There were A LOT of people at the 2023 Indianapolis Supercross, round nine of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship. Big crowds always come out when the series rolls through the Rust Belt, but this year seemed even gnarlier, because long lines for autograph signings made it hard to get through the pits during the afternoon and almost every seat was occupied from the lower bowl all the way to the top.
And they got what they deserved. A treacherous track, dozens of riders in both classes, and lots of laps kept everyone’s interest from the first laps of Free Practice until long after the Main Events, as security basically had to escort them out after Ken Roczen walked off the podium.
It was great to see Adam Cianciarulo back in action at Indy. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider knew that he’d have to go over the situation about his wrist and what caused him to pull out in Arlington after participating in press day, and had a perfectly prepared explanation ready. Per AC, the wrist has been an ongoing problem and was a concern coming into the year; it was a serious pain while in Texas, and rather than risking further issues, he made the decision to sit out a few races.
Kyle Chisholm isn’t at full strength right now. The Twisted Tea/HEP Motorsports/Suzuki rider has been dealing with an injured knee for the last few weeks and had his bell wrung in a practice crash ahead of Daytona. You wouldn’t know that the 11 was wounded by looking at the results, though, and at Indy he finished seventh in the Heat Race and 14th in the Main Event.
Justin Hill’s return to racing has been fun to follow. Joining Team Tedder meant a return to KTM, and Hill quickly found out the current orange bikes are quite different than what he remembered from his time at TLD. The rider admits that he got lost looking for the right setup, a problem that was solved by the addition of the lower frace brace and some work by older brother and enzo racing with KYB conversion kits, and has been a contender for the top-ten since the developments. JR finished ninth in the Main Event and is eleventh in the points.
Triple face after Friday’s media riding session. Yikes.
We met Luca Maralisi for the first time on Friday, an interaction that’s part of News Break. We were a little familiar with the rider after hearing his name over the loud speaker or seeing him go by at the occasional amateur race, and his rookie season in SX has produced one Main Event appearance, a 17th at Tampa.
The top three all found each other during the early moments of Free Practice, and once again, it was Chase Sexton ahead with Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb in tow. Sexton told us he thinks his ability to learn the track is why they tend latch on to him, and his run of Timed Qualifying results backs up the theory. Watch the RAW video from Free Practice to see how much the best guys were challenged by the track during their first laps.
RJ Hampshire didn’t get a real chance to back up his Daytona result in Indy. A week-long illness took its toll on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider, and after some practice sessions on the challenging track, he and the team decided to pull out of the race in favor of the looming return of the 250 West Coast Region and maybe another chance on the big bike later in the season.
Should have known this was going to be a track that Ken Roczen would have done well on.
Triple Face during Timed Qualifying Session One for the 450 A Group.
It was cool to see Vincent Luhovey on the starting line with his dad in the 450 Class. The Pennsylvania privateer is a common sight at East Coast rounds of Pro Motocross and works with his father pouring concrete.
Mason Kerr, man of the people.
Weekly props to Dirt Wurx, who maintained the track with constant work while following a very tight schedule. The heavy equipment would get wheeled out as soon as bikes were off the track, immediately smooth the worst ruts and holes, and be hidden away again just before the next TV-timed gate drop.
Wheel tappin’ with Coty Schock…
And Jace Owen. Which Red Rider did it best?
Hard to believe that Jordon Smith’s name had never been at the top of the pylon during Timed Qualifying before now. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was fastest in Free Practice and Session One, then was bumped to second in Session Two and the overall results.
The expected wear and tear prompted some track changes; the three mounds before the finish line were reshaped into one rolling obstacle that riders could double or triple without much issue.
The deep ruts prompted some riders to change the size of their rear tires, as a smaller sidewall and more narrow width would handle the trenches better than the typical 120. If you want more technical details and historical facts, tune into Broc Glover’s Saturday morning track walks on the Supercross YouTube.
One guy that never changes up his tires is Eli Tomac; he’s stayed on the same size-compound-thread pattern for years and through different factory bikes.
Rockstar Energy remains a big part of the pit area. Although the drink brand was acquired by PepsiCo and has started to target more youthful activities like gaming and music, they’ve maintained a connection to motocross through sponsorship of the US factory team, branded gear through FLY Racing, and personal deals for guys like Dean Wilson and Colby Raha.
Josh Cartwright had a custom painted LS2 helmet at Indianapolis for new sponsor eko...
As well as one of the company’s pre-finished mobile homes made from a storage container. www.ekosolutionsllc.com
Did you check out How Was Your Weekend? Ken Roczen’s win was one of the biggest topics of the video, and this included interviews with HEP Motorsports teammates Kyle Chisholm and Shane McElrath about the development of the RM-Z and the weeks of work they’ve done together.
What does 9000 rpm look like?
