San Diego, or as Ron Burgundy refers to it, The Whale’s Vagina is a track that sets up for epic racing, year in & year out. We’re not sure if it’s the layout, or the dirt, but nearly every time the series makes its way to the only nice part of Southern California, the racing that ensues is mostly awesome. This year, motocross fans got to delight in a night full of dope battles between some of the quickest dudes on two wheels.
At A1, it was all Shane McElrath (still not sure how to pronounce his last name, but we’re pretty sure the FS1 crew has it wrong). McElrath won his heat withstanding a little pressure from Jeremy Martin. He then parlayed that into a most impressive, and dominant, main event win. Coming to San Diego, the moto community couldn’t wait to see what the good guy could do to follow up with his solid season opener. After all, the West Coast class is absolutely laden with talent, young & old alike. From veterans of the series, like Davalos & Hill, to fairly unproven commodities like Plessinger & Forkner.
McElrath opened the night with a robust Heat 1 victory, as he was able to catch & pass Davalos in the closing laps. In Heat 2, Justin Hill proved that he was out for blood, as he rode away from the likes of Martin & Forkner to cruise to a convincing heat race victory. We would be remiss if we didn’t give a little shout out to the boy, Hanny, for his nice little 4th place finish in Heat 1: especially after he struggled quite mightily the week before in Anaheim.
The main event was without a doubt one of the most exciting races in recent memory. Jimmy Decotis caught a solid start, and saw him self with the lead early. Buried in the back were the series contenders, McElrath, Hill & Plessinger: all got pretty poor starts and we’re forced to work their way through the pack. One thing to keep an eye on, as perhaps it will make a difference later on, is how aggressive both McElrath & Plessinger were all night. Both racers were extremely assertive in cutting their way to the front. McElrath made quick work of his competitors & was in the Top 3 decisively. Following in pursuit were Hill & Plessinger. The race was quirky because it seemed like Davalos & Decotis were too far ahead to be caught, and then all of the sudden Decotis was in 6th and McElrath was hounding Davalos. It was clear that Hill was the fastest guy on the track (Plessinger had the fast lap, but Hill just did it consistently), he was absolutely flowing, and he was able to eat up Davalos in short order, Plessinger followed suit moments later. By the time Hill was able to set his sights on McElrath, there just wasn’t enough time left. Despite the late race charge, Hill fell just short of his first main event win of the year. But the race just went to reaffirm the strength of all three riders, and gave a lot of hope that this title chase will be one to remember.
Ken Roczen came into this season with something to prove, from the suit to the swagger, it has been clear that Roczen has his sights aimed at the title. Quick side note, does anyone else find it hilarious how many times Ralph has said that Roczen is making statements? Like damn Ralph, really? Wasn’t quite sure that ole’ K-Roc was about statement making, until you reaffirmed it for the 90th time. Anyway, Kenny boy with his new ride, is certainly commanding the bulk of the attention, and riding with a purpose that is very Ricky Carmichael like. But Ryan Dungey is a 3-Time champ of the series, and he certainly isn’t looking to take a back seat while Roczen runs away with his first.
The night opened with the one they call El Hombre, riding his way to a pretty assertive heat race victory. Jason Anderson has always had a reckless style about him, from his untucked jersey, to his aggressive racecraft, he just doesn’t really give a shit. That certainly shined through in his 4th career heat race victory: as he was super aggressive, passing Eli Tomac twice in one race. In the second heat race, it was all the German phenom. He ripped the holeshot and cruised his way to a convincing 4+ second win over the reigning champ.
After the heat races, it definitely seemed like the stage was set for another blowout performance from Roczen, but very few foresaw what Dungey had in store for his former teammate. Dudes don’t end up being 3-Time champions in this sport by getting lucky or just staying healthy. Dudes get to 3 Titles by being ruthless in their preparation & laser-focused when they’re out on the track. So for Dungey, Saturday night was only the beginning of what’s going to be a tough championship run for the young German. The main event started out with Dungey jumping to an early lead. After Musquin almost had a catastrophic wad (but saved it, like a BOSS), Roczen snuck into 2nd and the two title contenders were not to be seen again. Roczen was nipping at the heels of Dungey for the first few laps, and used a pretty awesome move to maneuver his way past the Diesel. And just like that, America (and whoever else watches this awesome shit) was convinced that Roczen was about to thrust into hyperspeed and checkout. Dungey had other plans. Dungey rebounded after the aggressive move by Kenny, and actually went on to set the fastest lap of the main event. Dungey was on Roczen like a DEA agent on Pablo Escobar for the rest of the main, and was closing in on the points leader to go for a pass when her buggered up one of the rhythms, thwarting his victory hopes.
This weekend was indicative of a season that will have plenty of action moving forward. Three guys clearly differentiated themselves as serious title hopefuls in the 250’s, as McElrath, Hill & Plessinger bull-dogged their way to the front after mediocre starts. In the elite class, the top two title contenders proved that they were on a different level on Saturday night. Roczen & Dungey were simply in a class of their own, but the racing to be had behind them was equally as entertaining; as the likes of Anderson, Seely & Tomac continued to jostle for position. See you all at A2, aka not steak sauce, aka the middle sibling.