T-Dog’s Takes: Thoughts on the Opening Round of the World Supercross Championship

Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! I have one in my garage right now and I can’t wait to go shred it! Thank you to Yamaha for believing in my ELITE columns on this dirt bike website enough to sponsor me. What a dream come true! BTW: Have you seen the all-new YZ450F? OH. MY. GOODNESS. I can’t wait to test that bad boy.

The first of two rounds of the World Supercross Championship is in the history books! I thought it was great. Obviously a lot of people had their complaints about this championship (several of them confused on why it’s called a championship). The point of these two rounds this year was best described by Chad Reed when we spoke at length about it. Reedy called this a “soft opening” for the promoters. It’s a chance to show everyone how the format works as well as work out any issues that need to be resolved.

From my point of view while watching the event, I thought it was nonstop action. The only complaint that I had was the down time during the AJ Tracey performance and the freestyle show. I understand that it’s a great idea to try something new, such as a musical performance, but that was my only nitpick. I’m pretty sure it was just my excitement for the main events that made the intermission seem long. If I were at the event I don’t think I would have had many gripes. It was the first ever WSX race, ever. The promoters have one race down and hopefully forever to go.

I thought that the racing was fantastic with the shortened races and three gate drops for each class. It really led to some very unpredictable results. Take Mitchell Oldenburg for an example. He was clearly one of the fastest guys all night and went 1-19-1 for third overall. Chris Blose in second overall was not really a surprise to me personally. When you look at his experience as well as what he’s accomplished in Monster Energy Supercross, it makes sense. He’s a consistent rider. He was also one of the first riders to announce that he was racing WSX too, so good for Blose. I figured that Shane McElrath would have been the rider to beat in SX2, along with Justin Bogle, but McElrath won with consistency opposed to domination. That’s another reason why I dig the three race format.

Jace Owen qualified first in SX2, but then lost his rear brake in the first main after colliding with another rider. The team didn’t have time to fix it in the five minute break, so Owen grabbed a backup race bike that was fresh and had never been ridden. He struggled to get comfortable on it and finished 15th overall. This is the downside of the three race format. The Troy Dog Squad’s own Derek Kelley was a last minute addition to the PMG Suzuki team. He had a few days on the bike before heading off to the UK. The last minute ride paid off with a seventh overall. 

I thought it was really cool that my entire Squad (Justin Starling, Grant Harlan, and Kelley) ended up finding themselves with a WSX ride. Kelley was truly a gem as he actually remembered me enough to bring my stickers to put on his helmet, even with a last minute deal in place.

I keep underestimating how good Vince Friese is for some reason. I knew he would get great starts in all of the races, but I didn’t think he’d finish third overall. It truly was a bummer to see Chad Reed and Josh Grant have mechanical problems that put them on the ground. Reed seems to have gotten the worst of it with a dislocated shoulder, broken left hand, and ribs. Grant came away with a concussion and might be back for Australia. 

All in all, the format was a huge hit for me. I loved the constant action of the three main events. The team structure really looked professional. Each team had their own area blocked off with each rider having a photo billboard on the wall behind their bike. Freddie Noren told me that he liked being in opening ceremonies because every team was introduced and they even gave him a Swedish flag, which he was not expecting.

A handful of riders were coming into Cardiff with not much prep and last minute deals. I think we will see some differences in Australia as far as results go. I believe that the WSX Championship format works and I believe it has a place in this sport. The payout looked to be fantastic. I really like the team announcements and keeping track of the 40 riders chosen. Let’s see how Australia plays out and see when the 2023 season gets announced. WSX should be here for the long haul, so even if you aren’t a fan of it, we should all just embrace what they have to offer. The more racing the better, I say! 

Main image: WSX

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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