Glendale Supercross Race Report 2016

A look at what really happened in Glendale, Arizona at Round 5 of the 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series.

Ken Roczen, Glendale Supercross 2016
Ken Roczen continues to find his form and claimed his first win of the season in Glendale.Rich Shepherd
Ryan Dungey, Glendale Supercross 2016
Ryan Dungey wins Anaheim II
Ryan Dungey proved he’s still human when he got off to a poor start in Glendale. The Red Bull KTM rider was still able to work his way through the field to finish second.Rich Shepherd

Turns out the only person who can stop Ryan Dungey at this point is Ryan Dungey himself, after the Red Bull KTM rider got off to a bad start in Glendale, getting off the line outside the top-10 for the first time all year. Meanwhile, Ken Roczen halted Dungey’s “mini steak” at three by taking the win at this weekend’s round at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

The win was the first of the season for the RCH Soaring Eagle /Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory Racing-backed Roczen, and it marked a shift in the 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, after Dungey had stamped his name all over the championship by dominating the previous three rounds. In fact, Roczen turned the fastest lap time in the main event, posting a 1:02.548 to Tomac’s 1:02.602 and Dungey’s 1:02.727, which proves the flying German has the chops to take Dungey all the way to the end. However, Dungey was closing on Roczen and probably would have been able to overtake him had he started inside the top-five instead of where he did.

Dungey’s style is not that spectacular compared to Tomac or Roczen. However, the key to Dungey’s current success is that he rarely makes a mistake, and so far he’s been on every podium. He negotiates every part of the track with perfect precision, and that’s where he’s gaining time on the rest of the field. Right now, Dungey is the complete package and he’s riding the absolute best he’s ever ridden. In Glendale, though, Dungey’s start let him down, which proved the Minnesotan is still human.

During Dungey’s move through the pack he did a great job of not following the rider in front of him, and many of his passes didn’t involve any sort of blocking, he just motored by with more speed. He nearly tangled with Seely when Seely stalled entering a corner, but Dungey got by. It was a good thing, because Seely looked like the first rider Dungey was having some difficulty getting past.

Eli Tomac & Ryan Dungey, Glendale Supercross 2016
Eli Tomac and Ryan Dungey Battle In The Main
Ryan Dungey (1) chases Eli Tomac (3) during the main event. Dungey went on to pass Tomac for second place.Rich Shepherd

Roczen sits a solid second in the standings after back-to-back podiums and still has enough time left in the schedule to overtake Dungey.

“Dungey’s confident right now,” said Roczen. “He’s known for being super-consistent and he’s definitely hitting his marks. And, he’s going really fast at the same time. I think we’re doing the right thing. There’s nothing to stress about. Obviously, he has a pretty good point lead already but the season is so long and you never know what’s going to happen, so I’m just excited. It’s been a long time coming for me. Last year was obviously tough but we’re doing good this year and I’m really enjoying the racing. That’s what matters the most to me and what counts.”

Tomac also brought his A-game to Glendale. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider grabbed his first podium of the year and he seems to be getting better with each race. He’s totally spectacular on certain sections of the track, and he’s probably faster in certain sections than Dungey, but when you string the entire lap together Dungey makes up time in critical places. Tomac is just not as sharp as Dungey on every element of the track, but he showed a big improvement in Glendale. He also seemed to get a little tired at the end of the race, no doubt due to his late start to the season after having double shoulder surgery during the off-season.

A few small mistakes in the whoops caused Tomac to lose time and eventually his second place position in the latter half of the main turned into a third when Dungey went by him, but third place was still a season best for Tomac.

“It feels great to finally get up on the podium,” said Tomac. “This is exactly how we wanted to rebound after last weeks’ performance. We worked really hard all week and it paid off. Overall, the day was smooth and the team and I are making steps in the right direction. It’s a long season, we just need to keep riding, working hard and we’ll end up where we want to.”

Jason Anderson, Glendale Supercross 2016
Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson has the speed to win at this level but just can’t seem to get a start.Rich Shepherd

Jason Anderson’s starts are killing him. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider has never finished outside the top five so far this season, so when he started around 10th in the main he immediately started picking off multiple riders, making impressive passes while working his way up to a fourth place finish.

“I’m riding well and am always trying to move forward,” said Anderson. “I just need to work on a couple things that will help me get up front faster and put in consistent laps. The track was pretty tough this weekend, especially the whoops. It was technical and tight, which made it hard to make up time. I ended up having to capitalize on other’s mistakes. I was also searching for traction all night because it was so slick. I just need to figure out how to keep my laps fast with deteriorating track conditions.”

Like Anderson, Chad Reed was slightly off the pace. The two riders who have looked like they had the speed to win (and Anderson did at round one), didn’t look like themselves. Anderson progressed through the pack slowly and Reed lost some spots throughout the 20 laps.

