Good day and welcome to another edition of the Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop. This is an exciting day as it’s not only Monday but it is also the first official day of spring! Last weekend the clocks moved ahead so now there’s plenty of daylight for everyone to bask in. Although the temperatures may not quite feel like spring in some parts of Canada, the air is definitely changing for the better. I’m not sure about tracks in other provinces, but I do know that Gopher Dunes is open tomorrow for practice, as well as this coming weekend. The time has finally come to go and play in the sand!
So with the 2017 Canadian riding season getting underway, and a large number of our riders already down south getting some practice in, we turn our attention to Saturday night’s Indianapolis SX. For those of you who have never been to downtown Indianapolis, let me tell you that it is one of the nicest cities that the Monster Energy Supercross Series visits. There are so many great places to eat and hang out, all within a few blocks. Not to mention, Lucas Oil Stadium is just a great building in all aspects. Fans in the Indy area also love their supercross, and judging by the 60 plus thousand people that jammed into the stadium to watch the race on Saturday night, this is one of the most popular rounds of the year.
For the past few years the Indianapolis track has usually been a rutted mess for the riders. With March being a wet time of year in the area, the dirt is brought in soft and never gets a chance to dry out. However, this year, for whatever reason, the dirt stayed pretty good and the track provided some great racing. In the 250SX east class, Zach Osborne once again showed his dominance as he grabbed the victory. Since the series began in mid-February, Osborne has really been the class of the field. Even when he hasn’t won the main event, he’s still remained consistent. Unless something drastic happens in the next few races, Osborne is in control of this series. He not only has the physical edge on his competition, but also the mental edge as well. I don’t think there will be too many unhappy people in this industry if Osborne wins this title. On the track, he’s definitely done it the hard way and he’s earned everyone’s respect, and off the track he’s become one of the sport’s hardest workers. With a few rounds remaining, and a slim 9 point lead over Joey Savatgy, this championship will no doubt go right down to the final round.
In the 450SX class, the championship fight has been getting more intense each and every weekend. With Eli Tomac’s newfound speed and determination, coupled with Ryan Dungey’s recent bout of conservative riding, the points race has definitely heated up. Once again, on Saturday night, Tomac grabbed the early lead and set the pace. Behind him, Dungey, Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin all battled for second. With Tomac out front, Dungey did his best to keep the Kawasaki rider in sight on the technical Indy track. This is where things got interesting and a little confusing, in my opinion. Even though Musquin appeared to be racing at a faster pace, while Dungey struggled a little bit, I’m confused as to why the KTM team allowed Musquin to pass Dungey and take the second place points from him. I didn’t think there was any hope in Musquin catching Tomac and taking the win, so why let him take points from Dungey, who at the moment so desperately needs them? With Tomac’s recent success he’s managed to get Dungey’s points lead down to twelve now. And with Dungey struggling each week to match Tomac’s pace, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until Tomac passes the Champ. It’s definitely going to make the next few races very interesting.
So what is up is up with Ryan Dungey anyway? Since the SX season began over three months ago, many have speculated that 2017 will be his final year of racing. Will Dungey follow in Ricky Carmichael’s and Ryan Villopoto’s footsteps as a champion rider that retires young, while still in their prime? With a large bank account and Dungey doing everything in this sport that he set out to do, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he called it quits after this season. After suffering a potential career ending injury last summer in the outdoor nationals, and watching his closet rival Ken Roczen suffer the same fate in January, a lot of things must be weighing on Dungey’s mind. Like RC and RV, Dungey has gone about his career in a professional and workman-like way. He has simply let his riding do the talking and perhaps, just perhaps in his mind, the risks are finally outweighing the rewards. This would definitely explain his cautious approach to the 2017 SX series, and him allowing a rider like Tomac to get the better of him in recent weeks. If Dungey wants to go out on top and win this championship, he needs to decide very soon as playing kitty by the door while waiting for Tomac to make a big mistake is simply not working. As these two warriors battle in the next few weeks, each with different mindsets, I believe that this series will go down to the final round in Las Vegas.
So with Dungey and Tomac battling for their lives in the 450SX class, back in the 250SX East class, our Canadian lone wolf, Cole Thompson, had a miserable night in Indianapolis. After getting landed on and injured, Cole could only manage a 19th in the main event. Cole left Indy a very sore individual, hopefully he can get a good week of riding in before this weekend’s Detroit SX. With the MX2 Nationals fast approaching, Cole must be starting to think about remaining healthy for what he’ll be getting paid to do this summer. In other KTM news, two of our young Canadian talent raced the KJSC in Indy, and by all accounts, both had a great time. Brennen Brullotte and Trace Martin rode hard all evening, and in the process did themselves and Canada proud. Congratulations to Brennen and Trace on their great rides inside the Lucas Oil Stadium.
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone is enjoying the first day of spring and hopefully riding is in your near future. In other Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals news, and also another sure sigh that summer is right around the corner, the CMRC has released their Pro Rider Package for the 2017 nationals. Here is the link for anyone that needs this valuable information. Have a great week and I’ll see you at either Gopher Dunes or the Detroit SX this weekend. http://files.constantcontact.com/95f1cc9d201/c068d16d-9e26-4957-88e5-661a435c38d7.pdf