Six Mains, Five Winners at A2



Round 3 of the 2018 AMA Supercross Championship was a bit of an experiment. The introduction of a three-main-event format was, in terms of what's been attempted in the past, a radical departure from the usual night show program. Qualifying in the day sessions allowed the top 18 in each class to advance directly to the main event format, followed by a pair of LCQs that pulled the top 4 from each class to round out the 22 rider gate. Olympic-style scoring was  used to determine the overall finishing positions from the three mains, each of which were of different durations, from short (9 mins) to long (15). 


The event format received mixed reviews from riders, fans and pundits, but comments were mostly positive. The primary issue for riders and teams was that there was a relatively short time between main events for recovery, repairs, adjustments, etc. From the fan's perspective--on the positive end--every single race was chock full of the top riders on the planet, with every single lap and position fought over until the checkered flew. The varied lengths of the "motos" also allowed for riders with different strengths and/or weaknesses shine through. Sprinters excelled in the shorter races, while the more seasoned vets were able to rise to the top later in the night, when the races went longer. 


It was Eli Tomac who ended up on top in the 450SX class, combining speed and consistency over the mains to come up with the lowest score to claim the overall win and 26 points that went along with it. This was a dramatic turn around from last weekend, when Tomac was forced to sit out Houston thanks to a shoulder injury sustained at Round 1 in Anaheim. It's clear now that Tomac is back and at full speed. But the question is: Will there be enough time for him to make up the 43-point deficit he now faces? It seems unlikely.


Points leader Jason Anderson was on fire all night, as well, although his consistency wasn't quite sufficient to knock Tomac off of the top spot. In the final main, Anderson made quite a statement, as he worked his way up through the pack to pass the No. 3 with some attitude, as he went on to romp his way to the final main event win. In the process, he picked up 23 points and pulled out to an 11 point lead in the title chase over runner-up...


...Cole Seely. Seely just about had the overall wrapped up and needed a third or better, regardless how anyone else finished in order to nab the win. But a poor start prevented him from doing so, and he ended up second for his efforts. In the first main, it was clear that, after a race-long battle with Tomac (which Seely won) that he wasn't there for anything but a victory. Seely sitting second in points going into Round 4 was probably not what anyone (except maybe Cole) would have predicted, but here he is, riding smooth, fast and consistently at the front of the pack come Saturday night.


Switching gears to the 250SX class, it was Joey Savatgy's night. Coming in a bit behind the eight-ball after sub-par performances in the opening two rounds, Savatgy was the guy to beat all night long. His 1-2-1 results illustrated perfectly his speed and consistency and with that, he left Anaheim with the points lead and red plate heading into Glendale this weekend. Savatgy narrowly missed the title last year, due to a hail-Mary pass by Zach Osborne in the second-to-last corner in Vegas, so this year he's out for blood. Savatgy's ability to carry the weight of the red plate will be tested this weekend. So far, the previous three owners have failed to string together two consecutive weekends with it on their machines.


The other two podium finishers--Shane McElrath and Christian Craig (above)--were all over each other all night long, as the racing in each main was very heated to say the least. Craig was happy to finally land on the podium in any position this season, while McElrath was certainly planning on the overall win after he ran away with the first main event. In a rare occurrence, both McElrath and Savatgy will be running the red points leader plate for Glendale, because they are tied for the lead with 68 points each. Following just 2 points back is Aaron Plessinger, who came into A2 with the coveted plate. 


Speaking of ties for position, Justin Brayton (No. 10, above) tied for third in a rare podium appearance in the 450SX class, equaling the points scored by Anderson with 2-6-3 main event scores. Since Anderson had a win in the final main, the nod went to him for the third place points paid. But let there be no doubt: Justin Brayton is a force to be reckoned with. Certainly a veteran by any standard, Brayton is coming from a successful off-season of racing and is in his prime on a bike that he's clearly quite comfortable on. Plan for podium appearances by JB10 in the near future as he looks to improve his sixth place position in the points chase.


In a truly remarkable season, based upon previous years (and the quality of the current depth of talent), JGR/Suzuki's Weston Peick is having the ride of his career. Now a regular up in the front group, Peick has proven he can run the leader's pace for much of a race, if not quite yet for the entire duration. Another rider who is ripe for a podium finish at a. future race, it's truly remarkable how far this SoCal native has come in the past couple of seasons. A fifth overall at A2 (via 4-9-5 finishes) means he finished ahead of a whole bunch of legitimate and long-time supercross stars, and battled with them on his way toward the front. Peick currently sits fifth in points, just two behind Ken Roczen(!).


Speaking of Roczen, Kenny had a rare off-night at A2 and will no doubt be back at the front this weekend in Glendale. Seemingly in a funk all night, Ken simply didn't demonstrate the speed or aggression to battle with the other top dogs on three different occasions in one night. Finally warming up by the time the final main rolled around, perhaps he tempted fate just a bit too much by wearing the precise set of gear he wore last year when he crashed horrifically and nearly destroyed his arm--and career. Admittedly, he was affected by memories of A2 2017, but it appeared those thoughts waned after he switched out of the yellow gear and into another set for the final main, proving yet again that Supercross is very much a mental game.


Anaheim 1 winner and early points leader Marvin Musquin struggled all night, even pulling off in pain during the third main. Still suffering the effects of a dislocated shoulder incurred in Houston, Musquin tried to tough it out and salvage some points. He managed to do that. He picked up 10 for his 13th place finish, but it must have been bittersweet. There will no doubt be a lot of rehab and discussion in the Musquin camp this week regarding whether or not to send it into Glendale or wait it out in hopes that he'll be able to really come out swinging for Oakland.

This weekend's Glendale (Phoenix), Ariz., round really sets the pace for the rest of the series as the leaders have been defined and--even though two of the top dogs are licking their wounds--they're still technically in for the long haul. The question now will be who will step up and take over at the front--Anderson, Seely, Barcia or Roczen? To find out, tune in for the EARLY race this Saturday in Arizona--regular times are all moved up by three hours, so plan ahead to follow the action here for Live Timing and Scoring, on our Facebook page (AMA Supercross Championship), or on our Instagram @ama_supercross. Also, check out the TV schedule over on the page.

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