Courtesy of RacerX

February 13, 2017 12:55pm

BY CHASE STALLO AND JASON WEIGANDT

This race has to hold the record for most riders in the mechanics’ area during a race. What is this, 1970s level of mechanical troubles? Cooper Webb got a flat while running in second place. Eli Tomac visited the pits to get his front brake line cut (the Monster Energy Kawasaki crew says Tomac crashed because he was having front brake problems, instead of the crash causing the brake problem). Blake Baggett crashed, ahem, a lot and had to visit the mechanics’ area for repairs. Chad Reed had problems late in the race and pulled into the mechanics’ area. This doesn’t even count Shane McElrath’s heartbreaking bike problems while leading the 250SX main event. There was a full moon over Texas on Saturday night and it seemed to wreak havoc on the bikes and riders.

In addition, there were some huge crashes, most of them due to a difficult triple jump out of a slick corner. It caught countless riders, including this mega-crash from Colton Aeck but also a mega-face of the jump by Martin Davalos, Kyle Chisholm ran into the back of Bryce Stewart when he came up short and Tomac had to double-single it in his heat and jumped into the back of Webb going into the corner. That’s also where Tomac went down in the main. Trey Canard also crashed in that section late in the main. Sheesh!

Oh, to add to it, the first 450SX main event start was actually red flagged when Smartop/MotoConcepts’ Justin Brayton got knocked out in a big crash.

All the crashing and troubles meant riders could make up ground from way back. Webb salvaged a 14th despite a nearly one-minute lap while struggling with the flat (he was about 10 seconds faster before that), and then a two-minute lap while getting it fixed. Tomac, even despite stopping in the pits and not having a front brake, crawled his way back to 15th.

“We started off really well today,” said Tomac in a Monster Energy Kawasaki team statement. “We had some trouble in our heat but recovered strong in our semi. In the main my start after the red flag was much better. I felt pretty strong until my front end issue. I knew that recovering as best as possible could be key at the end of the championship, so I dug deep and fought all the way to the end. It’s a long season and we still have a lot of laps left.”

Also, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-WP-KTM’s Davi Millsaps was bumped and banged around early and started the race in last. But while everyone else seemed to be crashing or struggling, the veteran plugged away to land in eighth. Millsaps has been in the top 10 in every race this season.

Meanwhile, despite the crash, Canard ended up 11th in his first race of the season (he missed the opening rounds with a shoulder injury). “It was really nice to be back on the bike,” said Canard in a team statement. “I felt good on the bike all day, although I’m not quite where I want to be fitness/speed wise. But I feel like the next few races we can get things to where we want them and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Misfortune for others but a good night for RCH Yoshimura Suzuki, where both Broc Tickle (sixth) and Justin Bogle (ninth) recorded season-best results. Bogle also won his heat race. He had a good start in the main (second) and was running in the top five when Jason Anderson put a block pass on him that knocked him down. Bogle’s ninth is his second top 10 of the season.

“Broc’s been struggling a little bit out of the starting gate and I know he’s working really hard during the week to get that straightened out,” said RCH co-owner Ricky Carmichael. “It was nice to see him put everything together and come away with a really solid finish. Justin did everything that we expected of him. That’s why we hired him. He won his heat, won the holeshot, and if he hadn’t gotten together with someone in the main, his race had top five written all over it. It was really nice to see the whole team put it all together. That’s what we’re here for.”

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RacerX 2017 Dallas Redux