There are only four rounds left of the 2019 SX season! We’re getting down to the wire here folks! There were not any changes in the championship leaders in either class last weekend. In the 450 class, Cooper Webb increased his lead to 17 points over Marvin Musquin, while Adam Cianciarulo lost some ground to Dylan Ferrandis and now has just a five-point lead (however it will be the 250 East class racing this weekend in Nashville).
If you watched the race last weekend at Houston, you got to experience some great racing. Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb battled back and forth in the first main event, each making passes on the other. Eventually, Webb got frustrated at the battle and made an aggressive move to push his teammate off the track in the sand section. Webb would go on to finish the race in second while Musquin was back in fifth, which gave Webb an easy route to the overall win. Musquin was visibly angry at the move Webb made on him and after the race he seemed to hint that if given the same opportunity, he would return the favor. We’ll see if he uses this as fuel and carries it into the racing this weekend at Nashville. If Musquin wants a shot at winning the championship, he needs to keep winning main events and hope that Webb doesn’t finish right behind him every time. The way these two have battled throughout the season, it would be surprising to not see some heated, aggressive racing through the last four rounds.
Last week at Houston, Ken Roczen was able to win the first main event easily as Webb and Musquin wasted time battling each other. However, he went down in the holeshot turn in the second race, limped back to his bike, and rode off the track and back into the pits. We later found out that Roczen sustained a toe injury but he raced to an eighth-place finish in the third race, despite the injury. He still has yet to stand atop the podium at the end of the night and only has a handful of races left to do so. It is evident that he has the potential to win, but will his injury prevent him from earning his first overall win of the season?
Eli Tomac is still a complete wildcard each and every week. At times, we see flashes of the Tomac from 2017 and 2018, but at other times he just can’t hold the race pace that the leaders set and has difficulty making passes. It seems that his head simply isn’t in it this year. A perfect example of this is last weekend at Houston in the first main event. Musquin went down a second time at the end of the whoops after appearing to contact Dean Wilson and he started putting down blazing fast laps to earn some positions back. He got within a bike length of Tomac in the whoops before the finish but wasn’t able to seal the pass…. Until Tomac pulled up on the face of the finish line jump, allowing Musquin to edge him out by a matter of inches. Given Tomac’s history, we’re assuming he didn’t just let Musquin have the position. The only other explanation is that Tomac was checked out of the race and didn’t realize anyone was behind him, thinking it would be fine to just roll the finish line jump. Tomac has definitely been a mystery this year and being 26 points back in the standings, all but mathematically eliminates his chances of winning.
After two weeks off, the 250 East Region returns to racing this weekend. Austin Forkner is still head and shoulders above the rest of the class, as he currently holds a 26-point lead over Chase Sexton in second place. Forkner has won every 250 East main event of the season and finished in third place in the East-West Showdown in Atlanta behind two 250 West riders. No one has yet to show that Forkner can be beaten and until we see that happen, we’re going to keep picking Forkner to win the overall in our fantasy leagues!
The real battle in this class is the battle for second place in the standings between Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper. As previously stated, Sexton is 26 points behind Forkner, while Cooper is 28 points back. Both of these riders have made it clear that they can run toward the front of the pack (behind Forkner), it seems to come down to if Sexton can ride mistake-free and if Cooper can get good starts.
This weekend will most definitely provide some awesome racing, especially as we get to see the riders visit Nashville for the first time! T-minus two days to race day!