Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Salt Lake City 3

Three rounds into the seven-race sprint to the finish, let's see who landed on the G, B, and U squares.

Good, Bad, 'n Ugly: Salt Lake City 3

250 Class

The Good: Chase Sexton | 1st Place

Chase's Main Event turned into a nightmare very quickly after he got pushed off of the track on the opening lap by Shane McElrath. He was also involved in a small crash with another rider a couple of sections later. While he still had the entire Main Event to make up points, I already thought that this would be the race where the momentum would swing fully in Shane's direction and stay there for the remainder of the season...until the red flag came out and Chase was given the opportunity to hit the reset button. When the gate dropped for the restart, he got another good jump, but this time he slotted in behind Shane and, as a result, couldn't be pushed off the track in the second corner. He was able to keep Shane close for a handful of laps until an unfortunate run-in with a lapper led to Shane tipping over. Chase took over the lead from there and never gave it back. Would things have turned out any differently if Shane had stayed upright? I don't think so because I feel Chase looked a little more comfortable in the conditions, but we'll never know. This 250 East title fight has turned out to be far more entertaining than I originally anticipated.

Chase Sexton.

The Good Bonus: Chris Blose | 7th Place

It wasn't that long ago when Chris Blose crashed hard in Glendale, and it looked like his Supercross season was over. His laundry list of injuries included four fractured ribs, a dislocated wrist, a fractured femur and a laceration on his liver. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and he was magically provided the time he needed to recover and to be ready to race again. So, it's cool to see him out there racing Supercross again. His finishes have also been solid lately, and this seventh-place finish is his best one yet. With the current state of the 250 East field, he could finish inside the top five, but he'll have to get better than a mid-pack start to do that. 

Chris Blose

The Bad: The Rainy Weather

Alright, the track conditions could have been much worse, given the weather. We actually ended up with a very raceable track that provided much more entertainment than the average mudder. It didn't look good early on in the day, though, and the shortened qualifying schedule made things more challenging for the riders to get comfortable on the track. The weather seemed to make the entire day more chaotic and stressful for everyone involved, whether it be the track crew, TV crew, team members, or the riders, as I already mentioned. But Supercross and motocross events continue whether it's rain and shine, so everyone powered through, and everything worked out in the end. The good news? There shouldn't be any rain on Wednesday. 

Shane McElrath, parting the seas of mud during practice.

The Ugly: Garrett Marchbanks | DNF

I don't think anyone would disagree with me that the 250 East field is not the most stacked we've ever seen. The championship battle between Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath is fantastic, but there is a significant drop in talent past the top four riders in the standings. Jeremy Martin's departure from the series last week (which I don't blame him for doing, he should have one more year in this class after being sidelined for so long) didn't help this series' strength of field at all. So with that being said, it was a huge bummer to see Garrett Marchbanks go down hard during the Main Event. Luckily, it sounds like the most severe injury he sustained in the crash is a bruised lung, and he believes he may be able to race when the 250 East field lines up behind the gate again. I do hope that he only races when he's truly back to 100%, though. The racing action would greatly benefit from him being on the line, but I also don't think he'd benefit much from racing at altitude with a lung that may not be working at full capacity.


450 Class

The Good: Jason Anderson | 3rd Place

Jason Anderson finally broke his streak of fourth-place finishes on Sunday by claiming the final spot on the podium. This was also his first podium since Dallas and should provide him with a little bit of momentum heading into the final push of our series of Salt Lake City races. I'm still not sure what to think of his season, to be honest. There was a point early on in the season when I felt like he was a dark horse to win the championship after he stayed nice and consistent through the first handful of rounds. I thought he could turn it up a little bit and take advantage of the mistakes I figured the other top guys would make. However, Jason was the one who ended up having a few rough rounds, and he took himself right out of contention. It has still been a solid season for him, with ten top-five finishes to his name, but I'm sure he's looking to take another step forward and get back to battling for wins in 2021. 

Jason Anderson.

The Good Bonus: Malcolm Stewart | 5th Place

Malcolm has proven this year that he deserves a shot on a factory team. He has only finished outside the top tens once in the thirteen rounds we've had so far, and he has shown that he has the speed to run up front, although most of his results fall in the sixth-to-eighth place range. And to be clear, Team MCR has a really good bike, and I'm not necessarily saying he'd be a title threat the second he gets onto a factory bike. Still, I do think he has the potential to reach the podium several times in this class if given a proper shot. A knock against him is that he hasn't raced nationals in a few years, but I think he'd be willing to if given full factory equipment. He just seems like the perfect number two guy for a factory team in my opinion, but we'll see how things shake out when silly season gets here.

Malcolm Stewart.

The Bad: Aaron Plessinger | 11th Place

Aaron seemed to be finding his groove before the series went on hiatus, but since the series has returned, he has regressed here he was at the beginning of the season. 12-12-11 are his results in the first three Salt Lake City races. The three races before we started back up in SLC? He finished 8-7-6 in those. So I'm not quite sure what the issue could be. Maybe he went the wrong way with his setup during the break, or maybe he just isn't vibing with the track in Salt Lake City. I'm not sure, but I hope that he's able to turn it around before the end of the series and doesn't end the series in the same rut he started in. 

Aaron Plessinger (7).

The Ugly: Ken Roczen | 10th Place

I think Salt Lake City 3 showed that Ken Roczen's chances of winning the championship are slowly fizzling out. He revealed last week that he had breathing issues for a while after dealing with a serious respiratory illness last winter. