Everyone likes when the Monster Energy Supercross Championship rolls through Texas. Visits to the Lone Star State, with its big stadiums, technicolor clay, welcoming fans, and creative tracks, are celebrated by riders, who trade in their team issued New Era hats for Stetsons from Boot Barn and speak with unplaceable accents for a few days of the year. That was the case for the 2023 Arlington Supercross, an action-packed Triple Crown that saw Nate Thrasher score his first non-Speedway win and Cooper Webb add another Texas trophy to his collection.
We took a quick glance at Daxton Bennick’s YZ250F the Monster Energy/Star Raicng/Yamaha tent on Friday. The team’s amateur bike is slightly different than the pro machine, with components like production KYB suspension with support from enzo racing, an engine built in-house to a different spec, and the use of more blue plastics to note Yamaha’s support.
Making a sponsor’s logos stand out at their “home round” is Marketing 101 for privateer riders and independent teams. Jeff Crutcher made sure TX Epoxy Works, a racer-owned operation based in Dennison, had top billing on the side of the RCCZ KTM bikes at the Arlington round. If you’re near North Texas or Texoma and need of a new garage floor, contact Vince Monteleone.
SKDA’s F1 graphics continued with one of the most iconic liveries in grand prix racing, the Marlboro McLaren driven by Ayrton Senna. You can purchase this look, others from the Ride to Survive series, and an SML kit through SKDA’s website.
We’ve gotten to known Donald Davis and Tristan Lane through the weekly photo shoot with the Silverback Racing bike, and recently featured Donald in a Privateer Power interview you can find on the website or our YouTube channel. Davis explained that the team was first put together to support his son’s amateur racing, but when his career was cut short by an injury to his Achille’s tendon, the support turned to family friend and fellow Florida racer Lane. As for the name Silverback, it was a nod to his son’s size and strength, which has since carried into a post-racing interest in weightlifting.
Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX/Yamaha’s status as a privately owned yet OEM-supported team gives them the freedom to change the body colors and graphic schemes on their bikes as often as they want, something they make the most by pairing between white-black-azure plastics with different kits at most rounds. But Arlington, the team decided it was time to show their appreciation of Yamaha’s backing and built Jeremy Martin’s bike with the brand’s usual blue hue.
Bottomed out. You know it’s a harsh landing when a light guy like Chance Hymas can send A Kit Showa suspension so far through the stroke that the Dunlop tires scrape the Cycra plastic.
News that Nate Thrasher had damaged his ACL got around after Tampa (Vital MX heard it first), but the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider wasn’t using the injury as any kind of excuse at Arlington. In fact, he didn’t want to mention it at all and did his best to downplay it when the topic was brought up on television for the post-race interview. We watched Thrasher through the weekend and can say that despite being wounded, his riding doesn’t give away that anything is wrong.
Troy Lee Designs has rolled out their latest collection on its racers over the last few weeks, which includes SE Ultra in a blue dyed look. The premium line has all the usual features, including four-way stretch materials in the jersey and pants, ventilation through precision-cut holes and mesh panels, and an athletic cut.
If the average riders uses twelve tearoffs during a Triple Crown race, and races three times a night, how many tearoffs would twenty-two two riders use? 792. Many of the discarded sheets are collected by track workers during breaks in the action and kept tucked under Tuff Blocks before disposal.
Shoutout to whoever was at the controls of this piece of Cat equipment and prepped the bowl turn before the finish line. The 180 developed some deep ruts during Saturday’s Free Practice sessions, but was smoothed out and tuned up before Timed Qualifying got under way…
The work made it look like the perfect berm to hammer the throttle and put the power to the ground. Justin Barcia demonstrates in the afternoon.
Why was Colt Nichols trying to carve an inside line in this corner?
To avoid the massive hole and rut that was carved into the landing of the double, around the 90-degree turn, and up the face of the dragon's back.
Are these flags and lights going to get your attention when you're in the zone for a moto?
For how rock solid the Arlington track was built, we were intrigued by how beat-in the main line around the stadium got. You could tell that all the riders were going for certain spots, as inches were worn away from the jump faces/landings.
