A Matthes Report: Arlington

Steve Matthes checks in

· 5 min read

Well, the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series is turning into a bit of a MASH clinic as the weeks march on. Yamaha’s Justin Barcia and Kawasaki’s Josh Grant are the latest victims of the sport and will be out weeks, if not a month or so. With KTM’s Marvin Musquin and Grant’s teammate, Eli Tomac, both missing time with injuries and of course Honda’s Kenny Roczen out for SX, Jason Anderson’s path to the title seems pretty clear now.

Here are some more random thoughts on random topics as we head to Tampa for round eight of the series.

– Okay, one shoe has dropped when it was announced that Tyler Bowers would fill in for Josh Grant on the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. It is an easy choice to make; Bowers is the only other Kawasaki rider making the mains, he knows the guys well and he’ll be a good fill-in. By the way, props to Tyler because at Anaheim 1 I talked to him about his plans as a privateer and he told me that he hoped that by Dallas he would have a fill-in ride with someone. Well, he was off by one race!

Bowers has been pretty good this year and he got a lot better when he got some testing in before Oakland. He ran consistently in the top ten that day and was one minute and one lap from finishing there in the main when he crashed badly. Since then he has been fighting through those injuries. It is a real shame he crashed, we might have seen a pretty good Bear!

Eli Tomac will have a new teammate, Tyler Bowers, this weekend (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

As far as the other ride filling in for Justin Barcia, well I would say that the team has to fill someone in because their title sponsor is the same as Kawasaki’s in Monster. The energy drink company teams are wanting to get “X" number of riders out there to fulfil their contracts with teams. The obvious answer for Yamaha is not there really. They would not put Aaron Plessinger on the bike, as he is currently leading the 250SX West series. Maybe Kyle Chisholm, but he has got a drink deal with 5150 going on and he would need to go back to 250SX soon for the combined shootout.

There is not really a privateer in the 450s that could step in for the BluCru. I wonder if they would approach someone like Ben Lamay, who has been very good but perhaps not good enough for the factory team and would Ben want to leave his set-up (that has been working for him) for a month or so? Barcia will not be out that long I do not think. Stay tuned for this announcement soon, I have a feeling it will be a surprise. Hey, maybe they could call Davi Millsaps? Oh… wait.

– Speaking of Yamaha, is Cooper Webb back? Well, he did not go anywhere but we have been waiting for Webb to be up there more consistently. He scored his best result of the year in Dallas with a sixth, he won his heat and was fast in qualifying practice. The dirt was a tad softer than we have been seeing but I don’t think that was it. Webb came into the year a bit banged up and perhaps he is finally feeling a bit healthier?

I don’t hear much of the “Oh shit yeah Webb’s going to KTM in 2019" talk that I heard all last year. Not exactly sure why, maybe KTM are waiting to see Webb step up a bit like all of us? I have been adamant that I think it is coming, you do not win a 250MX title by accident and to me, that motocross title, not a 250SX title, means that you are one of the greats.

Cooper Webb is on the rise and starting to set his sights on the box (Monster Energy Media/Octopi)

– Chad Reed has going to break the all-time 450SX starts record this weekend in his home race of Tampa (how is that for irony?). He is not stoked on his rides so far this year as his fitness does not allow him to push it that hard and his ankle does not allow him to get his old speed back. It is a vicious circle for the 22 right now. If I’m honest, I thought he would be a bit better by now because of the respect I have for the 22 but I think slowly the last couple of weeks we have seen flashes of speed and talent there. I hope we get to see Reed in the mix for a top five at some point. Whatever he does, this record and all his other stats indicate that he is simply a legend.

– The Kawasaki guys were so not happy with Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne last year when he tangled with Pro Circuit’s Adam Cianciarulo in practice at Indianapolis that left AC on the ground with a knee issue. Then there was his last lap, two turns to go pass on Joey Savatgy that won him the 250SX East title. The green guys were not stoked on Wacko Zacho for those two passes but if you’re Osborne, you would say that AC started it in Indy with an aggressive move off the start in practice and he just retaliated. The pass on Savatgy in Vegas was aggressive, for sure, but it was for the title and it wasn’t out of line in my opinion. Savatgy’s whisky throttle afterwards made it look worse.

Then this past weekend Osborne completed the Pro Circuit trifecta with a move on Austin Forkner that left him on the ground. I watched the replay and, in my eyes, Forkner cut down into Osborne who was coming up the inside and in an aggressive manner. There is that word again. That does not mean it is dirty, right? I have a feeling that Mitch Payton’s guys have just about reached their limit on Osborne at this point and I know this isn’t ‘Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome’ and there is not this frontier justice thing going on, but I’d look for Osborne to be dealt with by Forkner if he gets a chance.

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

Play and win prizes