Ken Roczen (center) and Ryan Dungey (right) put Ryan Villopoto (left) in a KTM sandwich at Atlanta.
By Jody Weisel
(1) JUSTIN BARCIA’S NIGHT: Justin Barcia’s season hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t been great. In the first seven races on the series Justin finished 5th, 5th, 11th, 7th, 4th, 6th and 3rd. He went into Atlanta seventh in points (with a guarantee that he would move up to sixth because he was only two points behind no-show Chad Reed). Unfortunately, Justin crashed in practice and took a beating from his bike. He had to sit out the race. So, where was he after missing a race? Still in seventh place and still two points behind Chad Reed. The real problem is that Justin is now 57 points behind points leader Ryan Villopoto—which is two full races in points (plus 7 extra points).
WHAT DO WE THINK WOULD BE APROPOS? $10,000 FOR “ENDANGERING ANOTHER RIDER” AND A LOSS OF POINTS. HE GOT AT LEAST THAT FOR SOMETHING HIS BROTHER DID LAST YEAR—AND THIS TIME HE DID IT ALL BY HIMSELF.
When Mike Alessi (800) gets the holeshot there is no one to ram, but in a lap or two he gets a couple chances.
(2) MIKE ALESSI’S FINE: The AMA needs a reality check. After Mike Alessi’s blatant take-out move on Broc Tickle in their heat race, they fined Mike Alessi $4000. Then, they handed him $1500 for getting the holeshot in the 450 main and $2780 for fifth place—giving Mike a net profit of $280. Plus, they let him keep his 15 points for the night. Oh yeah, they put him on probation—which means nothing—it’s just a fake AMA action. What would the AMA have done if Broc had been seriously hurt in his violent cartwheel resulting from Alessi's thoughtlessness? Where did the $4000 number come from? Haven’t they seen Mike’s track record over the years? Doesn’t intent play into the penalty? What do we think would be apropos? $10,000 for “endangering another rider” and a loss of points. He got at least that for something his brother did last year—and this time he did it all by himself.
SHOULD WE JUST ACCEPT THAT THE SUPERCROSS PROMOTERS KNOW HOW TO BUILD LOTS OF JUMPS, BUT DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT DIRT PREP?
Pro Circuit has four winner so far this season—Dean Wilson, Justin Hill, Adam Cianciarulo (46) and Martin Davalos (31).
(3) ATLANTA’S DIRT: Ryan Villopoto has been getting misty waiting to go East so that he can get into the softer dirt that favors his flat-out cornering style. Atlanta 2014 was not the Atlanta of old. True enough, it was better dirt than Dallas, but so is a Tijuana parking lot. And, in the main event, Villopoto, who was leading, lost the race when his rear end stepped-out on the slick Georgia soil. As his wheel spun, Ken Roczen got a drive and flew over him. Should Ryan really be betting the farm that Indy will be the loam he has been waiting for? Or should we just accept that the Supercross promoters know how to build lots of jumps, but don’t know anything about dirt prep?
(4) DOUBLE DUTY: They may not have a passion for dirt, but Atlanta’s designers did have one new wrinkle that we’ve never seen before. It was a steep double over the starting line. In the heat races it looked like it would create mayhem, as riders cased it, bounced off it and even gave up trying. But, once the heat races separated the wheat from the chaff it became an interesting feature—and led to Blake Baggett’s awesome two-for-one pass over and around Anthony Rodriquez and Vince Friese in the 250 East main.
AT ATLANTA BUBBA SNOWPLOWED HIS SUZUKI RIGHT INTO THE GROUND AND OUT OF THE TOP TEN. HIS FORMER TEAM MANAGERS CLAIM THAT HIS ECCENTRIC SUSPENSION SETUP IS TO BLAME.
(5) STEWIE LOSES THE FRONT END: Vegas oddsmakers have given up trying to set the odds on what James Stewart will do. It is even money that he’ll either: (1) Win. (2) Lose the front end and go down. At Atlanta Bubba snowplowed his Suzuki right into the ground and out of the top ten. His former team managers claim that his eccentric suspension setup is to blame, but that he won’t change from his rigid front fork fascination no matter how many times he falls down.
(6) WHICH MARTIN IS THAT: “Martin looked good in Atlanta.” That depends on which Martin you are referring to. Martin Davalos, pronounced Mart-Teen, won his 250 East heat race and the main event. Alex Martin finished fourth in his 250 heat race and finished 10th in the main. Jeremy Martin was 11th in his heat race and had to go to the Last Chance. In the Last Chance, Jeremy ricocheted off a jump and landed in the gap between the two lanes. By the time he recovered, he was in 16th and did not make the main. So, Martin won, Martin got tenth and Martin got sent home early. This is important because Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb were the revelations of the 2013 AMA 250 Nationals and highly touted coming into the 2014 Supercross season. Cooper Webb has lived up to the hype and is currently fifth in the 250 West, while Jeremy Martin has failed to qualify for the main events at the first two rounds of the 250 East.
“I MADE A MISTAKE AND HE GOT BY. HE MADE A MISTAKE AND I GOT BY.” AND THAT IS THE FULL SYNOPSIS OF HOW THE RACE WAS WON.
The duel of mistakes went to Kenny.
(7) GIVE AND TAKE: Early in the 450 Main, Ken Roczen looked like he was going to win, then he made a mistake and couldn’t jump a double—Ryan Villopoto did and looked like he was going to win. Then, Ryan Villopoto spun his rear tire and couldn’t jump a triple—Ken Roczen did. Kenny said, “I made a mistake and he got by. He made a mistake and I got by.” And that is the full synopsis of how the race was won.
HE BROKE THE LOSING STREAK, SHUT UP THE NATTERING NABOBS OF NEGATIVITY AND GETS A FRESH START ON A NEW STREAK. WILL IT BE A WIN STREAK THIS TIME?
