Is the Championship Now a Two-Man Race?
Is the 450 title now a two-man race between Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb? After his second victory of the season last night in Orlando, Webb is now down just 13 from Roczen through seven rounds.
Consider this: Over the last five rounds, Roczen (3) and Webb (2) have accounted for every win and neither rider has finished outside the top four (Roczen has five podiums in the last five rounds, Webb four). Over the same span, Eli Tomac, third in points (29 back of Roczen), has gone 5-2-3-7-5.
With Daytona coming up and then three Atlanta’s that are very Daytona-ish this year, where Tomac is arguably considered the favorite at all four, the defending champion could jump back into this, but he really needs to reel off some wins quickly.
Hot, damn, Jett Lawrence has shown some resiliency over the last couple weeks. After two big crashes at Indy 2 that damaged his shoulder and effectively ended his title chances when he couldn’t line up for the main, Lawrence returned at Indy 3 and had a solid battle for the podium with Colt Nichols before taking fifth.
Orlando 1 was a much different story between Jett and Colt. Jett got the start and while Nichols keep it close, he never made a strong run at the leader, as Lawrence lead all 19 laps to capture his second win of the season.
“That ride, I finally got my starts sorted,” he said. “I had no idea where Colt was, then halfway through I saw a Star helmet, then I didn’t see anything and I was like “Did he go down?” Then all of a sudden at the end I started hearing the Star bike right behind again! It was a really good ride, I’ve gotta thank the crowd. I love this crowd. You guys need to give yourselves a pat on the back.”
After his win at the season finale in Salt Lake City last year and his 450 Pro Motocross title run, Zach Osborne came into 2021 considered by some as a title favorite, or in the very least, a regular podium guy and race winner. It’s been tough sledding for Osborne through the first six rounds, as his best finish was a fifth at Indianapolis 1. It was his only top five of the season prior to Saturday night.
On Saturday, Osborne had a great battle for third with Justin Barcia. Osborne got shuffled back early in the race before making a late charge and getting back by Barcia when he nearly went down in the whoops. Osborne then held off a furious charge from Barcia late to take his first podium of the season.
“It was one of the toughest days and weeks of my career, I was not feeling the flow after Indy,” he said. “I had a bike issue that cost us the second practice. We were just kind of fighting the momentum going the wrong direction lately. Felt good to get a start, that’s where I’ve been really struggling, my starts. I changed a couple of things for the start, it was a complete roll of the dice and it worked out. After such a strong outdoor season to struggle in the beginning of the year has been really tough for me.”
Craig Guts Out Third, Saves Title Chances
Christian Craig’s title chances nearly went up in smoke on Saturday, as the Star Racing Yamaha rider went down hard in his heat race, injuring his hand. Craig would have to go to the LCQ to make the main, but he got a good start and was able to finish third on the night, salvaging valuable championship points.
“I’m in a title chase and there’s no giving up,” he said. “When I got out there in the main event, my adrenaline kicked in, the pain went away and I salvaged points. Only lost a couple, so I can heal up, we’ll see you in Salt Lake.”
The good news for Craig, who trails his teammate Nichols by eight, is that the 250SX East Region goes on a massive break and he’ll have time to let his injury heal. The East Region doesn’t return until Round 16 in Salt Lake City on April 24!
Nagy, F Yeah
Popular writer Malcolm Gladwell has a theory “10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness.” I have no idea how this applies to the following, but it’s a cool theory and I figured Alex Nagy has probably put more than 10,000 hours in on his dirtbike.
To the point: According to master stat guy, Clinton Folwer (give this dude a follow, he’s amazing) before Saturday night, Nagy had attempted to qualify for a supercross main event 113 times and had never made one!
Well, on Saturday, Nagy did the damn thing. He took third in the LCQ to qualify and then finished a solid 15th in the main. Hell yeah! Congrats, Alex.
Main image: KTM Images