark stadium.
Morning hydraulic clutch maintenance with Jay Burgess.
Privateer power with Dawson Newby and Mike Henderson.
Dean Wilson’s preferred exhaust pipe is a little different than the other 450 guys on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team. Wilson is known to rev the bike and this header option from FMF Racing changes the way the middle and top of the powerband feel compared than the long, low hanging piece used by Anderson and Osborne.
Gratuitous Penrite Honda photo for Yarrive and Nate.
The brotherly racer-mechanic dynamic happens every now and then and it’s always cool to see. Aaron Clout runs the spanners on the Penrite Honda CRF250R ridden by Luke Clout in the 250 West Coast region. The boys stayed in the States when the COVID crisis started, which proved to be a very wise move, because Luke was able to spend more time riding Supercross and they were able to extend their working holiday in the US.
Justin Barcia’s big crash on Wednesday (bike rocketed over the bowl turn, over the heads of the camera crew, and into a wall) took a toll on the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing YZ450F and mechanic Shawn Bell had to break out a fresh frame to and other new parts for the Sunday steed. Speaking of the bike, it seems like Barcia and the Yamaha team are still working on the setup, which comes after the offseason switch to a more “stock” setting.
Monster Energy Kawasaki is taking the necessary steps to combat COVID-19 in their pits. Look, regardless of your stance on the matter, KMC is a multi-billion-dollar corporation and they aren’t just going to take shortcuts with the health and safety of their employees, especially those that have been asked to spend the time in Utah. There are three sanitizing stations around the pit (both canopy entrances and near the trailer’s side door) that have signs with the reminders to disinfect.
Carbon tips. Olly Stone pops these extensions to the radiator shrouds on Austin Forkner’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki which are intended to keep Forkner’s boots from catching on the lip of the shroud when his leg is lifted up in turns.
Justin Hill took a rock to the hand on Wednesday and had a swollen and sore finger that required some attention from the on-site medics. After spending a few days in a soft support on his finger, Hill was ready to race on Sunday and asked mechanic Nick McCampbell to add some UFO handguards to his bars. Hill, the MCR crew, and Showa are working on a new setting that will help Hill get comfortable on the SLC tracks.
Ken Roczen’s support staff has followed Kawasaki’s lead and built a boot dryer out of PVC bike and a hair dryer that could have been taken from wife Courtney’s suitcase. We like the ingenuity but are somewhat surprised that a hair dryer from the local department store can run long enough without melting down.
Justin Cooper will finish this season no worse than third in the 250 West Coast region standings. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was quick in the two West Coast-only Utah races with top qualifier honors and a Heat Race win, but he was unable to carry the speed into the Main Event and didn’t get to the podium either time. Now 10-points down on second place Forkner and 17 points on leader Ferrandis, Cooper could make things exciting in the East-West Showdown with a runaway win to end his SX season or by helping Ferrandis and McElrath secure their titles (he’s more likely to help one of those teammates over the other).
Want to know more about how Dirt Wurx has prepped and built the layouts at Rice Eccles Stadium? Check back this week for a podcast with Alex Gillespie about the project and tasks that come with holding seven races in an open-air venue in Utah’s early summer months.
We liked these whoops. Big, round, right out of a corner, they proved to be a challenge lap after lap to even the best riders. What’d we like about them most? That we didn’t have to skim them.
Dylan Ferrandis doesn’t hide the fact that he wants to be on his own and away from the masses in motocross. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that he likes to have his space. The French rider has a way he wants things done and it’s clearly working. What team will cater to his preferences in the 450 Class?
RC collecting intel for his on-air commentary. Ricky has been a good addition to the booth and the insight he, one of the best riders to ever swing a leg over a bike, provides is something that few can speak to with authority. Considering this is just his second year of constantly being on the microphone, he’s made quick progress in his calls. If you want to hear RC really in his element, check out the show he and Jeff Emig host through Fox Racing. Without a producer in his ear and a need to be correct at all times, RC is able to be a little more personal. And for you sneakerheads, yes, the GOAT is wearing Golden Goose Superstars.
