It took half the season but the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series appears settled down with those expected upfront, upfront but with a 42 point lead in the Championship standings Jason Anderson controls his destiny as gates drop for Round 10 on Saturday in Daytona Beach, FL.
Anderson won the second of three Triple Crown format rounds last week, his fourth checkers of the season tying Eli Tomac for most victories this year. (Tomac won the first Triple Crown.) Marvin Musquin logged his fourth second-place finish in a row breaking an all too visible trend of those entering a round in second-place only to leave the venue seriously hurt. Tomac finished third as he continues to make up ground on a season gone awry from the start that includes a DNS and two DNFs. These three early season contenders filled the podium the last two rounds with Musquin riding a four round podium streak and Tomac at three. Anderson has not finished below fourth all season.
Nothing but thumbs up for Eli Tomac the last three rounds
The Daytona track, constructed on the infield of the Daytona International Speedway, usually represents the most Motocross style layouts of the season offering those who excel in Outdoors an opportunity to send it. However, this year's track while keeping the more narrow configuration as opposed to the box setup prominently featured inside stadiums is about as Supercross as it gets looking more like the Atlantic Ocean during hurricane season.
Anderson has never won Daytona, his best result last year in third behind Tomac and Jeremy Martin at the race Ryan Dungey arguably solidified his 2017 Championship after starting 17th then worked his way to fourth-place salvaging a slew of points. Tomac has won Daytona the last two years and finished second in 2015. He dominates here and should again this year. Musquin's best finish came in 2016 when he took third.
Musquin didn't offer a highlight reel crash last week, as other second-place contenders have in recent weeks, but that didn't prevent more injuries from occurring. Blake Baggett, third in points, managed to finish despite spraining his wrist in the third Main Event. He finished seventh overall but the 18th-place in Race 3 ended any hopes of a podium with that a lock on second-place after the first two races. He remains in third-place in the standings but any lingering effects from the injury opens the door for veteran Justin Brayton (who finished fourth overall in Atlanta including winning the first race) to get into the Top 3 - just six points back from Baggett - as well as Tomac who sits seven points behind Brayton in fifth.
Jason Anderson (L) and Marvin Musquin (R) 1-2 in the standings and 1-2 last week in Atlanta
Also, Justin Hill's stint in the 450 class while the 250SX West takes a breather from racing ended after he hit "eject" and bailed off his bike in the second race. The defending 250SX West Champion is expected back in a few weeks for the first of two rounds featuring both 250SX East and West riders. Weston Peick cleared a triple in his Heat race, albeit off the bike, landing perfectly as one could on the backside. He managed to line-up for the LCQ, won and moved on to the three Main Events. He's expected to line-up at Daytona but he's finished 12th in three of the last five rounds.
Elsewhere, Chad Reed had his best showing of the season finally cracking the Top 10 last week as he toughed through an ankle he broke in October at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm to start the season. Cooper Webb now in his second season in the 450 class enters Daytona riding a career best three weeks finishing 6-4-6. Finally Broc Tickle let us down as we picked him to podium last week only to finish a season worst 19th. No more podium picks for you! OK, the minor pile-up didn't help but still.
In the 250SX East Class, Martin thrives in the more Outdoorsy atmosphere of Daytona taking second last year in a one-off in the 450 class, winning here two years ago for the 250SX East class and third in 2015. He ended Atlanta on a high note taking the win in the final, longer race for fifth overall and unless the track proves lots more difficult than past years expect another podium for the two-time defending 250 class Motocross Champion.
Supercross race, UFC fight or both for Zach Osborne?
Austin Forkner races Daytona for the first time in his career entering the round on two straight wins and a growing rivalry with Zach Osborne. The two have bar-banged pretty good the last few weeks with Osborne dumping Forkner to start the season and last week Osborne in the dirt after Forkner crossed in front of him off a jump in the second race. Osborne continued racing bloody face and all eventually losing the overall Triple Crown victory on the tie-breaker. I was briefly thinking these two tied in Championship points with the win given to Forkner based on the last "Moto" just like what happens in Motocross. However, that's not the case. Forkner gained three points but Osborne keeps the Red Plate for the third straight round with Forkner nipping at his fender just two points back.
Meanwhile, RJ Hampshire quietly sits in third-place after rolling off three straight fourth-place finishes. He's got heat behind him though with Jordon Smith grabbing his first podium last week now just two points behind Hampshire in fourth and Colt Nichols holding up in fifth just a point back from Smith. Dylan Ferrandis, who finished second in Tampa, had a big season ending crash in Atlanta after clipping a Tuff Block and the ensuing crash resulted in broken arm, broken teeth and a see-it-to-believe munched dirt bike.
The 2018 season ended for Dylan Ferrandis and his bike in Atlanta
Our Podium Picks for Daytona:
- Eli Tomac
- Marvin Musquin
- Jason Anderson
250SX East Class
- Jeremy Martin
- Zach Osborne
- RJ Hampshire
Check out the track map for Round 10:
Practice for Daytona starts at 12 p.m. (EST) with the Main at 7 p.m. (EST) on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Buy tickets online or at the box office. Nice Florida weather expected with a high in the mid-70s.
2018 Supercross Season Standings
- Jason Anderson (207)
- Marvin Musquin (165)
- Blake Baggett (150)
- Justin Brayton (144)
- Eli Tomac (137)
- Weston Peick (136)
- Cooper Webb (125)
- Cole Seely (124)
- Broc Tickle (118)
- Justin Barcia (113)
250SX East Class
- Zach Osborne (70)
- Austin Forkner (68)
- RJ Hampshire (57)
- Jordon Smith (55)
- Colt Nichols (54)
- James Decotis (47)
- Jeremy Martin (47)
- Luke Renzland (42)
- Dylan Ferrandis (34)
- Martin Davalos (34)
Written By: AndrewT