Reed and Marvin Musquin had some back and forth blocking, which slowed both of their paces. Reed came out on top, passing Marvin back in the same corner where Marvin had gotten him and motoring away.

Davi Millsaps turned in his best finish of the year with a fifth, and he won his heat race. The BTO Sports/WPS/KTM's Davi Millsaps grabbed his second holeshot of the season at the start of the main and then worked backwards to a top-five finish.

Looking at the 450 series points, things are getting interesting, with all six of the manufacturers represented in the top six spots. The order is KTM, Suzuki, Husqvarna, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda.

The Glendale start had the longest start straight ever in supercross, at 460 feet, which had the riders going faster into the first turn. Fortunately all the first corner action was clean with very little crashing.

Christian Craig & Cooper Webb, Glendale Supercross 2016
Christian Craig and Cooper Webb
Christian Craig (38) came away with the first win of his career in Glendale ahead of 250 class points leader Cooper Webb (1).Rich Shepherd

West Regional 250SX Class

GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig completed the circle on Saturday night in Glendale, coming from his recent retirement to the top step of the podium in a remarkably short time. After three straight weeks of duels with defending 250SX West Champion Cooper Webb, Craig emerged on top of another amazing battle that had the crowd on its feet the whole way.

“Tonight was something special for sure,” said Craig. “I was struggling with the track, too. My teammate, Jimmy Decotis, got the holeshot, but I made the pass through the whoops, that was my strong point. Then I was like ‘Alright, here we go again, I see the number one [Webb] coming.’ Same thing again, he caught me, lap 10, he tried to run it in on me in one of the corners before the whoops, and I saw his front end push right under me. After he crashed I was like, ‘Okay, five more laps, just ride it in.’ Crossing that finish line was like a dream come true, for sure. A feeling I’ll never forget.

“Last year at this time I was working construction,” Craig explained. “To be here today, I didn’t see that happening. When I came back last year outdoors, I finally started to believe in myself, then this year around round three I knew I could win. I just needed to get the jitters out at the first few races.”

Cooper Webb kept his pattern of mediocre starts and charging through the field. In Glendale he was mid-pack but was into third place by lap three. Joey Savatgy also got a bad start, but after Webb got by him he followed Webb forward quickly. Midway through the race Webb had caught up to race leader Craig and Webb looked confident and calm and like he could see another win. But on lap 10, again seeming to ride ‘too nice’, Webb’s front tire washed out in a turn and he went down. He remounted right ahead of Savatgy who was in third. Webb had five laps to cut down Craig’s five second lead, but Webb was unable to make much progress, and Christian Craig got his first AMA supercross win.

Joey Savatgy, Glendale Supercross 2016
Joey Savatgy
Joey Savatgy struggled during the evening with an illness but still managed a third.Rich Shepherd

We noticed that Cooper Webb races very aggressively with most racers but seems to play very nice with Christian Craig. All their back-and-forth seems to be positioning in corners and all polite, low speed blocks. We’ll see if that changes now that Craig has taken his first supercross win.

Webb and Joey Savatgy, who finished third on the night, now share the points lead at 98. Meanwhile, Craig moved into third place, 11 points out of the lead.

For the second week in a row a 250F rider had a mechanical issue. Zach Osborne was leading 250 Heat 1 when his bike seemed to die. With his Husky’s electric start he should have been able to recover quicker if it was just an accidental stall. He reacted well and prevented a crash in a high speed and tricky rhythm section that had riders doing a sort of high speed scrub of a low double that was between two triples on a very fast straight that ran the length of the stadium (and then some, the straight started outside the seating area).

Osborne crashed early in the 250 Main and was holding his left arm an in obvious pan as he was taken away in the Asterisk Mule. Osborne is expected to return next week in San Diego.

“I was prepared to fight today, even though I was a little sick,” said Osborne. “It ended up being a big disappointment for me. I just wanted to get a good start in the main so I could get back on the podium, but I ended up getting tangled with another rider coming out of the second turn and then got landed on. I think I’m ok. I should be good to race next week in San Diego.”

GLENDALE, ARIZONA SUPERCROSS RESULTS 2016

450SX Class Results

  1. Ken Roczen (Suz)

  2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)

  3. Eli Tomac (Kaw)

  4. Jason Anderson (Hus)

  5. Davi Millsaps (KTM)

  6. Chad Reed (Yam)

  7. Justin Brayton (KTM)

  8. Cole Seely (Hon)

  9. Marvin Musquin (KTM)

  10. Wil Hahn (Kaw)

Western Regional 250SX Class

  1. Christian Craig (Hon)

  2. Cooper Webb (Yam)

  3. Joey Savatgy (Kaw)

  4. Mitchell Oldenburg (KTM)

  5. Colt Nichols (Yam)

  6. Chris Alldredge (Kaw)

  7. Alex Martin (Yam)

  8. Kyle Cunningham (Suz)

  9. Jimmy DeCotis (Hon)

  10. Kyle Peters (Hon)