As rain falls upon the hillside of Hangtown, here's a walk down memory lane. The top twenty moments from arguably the best season ever could shed some light on what's to come as we head outdoors. After all, both series will begin with a mudder.
20. April 22, 2019 - Seattle, WA - Sugar Ray Shane takes a dive.
Before the night show at Seattle, Shane McElrath announced he would sit out the rest of the Supercross series. Had Shane raced that night and scored points, he would have officially pointed out of the 250 class. He would be forced to find a 450 ride for 2020, a ride which many believe didn't exist. Sugar Shane claimed the reason he sat out was due to a nagging back injury and it didn't have anything to do with him pointing out. That seemed a little too convenient for much of the industry, who accused him of taking a dive. It's too bad the system is set up to put riders in this position. Some rule changes could help to alleviate the problem. My belief is that Shane truly did have a back injury, but how bad was it really? Had he still been in the championship fight, I'd bet my left knee brace he finishes the series. However, with a shiny, orange factory ride and a real chance at a championship on the table for the 250 class next year, becoming a privateer in the 450 class doesn't look so hot. What would you choose?
19. February 9, 2019 - Minneapolis, MN - Craziest LCQ.
What would a best moments list be without some LCQ action? The best LCQ of the year was hands down the 250 LCQ at Minneapolis. It was the first 250 East series race and I think the 250 guys may have had a little too much Monster Energy before the LCQ. First carnage was Sam Redman casing a rhythm which sent him tumbling. Lane Shaw then got into Joey Crown sending Crown full throttle off a berm. Shaw must have heard it was Yamaha season as he then went after Ramyller Alves like Elmer Fudd goes after wabbits. Just like Mr. Fudd, his attempt was futile as he took himself out in the process causing about three different riders to run directly over him. Josh Osby would leave the chaos behind him and take the win. Surely there were a number of fantasy players chucking beer bottles at the wall during that one. I know my security deposit is likely gone. Anyone know a good drywaller?
18. April 27, 2019 - East Rutherford, NJ - Sexton wins one.
After Austin Forkner tweaked his knee hitting the dirt in Nashville, he chose to sit the night out. Everyone looked for Chase Sexton to get his first career win. Forkner's teammate, Martin Davalos, swooped in on that opportunity. Sexton would finish second that night, putting him three points down on Forkner with a three week break before the next round in New Jersey. Even if a broken Forkner could have finished the race in New Jersey, I think Sexton had him covered. After Forkner pulled off due to his bad knee, Sexton took the lead from Davalos to get the first win, only win and first points lead of his career. A race later, he would also clinch his first title. For the first time ever, all three Supercross champions had their first win and first championship in the same year. Dylan Ferrandis won his first Supercross race in Seattle, then clinched the title in Vegas. Cooper Webb got his first 450 win at Anaheim II this year.
17. January 12, 2019 - Glendale, AZ - Is it Stewable? #stewartproblems
Mookie fever was an epidemic in the first two rounds of Supercross. Malcolm Stewart looked to have speed for a podium and possibly a win early in the season. But in true Stewart fashion, he entered a whoop section at about 259 miles per hour, missed a whoop and hit the dirt. It was a gruesome crash that claimed the crowd favorite's femur. He was going so fast that he almost passed his teammate, Vince Friese, while crashing. Was that move Stewable? It's a term used to describe a jump or move that may not actually be doable by a human, but James Stewart would do it. Hitting those monster whoops fifth gear pinned? Stewable. Going five in on a rhythm section? Stewable. Throwing an upside down whip while breaking the world record distance jump as Travis Pastrana triple backflips beside him and Donald Trump does donuts in monster truck below? 259% Stewable. Being that a Stewart tried it and failed, was that move actually Stewable? Hopefully Mookie can bring the same intensity next year.
