There are 22 gate spots available at a Monster Supercross event. That means, at any given event, you’re watching the best 22 athletes our sport can field. That’s the same number of offensive and defensive starters on ONE football team. In short, making the gate ain’t easy, and not everyone can make the podium. Which is why we’re paying homage to those who may not make the Cycle News headlines each week, but deserve noting.
Our roots are in amateur moto, and while we may have shut out doors for a few years, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been following Jalek Swoll’s career all along the way. After an up and down rookie campaign in 2020 that saw numerous top 10 finishes, mixed in with a few blow up rounds, Jalek is building a strong foundation. He just missed the podium in Orlando with a fourth, and while he wasn’t happy with his eighth at Daytona, we still took notice.
His speed was a hair off the lead pack, but he’s riding with a certain confidence and fluidity this year that deserves attention. A tuff block incident kept him from achieving better results in Daytona, but look for Swoll to be a podium threat in Arlington next week.
Bailey missed the opening round in Orlando. And by missed we mean he didn’t qualify out of the LCQ. He said it best in an IG post following the opening round, “Embarrassing performance on Saturday. See you guys in Daytona.”
Given Bailey’s pedigree, we have to agree. Orlando wasn’t a shining moment for him, but he bounced back in Daytona with a 14th. Still not what we believe he is capable of, but when you dig a little deeper you’ll notice there’s cause for optimism.
He qualified sixth and was only a fraction of a second off of fifth, so top five speed is there. He backed it up with a fourth in his heat and actually ran a faster lap than Pierce Brown. And just when we thought this was going to be a breakout performance for Bailey after pulling the holeshot, he wadded.
Maybe it was nerves or the unforgiving Daytona sand, and while he’s likely disappointed that he threw it away, we see it as a step in the right direction.
Some may look at Ty’s 16th place finish at Daytona and wonder why he made our list. Well, first off, the title of the article is called “Guys You Didn’t Notice” so there’s your first hint. The second is, he made the main, meaning he was one of the 22 fastest humans in the world last Saturday night. That alone is noteworthy.
Take into account that he wasn’t one of the 22 fastest humans in the world at O2 (he finished seventh in the LCQ over 12 seconds off the lead) and by gosh you’ve got something worth noting. He came out of his heat with a 13th and, to be honest, we were on the fence if he had anything in the tank for the LCQ. For once in our life, we were wrong, as he put in a solid second place qualifying ride.
Take into account that he has less than a few weeks on his new bike and we’re now even more pleased with his trajectory. We’ll be keeping an eye on Masterpool as he continues to take on his rookie supercross season. The question now is, will the outdoor specialist recreate his Daytona success once the series shifts to a more traditional supercross track in Arlington?
Daytona didn’t start well for Wilson. “Unfortunately crashed in the ‘death section’ before the finish in my heat and had to go to LCQ which is nerve racking. But never became a meme so that’s good.”
After winning the LCQ Wilson didn’t start the main much better after a 15th place start. But he put his head down and slowly worked through the pack, passing some notable talent while doing so. He worked past Dylan Ferrandis, Joey Savatgy, Vince Friese, Benny Bloss and nearly edged out Bogle, eventually landing a top 10.
Wilson has settled in as a top 10 threat every week. The question is can he stay healthy enough for long enough to reassert himself as a top five threat?