A Matthes Report: Daytona

Insight from PulpMX's Matthes

· 4 min read

We’re getting near the end of this thing. Just six rounds are left in the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series and this weekend in St Louis promises a return to the normal type of racing. We had a Triple-Crown format in Atlanta and of course last weekend in Daytona was anything but a usual supercross.

St Louis has some of the best dirt on the circuit. Always great traction, a good crowd and usually great tracks. Not sure what it is about The Loo, but rather sneakily it has become a great race. We’ve seen some great events happen there over the years. From Jeff Emig stopping Jeremy McGrath’s win streak in ’96 to a titanic battle between James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto to a crazy 250SX main event a couple of years ago, St. Louis is the hot spot for crazy racing.

St. Louis will provide the perfect battleground for the 250SX East title fight (Husqvarna/Simon Cudby)

Some other news and notes from the series:

– Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner’s third place in Daytona gathered him enough points to tie Rockstar Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne for the 250SX points lead, so we’ll have two red plates this weekend. With the loss of GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire and JGR Suzuki’s Jimmy Decotis last weekend, those two will have even less riders to deal with in the main events. These two riders are shadowed by TLD KTM’s Jordon Smith who is eight points back and coming off a Daytona win.

We had Smith on the Pulpmx Show this past Monday night and he acknowledged that Forkner and Osborne’s rivalry that has been just shy of WWIII could be a factor in helping him out. Smith’s no stranger to rough riding, but he knows that the two frontrunners could let emotions get the better of them and wants to be there to take advantage. This series is going to get very interesting in the next couple of weeks.

– Jason Anderson worst finish this season had been a fourth until this past weekend. A bad heat, bad start and a fall in Daytona had put him in a hole that was tough to recover from. A seventh at the Speedway wasn’t great but it could’ve been way worse. Justin Brayton, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb (the three podium riders at Daytona) are not factors in the title chase. It is Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin that Jason has to worry about and Marv could’ve gotten the points ten closer had he been able to hold onto the lead he took early on. But. nope, he self-destructed with a couple of crashes and could only gain two on Anderson.

It’s not that Anderson is lucky. Oh, hell no, you have to earn everything you get in supercross, but it is an indication of everything going his way in 2018. Chad Reed’s a guy that knows something about winning titles and says that he’s been there; when it’s your year, it’s your year. Whether it’s the injuries that knocked Tomac out of two races and Musquin out of one or Roczen out for the year, everything is coming up 21 for the Husky rider.  If I was the team manager, I’d wrap Jason up with bubble wrap, stress to him to keep his emotions in check and walk to a first ever 450SX title.

Justin Brayton is still dominating headlines, one week on from that win (Honda Racing Corporation)

– Still nutty to think about MCR Honda’s Justin Brayton winning the Daytona SX. What a night it was for the veteran who set two records with his win. First he was the oldest rider to ever win a 450SX (breaking Mike Larocco’s record) and he also became the rider with the most races before winning his first 450SX (breaking Andrew Short’s record). What an accomplishment for Justin, his team and Honda’s got to be stoked. They’ve lost both of their main riders to injury and they capture perhaps the most prestigious supercross of the season and in a year that they, for the first time in over thirty years, didn’t sponsor the race. Oh and the #10 rider won the tenth round of supercross on March 10!

– Red Bull KTM’s Broc Tickle was expected to take a leap this year as he was with a great bike and team and signed up to work with trainer Aldon Baker. It wasn’t hard to see Tickle, a good dude that works hard, emulate Osborne and fill out the missing piece of his programme. Maybe not a double champion like Osborne because, this just in, the 450 class is much harder, but a podium threat week in and week out.

But so far it just hasn’t happened. A couple of fifths for Tickle has been about the highlight and, truthfully, he hasn’t even really run up front much. There haven’t been any flashes of speed from Broc almost this entire season. At Anaheim 1 he was leading the first heat of the year, crashed back and that’s almost set the tone for the rest of the year. It’s rather mystifying to be honest. Tickle had a good year with the RCH Suzuki crew and it looked like he’d continue upwards, but just hasn’t.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: KTM Images/Simon Cudby

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