16. April 22, 2019 - Seattle, WA - Worst crash.
During the first lap of the 2019 Seattle Supercross, Chad Reed uncharacteristically caused the biggest crash of the year. He got his weight just a little too far forward heading into a rhythm lane and the back tire spun causing his bike to get all cattywampus heading into the next jump. Reedy whiskey throttled, sending his bike launching into Justin Brayton and Ryan Breece while he exited off the back fender. Two painful events followed, both victims being the oldest riders in Supercross. Brayton's body landed just so on Reed's spinning rear tire. The timing caused the tire to shoot Brayton about ten feet in the air like he'd sat in one of those airbag chairs from Seth Rogan's movie, Neighbors. A split second later as Reed laid helpless on the face of the landing, he took about four hundred pounds of HEP Suzuki to the face when Kyle Chisolm had to use him in place of a downside. Croikey, that must have hurt. The Alpinestars Mobile Medical Unit cleaned out their stock of canes and plastic hips that night. Go easy on the old guys! Brayton suffered torn ligaments in his knee while Reed racked up eight broken ribs, a broken scapula and collapsed lung.
15. March 30, 2019 - Houston, TX - Bogle's goin' fast again!
The Houston Supercross had perhaps the most memorable moments of 2019. One of them was the beginning of Justin Bogle's comeback. Though Bogle did get a fourth in the mud at San Diego this year, he's only had a handful of Supercross finishes inside the top ten the last two seasons. That all changed starting at Houston. He went 8-5-7 in the triple crown for seventh overall. The Oklahoma native never finished outside the top ten for the rest of the season, except for a mechanical DNF in New Jersey. Justin even nailed another top five with a fourth place in Denver. I like Bogle. He's a breath of fresh air in the sport. From his fashion forward outfits every weekend to his successful Pak X Emh rap group, I say bring on the Bogle. Yeah, there's another rapper in Supercross besides the 7 Deuce Deuce. Dare I say, Bogle is better. He's throwing can-cans over the finish line and dropping more leg swag than a stanky leg dance off. Justin won an overall at Budds Creek in 2017, maybe he can continue this momentum outdoors.
14. March 9, 2019 - Daytona, FL - Scrub or send?
Stew was back at Daytona! Well, in spirit. Remember when James Stewart propelled himself to the heavens to pass Tim Ferry at the 2014 Daytona Supercross? Somewhere in rural Florida Bubba is watching over all of us, sending telepathic signals to elite riders when it's time to hit the full send button. Sending the wall jump at Daytona in 2019 was Stewable. The Stew signal shown over the Florida sky the night of the 2019 Daytona Supercross as Blake Baggett approached the wall jump in the lead with Eli Tomac in tow. Scrub or send? Faced with a classic Stew decision, Baggett hit send. It didn't gap Tomac enough because Tomac used the exact same jump to soar past Blake a few laps later.
13. January 12, 2019 - Glendale, AZ - Baggett learned how to Supercross... Uh oh!
Blake Baggett a.k.a. El Chupacabra is an outdoor rider, right? Wrong! Baggett has historically faired better outdoors than in. He earned his radical nickname outdoors by coming alive in the last half of moto's, stalking his prey and chasing after them really fast just like el chupacabras do? Wait… Is that what el chupacabras do? Are there multiple el chupacabras or is their only one like Bigfoot. Wait... Is there only one Bigfoot? We're getting off topic. I'll question Jason "Weege" Weigant about that later. We're having tea next Wednesday, he's buying. Where were we? Oh yeah, Baggett learned how to ride Supercross! Uh oh... Blake got his first ever 450 Supercross win this year at round two in Glendale. Anyone have Baggett pegged as the first KTM winner of 2019? He was at the front all year, finishing fifth overall in points. If he was this good in Supercross, I can't wait to see what he'll do outdoors. If you don't consider Baggett an outdoor title contender, we can't be friends.
12. January 21, 2019 - Temecula, CA - One is done.
Jason Anderson's first three rounds of Supercross did not go well. The defending champ had number one's on his bike, but didn't spend much time near the front. He was reported to have an arm injury before the season. A witness saw him at the emergency room holding his arm just before the season. After round three, it was reported that Anderson was out with an arm injury. Many just accused him of simply throwing in the towel on a poor start to his season. Video later surfaced of the Husky rider weeding himself in the whoops while practicing at the KTM test track. His title defending season was over. El Hombre's title was earned in a year where most of his major competition was injured. This, combined with his lackluster start to 2019, have a lot of industry people leaving him out of any future championship conversations.