This is quite the crew. Dean Wilson and the Lawrence brothers formed a bond during the break in action by basing their practice programs at Chad Reed’s old compound in Florida. The trio gets along quite well because they’re close in age and have similar interests…
They’re not afraid to share advice with each other either. Right after his time on the podium was done, Jett walked over to Dean and gave him some pointers on the track for the 450 Main Event.
“If you want to be fancy, hold your pinky up like this. The higher you hold it, the fancier you are.” Bonus points if you know the cartoon reference.
He keeps the rig clean and knows how to cook damn near anything on a Traeger grill. He is Big B.
We caught the Monster Energy Kawasaki guys during a serious film watching session during the afternoon. Were they recapping Tomac’s fastest lap in Timed Qualifying? Nope. They were going over footage from mountain bike trails around SLC. This has happened much more than you might think during our month in Utah.
We snap hundreds of photos each race day that never see much more action than a quick transfer to a hard drive. Something about this one, which has a PC rider bursting through the foreground while Alex Martin stayed in focus further away, made it worth the color correction and upload to the website.
What was Justin Cooper looking at? The endzone scoreboard that has served as lap counter, live timing, and TV feed while inside the stadium. When Feld had to make cuts from their program to hold the races in Utah, they decided to leave the massive scoring pylon and digital finish line structure back at the Florida home base.
Unfortunately, the big screen glitched during Timed Qualifying and riders weren;t able to really see how much time was left in a session or where they ranked in the results. Despite some efforts to correct the issue for the night show, the problem persisted into the night and the screen was shut off for the races. Hey man, we get it. Things are a little strange right now and it’s not like a Geek Squad rep can rush down and repair this massive TV.
Stand for something. Malcolm Stewart had a simple message on the back of his Seven MX pants on Sunday and we support his willingness to bring a topic that means something to him like this to attention. Look, how you feel about BLM and everything is on you and this isn't the place to discuss it; we're not going to tell you one way or another because it only creates more divide in the world. But remember, Malcolm is a black man in this sport and his family has felt their share of racism over the course of the last 30-plus years, and he has every right to voice his opinion.
The Fox Racing guys will need to add another skull and crossbones victory sticker to the back of Ken’s helmet for Wednesday.
They’re figuring out how to do necessary steps like gate pick in the era of social distancing. After some confusion at early rounds, AMA officials gave riders a numbered flag and had them place it in their chosen grid for Timed Qualifying and the races.
Want to know one of the detail-minded things we see at the races? Look at the way FLY Racing places the sponsor logos on what’s basically the same jersey for three different riders in the 450 Class. With lots of sponsors required on the kit, the designer scattered the different companies around their FLY Racing centerpiece. It helps that WPS is a big sponsor to the team…
Zach Osborne’s jersey sees a smaller FLY Racing logo alongside a similar sized Rockstar Energy logo but is still bigger than factory Husqvarna and Osborne’s other sponsors.
Justin Brayton’s jersey is the biggest chance, because the Honda wing takes up much of the chest while the FLY Racing badge gets moved to the top right. What look did you prefer?
Fashion over function is the motto of the privateer. John Short’s focus in Utah is the 250 East Coast region, but with that division on break, he added his name to the entry list in the 450 Class on Sunday. Short lined up with his Manluk Racing CRF250R against the full-bore mounted riders, but didn’t have the proper preprinted backgrounds, so he went old school with some big stick-on numbers and plain white plates. Remember, this nine-dollar investment at the parts counter helped Short make a few bucks in purse money.
In the big show. We’ve watched Richard Taylor grow up from young minibike tester to amateur racer to second generation Supercross Pro. LRT and the family made the trip to Utah and lined up for the last two rounds of the 250 West Coast region. Good job on designing your graphics and FXR kit to match.
“Bam! Clear vision!”