This Martin won.
(8) FAN FAVORITE: After 9 years in the 250 Supercross class without a win, Martin Davalos didn’t really have any fans left—outside of his mechanic and is family in Ecuador. Anyone who was in his fan club had become disillusioned after 63 straight losses. Losing that many races isn’t unusual, but given how many races Davalos led during the losing streak is testament to how many different ways a rider can throw victories away. Pro Circuit’s Mitch Payton is a gambler. He likes reclamation projects. He has brought failed riders back to the top of the sport many times. But, even Mitch’s biggest supporters were mystified when he hired Martin Davalos—and, in 2013, Martin proved that the doubters knew what they were talking about. But now it is 2014 and a semi-new Davalos is on the scene, helped in no small part by a weak 250 East field. Last week Davalos threw away a sure win—and this week he came close to throwing another one away with a shaky last lap. But, he broke the losing streak, shut up the nattering nabobs of negativity and gets a fresh start on a new streak. Will it be a win streak this time?
ELI SHOULD GO HOME AND RECOVER FOR THE 2014 AMA 450 NATIONALS (HE IS 6 RACES BEHIND IN THE POINTS WITH ONLY 9 RACES LEFT).
(9) SHOULDERING THE BURDEN: Eli Tomac missed the first four races of the 2014 season after a heat race incident injured his shoulder. He returned to action at Anaheim 3 only to get a flat tire in the main event (caused by Monster Truck debris left in the dirt). Eli followed A3 up with a 7th in San Diego, 11th in Dallas and a 21st in Atlanta. It’s not like Eli suddenly got slower, because historically riders can sit out for a year with a broken leg or injured knee and come back at full speed (maybe not fit, but still fast). So, it would seem that Eli’s shoulder is hampering his ability to race flat out. Shoulders are the touchiest of all injuries because of the range of motions that the shoulder joint must perform. Eli’s troubles would lead one to believe that Eli should go home and recover for the 2014 AMA 450 Nationals (he is 6 races behind in the points with only 9 races left). It should also be noted that Chad Reed’s shoulder may force him to face a steep climb to be ready for the Nationals by May 24.
WHEN YOU WATCH DAYTONA, DON’T THINK OF IT AS ROUND 10 OF THE SUPERCROSS SERIES—THINK OF IT AS ROUND 1.1 OF THE AMA NATIONALS.
Ken Roczen (94) has adapted to his "Ryan Dungey Replica" better than...need we say it?
(10) THE MOST IMPORTANT SUPERCROSS: The Daytona Supercross is in two weeks. It is the most important Supercross—not because it is an atypical Supercross, but because it is a precursor of the AMA Nationals. Although Daytona pays Supercross points—it really pays brownie points as a build up to Glen Helen. The men who win Daytona are the fittest and the fastest. So, when you watch Daytona, don’t think of it as round 10 of the Supercross series—think of it as round 1.1 of the AMA Nationals.
ATLANTA SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Ken Roczen (KTM)
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Wil Hahn (Hon)
5. Justin Brayton (Yam)
6. Mike Alessi (Suz)
7. Broc Tickle (Suz)
8. Weston Peick (Suz)
9. Josh Grant (Yam)
10. Andrew Short (KTM)
Other notables: 11. James Stewart; 12. Matt Goerke; 14. Ivan Tedesco; 16. Nick Wey; 19. Justin Sipes; 21. Eli Tomac.
ATLANTA SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 250 EAST
1. Martin Davalos (Kaw)
2. Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw)
3. Justin Bogle (Hon)
4. Blake Wharton (Hon)
5. Blake Baggett (Kaw)
6. Vince Friese (Hon)
7. Jimmy Decotis (Hon)
8. Cole Thompson (KTM)
9. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
10. Michael Oldenburg (KTM)
Other notables: 12. Kyle Cunningham; 13. A.J. Cantazaro; 14.Justin Starling; 15. Gannon Audette; 16. Alex Martin; 21. Matt Biscelgia.
CURRENT AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 8 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto.........166
2. Ken Roczen.............157
4. James Stewart.........140
5. Ryan Dungey...........136
5. Justin Brayton..........130
6. Chad Reed...............111
7. Justin Barcia.............109
8. Andrew Short............94
9. Wil Hahn....................83
10. Broc Tickle...............77
Other notables: 11. Weston Peick (67); 12. Ivan Tedesco (62); 13. Jake Weimer (55); 14. Mike Alessi (49); 21. Eli Tomac (26).
CURRENT AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 2 of 9 rounds)
1. Adam Cianciarulo........47
2. Martin Davalos.............45
3. Blake Baggett..............38
4. Justin Bogle.................36
5. Vince Friese.................33
6. Blake Wharton.............32
7. Cole Thompson............28
8. Kyle Cunningham.........22
9. Mitchell Oldenburg........22
10. Jimmy Decotis............20
Other notables: 11. Alex Martin (17); 13. A.J. Cantazaro (16); 14. Matt Lemoine (13); 19. Gavin Faith (5); 20. Jackson Richardson (4).
CURRENT AMA 250 WEST SUPERCROSS POINTS
(After 6 of 9 rounds)
1. Jason Anderson.......131
2. Cole Seely................127
3. Justin Hill..................107
4. Dean Wilson..............98
5. Cooper Webb............92
6. Malcolm Stewart........89
7. Jessy Nelson.............76
8. Shane McElrath.........71
9. Zach Osborne............69
10. Dean Ferris..............63
Other notables: 12. Dakota Tedder (50); 13. Jake Canada (46); 15. Valentin Teillet (28); 17. Darry Durham (21); 20. Austin Politelli (11).
Yamaha Motorcycle tests