11. February 2, 2019 - San Diego, CA - Put the lime in the Supercross, burn 'em all up.
Lime is a drying agent used to mix into wet dirt. It's been used since the 90's and prevents Supercross tracks from being too soft and rutted. It becomes a safety concern when riders are dragging foot pegs in ruts off the face of a triple. The lime used on the start straight in the slop fest that was the San Diego Supercross didn't get mixed into the dirt properly. The start was full of water mixed with lime. When it splashed the riders bikes and skin, it wreaked havoc. The night show riders from San Diego looked like extras from the Walking Dead the following day, bodies covered in gruesome looking sores. Equally as tragic, factory teams had expensive, custom works parts ruined from corrosion and privateers considered throwing their bikes away. Mechanics slaved all week to polish frames and replace corroded parts while many riders couldn't even practice during the week due to the chemical burns. Feld eventually made a statement and paid compensation to the riders for the damages.
10. February 23, 2019 - Detroit, MI - Dude, where's my CBD sponsor?
Enter Dean Wilson, privateer marketing genius. The elite rider yet again found himself without a ride in 2019, pitting out of a sprinter van with his dad. He raised awareness for his personal brand by making viral Youtube videos, selling merch and using his personality to land a huge outside sponsor: Ignite CBD. The company is owned by major social media influencer, Dan Bilzarian. The trouble was, though CBD is now federally legal, the road map for how it's advertised on national television has not been drawn. Feld demanded Dean cover all Ignite CBD logos on himself, his bike and his pits for the entire season. Another outside sponsor magnet, Chad Reed, picked up CBDMD midway through the season Reed knew it would cause a fuss. He plastered his helmet and bike with "CENSORED" stickers. He went as far to thank them on the podium by pointing at his helmet and saying you know who you are with that classic Chad Reed smirk. CBD money is desperately needed, the product is widely used by riders and even Feld admits that once the legalities are decided, CBD companies will be welcome sponsors. It's already being advertised during X Games, which has raised questions as to why it can't be on Supercross. I bet we see CBD companies in the pits as early as 2020.
9. February 16, 2019 - Arlington, TX - 0.023 seconds.
Ken Roczen stole the lead from Eli Tomac in Arlington as Cooper Webb diced through the top five. Kenny led nearly the entire race. Roczen must have angered the moto gods at some point, because the guy has been as close to winning again as Tyler Enticknap has to making a main event. So close and so far away. Because Kenny either used Jeremy McGrath's name in vain, called our sport MOTORcross or wore a moto jersey in public (you know, the things that anger moto gods), Webb was able to close the lead by the final corner. He busted a quad mid race nobody else was doing. Coop ran Ken high in the last corner and they drag raced to the finish line. Both looked back at the tower to see the results: Cooper Webb wins by two hundredths of a second.
8. February 23, 2019 - Detroit, MI - 37 going on 22.
As Chad Reed celebrated his first podium since Phoenix in 2017 on the floor of Ford Field in Detroit, a fire was reignited in a legend who's retirement has been questioned the last five seasons he's lined up. The 37 year old Australian has expressed he still believes he has what it takes to podium and win races. A podium was the justification he needed to tell the industry with certainty that as long as he's given the opportunity, he'll be back next year.
7. January 5, 2019 - Anaheim, CA - Cali Rain.
By the time Colt Nichols crossed the finish line, winning the first round of the 250 West class in Anaheim, rain began to pour in southern California. Then privateer, Dean Wilson would lead most of the greasy 450 main event. Justin Barcia took the lead and rode to his first win since Seattle 2013. Wilson would eventually be passed by Ken Roczen to finish third; still a great ride for a funny talkin' guy pitting out of a sprinter van. Cooper Webb went down in the first turn and charged to fourth by the end. That was the first time since his 250 days that people said, "Hey, that Cooper Webb guy is pretty fast."
6. February 16, 2019 - Arlington, TX - Dropping anchor.
Eli Tomac had his worst race of the year at the Arlington Supercross. He finished twelfth. He started the race in first. After sliding out in a corner, Tomac remounted in eighth and fell all the way back to twelfth by the end of the race. Had he held the lead and won the race that night, as he's done many times before, he would have been 15 points closer to Cooper Webb. It could have been the pressure needed to crack the Coop. There was really no explanation for his inability to pass guys in tenth place. The most popular opinion is that his mentality breaks at times when things don't go to plan. I have my own theory that involves aliens.