Lorenzo Camporose will have a special honor this year: he’s going to be the only Italian rider to score points in SX. With 21-20-21-22 scores, the rider racked up eight points in the 250 West Coast Region.
It’s going to be weird to shoot fences lined with fans in a few weeks when the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicks off. The nearly empty stadium has made for a surreal backdrop each round and it’s something we doubt will be necessary in 2021. Did you catch Dave Prater on the PulpMX Show last Monday? The Director of Two-Wheel Operations at Feld said that they are working on a schedule but that it could be influenced by whatever restrictions states have in place when it comes time to race in January.
Shoutout to Mitchel Falk. Splitting with the TLD KTM team could not have been easy for the young California rider and he had a few slams earlier this year, but he kept at it during the break and returned for the SLC races. The BWR rider posted a season-best 13th place result in the 250 Main Event on Sunday.
19-14-14-19. That’s Derek Kelley’s results through the four 250 Main Event races that the JMC Motorsports rider has carded in the 250 West Coast region. Kelley isn’t afraid to go for it, something we noticed in practice these last two days at the track, like when he was ranked 15th fastest in Timed Qualifying on Sunday.
Simple pit board messages for Christian Craig and Cameron McAdoo.
We have to put this photo of Brayton’s adidas/Shimano/Specialized Shoei lid on the site before it gets blown apart by the rocky roost in Utah. Tagger Designs did an excellent job with the simple pattern and color palette.
Few things about Justin Barcia’s gear set on Sunday. BamBam must be going for an aerodynamic look in his Alpinestars jersey, because that’s as form-fitting as can be over the chest protector and down the arms. Cycling inspired, maybe? Nice that the pads on the neck brace matched the color of the Astars logo on the jersey, too. And lastly, he was back to his plain Arai helmet for the day and not his wilder Troy Lee Designs creation. Search “Troy Lee Designs Barcia” on the site to read an interview by Troy Lee on what the two have come up with for helmet schemes in 2020.
“Hey Chad! Do you remember when you got hurt at Detroit and still raced? That was cool.” “Hey Chad, how heavy were the diamond studs?” “Hey Chad, did you really have your private jet race the one James had?” “Hey Chad, do you remember signing my shirt in 2006?”
Props to Mason Kerr. The Iowa privateer has been trying hard during the Utah races and made the first 450 Main Event of his season on Sunday. That’s the cool thing about moto: Just a few weeks ago Kerr was on the starting line at the Justin Brayton Shootout in Winterset, Iowa, and now he’s racing at Rice Eccles.
Three guys you know will be on the starting line for a 450 Main Event, no matter what.
Privateer power with Alex Nagy.
Carlen Gardner took a slam during the 450 LCQ on Sunday and needed some help to get off the track, but the BWR Engines rider said in an Instagram post that he’ll do what he can to be back for Wednesday’s race and to finish out the season. Respect the privateer hustle.
Broc Tickle is starting to come around. BT20’s time with the JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team has been interrupted by back-to-back, separate hand injuries but he’s fighting past the pain to put the yellow bike in the 450 Main Event. A second-place run in the LCQ must have been a warm-up, because Tickle put in a 12th place result in Sunday’s Main Event.
Enjoy the ride.
Good job, Geran Stapleton. The Australian racer got the start in the 250 LCQ and led every lap to earn the win and a spot on the starting line in the 250 Main Event. This was Stapleton’s first LCQ win and first Main Event of the 2020 season.
Snowcapped mountains and Deven Raper jumping out of the shadows of the finish line structure. Like we said, it’s going to be strange to shoot somewhere other than Rice Eccles…
If you’re wondering what happened to Alex Martin in the 250 Main Event, well, here’s the answer. The JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider had a get-off in the middle lanes of the track and got his RM-Z250 caught up on the Tuff Blocks. It took a few moments for he and the track workers to get it free from and he ended the race in 21st place.
Tidy it up.
