The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season returns to the Sanctuary State on Saturday for Round 5 at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, CA as fresh energy infused the series last week after a resounding Eli Tomac win.
As expected, Tomac made a statement round last week in the desert getting his first victory of the season and eliminating thoughts from many that this season was in the bag for two-time defending Champion Ryan Dungey after Ken Roczen's departure. Not so fast, as Tomac grabbed the holeshot and never looked back injecting himself squarely into Championship contention. Tomac posted rather underwhelming rides the first three rounds but history showed and proved once again that he's hot in Arizona.
Can Eli Tomac keep the throttle rolled in Oakland?
The confidence boost helps but Tomac still has work to do and he didn't fare so well in Oakland last year, finishing seventh after qualifying second but enduring a bad start (something plaguing him a bit this year), so watching any trickle over effect from last week should prove interesting. Tomac shaved five points off his deficit to Dungey last week and sits 20 points out from the lead.
Chad Reed, in his 16th season, also proved any doubters wrong about his hardiness jumping from 10th into seventh-place for points, just six from the Top 5, after a stellar performance in Phoenix that put him on the podium. It was Reed's first podium since Round 8 last year at Atlanta. He got past Dungey and Cole Seely early in the race as the two squabbled for second and Reed quickly added distance on Dungey who eventually secured the final podium spot five seconds behind Reed.
Chad Reed (left) has the most wins in Oakland of the current riders with two. Dungey can tie him with a victory on Saturday.
Though Dungey didn't look quite as impressive as Anaheim 2 where he got his first win of the year and finished a season "worst" third-place in Phoenix he still increased his lead from seven to 15. That's thanks to Marvin Musquin having on off-night falling off the podium for the first time landing ninth. Musquin is still in second for points but just five in front of Tomac and Seely who enter Oakland tied with 69 points.
Dungey also enters this weekend with success at Oakland having won last year and taking second in 2015. An unfortunate question at last week's press conference invoking the impression that Dungey had the 2017 Championship wrapped up after Roczen's season ending injury at A2 raised the ire of Tomac and Reed but also brought out strong emotions from Dungey. It's notable because last year Dungey was docked two spots after jumping with the Red Cross flag out which denied him the win and by all accounts the ruling was controversial. Dungey then ripped off three straight wins en route to the 2016 crown.
Saturday should be fun.
Elsewhere, Jason Anderson finished a season worst 10th place a week after officials disqualified him for the night show in Anaheim when he hit Vince Friese's helmet after their heat race and again in the tunnel heading back to the pits. As we noted last week, Weston Peick's season derailed quickly in 2016 when he was disqualified for the first two rounds for fighting with Friese and placed no higher than seventh.
Speaking of Peick, a career-best start to his season is over thanks to a practice crash in Phoenix leaving him with a dislocated wrist and lacerated kidney. He's expected back this year but his absence for the night show last week dropped him from sixth-place just a point behind Tomac to 11th and counting.
In the 250 West class, Justin Hill enters Oakland looking to extend his two-round winning streak while Shane McElrath tries to stop the bleeding.
McElrath had an eight-point lead over Aaron Plessinger and 12 over Hill after Round 2 thanks to opening the season with back-to-back wins. It's now down to four over Hill who crossed the checkers less than a second in front of McElrath last week. McElrath is the only 250 class rider to reach the podium every round thus far. Plessinger, a heavy title favorite this year, has yet to win a round and took fourth last week, his lowest finish thus year. Rookie Austin Forkner has steadily improved just as he did last year in Motocross and if his line to start the season - 8/5/4/3 - is any indicator, expect him not only on the podium, but fighting for the win on Saturday.
Justin Hill hopes to raise another triumphant fist in Oakland
Our podium picks for Oakland:
- Ryan Dungey
- Eli Tomac
- Cole Seely
250 SX West
- Shane McElrath
- Austin Forkner
- Justin Hill
Check out the track map for Round 5:
An early start for Oakland fans as practice and qualifying start at 9 a.m. (PST) and opening ceremonies begin at 3:30 p.m. (PST) on Saturday. Buy tickets online or at the box office. Fox Sports 2 provides television coverage.
2017 Supercross Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (89)
- Marvin Musquin (74)
- Cole Seely (69)
- Eli Tomac (69)
- Davi Millsaps (55)
- Ken Roczen (51)
- Chad Reed (49)
- Jason Anderson (47)
- Josh Grant (46)
- Cooper Webb (44)
250SX West Class
- Shane McElrath (92)
- Justin Hill (88)
- Aaron Plessinger (82)
- Martin Davalos (70)
- Austin Forkner (67)
- Jimmy Decotis (55)
- Dan Reardon (47)
- Jeremy Martin (40)
- Phil Nicoletti (38)
- Josh Hansen (37)