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Spotlight on: The Contact

Justin Barcia made his presence felt on Saturday night after roughing up Ryan Dungey and then putting Ken Roczen down.

The collision between the two young riders has sparked an out of character outburst by Roczen on Instagram! The German, usually calm and relaxed, vented his frustration stating: “You will get it back Barcia! So pissed.  Good riding though, fun race until the crash. Happy with my last five laps, felt fit and strong, sketchy track.”

It’s safe to say the rivalry is on! You can understand Roczen’s frustration. He was in the battle for the win and the take out meant he lost the points lead to Villopoto, although he is still only three back. Barcia though could have won it himself but by trying to hit every rider he passed he set himself up for some payback and ultimately the battling flustered Barcia. The resistance started when Brayton didn’t give into Barcia’s aggressive passes for the lead and, ultimately, it was Justin who nearly went down after bouncing off Brayton.

This allowed Dungey to be unusually aggressive and pass Barcia back, Roczen saw the opportunity and made the move at the same time, but Barcia didn’t like being passed twice and looked for Roczen immediately, taking his front wheel out by brake checking him at the end of the straight.

But, from there Barcia’s race completely fell apart. RV passed him and as usual Barcia offered up no aggressive resistance to the champ. If the there is one guy Barcia seems afraid of being aggressive with it is Villopoto – maybe it’s because he knows RV won’t stand for it? Stewart worked his way past Barcia too which left him fifth at the flag only three seconds ahead of Roczen. Amazingly, the two guys who were battling in the lead group ended up fifth and sixth after the contact.

Barcia made his intentions known in Bercy when he put a hard pass on teammate Canard and now after Phoenix everyone knows what he will do to win. But he is making enemies in the process and this could well be his undoing. Barcia has the stuff to win races and win the title this year, but making more enemies on the track than you need is never a good thing.

Barcia seems like a really nice guy off the track, but something changes when he puts that helmet on and he is yet to find the right balance between aggressive riding and overly aggressive riding. He is annoying his rivals and ruining his own race. Barcia was as fast as RV all night and gated ahead of him but Barcia ended up fifth and RV won.  That is a lot of points to lose in the championship.

The quest for Roczen is to not let revenge on Barcia become his focus and to continue doing what he has done so far. Roczen’s ride until the crash was impressive. He didn’t have a great ride in the Heat or the Semi but did produce the goods when it mattered and looked set to battle for yet another win or at least a podium. Roczen is for real in this championship.

But, Roczen won’t forget what Barcia did and can anyone see Barcia changing his aggressive ways? This rivalry may run and run between the two riders with opposing styles but Roczen might not be the only one who ends up on the ground with Barcia’s racing style.

Whatever happens next you can’t deny that Barcia’s aggression makes supercross even more exciting – even if he does cross the line at times.

Words: Jonathan McCready

Image: James Lissimore

MX Vice Editor || 25

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