We’re getting near the end of the Monster Energy Supercross series with just two races left and then it’s onto the outdoors. It’s been a bit of a predictable series, with Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey on his way to a third 450SX championship and rather easily at that. The series has been fortunate, also, in that we haven’t had too many injuries so it’s been a pretty full field from week to week. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac hasn’t been as good as we thought he’d be, Soaring Eagle Suzuki’s Kenny Roczen started slower than we thought he would and Honda’s Trey Canard has yet to register a single podium in thirteen races (he’s missed two with injury).
It’s been a tough year for the former winner with crashes and bad starts being the main culprits for the results. It seemed for a while no matter what Canard did, the proverbial anvil fell on him and it wasn’t always his doing. Usually it was the starts but, if he did get a good one, a rider would go down in front of him. Sometimes he just crashed early and spent the rest of the race trying to make up time.
There’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel for the #41 with four top fives in a row. Yes, that’s still not what he or Honda thought he would get coming into the series, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it’s been.
After his latest finish (5th) in Foxborough, Canard admitted that he was happy with his race “I feel bad saying that (that he was happy)" Canard told me. “I would really like to do a lot better. I expect to do better, and I think I should expect to do better. Hopefully I can get on the box these last two rounds."
It’s a contract year for Trey and his teammate Cole Seely. With Roczen likely moving to Honda, there seems to be room for just one more red rider. Lots of moving parts around the paddock with Canard talking to Monster Kawasaki and RCH for a spot along with I’m sure some others.
Two races left and the grueling outdoors await, where Trey’s won plenty of races as well as a 250MX title. For now though, Canard’s looking to try and end his supercross season on somewhat of a high note.
“Things are moving the right direction. But I’ll be content. Fifth’s better than last, better than what I was doing. There’s a lot of shines of things that are good as far as the riding. So I just got to pull from that and keep moving forward."
Whether the long-time Honda rider is in his last twelve races with a red front fender or not is yet to be seen but somehow I think the motocross series is going to be better for 41. The 2016 450SX series has not been one to remember for the Okie.
This past weekend we had our second daytime supercross in a row with the new Foxborough round joining St Louis as rounds where the track walk was at 7:30am. If you’re a rider who lives on the west coast that means your body was telling you that you needed to figure out what rhythms to do at 4:30am! The reason for this was because the early starts allowed the folks at Feld Motorsports (the promoters) to get onto FOX TV channel as opposed to Fox Sports 1. The difference? The main FOX Network is part of your basic cable package that pretty much everyone gets (one hundred and sixteen million homes with a TV) when they get a TV while FS1 is in eighty-four million homes.
Fox isn’t going to give supercross a Saturday night, spot but apparently Saturday morning’s all right for racing! Hence we all head to the track early. In my opinion the crowd’s definitely affected by the daytime racing and the atmosphere isn’t as great, but if the early shows attract more people to TV to watch what this great sport is about, then awesome. Traditionally Saturday night isn’t very good for TV ratings either, so it’s a chance for some new eyeballs to see our athletes jump their motorcycles around.
We’re in a new era of racing where TV and the sport itself are interconnected to make sure the people at home are getting everything they can. The live three hour shows in HD are done well and the sport’s come a long way from its roots, as just a few years ago we had to wait to watch a race where we already knew what happened. We have to make some sacrifices here or there along the way in an attempt to get to where we all want to be.
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Honda Racing Corporation