Who would have thought that the track conditions inside a domed stadium would be more difficult than one outside? Well, so far in three visits to domed stadiums the riders of Monster Energy Supercross have had to compete on arguably the three most difficult tracks of the season. Last weekend in Indy proved to the one of the toughest tests of many riders’ career and fittingly enough, the race produced wild moments and a shakeup in the championship.
Each week, The Holeshot will provide 22 takeaways – a full starting gate – from the most recent round of action.
1. Soft was the word of the day in Indy after a harsh winter left the dirt with little to no structure. Despite the best efforts of Feld Motor Sports and the Dirt Wurx crew, the soil simply couldn’t withstand the continued churning of knobby tires and resulted in a rutted out, deteriorating race surface. As a result, we witnessed the wildest night of the season thus far.
2. James Stewart hit the nail on the head when he described he and the rest of his competitors looking like “squirrels” after posting the fastest lap of practice. The track was genuinely that difficult to ride that everyone would need to be just as worried about keeping it on two wheels as they would making passes.
3. Aside from the actual condition of the dirt, the track layout itself was challenging with a short start, tricky rhythm lanes, a sand section that featured a wall jump, another wall jump coming out of whoops, and a big double after the finish line just to name a few. The riders were busy throughout an entire lap.
4. As a result of all the variables playing into the outcome of the race, the start became even more important on that night than any other this season. The less work one would have to do in battling other riders, the more he would be able to focus on his own lines and, in turn, the faster he would be. With the start being just the width of the floor, even coming out up front would be no easy task.
5. Ryan Dungey grabbed his best start of the season while every one of his closest competitors found themselves on the ground. The advantage went to Dungey in just a matter of feet and as one of the most consistent riders in history, he took full advantage of it.
6. It’s been a very slow start to the year for Dungey, filled with ups and downs, but after that win you’ve got to think a lot of those issues he and the team felt it had were immediately erased. That’s what confidence will do in this sport. The worry and second-guessing simply fades away. Jumping from fourth to second in the championship, Dungey’s back in a familiar spot and is top dog again at KTM.
7. A lot of credit needs to be given to Mike Alessi, who was well on his way to a career-best runner-up effort before going down and giving it all away. Alessi led four laps and was impressively quick. Considering the week he had after the chaos in Atlanta, it had to be a good feeling. If he and the team can manage to overcome the heartbreak of what could have been, Mike has a nice foundation to build off of moving forward.
8. Alessi’s misfortune turned into Eli Tomac and Cole Seely’s gain as each rider ultimately secured his first 450SX Class podium. Tomac has a long, tough road in his rookie season but now looks to be back in top form. It will be interesting to see how he and the team capitalize on that effort. As for Seely, the no-pressure, have fun mentality of being a fill-in rider worked in his favor. On a night that could have been very tough for Honda without Barcia or Canard on the track, these young guns provided the OEM with its best night to date in 2014.
9. Ryan Villopoto surely saw his title hopes flash before his eyes as he went down with Ken Roczen out of the gate. On a track that would not be easy to race on normally, let alone from behind, Villopoto got up in dead last and put on a charge. Perhaps one of the most impressive of his career. He had a lot of close calls along the way, but Villopoto managed to pass an astounding 18 riders on a track where anyone would have considered that to be impossible. It’s not the wins that build championships. It’s those nights that force you to dig deep and make the most out of nothing. The champ did just that and is sitting pretty for a fourth consecutive title.
10. Roczen was doing well to keep pace with Villopoto as they climbed through the field, but hit the ground hard again later in the race, ultimately resulting in a DNF. While he is still enjoying a hugely impressive rookie campaign, he now has to track down the series’ two major stalwarts in order to keep his title hopes alive.
11. As for Stewart, his hopes of a third win ended in the first turn following an incident with Josh Hill that also collected Dean Wilson. Stewart wasn’t able to make up as much ground as Villopoto and based on the team’s explanation after the race, it was due to a severely mangled bike, making his climb to seventh that much more impressive.
12. Through nine rounds, every race winner but Villopoto has recorded a DNF. Because of that, the champ holds a comfortable 23-point lead over his old foe Dungey. There’s still a lot of racing left this season, but Villopoto is in a very enviable position and knows he doesn’t need to push the limits for the time being. Not one for being conservative, don’t expect RV to let off the gas at all, but the option is there if needed.
13. Dean Wilson made his 450SX Class debut in Indy and quietly brought home a top 10 effort his first time out on Chad Reed’s bike. Wilson’s nerves were definitely getting to him, but he made progress each time out and was able to overcome the crash at the start of the main event to work through the field and log a solid run. With one out of the way, he can start to open things up a bit and show the world what he’s capable of.
14. The battle for the East Region 250SX Class crown looks as though it will come down to a battle between rookie Adam Cianciarulo and veteran Martin Davalos. With each rider’s respective experience in supercross, this makes for an interesting dynamic moving forward. It’s even more accentuated knowing they’re teammates.
15. Cianciarulo’s second win in three races came at the expense of Davalos yet again. While the rookie is incredibly fast, even he has admitted that he’s not quite at the level of his teammate right now. Nevertheless, he’s the one with the red plate and the momentum.
16. For some reason, bad luck seems to enjoy picking on Davalos. He had yet another win in hand, only to have an exposed piece of plywood force his bike into the tuff blocks. Just like Dallas, Davalos recovered well to finish second, but he could easily be 3-0 to start this season rather than five points behind.
17. The GEICO Honda squad appears to be hitting its stride, posting 3-4 results behind Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s 1-2 effort. Justin Bogle has back-to-back podium results and even moved up the championship standings, while rookie Matt Bisceglia showed his potential with a fourth-place run.
18. For the second straight week, Blake Baggett had to overcome a bad start and climb through the field just to finish fifth. He and his team have put in extra hours on starts, but it looks that they’ll need to keep plugging away. Baggett is undoubtedly on par with his teammates, but he’s going to need to put himself up front to keep the title within sight.
19. After a nightmarish opening two rounds, Jeremy Martin finally broke into the main event. Unfortunately, the positives ended there as an early crash in the main relegated him to 19th. On the bright side, the sophomore rider is making progress and it will be just a matter of time before he’s battling up front.
20. Cianciarulo turned heads and showed his seemingly limitless potential in Indy by doing a treacherous quad rhythm in both his heat race and main event. He was the only 250SX rider to even attempt it and was one of just two riders to do it all night, along with Stewart. The rookie is starting to figure things out pretty quickly.
21. After his DNF at Anaheim 3, most would have agreed that Dungey would have never been able to climb out of his sixth-place hole and back into the title hunt given how well his rivals were performing. Now just a month later, he’s second and has the most momentum heading into the second half of the season.
22. Lastly, did you happen to see Ivan Tedesco’s wild ride? If not, don’t wait any longer and watch in awe, as he was able to walk away from this.Adam Cianciarulo, Indianapolis, Ivan Tedesco, James Stewart, Ken Roczen, Martin Davalos, Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, Supercross, Video