A Matthes Report: Anaheim 2

Insight from PulpMX's Steve Matthes

· 6 min read

I loved the Triple-Crown format at Anaheim 2. If you listened to any of the shows I did this week or read Observations on Racer X,  then you know my feelings. Let's do more of these things! So, in order to give you guys something different than a standard review from the race, let’s dive into a few topics that I think are interesting and rumoured to be out there. Let's keep in mind that these are rumours, not verified as true, but from some people that would be in a position to know, you know?

RUMOUR: Malcolm Stewart to stay on with JGR Suzuki when Justin Bogle returns from injury.

MY THOUGHTS: Yeah, I like it! I think it is going to happen as well. I spoke with JGR owner Coy Gibbs on Saturday night about the situation and he's amendable to keeping Stewart on the team. He just doesn't want to pay for it, so Stewart and his team are working on finding some funding and, with Bogle returning this weekend, the team will have three RMZ450's out there. Stewart's been good, not great, in his two races for the guys after riding a Kawasaki in the off-season. He is popular with the fans, he has got great potential and is a solid addition to any team. Stay tuned to see if some new logos appear on Stewart's jersey in the next few weeks, which means he has found some sponsorship to stay on the team.

Justin Barcia is expected to stay with Monster Energy Knich Yamaha (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

RUMOUR: Davi Millsaps is done at Yamaha and Justin Barcia is already signed to a deal for the entire year.

MY THOUGHTS: Well, I have been saying that it is unlikely that Millsaps races this year. It was thought to be his last year as a professional and he sustained a bad concussion in the pre-season, which led to Yamaha giving Barcia a six-race deal in the first place. I spoke to a Yamaha team member who told me that if Millsaps comes back, they will have to have three bikes. Yeah, there is definitely no way Yamaha would want to let Barcia go and I cannot imagine Justin wanting to test the waters with the way it has gone. So count this rumour as not believable in the fact that I don't think a decision on Millsaps has been reached just yet. I still don't think he'll race again and I believe Barcia stays on the team all year so, in the end, I think this will prove to turn out correct.

Ken Roczen made a statement by wearing his Shift gear from a year ago (Honda Racing Corporation)

I caught up to Ken Roczen after a sub-par (for him) Anaheim 2 and his thoughts on the Triple-Crown format. 

MX Vice: First of all, the wearing the gear was a gnarly move. Ballsy, man! Was it your idea? Did Fox come to you and say, put the Shift stuff on?

Ken Roczen: No, it was my idea pretty much. I asked and they thought it was a great idea. Great idea as in I don't know if anybody would do it, but I'm like that would be sick. It would be sick to do something like that, so that's what we did. It was something else. I don't think that that really made a difference in my riding or whatever, because then I had other gear on and it didn't really…  But, all in all, going back to Shift for that one race, just making a statement and mixing it up. Right now everybody does the same thing, so if we can kind of mix it up and get a little bit of excitement in there it is kind of cool.

There is no other rider in the pits who would do that, I don’t think. Your night wasn't great. Good in the last main event, better. But really starts, starts, starts did you in and on top of that you probably were not stoked on your riding. Had you gotten a start, maybe something could have happened?

Yeah, for sure. A start even when you ride crappy, a start is always going to kind of float you around a little bit, but it was like I was down there and, like I said, I was riding like on eggshells, but also on the start I didn't feel like myself. So, then having the crappy starts and just ping-ponging around and not riding good by any means. The worst part was that after the first one, when I knew I didn't feel good and whatnot, the worst part is that I had two more mains to go, so that was not necessarily fun. But honestly I’m just happy that this weekend is done. It's not like from last weekend to this weekend I all of a sudden don't know how to ride a dirt bike anymore.

Roczen is content with how he has performed through three rounds (Honda Racing Corporation)

So, something was up. I can"t really pinpoint this is exactly why it was the way it was, but I think it's just lingering from last year. It's just there, whether you want to accept it or face it or you know that's there or not. It might not be right in the front of your head, but it is somewhere in there. Definitely not our night, but I'm glad that this one's done so we can move onto next weekend.

Maybe you are biased because you didn’t have a good night, but triple-crown format in general? Can we do more of them?

I personally did not like them. I did not have a good night, but even if I would have had a good night I don't think it would have changed that much. I'm not a big fan of it. I like one long main event and a heat race and that's it.

Three rounds down from your comeback. One not so good tonight, one very good last weekend and one pretty good at A1. How are we doing overall three races in?

Very well. I love what I do, I really do. It's a lot easier leaving the track doing good like last weekend and everything, but that is something that makes champions because there's still a lot of racing to go and you can always bounce back. I just told Oscar, let's say you get the championship and whatever, you're going to look back to that one race where you leave the track and you're like, "man, this sucked, but it’s all worth it." The best part is that we are not where we were last year, which was in the hospital. It's such a huge step that we made in the right direction and we're just so happy to be healthy.

From here on out, I said it before, I don't want to have any too high or too low. I hope that this was my worst weekend. We got to just click off podiums and wins for sure. Got to be patient. I'd rather be out there racing and get podiums instead of crashing out and then maybe winning and then crashing out again or whatever. Same what I've been doing the last couple of rounds.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Octopi

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