Something new from the Leatt crew? Justin Hill had a plain black helmet on Sunday, but the shape and design of the lid was unlike anything else in the current Leatt catalog. Keep an eye out on more from the protective brand.
Will we one day view these Utah races as the turning point in Zach Osborne’s 450 Class career? The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider has been excellent in the last five races and hasn’t once finished outside the top-five in the Main Event. This has been huge for Osborne, who admittedly struggled with the big bike earlier this year and missed two rounds with injuries from a bad practice crash.
It’s very, very obvious Eli Tomac wants to get this thing over with. Closer than he’s ever been to a 450 SX title, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider could clinch it with a good finish one round early. A fair start put Tomac further back in the field than his rivals Roczen and Webb on Sunday, but he quickly worked his way up to third place. Unable to close the gap further (he said he stayed in the wrong line through the whoops for far too long), Tomac settled in and scored a podium result on Sunday. Do not be surprised if he pushes himself to get a win on Wednesday.
Personal touches on Webb’s ride.
A few races back we showed the data logger that Red Bull KTM had mounted to Webb’s WP forks during Timed Qualifying. Usually the testing equipment comes off for the night’s race, but we spotted the spool and wire on his front-end after the Main Event. Interesting.
A plunger-style sensor was mounted to the shock and charted the action of the rear end.
While we’re on the topic of data logging, here’s the GPS sensor that’s part of KTM’s package that pinpoints the bike’s location on the track compared so that the techs can note the speed, throttle position, gear selection, etc. That Rice Eccles is an open-air stadium is a huge thing for teams in this regard; a closed roof blocks off the GPS signal and eliminates one piece of the puzzle.
Brian Kranz got the serious heat out to lay the graphics down on Eli Tomac’s Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Has been shot a million times, but never gets any less motivating, especially when you have a rider on the rise like Cameron McAdoo.
That was an excellent battle between Dean Wilson and Benny Bloss. The two were just behind Martin Davalos in the early laps but when the rookie went down, they because the next contenders for the race win. Bar to bar battles in the turns and over the jumps, Bloss out-dueled Wilson to get his career-first win in the 450 Class.
Want to hear more from Benny? Click the homepage and watch the sitdown interview with did with him on Monday afternoon.
Your weekly reminder of the talent in the 450 Class.
Two for two. Austin Forkner nabbed both 250 West Coast Main Event wins in Utah, which helped cut the point difference between he and Dylan Ferrandis down to just seven as we head to the Showdown. Yes, there was one aggressive pass between the two, but no that’s not dirty and certainly not sketchy considering the title is on the win. Will Forkner race to the front to score maximum points or will he go for a battle and with Ferrandis? He has to do something if he wants to win this title.
It didn’t take long for the weight of a career-first podium to hit Jett Lawrence. To say that the GEICO Honda rider bounced back from last Wednesday’s 11th place finish would be an understatement. The teenage racer didn’t have the best early run in the 250 Main Event but he buckled down and picked off riders in a torrid run to the front of the pack. An excited fist-pump over the finish line showed how happy he was in the moment, and some tears came as he cooled down near the podium a few minutes later.
That rutted turn before the dragon’s back and start straightaway was an unexpected factor for riders. Made from the heavy and wet dirt left over from the rain race, the track crew laid it out and never really manicured the lines that were formed during the course of the day.
Ken Roczen didn’t look too worked after his run to a Main Event win. The Team Honda HRC rider’s health has been a big question ever since we got to Utah and the tone regarding his recent shingles diagnosis made us believe these last few races would be more about survival than success. We were watching the gap he had over Webb in the middle part of the Main Event, around the time when his energy levels had faded previously, but Roczen instead added more time to his lead and rode uncontested to the win.
Parting shots. Here are the rear Dunlop tires used by Eli Tomac (top) and Ken Roczen (bottom) during the 450 Main Event. Note the differences in wear on the lugs, something that is completely determined by line choice, throttle use, and riding style.
Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.