East Rutherford Supercross Race Report 2016

What really happened at the New Jersey SX

Ryan Dungey, East Rutherford Supercross 2016
To the victor go the spoils. Ryan Dungey hoists the trophy for winning the 2016 Supercross title, his second in a row and third of his career.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Ryan Dungey’s record 31-race podium streak came to an end this weekend in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, however his fourth place finish was more than good enough to clinch his third career 450SX title, surpassing Chad Reed and James Stewart in number of titles and putting him just one away from tying Ryan Villopoto's four championships.

And while RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory Racing's Ken Roczen won the race with another flawless performance, leading every lap of the main event, the night belonged to Dungey and the KTM organization, who has emerged from out of nowhere in just a few short years to dominate the sport.

After missing out on an opportunity to wrap up the title last week in Massachusetts, Dungey needed to finish just 14th or better in East Rutherford to clinch the title, but as usual, he didn't settle for an average performance, although it’s possible that nerves may have played a part in him missing the podium after standing on one step or another for 31-straight races.

"It's a bummer to have the podium streak come to an end, but the real goal this year was to back up the title from last season. It was a tough challenge and we had to bring it every single weekend," said Dungey. "Those guys were tough and they brought it, but we kept fighting and here we are, back where we wanted to be. I couldn't have done this without the support of my entire team and family. There's definitely no I in team and this could have never happened without their commitment."

Ken Roczen, East Rutherford SX 2016
Ken Roczen grabbed his fifth win of the season and second-straight wire-to-wire victory.Photo By Rich Shepard

RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory Racing's Ken Roczen’s fifth win of the season represented a nearly perfect ride, the former MX2 World Champion grabbing the holeshot and then pulled away to a nearly 20-second margin of victory. Roczen looks much more fit and is riding better than he did at the start of the season, and admitted he’s already preparing for the outdoor season where he hopes to win a second national MX title.

“Tonight was good, we did exactly what we wanted to do,” said Roczen. “I raced 20 solid laps, and we’ve done a good job of making it hard on Dungey. I’ll be pushing for another win next week, but right now we’re looking for another national motocross title. I’m already getting ready for the outdoor season, but with one more race to go I want to get another win.”

Eli Tomac, East Rutherford SX 2016
Eli Tomac is starting to build momentum late in the season.Photos By Rich Shepherd

Eli Tomac had his best ride of the season, going from seventh to second in the main after having to qualify through a Semi. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider closed in on Dungey when the KTM rider was preoccupied by his battle with Cole Seely for second. On lap 16, Tomac was able to pass Dungey for third and then a lap later he passed Seely for second, giving him a second-straight runner-up finish.

‘This is the best I’ve ridden this season, for sure. We’re coming around a lot, and at least were fighting for podium positions now,” said Tomac. “I didn’t do myself any favors tonight in my Heat race. I didn’t get a good qualifier, then I had to go to the Semi and I didn’t even win that, so I was stuck outside in the first turn. So I gotta fix that next time.”

Cole Seely, East Rutherford Supercross 2016
Cole Seely turned in a superb performance for having missed the last three rounds due to a neck injury.Photos By Rich Shepherd

Seely had a solid night, running in second place for the first 13 laps of the race. After being passed by Tomac, Seely managed to hold Dungey at bay during the closing laps, the HRC Honda rider denying Dungey the opportunity to continue his podium streak. Seely returned to racing in New Jersey after missing the last three weeks due to a broken vertebrae in his neck.

“Four weeks ago I was sitting on the couch wishing I was racing,” said Seely. “It feels good to get back out here.”

Behind Dungey in fifth was BTO Sports/WPS/KTM's Justin Brayton, who has been rocking the starts lately. Brayton has been as consistent as anyone at getting off the line and he put himself into third on the opening lap, and was passed only by Dungey and Tomac en route to his fifth place finish.

Jason Anderson finished less than a second behind Brayton. Like Tomac, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider also had to qualify through a Semi, which he won easily.

In the main, Anderson was mid-pack start off the start and 12th by the second lap. By the finish, Anderson was able to work up to sixth, which was enough to keep him solidly in third overall in the series standings.

“My night was okay,” said Anderson. “I got a bad start in the heat race, but got a holeshot and a win in the semi. I ended up with ninth gate pick in the main so that heat race didn’t help me out the entire night. I actually rode really well and came up from 12th to finish 6th. I almost had 5th, but I’ll make a comeback next weekend in Vegas. The track was good, but it was really tough to make a pass on. There was only one right hander."

Marvin Musquin set the fastest qualifying time in practice, but tangled with Weston Peick off the start and was almost last going into the first turn and 13th at the end of lap one. The Red Bull KTM rider followed Anderson through the pack, finishing right behind in seventh.

Malcolm Stewart, East Rutherford Supercross 2016
Malcolm Stewart dominated the East Regional 250SX class, grabbing his second win of the season in MetLife Stadium.Photos By Rich Shepherd

Eastern Regional 250SX

In the Eastern Regional 250SX main event, Malcolm Stewart came away with his second win of the season, extending his lead in the class standings to 14 points over Aaron Plessinger. The GEICO Honda rider dominated the main event, taking the lead on lap three of the 15-lap race and never relinquishing it.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Martin Davalos led early in the main, passing KTM rider Dakota Alix on the opening lap to take the lead while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Tyler Bowers and Stewart quickly dispensed of Alix to move into second and third, respectively. Stewart didn’t waste time moving to the front and on successive laps passed Bowers and then Davalos to take over the lead. From there, it was a race for second, as Stewart avoided his mistakes from a week ago and cruised home with a nearly five-second advantage at the finish.

"All the hard work is starting to pay off," said Stewart. "My strategy is to not even focus on the points lead. That's what I did tonight. Win or lose, I put it all out there on the track. It's definitely better to go into Vegas with a 14-point lead instead of a one-point lead, but anything can happen."

Martin Davalos, East Rutherford Supercross 2016
Martin Davalos rode a solid race to finish second, and was never pressured by third place finisher Jeremy Martin.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Davalos held his ground in second, and came away with the runner-up slot when the checkers fell. Meanwhile, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin passed Bowers on Lap 6 to take over third and held it to the finish.

Plessinger, who came into the race sitting just five points behind Stewart in the standings, got off to a bad start, and was 15th after the start. Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider put in a good ride, making several nice passes, including one on Bowers to move into fifth. However, that’s as far as he was able to progress and now he goes into the final race in Las Vegas a full 14 points down to Stewart.

Martin sits third in the standings, 19 points behind Stewart, with a big race coming up in Vegas, where the West Regional riders will be placed into the same final as the East riders, making for an interesting situation.

RESULTS

450SX Class

  1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki

  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki

  3. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda

  4. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM

  5. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., KTM

  6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna

  7. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM

  8. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda

  9. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha

  10. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda

Eastern Regional 250SX Class

  1. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda

  2. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna

  3. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha

  4. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM

  5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha

  6. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki

  7. Gannon Audette, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki

  8. Dakota Alix, Jay, Vt., KTM

  9. Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha

  10. Cedric Soubeyras, France, Kawasaki