The Seattle round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series is notorious for two things: rain and deep ruts. The event lived up to these expectations this past weekend, as frequent rain showers throughout the day tested the strength of all of the riders.
Although the ruts were very deep in places, they were nothing in comparison to what riders had to deal with a couple of years ago. It seems as though FELD Motorsports have obtained some new soil for the event, or perhaps it is stored differently? Either way, the soil seems a lot harder than it has been in the past. For instance, in 2011 there would literally be one rut all of the way around the track; it seems something has changed, and it is for the better.
I was not really a fan of the track this weekend; it seemed one-lined and very tight. Of course this had something to do with the wet weather; however, it was definitely not a mud race. It was the section in between the finish and where you looped back onto the start straight that struck me as incredibly tight; it seemed as though the only option for a rider was to go inside to inside. I do believe that they made the Seattle circuit slightly easier, as it was the first race back after the eight-week break for those guys in the 250SX West class.
Chad Reed has not had the best of luck at Qwest Field, where the Seattle round of the series is held. It seems that every time Reed visits the location he finds himself taking a soil sample, this year was no different. In the 450SX main event there were a handful of riders that fell in the first turn and Reed got the worst of it, unfortunately. Interestingly Reed fell as a result of Justin Barcia cutting over on Ryan Villopoto. Justin started in between Ryan and Chad; whilst he was trying to move over to the inside he clipped the front wheel of RV, as a result he was sent flying to the outside. However he bounced off of Chad Reed, which helped Ryan regain balance. But Reed ended up falling into the back of Kyle Partridge’s Honda.
Chad Reed did not rejoin the race, as he walked off clutching his wrist. Although he was a bit battered and bruised, Reed has revealed that he is fine and he will be back on the line in Salt Lake City this weekend for the penultimate round. Although Ryan Villopoto rounded the first turn on the edge of the top ten, he somehow sat in third by the third turn; it was a great way for him to rebound from the issue. RV actually got very lucky in the first turn; someone could have hit him quite easily. It could have turned into a repeat of 2012, where Ryan went out of the race on lap one with an ACL injury.
Obviously by now, everyone knows that Justin Barcia won the main event. Much like his first win in Phoenix, he controlled the race from the very beginning. Villopoto was quite close for much of the race, but he was never close enough to even attempt a pass. RV had stated that he had a few places where he thought that he could attempt to pass, if he got close enough. However, the opportunity never arose. Still the fact that he extended his points lead made it a good weekend for the reigning champion. But it was even better for Justin Barcia.
Interestingly this was the first visit to the podium for Barcia since Daytona; it is fair to say the team that surrounds him were starting to get frustrated. In between Daytona and Seattle, he did not drop outside of the top five once. Despite this, Justin wanted to be up on the podium and winning races. Perhaps he set the bar too high for himself early, by winning round two it did seem to elevate the expectations that most had of him. But he has been quite consistent for the most part, which is quite hard to do in your rookie 450SX season.
Overall it was a great ride for Justin Barcia. Despite the pressure Ryan Villopoto was applying to him, he managed to keep it together on an extremely tough track. The Muscle Milk Honda rider must have known that Ryan was right there, but Barcia was able to keep his composure and hit his lines perfectly on every lap; the display of riding that he showcased looked like something that you would see from a wily veteran. It seems as though some of the hype that surrounded Barcia has disappeared, maybe this ride will remind everyone what he is capable of.
Now, the riders will head to Salt Lake City for the penultimate round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series; it is quite hard to believe that this series is winding down already. It is quite interesting that Ryan Villopoto could wrap up the title on Saturday night potentially. Currently, he has a twenty-five-point lead. So to wrap up the title he has to beat both Davi Millsaps and Ryan Dungey, which is a realistic goal as he has beat the pair countless times this year.
Words by Lewis Phillips