Rice-Eccles Stadium and Salt Lake City, Utah was the host of round 15 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. Riders and industry folks welcomed the Easter weekend off as most of the riders worked on their outdoor settings to get ready for the Lucas Oil Pro MX Nationals starting in May. With Salt Lake being at an elevation over 4000ft, it meant more work for the riders and the machines in both main events. Here are some things that I heard and viewed from SLC.

450 Class:

Eli Tomac: There comes a time when all of us fans witness something in racing that is special. Tomac is on something special. Not so much the championship, but the confidence in which he is riding his Kawasaki. He got a horrible jump and came from way back (like almost 15 seconds back) to pass Ryan Dungey for the win. This puts the red plate on Eli's Kawasaki only come New Jersey. With Jersey being a soft track things look desperate for Dungey and his title hopes I would think. Whoop speed and corner speed is Tomac's forte and both of those were on display Saturday night. Rear end steering his way around the soft berms and sliding his green machine around the flat hard turns, Tomac charged hard and rode like a man possessed. I mean how much energy does it take to ride that aggressive? A LOT people! A Lot! What a race by the #3. Sit back and enjoy watching Eli ride his bike that last two rounds. If Dungey retires at the end of the year (like I hear he may be doing), we may not see a title chase this close in a few years.

Salt Lake City Supercross
Eli Tomac put on a clinic Saturday night. A clinic that a lot of riders should be studying before New Jersey. Tomac holds a three-point lead and looks to be riding better than ever, late in the series, when it matters the most.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

Ryan Dungey: Yes Ryan is only three points down, but the confidence thing can't be good right now. If I were him, I wouldn't re-watch this race when I get home. Just throw it away and move on to New Jersey. Ryan rode well; it was just that Eli rode better. Ryan is silky smooth and still rides insanely fast, but Eli was charging like a young James Stewart in the Main. I think it is more mental now with Ryan and he must dig deep to get himself another 450-class championship. I for one hopes he stays another year and tries to go after the SX championship one more time.

Salt Lake City Supercross
Ryan Dungey is doing everything he can to put himself in a good position to win, but Eli is just a little faster than the reigning Supercross champion right now. Ryan will have to hang it out these last two rounds if he wants to beat Eli for the championship.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

Jason Anderson: Jason Anderson got a great start and got himself a podium. When JA gets a top three start, he podiums 75% of the time. That is a high percentage ratio and he proved he has the speed to get Dungey within a few seconds. Anderson is the next rider to be that weekly podium guy.

Chad Reed: A better start by Chad Saturday night and we saw some fight in the ol' Aussie as well. His sixth place ride in the Main was better than you see on paper. After getting shuffled around the first few laps Reed came on the last half of the race and almost nipped Grant and Musquin at the finish. Reed is still testing and figuring stuff out on his Yamaha and really looking to get on the box before the end of this series. So don't count him out. Yet!

Christian Craig: Honda decided to have their newly recruited 450-factory outdoor rider race the big bike in SLC. To me, Craig rides the bigger bike better especially with his smooth effortless style. He only rode the bike three times on the Supercross track before Saturday night and finished a respectable 11th. He was near the top four at the start, fell back to almost last, worked his way back up and looked to be getting better at the end of the race. Mark my words; Craig will be a podium to top five guy in outdoors aboard the Factory Honda this summer.

Dean Wilson: Dean-O was very aggressive in his semi and looked fast in the Main. He had a couple bobbles in the middle of the race and that relegated him to a tenth. Although he was happy with top tens early in the season, he now expects to be up near the top five with his Factory Rockstar Husqvarna underneath him. He was one of the only three that I saw that was making "skimming the whoops" a priority late in the main. Next time you watch Wilson ride, watch how much he uses his legs and where he places his feet on the pegs. He rides almost on his toes just on the tips of the pegs for better leverage. Riding on the balls of your feet is important and Dean-O takes it to another level. This is why having sharp pegs is a must.

Salt Lake City Supercross
Josh Grant was impressive with another top five finish. Musquin and Grant had a great battle that lasted until the checkers.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

250 Class:

Justin Hill: Since he is your 250SX West Champion, let's start with Hill. He looked great in practice, but rode tight in the Main event. However, that didn't stop him from a pass on Davalos around the last corner to claim third on the night and the West series championship. Hill got a gift from Plessinger to wrap it up early, but with a big points gap, he had anyway. I feel that he was going to wrap it up in Vegas anyhow. The Hill family has being doing this for Josh and Justin for quite sometime and it's nice to see the hardwork they put into their kids payoff. With the new 250 class rule passed, it looks like we may see Hill defend his title for 2018 instead of moving up to the 450's.

