Toronto Supercross Race Report 2016

Here’s a look at What Really Happened at the Toronto Supercross.

As dominating as Ryan Dungey has been this year, the Toronto round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series proves that riders like Ken Roczen, Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac, Cole Seely and Jason Anderson have the outright speed to run with Dungey in 2016 – and more importantly, stand atop the podium – however, they’ve been somewhat inconsistent in producing results. Roczen passed Dungey outright in Toronto’s main event and then pulled away to take a solid win, while Dungey’s Red Bull KTM teammate Musquin took advantage of a Dungey mistake late in the race to steal second from the Minnesotan with just a few laps remaining.

Ken Roczen, Toronto Supercross 2016
Ken Roczen took advantage of one of his better starts of the season to claim win number three on the year.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Still, no one has shown the consistency and all-around game that Dungey possesses right now, which is why the Red Bull KTM rider currently owns a 34-point lead in the series standings and left Toronto with his 26th career podium and his 10th consecutive podium finish in 2016 (giving him the all-time record for career podium finishes). However, if any one of the riders mentioned above can put together a streak then it’s still possible we could have a good battle for the title.

Eli Tomac, Toronto Supercross 2016
Eli Tomac took the lead on the opening lap of the race, but the Kawasaki rider faded to fifth by the end of the race.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Tomac came into Canada with a boatload of momentum after his impressive win at Daytona last week and the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider turned the second-fastest lap in practice at the Rogers Centre behind RCH Honda’s Trey Canard. At the start of the main it looked as though Tomac might pull off a second-straight win, but after moving into the lead on lap one and running strong during the first few laps of the main, the Kawi rider faded as the track deteriorated. In fact, Tomac faded dramatically despite his revelation after track-walk that the Toronto course was “his type of track”. It’s totally possible that the design of the track was to his liking but the surface was not, since it ultimately became quite slippery. Tomac eventually dropped all the way back to fifth and was being pressured by BTOSports.com KTM’s Justin Brayton when the checkers finally flew.

It’s been a strange season for Tomac so far, and one can only wonder, in light of his dominating performances at the first few motocross nationals of 2015, if he can turn it around when the outdoor season rolls around.

“We’re leaving Canada with a fifth place,” said Tomac. “We had a great practice, rode really well in the heat and tried to carry that speed into the main event. Once the main started I got out of the gate really well, avoided the incident on the first lap and then made the pass into the lead. From there I just didn’t feel exactly how I needed to get the job done. I’m looking forward to next weekend and will build off what I learned tonight.”

Marvin Musquin and Ryan Dungey, Toronto Supercross 2016
Marvin Musquin (25) and Ryan Dungey (1) dice for position during the 450 final. Musquin eventually passed Dungey for second when Dungey slid out in a turn.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Roczen was impressive on the RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Factory Racing Suzuki, the German transplant proving what he can do when he gets a decent start – something that’s eluded him for most of the season. His performance in Canada was what we all expected from him at the start of the season. And while Roczen started the race in third behind Dungey, he got around the KTM rider after Tomac stood Dungey up in a right-hander on the first lap, allowing Roczen a pathway into the runner-up slot. Roczen then passed Tomac for the lead one lap later before pulling away for the win on the slick and tricky course. Roczen was particularly strong in the whoops, which is where he gained most of his ground on the competition, pulling away to about an eight-second lead at one point before backing it down a bit.

“This is an amazing feeling,” Roczen said. “The track was tricky and the whoops were sketchy, but we were able to get the lead and bring it home. This is what we’ve worked for.”

Musquin seems to have found his happy place over the course of the last few races, and he dogged Dungey during the middle part of the race before pressuring him into a mistake. Despite his rookie status in the 450 class, the Frenchman has really come into his own on the big bike and he rode more aggressively than usual, especially when he forced his way past Tomac on lap 10.

“It feels great to be on the podium again,” said Musquin. “To be able to pass a guy like Tomac and pull away was really good. I fought hard and I’m really happy with the way we worked tonight.”

As for Dungey, you can’t really say the guy had a bad race. And despite his comfortable lead in the standings, he’s still fighting for wins, although you can bet he’s not taking any unusual risks.

“Overall it was a good night,” Dungey said. “The track was tough tonight and I was pushing really hard trying to catch Ken and I slid out. I just have to keep plugging away, that’s what we’re going for a championship.

Cole Seely, Toronto Supercross 2016
Cole Seely had to transfer to the main via one of the semi races, but got a great jump from the outside of the gate in the main and held his ground for a fourth place finish.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Cole Seely had a solid day, passing Tomac late in the race to finish fourth after qualifying sixth in practice. Seely is another one of those guys having a rollercoaster season and he was coming off a pretty rough weekend at Daytona. In Toronto, the HRC Honda rider got off to a poor start in his heat and had to transfer to the main by winning one of the semi races. In the main, Seely had to start way to the outside of the gate, but still managed to get through the first turn in fourth. During the race, Seely got passed by Musquin but managed to pass Tomac, so he maintained his fourth place at the finish.

“I’m just happy to be back near the front, it’s been a rough couple of weeks and it’s nice to have a good race here,” said Seely. “I felt good tonight and was happy to be back racing up front with those guys. The next step would be to get back on the podium so we’ll see what happens next week in Detroit.”

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson turned in a gutsy ride, going from 16th after endoing over Justin Bogle’s fallen bike on the first lap of the race to an eventual ninth at the finish. His persistence allowed him to maintain third overall in 450 rider point standings.

