Courtesy of Racer X

March 29, 2017 11:45am

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Detroit was the stop for Round 12 of Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, and we’ve got ourselves quite a series brewing here. The 450SX Class is gnarly and the 250SX East Region boys, well, they’re just out of control. It’s 250 Riders Gone Wild right now directed by Joe Francis.

Monster Jam being held earlier this month at Ford Field meant the dirt base had been sitting in the stadium for nearly a month and was basically like concrete. The slick spots were insane and the riders had to be gentle with the throttle in these spots. The baked soil was as much of a battle as the obstacles themselves. The sand was very deep and it seemed every time you looked up, at least in practice, someone was picking their bike up out of it.

Riders hate the sand, I get it, and I’ve been critical of it in the past when it gets dumped into a turn and there’s one single berm on the inside. See Daytona this year for an example. But in Detroit, it kind of worked with different lines developing throughout the day and heck, Eli Tomac even used an outside line to pass for the lead! Granted, he was going Mach 4 around it and his move doesn’t apply to humans, but still.

Don’t listen to the riders when it comes to the sand, they’re just complaining about it because of getting sand in their goggles, down the back of their jerseys, and it ruins their hair or something. It’s an obstacle for them and they’re not to be trusted in their criticism of it. However, the sand must be done right to be good.

Seven points! That’s the points deficit for Eli Tomac as he put on another riding clinic in Detroit and won. He started well (again), he was better than second place rider Marvin Musquin in the whoops (which held up because the dirt was so dry), he made maybe the pass of the year in the sand, and yeah, he’s on fire right now. He’s a bit of a throttle happy rider so one might think the slippery dirt in Detroit would have bit him, but nope. I didn’t see one sketchy moment from him. He rode behind Marv, passed Marv, and slowly pulled away. Oh man, this thing is getting good, huh?

Next time you’re at a race, watch Musquin in practice or heck, even in the race. He is such a creative guy and he’s always doing something cool and different, even if it’s slower. This weekend he was the first guy I saw roll the wall, single/wheel tap/over the third jump. He was also going hard into the sand and using a little bump to pre-jump himself over the big braking bump. He wouldn’t clear it totally and he couldn’t do it for long, but it was definitely faster while the bump held up. Just the little things he finds each week is pretty cool.

Ryan Dungey rode well to finish third, but he was stuck behind Davi Millsaps for way longer than he would have liked. Millsaps was riding well and looking for his first podium since 2013. Dungey qualified better this week in third (the track was so basic that there were 12 guys in the same second one session. Twelve!) and he got out early to get some laps in, he also won his heat, but in the end, his main event start did him in. But hey, we’ve talked about Dungey getting caught and passed late in the race by Musquin twice now and wondered what was up with that. Well, in Detroit he turned his fastest lap (.6 off Tomac and third overall) on lap 18 so that shows his fitness is fine. I don’t know, man, something is still up with Ryan or Davi Millsaps, out of the blue, got WAY faster on Saturday night.

David Vuillemin wrote about it in his column on Pulpmx.com and it’s the same thing I’m wondering. When does KTM step in and say to Millsaps or Blake Baggett (who caught Dungey late in the race) or even Marv, that if Dungey is coming up on you or if you catch Dungey late in the race (Marv) then can you please make his life a tad easier? I’m not saying we need to go all “Let Brock Bye” and pull over, but as I said, it can be “Hey Marv, if you catch Dungey late in the race, maybe don’t pass him?” or “Hey Davi and Blake, can you not try to race Dungey like it’s the last race of your life?” That’s all, nothing big or drastic. Just be aware of Dungey and let’s bring this title back to the Orange Brigade safely, yeah?

Jordon Smith had to go the LCQ after a questionable pass attempt on Kyle Cunningham but with the 18th gate pick, from the far outside, he pulled a good start and used some terrific riding to pass three top-notch dudes to win his first main event of the year. Last year Smith struggled on GEICO Honda, but the team still wanted to bring him back. Smith chose to leave and asked to get out of his deal and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM snatched him up.

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RacerX Observations : 2017 Detroit