Pre-Race: Oakland

#DropTheGate on round five.

#DropTheGate on round five.

Although we have vacated Southern California, thanks to a lengthy trip on Interstate 5, not much has changed. Rain has caused havoc on the floor of the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, but the track crew have worked overtime in an effort to salvage the circuit.

What sits in front of us is remarkably similar to what we had at the first three Monster Energy Supercross rounds, as the covers have been removed from the track and a chalk-like substance is being mixed into the soil. Whether we end up with a quagmire or not depends on whether more precipitation falls today and, thankfully, it seems that we may avoid it. Rain was initially forecast for the whole day, but it is now expected during just one hour of this afternoon.

The dirt in Oakland is typically quite soft anyway, so it should break down a lot no matter what occurs. It will certainly be a challenging surface to master and one that should favour a guy like Marvin Musquin, who will be looking to rebound from a turbulent time in Arizona. There are two sets of whoops this weekend and, although they are not too big, the fact that they will deteriorate so much will make them treacherous.

Can Blake Baggett turn his practice speed into a top-five finish (Sean Ogden)

The track map is a useful tool this weekend, by the way, as the design has not changed too much. A handful of singles are missing, but aside from that the rhythms are similar. Seeing as the floor is one of the smaller ones on the schedule, although they do squeeze football in here, there are not really any gnarly sections that offer a ton of line choice. There are some intriguing obstacles though!

There is more to focus on than just the track, of course, as we attempt to establish which of the events that occurred a week ago are the new normal. Eli Tomac will be looking to carry all of that momentum into Northern California, but will his latest setup changes work as well on a soft surface? Chad Reed is in a similar boat. Meanwhile, in the 250SX West division, Shane McElrath and Justin Hill continue to squabble over the role of favourite.

Remember, Oakland is not following the stereotypical schedule. That is great news for European fans, as it just got a whole lot easier to follow the action! Practice is about to start and the live stream is already well underway.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Sean Ogden

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