What's trick on the KTM pit cart? Disc brakes repurposed from a bicycle setup, a custom handlebar, and a Renthal bar pad with half-waffle grips.
Mounted to the cart are spare exhaust systems, including two headers (one 250, one 450), an Akrapovic silencer, and extra wheels for emergency swaps. The cart is made by Custom Upfits.
The big right-hand bowl turn before the whoops looked like a rider's dream during practice, as we watched guys click up a few gears, slingshot around the arc, and charge into the rollers.
New threads from O'Neal? We noticed some animal prints worn by 250 East Coast riders Jeremy Hand and Brock Papi during practice.
Age difference between Chris Blose and Talon Hawkins? Sixteen years.
Maybe this is an incorrect assumption, but it seems like the Honda CRF250R is the bike of choice in the East Coast Region. Maybe it's time for a Gear Check to tally up how many there are between Team Honda HRC, Phoenix Honda, TiLube Honda, and the common privateer.
The Dirt Wurx crew have had a new piece of equipment by Hydra Bucket to use on their Cat equipment. The top of the attachment is a standard scoop, but a tiller has been added underneath and can rip up roost when put to the ground.
Afternoon practice start. Everyone in the 450 Class seemed to take the rehearsal gate drops seriously at the Triple Crown.
Kaipo's folding track stand is a little nicer than the others in the work area...
Quick stops. Carlos Rivera hit the clickers on Cooper Webb's WP suspension...
Ken Roczen continued to work with Matt Andruk on the setup of the Progressive/ECSTAR/Suzuki at Arlington, but it sounds like we could still see Factory Connection on the RM-Z in the future.
Suspension wasn't the only thing getting attention. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing swapped out the black box on Christian Craig's bike between fast laps.
Finish line flowing with Benny Bloss...
And Dean Wilson. It was quite a display of skills and style over the double.
Shoutout to Jared Lesher, who lined up for the Kicker Arenacross race in Hobbs, NM, on Friday, drove six-hours overnight to Arlington, TX, and lined up in the 450 Class aboard his FMF-backed YZ250. Lesher went 4-2 at the AX and tenth in the SX LCQ.
Lane's matching wrap for the weekend was a tribute to the yellow and green helmes Senna wore through his career.
Another privateer shoutout to our friend Mason Kerr, who put in a season-best ride during the 450 LCQ and ended the weekend with an eighth place finish.
Another example of how worn down certain landings got around the track, this one at the end of the dragon's back rhythm lane.
Rental Car Work Site
The cool, damp weather got teams to plug in their tire warmers before the night show. From what teams have told us in the past, the goal is not to soften the rubber and promote grip-wear, but to keep the rubber at a consistent temperature before the start, as it will warm up more as the race goes on.
Stock hub alert.
Riding around a SX berm, in the dark, and not even looking ahead. That's why they're in opening ceremonies.
Yeah, really need to do a Gear Check on the East Coast Region.
Tom Vialle told us that he's excited for the week leading into Daytona, as it'll include some testing time with WP on a special addition to the layout at the Baker's Factory. The French rider and outdoor champion could be a factor on the faster, sandier Florida speedway next weekend.
Be sure to watch the background at the start of Max Anstie's end of evening chat in the Arlington HWYW.
Another privateer shoutout, this time to Logan Karnow for making his first 450 Class Main Event of the season, at a Triple Crown no less.
It's hard not to watch the big screen at Jerry World.
Every rider has a pre-race routine. Chase Sexton gets in the zone with measured breathing and slight squats behind the starting line.
Down to the minute. The race format is calculated to fit all of the motos, plus the JR SX Challenge, track work, and breaks into a few hour window. AMA official Chad Bailey helps keep things on schedule.
How far back was Chase Sexton on the opening lap of 450 Race One? Timing and Scoring has him ranked eleventh, which is measured at the end of the lap, but this shot from the second turn shows he was much further back.
How many times have we seen a shot like this of Ken, with his feet off the pegs but the rest of the body perfectly in position to stay low over a steep jump face?
