Is it just us, or is this Monster Energy Supercross season flying by?
Much like that other sport that regularly spends time at AT&T Stadium, last weekend’s host venue, and Ford Field, which plays host to this weekend’s event, the Supercross schedule features 17 weeks of action. There’s one “bye” week in there to give these athletes a break from the full-contact action we’ve been seeing every weekend so far, and the competition has been fierce.
But unlike football’s championship game, which was a total dud this year, the Supercross title fight has been anything but boring. Here’s a look into what’s going down as we head into Detroit:
After being absent from last year’s schedule, Detroit returns in 2019 as the eighth of 17 stops in the Supercross 450 season. That year, Eli Tomac stood atop the podium for Monster Energy Kawasaki, with Red Bull KTM teammates Marvin Musquin and Ryan Dungey finishing second and third.
There’s a strong bet that the same three bikes will be on the podium this time around, except with championship leader Cooper Webb standing in Dungey’s place. Webb seized control of the 450 standings back from Honda’s Ken Roczen last weekend in Arlington with a ballsy last-corner move to force Roczen to the outside in the drag race to the finish. Webb nipped Roczen by just .028 seconds at the finish line in the closest finish in modern Supercross history, scoring his remarkable fourth win in the first seven rounds of the season.
It was a heartbreaker for Roczen, who had done everything right up to that point by winning his heat and leading most of the final. They remain separated by just two points in the standings, 150-148, with Musquin third at 144 and Tomac fourth at 134. Dean Wilson, now back at Rockstar Energy Husqvarna after starting the season as a privateer, may not have taken a podium yet, but his consistent results still have him fifth in the standings.
The 450 rookie battle finally saw its final contender make his season debut, as Zach Osborne joined the fray as Wilson’s teammate. Unfortunately, Osborne completed just eight of the 25 laps in his first final of the year. Last year’s 250 West champion Aaron Plessinger remains atop the rookie standings as the only rider to crack the overall top 10, but Joey Savatgy has back-to-back top fives and is closing fast.
250 East Class
It’s official: Austin Forkner is the 250 rider to beat in the East after scoring back-to-back wins to start the season. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider has led every single lap in the first two main events of the year for the division, giving him a respectable eight-point lead over Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper going into the third round of the season in Detroit.
But don’t sleep on last year’s runner-up, Jordon Smith of Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM. If not for a late fall in Arlington, last weekend’s podium might have looked exactly the same as it did in Minneapolis; instead, Smith fell to fourth, with Chase Sexton taking the third and final spot on the box. For what it’s worth, Smith won this race the last time Supercross visited Detroit two years ago.
Only a handful of riders who have entered 250 East so far this year will be returning from that race. Aside from Smith, only five riders who have started an event in 2019 competed in Detroit in 2017: Kyle Cunningham, Christian Craig, Lorenzo Locurcio, Joshua Cartwright, and Henry Miller. Of that group, Cunningham is the only rider in the top 10 in points; Craig elected to spend more time recuperating from a thumb injury after a 20th place finish in the Minneapolis opener.