The Monster Energy Supercross series has provided us with some amazing racing thus far, as there have been some big battles for the lead each week. Phoenix proved to be oddly similar to Anaheim 1 in the 250SX class, as the battles were intense. The 450SX results were turned on their head completely, in comparison. Join us as we take a look at some of the interesting battles from round two.
Justin Brayton vs. Ryan Dungey (450SX Main Event):
Justin Brayton (2nd)
Ryan Dungey (3rd)
I am sure that some of you are wondering why I chose to do this comparison, as the obvious thing to do would be compare Justin Brayton to the guy that he was chasing, Ryan Villopoto. However, I elected to pull the lap times that Ryan Dungey posted instead, as I wanted to see how each guy reacted to being caught and passed. In the past, Ryan has come under a lot of criticism for his lack of aggression; this appeared to be the problem again in Phoenix. We can all agree that Dungey is faster than Brayton, right? So, why did he spend twenty laps eating roost from the JGR Yamaha?
When Ryan Villopoto caught and passed the leading duo, we all thought that the race for the lead was over. But, whilst Dungey just rolled over and watched RV pull away from him, Justin refused to let him go without a fight. Brayton stepped it up, dropped his lap times and pulled away from Dungey, as a result. Intriguingly, when Justin was leading the main event early on, he clearly had more to give; he set his fastest time on the lap after Villopoto passed him. The 56.755 that he posted on the sixteenth lap were his best time – however, it was actually only the sixth best lap time overall.
Prior to this point in the main event, both Justin Brayton and Ryan Dungey had set relatively similar times on each lap. However on the laps that are highlighted in the table above, there is a clear difference in the two. If you watch this part of the race, you can also see that there is a visible difference in their body language etc. Of course, there is no way for us to find out what each rider was thinking during the race, but I am wondering if we are looking at a rider that believed he could win (Brayton) and a guy that was already defeated before the start of the race (Dungey).
Obviously, Ryan Dungey is there each week and he is just one point behind the series leader, so you cannot fault him. However, the fact that Roger DeCoster refused to do any interviews after the race, because he was frustrated, makes it clear that there are issues with Ryan. But anyway, I digress. It is going to be interesting to watch these riders next weekend, as we will be waiting to see if Justin Brayton can build off of his superb ride at round two, and whether or not Ryan Dungey can be more aggressive.
Jason Anderson vs. Cole Seely (250SX Main Event):
Jason Anderson (1st)
Cole Seely (2nd)
Well, it happened again. Jason Anderson caught and passed Cole Seely on the last lap for the second week in a row. So, here we are again looking at what happened before that poignant moment. Intriguingly, Seely lost the race in a different scenario this week; he can only blame himself. If he had not run into those hay bales on the final lap, there is no way that he would have been caught. I wonder if Cole started thinking too much when he saw that white flag? I would not be surprised at all if he crossed the finish, began to think about what went on one week earlier at Anaheim 1, and that prompted the mistake.
Although Jason Anderson was a bit quicker than Cole Seely in the final couple of laps, he was not much faster. If Anderson had not made a mistake on lap twelve, he probably would have caught Seely before the last lap. The Rockstar Energy KTM did not get around Seely, because of the mistake that Cole made, of course – he made the move, because his rival left the door open. So, Jason does deserve props for making it happen with very little time remaining. You have to feel sorry for Seely though, he is more than capable of winning; things just have not come together for him thus far.
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: James Lissimore