Heard anything about San Diego, anyone? Yeah, the news is everywhere in our sport. The track crew in San Diego, in an effort to dry up the dirt, threw some lime on the track that just ended up sitting in some standing water. According to Tyler Bowers, he spoke to some track guys who said it was a third helping of the dirt-drying agent. The addition of lime to the dirt has been a very good thing; it's helped make tracks better no doubt about it. I have to laugh at the people in the industry who are shocked at the crew adding this stuff. Uhhh yeah, it's been around for twenty plus years and has helped way more than it's hurt.
This was too much lime though, as we have all seen on social media. Like, WAY too much. Somebody screwed up big-time and the riders and bikes are paying the price. Many riders couldn't practice this week due to the chemical burns from the lime, most of them in very, ummmm, sensitive areas at that. Most suspension that had coatings on it were ruined. It's not a good scene.
It's a huge controversy right now as Feld scrambles to find out what happened, privateers scramble to get new parts and teams try to salvage what they can. Feld put out a press release saying they were looking into it and that was a good first step although it was heavily lawyered up. The fact they said there was an "unprecedented amount of rain" in the PR was laughable but, hey, they said they were going to reach out to the riders and teams affected to try to get to the bottom of this.
Higher-ups from Feld have been reaching out to privateers and teams all week to assess the damage, find out how their bodies are doing and to explain the situation. Props to them for doing it. It's a pro-active step for sure but one that was needed. To ignore this would've been really bad.
They are also offering privateers $5000 for their troubles, which, again, is pretty cool. Here is the thing though: I spoke with three of them who aren't taking the money. They are waiting to see how they feel this weekend, when the burns go away and how much they are into their wallets for replacement parts. I think that's a smart thing to do. After all, who takes the first offer from someone who is obviously in the wrong?
Behind the scenes the riders I talk to, including some big names, are showing more solidarity than ever before. Will something come of this in terms of a association or a class-action lawsuit? I doubt that but, hey, this is pretty serious for a lot of riders. I do know that an aftermarket company in the sport has received a couple of calls from two different lawyers seeing what retail replacement is on their parts so someone out there has gone and gotten legal representation.
I got a call from a rider asking me what he should do and this rider wasn't really affected that bad from the lime. He appreciated the call and also thought the 5K was cool, but wasn't sure what he should do. Other riders are calling him to tell him to turn it down and he's on the fence as of this writing.
Where does this go from here? I'm not sure, to be honest I didn't think that Feld would ever reach into their wallets so, again, props to them for trying to make it right. The riders though aren't so sure and we'll see where this goes from here. Fascinating time in the sport right now and perhaps this is a crossroads of some sort?
A little mini 250SX East preview for you guys. We just saw the 250SX West guys out there for five weeks and now the east begins for the next three and then there is a combined East/West Showdown. The way I see it is that there are three title favourites and a couple of wildcards that could, maybe, perhaps, take the whole enchilada. Let's break this down, yeah?
|Title Favourites (Martin Davalos, Austin Forkner and Jordon Smith)|
I think these guys are about equal. Smith is more consistent than the other two, but I think the other two have Jordon covered in pure speed. I think Forkner could absolutely have figured out that you have to slow down to go fast and then he'll rip off a bunch of wins and walk to the title. He is that good. Marty is Marty, he'll be great, win a bunch of heats, set a fast time in qualifying and then… Something will happen to him in the main events or maybe in his thirteenth year in the 250SX class things will change. I do think your title winner is coming out of one of these three.
|Wildcards (Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper)|
Both young kids without much experience in supercross, neither of these youngins have won a race yet so winning their first race and winning the title is a tough ask but, hey, maybe one of these dudes can do it? Sexton needs to work on his starts and Cooper needs to get more experience, but there's plenty of "Cooper is FLYING at the test track" talk.
|Veterans (Alex Martin, Christian Craig, Mitchell Oldenburg and Kyle Peters)|
Craig would be higher on this list but he is coming in with one or two days of SX practice after hurting his hand in the off-season. He'll start slow and build each week. Will he win a race? I mean, he could. We have been saying that for a while though. Peters is gonna Peters meaning he'll be solid, between fifth and tenth with some good rides here and there. Martin needs to get back to being a potential podium guy on the new RM-Z250; he has had two straight years of supercross ruined by injury. I'm on the Troll Train though in case you are wondering.
|Your Guess Is As Good As Mine (Thomas Covington, Marshal Weltin, Mitchell Falk and Jordan Bailey)|
We have four riders who have zero (or relatively zero) supercross experience but three of them have factory bikes (poor Weltin) and will be set up to have some success. Covington's been in Europe for a long time and the reason he headed there was because he didn't like SX. Weltin's a privateer and working with Broc Tickle, so that's interesting. The other two kids? I don't know bro, hence the title.
|Perhaps A Sleeper? (Brandon Hartranft)|
The Yamaha rider is good, like he's really good. Not afraid to send it either. I think Brandon could be a surprise here. Will he win? No, but he could have some very good results and be the guy who has all of us are going "Huh?" by the end of the series. Stay tuned.
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: ConwayMX