The final Triple Crown this weekend in Houston.


3/28/2019

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Seattle was an eventful round for Monster Energy AMA Supercross in a variety of reasons, and not all of them good. It was a rare occasion to have perfect (i.e. dry) weather in the Emerald City, and as such the racing did not disappoint. 

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With the stacked 450SX class rounding the first turn, everything started out great for the main event. Zach Osborne pulled a rare holeshot and many thought this was his night to shine. Unfortunately for Zach, he had the elite pack of Roczen, Musquin, Webb and Tomac hot on his heels and by the end of lap one he'd been shuffled back several spots.

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It was this man -- Marvin Musquin -- who was credited for the win in Seattle, but the points he earned don't reflect that. Just after the main event start there was a massive pileup (more on that later) in a key rhythm section. When the pack came around for their second pass through that section, the red cross flag was waving which means "wheels on the ground" for riders coming through that section. 

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Clearly, that was not the case with Musquin, and it happened both times he went through that section as the flag waved. As such, the FIM and AMA joint decision was to penalize Musquin. He was stripped of points and purse equal to two positions plus an additional two points. The result was a 7 point penalty, which means that despite finishing physically three spots ahead of leader Webb that he neither gained nor lost any points to him and enters Houston with a fourteen point gap to his teammate. 

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The incident resulted in the series losing two of it's most popular riders in Chad Reed and Justin Brayton. Due to a miscue by Reed, he ended up effectively taking out not only Brayton but Kyle Chisholm as well. It was Chisholm's bike that did enough damage to Reed's 37-year-old body to put him out for the remainder of the season, while Brayton hopes to return before the season ends. Chisholm's status is unknown.

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So, entering Round 13 in Houston this weekend (which is the final Triple Crown event), Cooper Webb is still somewhat comfortably in the driver's seat for this championship title. While he may be in somewhat of a protection mode at this point, there are enough riders as fast or faster (on occasion) than he is to knock out a bunch of points if Musquin wins - just like happened in Seattle. If not for Musquin's rule infraction, there would be only 7 points between the two and, well, that makes for a much more interesting home stretch for this series.

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Making his first podium appearance when he was not the winner, Eli Tomac left Seattle with what must seem as at least a small victory. His consistency this season has been anything but, and only once have we seen what's been referred to as his "beast mode" (Daytona). Tomac does seem to excel at the Triple Crown format - though so does Webb - and it will be interesting to see if he can repeat as the Triple Crown champ this year. 

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Star Racing Yamaha rider Dylan Ferrandis chose Seattle to score his first ever 250SX win, putting in a great ride that was just a bit too much for points leader Adam Cianciarulo to handle. Heading into Houston, Cianciarulo has a somewhat comfortable 12-point lead over the Frenchman. The injury of Ferrandis' teammate Colt Nichols in Seattle will no doubt have an effect on him this weekend, it seems like a somewhat safe lead barring any major issues. 

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The track design for Houston looks interesting, and includes the over-under bridge and a short sand section with a steep wall at the entrance. This always makes for great racing and, along with several tricky rhythm sections and the always great Houston dirt, this weekend's final Triple Crown and Round 13 of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship should yet again be a great night for racing. 


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