The Tomac-Roczen duel in 450 Race One was great and something we hoped to see more of in 2023, especially after their back-and-forth at the Paris SX last November. Tomac got ahead early and kept Roczen at bay for the 16-lap dash.
We enjoyed watched Sexton and Webb slice through the pack in 450 Race One. Both riders were shuffled way back in the early moments of the moto, but with Tomac out front, knew that there was no time to waste. Sexton got to third, and Webb to fifth.
Another shot of Justin Barcia gassing it through the ideal berm, this time during 450 Race One.
How close did the Tomac-Roczen battle get? Ken got it down to 0.755 seconds on lap 13, which was around the time of this shot.
Backup bikes for the JR SX Challenge.
SML had an entrant in the Stacyc Holeshot Challenge, as our guy Carson Spellmeyer went up against a talented lineup that included a Castloo, a Schumann, a Maddison, and an Alessi.
Everyone up front in 450 Race Three
Heavy duty bristles. In an attempt to get the most grip from the starting grates, it's common for mechanics to brush loose dirt out of the knobs of the rear tire.
Chase Sexton's opening lap slide-out entering the whoops had a big impact on the rest of the pack, as his mistake impeded the progress of others and allowed leaders Webb-Anderson to put distance on the pack. As big as the mistake was, you wouldn't know it'd happened seconds before this shot, as Sexton reeled the bike in and went over the whoops like nothing was wrong.
We saw Kevin Moranz doing something with his rear wheel during 450 Race Two, but couldn't tell what was wrong from our vantage point/his location on the track. Turns out his sprocket sheared off the hub upon landing from the triple, which brought the bike to a sudden halt. Fortunately, there was no significant damage to the bike and with a wheel swap, he was able to finish the night. Watch the Moranz vlog on YouTube to see the whole situation unfold.
Julien Beaumer made his debut with KTM's Orange Brigade at Arlington. The amateur rider caught the attention of many at the A2 SX Futures round, and after a few days of riding at the Murrieta test track, lined up on the 250 SX-F. Beaumer overcame the chaos of the start and opening lap to finish fourth.
Two for two for Daxton Bennick. The North Carolina rider has been buzzed about in amateur ranks since his mini bike days and is building plenty of positive hype ahead of his eventual pro debut, which seems to be an unrushed process.
We noticed some differences in suspension between the Rockstar Husqvarna and Orange Brigade KTM bikes, as Casey Cochran runs Factory Connection-tuned sticks on his FC 250...
While Preston Boesflug has WP goods serviced by SoCal shop AEO on his 250 SX-F.
The dream berm, prepped and polished for the last races of the Triple Crown.
The tiller wheel of the Hydra Bucket attachment.
250 Race Three was one of the wildest we can remember of any Triple Crown. It started when Max Anstie and Hunter Lawrence came together in the first turn...
Continued with crashes from Michael Mosiman, Jordon Smith, Nate Thrasher, etc...
And ended with Jeremy Martin getting his first SX race win with ClubMX. Martin didn't know that he was leading, let alone won, until a few moments after the flames had cooled and he saw his name at the top of the scoring pylon.
Cooper Webb put himself in the right places at the right times during the Arlington Triple Crown. We've watched Race Three a few times now, just to see how Webb went from fifth to first through calculated passes, crafty lines, and some good fortune, and something new comes through in each viewing. His ability to switch lines from lap to lap, like how he rolled the wall jump most laps but launched it when making a pass, was one thing we picked up.
Grant Harlan had a role in 450 Race Three that no racer wants, but apologized to Sexton for the incident and was forgiven for getting in the way of the lead battle. Honestly, we can't blame Harlan for what happened, as Sexton's attempted pass came immediately after Kyle Chisholm, a rider Harlan was fighting for over position, went down in the whoops and Harlan looked around to take inventory of the scene.
In News Break we mentioned that over the last few years, whoever wins Arlington wins the 450 SX title. Tomac got the W in 2020 and 2022, his championship winning years, while Webb did so in 2019 and 2021. Is there something to this? Let's revisit after SLC.
And finally, after "29 laps" between the two divisions in Race Three.
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.
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