Salt Lake City Supercross
Here is your 2017 250 West Coast Champion Justin Hill. Hill is a great interview, always smiles and gives it to you straight. Oh and he can ride the wheels off of his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Congrats to Hill and the Pro Circuit team.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

Aaron Plessinger: Aaron had a nice gap and just got some whiskey in the whoops, which is uncharacteristic for him as he usually kills the whoops. With this crash, it was easy sailing for Hill and a ride on the Alpinestars Medical cart for Plessinger. Aaron had a hurt shoulder and I feel this may have helped cause this crash. A weak shoulder in the whoops is not something you want. Hopefully Aaron is not hurt too bad and we see him start the outdoors healthy.

Salt Lake City Supercross
Aaron Plessinger would have had the Main event win if it weren’t for making a mistake in the whoops. His front tire just missed a whoop and he was sent flying in the air (along with his front brake lever) and didn’t finish the night. The good news is he looks to be ok for the outdoor season.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

Mitchell Oldenburg: If you would of said Oldenburg would have had two podiums at the beginning of the season I probably would of laughed. Training with McElrath has helped the flying freckle and he looks comfortable up front. Oldenburg looks to be renewing his contract with the TLD KTM team and I am sure they are stoked to have him next year in Supercross as he will be a threat for wins and has a decent chance of winning a 250 title.

Salt Lake City Supercross
The "Flying Freckle" Mitchell Oldenburg was impressive and stuck with his teammate McElrath and finished on the podium yet again with a second place.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

Shane McElrath: After crashing in Seattle and having a little injury to his leg, Shane used the week off to recover and have a very clean race in SLC. Shane rode smooth all day and within his means, but if you re-watch the broadcast watch his entrance speed coming into the whoops. It was as good as Hill's all night, but he rolled his corners better than anyone, that's what got him his win!

Jimmy Decotis: Another top five for Jimmy D. Jimmy doesn't have an outdoor deal yet with Geico. However, it looks like they will give him a two race shot for Hangtown and Glen Helen and go from there. If he does well he could get signed to race the rest of the season. I know for a fact that Jimmy puts in tons of work and we know what he is capable of at Southwick, right? Come on Geico Honda, let "The Rippa" get a full outdoor season under his belt.

Cade Autenrieth: Jeremy Albrecht and JGR plucked this kid from the B class just like DeCoster did with Dungey. When the PR went out that he was part of the JGR team for the rest of SX, everyone was like Cade Who? Cade Autenrieth made his first main event in his second try and got 13th. Not bad for a kid that barely started riding Supercross. Also, pretty cool that J-Bone listened and trusted Buddy Antunez (Cade's trainer) and gave this kid a shot. Good job Cade and JGR!

Salt Lake City Supercross
With the 250-class rule changed yet again, Martin Davalos looks to be another title threat in 2018. I mean what team wouldn’t hire Davalos in 2018? He is a viable threat to win at any given 250SX race. Martin had a hard charge in Salt Lake that led him up to and past Justin Hill, until Hill passed him back in the last corner before the checkers.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

Notes From Salt Lake City Supercross:

250 Main Event Laps: 20
450 Main Event Laps: 27
250 Main Event Bike Breakdown:

Yamaha= 12
Honda= 2
KTM= 2
Suzuki= 1
Kawasaki= 4
Husqvarna= 2

450 Main Event Bike Breakdown:

Yamaha= 3
Honda= 4
KTM= 4
Suzuki= 7
Kawasaki= 2
Husqvarna= 2

The Salt Lake City Track: The weather held off for Saturday and for the most part the track was a hard base with fluffy outside berms. It was your typical west coast track and not as sloppy as in years past. The track wasn't the best for passing (unless you were Tomac), but there was a big opportunity for passing in the whoops and the corner after the whoops. These sections were key in making moves.

Best Dressed Award: A White Husqvarna FC450 and a white/blue/red Thor set of Pulse Air gear made Jason Anderson your Best Dressed winner for Salt Lake. Something about white gear with colorful accents really pops under the bright lights of Supercross. It's nice to see Thor really tie in the whole gear combo with Jason's Factory Rockstar Husqvarna.

Salt Lake City Supercross
Jason Anderson was your Best Dressed in Salt Lake City and on the box. Getting a good start and riding with Dungey early in the main helped Anderson break away from the riders behind them.Photo by Brown Dog Wilson

450SX Class Results:

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
  3. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
  4. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
  5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki
  6. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha
  7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM
  8. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM
  9. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha
  10. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna

Western Regional 250SX Class Results

  1. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
  2. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM
  3. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
  4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
  5. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki
  7. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
  8. Hayden Mellross, Australia, Yamaha
  9. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda
  10. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Yamaha