It wasn’t the coldest Indy SX of recent memory, but that didn’t stop teams from wrapping the tires in electric blankets and pointing propane heaters at the bikes to keep them relatively warm between sessions on the track.
Heat Race Numerology with Chris Blose and Jordon Smith
Carter Biese will miss the rest of Supercross due to a dislocated elbow and torn ligament that will require surgery. The RRCZ KTM has enlisted Guillaume St-Cyr to finish out the season alongside Cheyenne Harmon, and the Canadian’s first race on the 250 SX-F came at Indianapolis.
Similar to Rickyisms, J-Roc has been known to speak alternate terminology and pronounce things differently then most others would, but this often isn't through lack of understanding but to appear "urbanized" or "street". It should be noted however, that there are times when others of his clique or of a similar nature will wonder just what it is he is saying or means. Know wha' I'm sayin'
Between Roger De Coster, Larry Brooks, Nathan Ramsey, and Martin Davalos, how many combined podiums are there in the Manager’s Tower? Seriously, how many? We don’t know.
What do FXR gloves taste like?
We asked ARay why riders do not use their holeshot devices during single-file restarts. Per our resident racer, having the hook hold the front-end down wouldn’t be much of a benefit at this exact moment, as you’re trying to balance, in a single file line, and don’t want to worry about it not disengaging when you reach the first turn.
Another Main Event for Kevin Moranz. The Kansas privateer has made seven of the nine run so far and 20-22-14-18-20-18-16 results have put him twentieth overall in the 450 point standings.
Battlin’, with Cooper Webb, Ken Roczen, and Justin Barcia…
Have to give Justin Barcia credit for seeing an opportunity to pass in the whoops when the yellow flag was out and Cooper Webb’s preferred line was blocked by the downed rider.
A proper finish line celebration merits a sequence.
Props to Preston Taylor, his father, and friend John Berry for racing Arenacross in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday, then driving nine hours through the night and making it to Indianapolis for Supercross on Saturday. The Nebraska privateer will follow the Arenacross series, where he’s a front-runner in the Pro Classes.
BRay brought the small-bore bike to the East Coast, signed up for the 450 Class, and ended up ninth in the LCQ.
Hate to hear how what he’s saying to this minor.
Shoutout to Lane Allison for making his first Main Event in the 250 Class. The Texan has followed the 250 East Coast Region with Mike Forkner working as his mechanic, and in Indy, he nabbed the last spot in the LCQ and clicked off the laps for an 18th place finish.
Lot of green in the 450 LCQ. Know why? More green. Kawasaki’s contingency program pays the best to privateers.
LCQ Numerology with Scott Meshy and Jared Lesher.
We thought something looked different about Brock Papi, then we really looked. The rider has joined the Invictus Speed Co/Namura team for the remainder of the 250 East Coast Region, which includes a change to FXR gear.
Another one. HL has been stacking the trophies and wins this season. He’s led 54 traditional Main Event laps, won four features, and has an average finish of 1.4.
What’d everyone in the 450 Class stop to look at on their parade lap?
The bombed out set of whoops they had to hit for the next 20-minutes plus one lap.
How important was a start and track position in the Indianapolis Main Event?
Ken Roczen took advantage of the holeshot and went into his usual routine of solid opening laps, which helped put a gap on the competition.
Battle within a battle. We saw Chase Sexton and Cooper Webb’s back-and-forth in front of us, and on the big screen.
Talon Hawkins didn’t run back to the rig after his night was over. Instead, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider camped out in the VIP zone on the floor and watched the 450 Main Event.
The chaos on the track had us turning to the Jumbotron for updates, like this live look at the point standings with 11 minutes to go, which happened after Chase Sexton had crashed but before Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb had things play out late in the race.
Don’t think we’re seeing the backside of Justin Barcia’s career. The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing team has pulled a few more years out of BamBam, and with his speed on the updated platform, it sounds like he’d like to ride the red bike a while longer.
Chase Sexton’s crash did the expected damage to his bike and body: twisted front-end, levers knocked out of position, missing visor, tweaked ankle. He remounted and finished a crucial tenth place.
How’d Eli Tomac lose a position to Christian Craig late in the race? Dean Wilson’s fall in the rhythm lane slowed the defending champion…
Craig immediately latched on and made the pass in the final laps.
What happened to Cooper Webb in the final laps that caused him to lose ground on the lead two? We thought that he got caught up with lapped traffic, because Hill and Sexton were right in front of him…
But a look at the photos showed that Webb made a mistake exiting the corner/entering the whoops and veered right.
The Indy crowd deserved the race they saw. Thousands of fans got to their feet on the final laps of the 450 Main Event and their cheers were louder than the motorcycles as Roczen and Barcia battled it out for the win.
Congrats again, Ken. With this win, plus his three-straight in 2021, he’s now the current rider with the best record at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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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