“I felt like I put myself in a good position,” said Anderson. “My starts have been better. I came out around sixth, but the guy who got the holeshot looped out when I was in the air and I hit his bike. It definitely wasn’t what I was planning, but at the same time I made the best of it. Luckily I’m healthy after that and put in 20 good laps. My whole front end was crooked, but all-in-all it wasn’t the worst time.”

Trey Canard, Toronto Supercross 2016
Trey Canard turned the fastest time in qualifying, but got tangled up in the first turn melee and could only work his way back into seventh at the finish.Photo By Rich Shepherd

250SX

Justin Hill claimed his first win of the season in the Eastern Regional 250SX class after working his way up from fourth on the opening lap. Hill has been plagued by bad starts this year, but due to the pileup in the first turn of the main, the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM rider was able to jockey his way into a decent position heading into lap one.

Justin Hill, Toronto Supercross 2016
Justin Hill made it look all too easy as he grabbed his first win of the season in the Eastern Regional 250SX division.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Hill started to come on strong last week at Daytona where he finished second to Jeremy Martin. The positions were reversed in Toronto, as Martin was second after getting knocked down in the first turn and working his way up from nearly last.

Hill’s win leaves him second in the standings just two points out of the lead.

“I had a lot of confidence coming into the main after getting the top qualifier and finishing second in the heat,” said Hill. “The bike was running awesome and I’m really happy to be in contention with the championship. I couldn’t be happier.”

Jeremy Martin, Toronto Supercross 2016
Jeremy Martin turned in an amazing ride that saw him work his way from nearly last after a first turn pileup to second at the checkers. The finish moved him into the lead in the class standings after previous point leader Martin Davalos failed to make the race.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Martin proved that his win at Daytona was no fluke, as the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider worked his way through the pack and into second after getting caught up in a first-turn pileup. After being written off as “an outdoor specialist”, Martin seems to have found his supercross legs and his finish gave him the lead in the Easter Regional 250SX standings.

MAD Racing/Dirt Candy Graphics/Suzuki’s Matt Bisceglia capitalized on a great start to grab a podium finish in Toronto. Bisceglia led the first two laps of the main before getting shuffled back to fourth. When Tyler Bowers crashed, Bisceglia inherited a podium position.

Speaking of Bowers, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider had a bad day, to say the least. Bowers took a hard tumble in practice, but then came back and won his heat race. In the main, however, Bowers was running second and lost the front end coming out of the whoops, which threw him to the ground. Bowers got going again in ninth, and worked his way back up into fifth but then lost it in the whoops and went down again, leaving him with an 11th place finish.

Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath ran second for the first six laps of the race but then had to come into the mechanic’s area to change rear wheels due to a flat tire. He eventually finished 18th.

Malcolm Stewart also had a bad day, a direct result of the first turn pile up that took out Martin. Stewart even had to pit in the mechanic’s area twice to straighten out his bent GEICO Honda but still managed a sixth place finish, which is pretty incredible.

In the first-turn pileup, Stewart actually had his jersey torn by Hampshire’s tire. “Hampshire’s tire definitely ate me up,” Stewart said. “Those Dunlops were working! It is what it is. It was my fault.”

“I was not giving up,” added Stewart. “The thing is I work too hard to give up. There’s no chance in heck I am coming back to this truck [before the race ends]. Unless that motorcycle cannot run, I’m not coming back here. I worked too hard in the offseason, and the team knows that I want to win. They know. If anything they came back with smiles on their face just because they know that’s riding like a champion. That’s what’s going to get you wins. Once you get the ball rolling there ain’t going to be nobody to stop you. That’s my positive energy leaving this. Get a win in Detroit [next week], regroup, and go from there.”

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Martin Davalos held the points lead heading into to Toronto, but did not make the race because of what Husqvarna is calling personal reasons. We’re not sure what they mean by personal reasons, but in the past, foreign riders have had problems related to visas when going to Canada, and in fact, Dean Wilson had that very problem in 2010, although he got into Canada but was not allowed to leave until certain paperwork was cleared up.

Toronto Notes & Quotes

The Toronto course ended up being super slick, but it was not nearly as bad as it could have been, although it did require strict throttle control, especially on the flat, sweeping turns. By the main, the whoops had also deteriorated, getting cupped out, and the course layout led to multiple block passes throughout the race.

Among the riders going down in the “Justin Bogle” incident was Chad Reed. Reedy lay on the turf for a while but eventually walked back to the pits under his own power.

It was a last minute decision for Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki’s Kyle Cunningham to lineup for the main event after a big crash earlier in the day, but he decided to lineup and attempt to race. The pain proved to be too much, however, as he was forced to retire from the race early on lap nine. He was credited with 19th place.

RESULTS

450SX

  1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
  2. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
  3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
  4. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
  6. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., KTM
  7. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda
  8. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha
  9. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
  10. Jake Weimer, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki

Eastern Regional 250SX Class

  1. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha
  3. Matt Bisceglia, Weatherford, Texas, Suzuki
  4. Alex Frye, Huntingtown, Md., KTM
  5. Jesse Wentland, Elk River, Minn., Honda
  6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda
  7. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., Yamaha
  8. Gannon Audette, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki
  9. Paul Coates, Zephyrhills, Fla., Honda
  10. Arnaud Tonus, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Kawasaki