The Monster Energy Supercross series travelled to Oakland, in North California, on Saturday for round four of the 2014 series. Once again, the action was exhilarating, with many talking points. Some riders left Oakland very happy with their position, whilst others are distraught; as usual, we take a look at these guys in this piece.
Dean Wilson: Honestly, Dean Wilson should have won the Oakland 250SX main event. Sure, Jason Anderson deserves props for putting himself in a position to win again, but there is no way that he would have clinched the victory if Dean had not run into a mechanical problem. Obviously it was disappointing to see Wilson lose the win, as I felt that he had earnt it. After all, he was seemingly quicker than Anderson. Anyway, lets not focus on the negatives; there are a lot of positives that he can take from Oakland. It was quite clear that he was struggling prior to round four, but the bike changes that he made mid-week clearly helped him, as this was the first time that Dean has been quick enough to get anywhere near the lead.
Justin Hill: Finally, after a lot of waiting, Justin Hill is starting to show a lot of promise. If you read a lot of my stuff, you will know that I thought that Justin was capable of this. However, it is sometimes hard for a rider to fulfill that potential. Hill had a great ride one week ago, at Anaheim 2, too. Justin was really on the edge at the beginning of the main event; he hit tuff blocks, and came close to crashing a few times. But, eventually, he backed it down and took his first ever podium, thankfully. I am very excited to see what he can in the coming weeks.
Ryan Villopoto: Ryan Villopoto has made it into the hot column, obviously, after a great ride in Oakland. Ryan has mentioned a lot that he prefers the softer soil that you find on the east coast, and in Oakland. Although you hear a lot of riders say the same thing, it is clear that RV is being truthful when he says that – just look at his results! For the first time this season, he was fastest in both of the practice sessions, won his heat, and the main event, too. You have to think that the soft track and the ruts were a contributing factor. I am certain that all of his rivals are slightly concerned about how strong he will be when they get on the east coast.
James Stewart: It is somewhat surprising that James Stewart has not won a main event yet, but he has been quite impressive. Stewart is clearly capable; he just has not put himself in a position to win so far. James seems to have been more conservative since Anaheim 1, as he has taken what he can get, rather than forcing the issue. Of course, he has been a bit under the weather too, which has contributed to that. If he had backed it down and taken second at the opening round, he would be leading the championship right now, which is a very interesting stat.
Justin Barcia: Seriously, what is going on with Justin Barcia? It seems that no one knows, but he needs to straighten things out very soon, as this is turning into a disaster. Honestly, Justin looks like he is just riding around out there – he is not going forward. Barcia is still aggressive on-track; we saw that with his move on Wil Hahn. However, he does not have the same level of intensity that he has had in the past, strangely. In my opinion, Barcia doesn’t seem as fluid as his competitors. Obviously, we are all is just chucking ideas out there at the moment. But the fact remains, the team does not know, so presumably they are all getting frustrated.
RCH Suzuki: The RCH Suzuki (formerly Hart and Huntington) team has struggled with injuries a lot in the past. Unfortunately, the injury bug has hit the team again, as Broc Tickle and Josh Hill are both on the sidelines currently. Josh fell in his heat race, and broke his collarbone, so he will be out for three to four weeks it seems. Broc was already beaten up after Anaheim 2, but attempted to ride in Oakland. Tickle crashed again on Saturday, and sprained his wrist; it is unknown whether he will be on the line this weekend. Despite this, the RCH squad will not be hiring a replacement rider.
Cooper Webb: Honestly, Cooper Webb was lucky that he made it to the night show – he had a huge crash in practice. If you have not seen it, head over to his Instagram account, and find the video of it. Surprisingly, the Yamalube Star Racing rider did not look too banged up in the main event. However he made another rookie mistake when trying to pass Malcolm Stewart, hence why I have placed him here. Webb clearly needs some practice at making block passes still, as he fell too. Funnily enough, it was a Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda rider felt his wrath for the second time this year.
Cole Seely: Cole Seely had a tough time in Oakland, unfortunately; he was not a factor in the fight for the win for the first time this season. However, everyone in the title fight is going to have a bad race at some point. So, if this was his bad finish, it wasn’t too bad at all. Although Seely is probably upset that he has given up the series lead, he is still right in the thick of the title fight – he is just six points down. Surprisingly, we are already halfway through the 250SX West series; the series is flying past.
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: James Lissimore