5. March 30, 2019 - Houston, TX - Houston, we have a problem.
Houston Supercross was the night Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb made full contact for the first time as teammates. It was moto one of the Houston Triple Crown (Yes, I call them moto's. They're moto's, people. Enough with asking what to call them. One motocross race that combines with others to form an overall race result is a moto. Rant over. Back to your normally scheduled programming), and Marvin took Cooper a little high early in the race. They went back and forth until Webb began bringing serious contact, hitting his teammate twice before knocking him off the track in the third attempt. The moto world has been wondering when the teammates, training partners and now championship rivals would take the gloves off. Aldon Baker always claims it's all smiles training during the week… Really, Aldon? Those wondering who the boss in the KTM truck was, they may have got their answer in Houston.
4. April 27, 2019 - East Rutherford, NJ - Austin OJ's at NJ.
Austin Forkner launched off the gate for the 250 East main event in East Rutherford, New Jersey with an ACL that was literally torn in half. Running second behind his teammate, Martin Davalos, Forkner overjumped a roller into the face of the next. He rounded the following corner, jumped the triple and immediately pulled off. His championship was officially over. Forkner won every other East coast race previous to Nashville, where he first injured the knee and sat out. With a consistent Chase Sexton smelling blood in the water, Austin had a three week break between Nashville and East Rutherford to heal a badly injured knee. Three weeks wasn't enough. Forkner will now miss the entire outdoor motocross series. At least he's got that smoke show of a Monster Girl to keep him company on the couch; not a bad consolation.
3. April 22, 2019 - Seattle, WA - Le Red Cross.
If only Marvin Musquin had attended the riders meeting in Seattle, the championship may look a little different. Who goes to those things anyway, right? Well you should! There's important information at riders meetings, like standard operating procedure when the red cross flag flies. Leading the second lap of the main, Musquin came to a red cross section caused by a massive first lap pile up. Rather than singling through the section as every other rider did and the rule book suggests, he doubled through the section. This put a gap between him and second place Ken Roczen that basically stayed the same all race. It took officials an awkward amount of time to decide on a clearly written, precedented rule. The decision wasn't made until after the podium interviews and broadcast had ended. This left fans watching at home with no explanation other than an inaccurate prediction by the announcers that the win could go to Roczen. Marvin was allowed his win but docked seven points, right where it hurt. He could give a flying squirrel about the win, those points were crucial. Rather than leaving Seattle seven points behind Cooper Webb, the Frenchman would still trail by 14. That was the turning point for Marvin Musquin's run at Webb's championship.
2. May 4, 2019 - Las Vegas, NV - 4:18 +1.
The moment Adam Cianciarulo's handlebars slammed that jump face in Vegas, a dream that was a lifetime in the making was over in a matter of seconds; four minutes, eighteen seconds and one lap from making his life-long dream a reality. From his freakish domination of the amateurs, AC was pegged to be the next motocross legend. Now, six years after his pro debut, he remains titleless. 2019 looked to be his year to clean up and move on to the 450 class. Save for a couple of mistakes (some not even his fault) Adam was doing just that. There wasn't much he had to do to clinch at the final round. Dylan Ferrandis' was perfect in Vegas, a true champion's ride. AC remounted from his crash in eighth and there was a decent chance for him to catch fifth. However with bars bent so badly he couldn't clear a double, an issue rarely seen with modern handlebar technology. Adam would be the last bike on the track to finish that night. It looks as though Cianciarulo may never get a 250 championship. Most believe he will leave the KX250 in the past and look to a brighter future aboard a KX450… Or a CRF450R.
1. January 19, 2019 - Anaheim, CA - Shots fired.
Anaheim, California elected a new Sheriff: Cooper Webb. A large portion of Webb's breakout season is rooted in the moment where he looked back at Ken Roczen and gave him the one gun salute. It was only a triple crown moto win, but that was the first moment in a long time where Webb knew he was the man. Though he had been opening eyes with great rides at the first two rounds, people still had doubts. A guy going from the bottom end of the top ten one year to the top step of the podium the next? This won't last long. Even after he won the second moto and secured the overall with a second to Eli Tomac in the third, the industry still had doubts. When asked by broadcast reporter, Will Christian, what has been working so well, Webb replied, "I don't know but I want more of it." So do we, Coop, so do we.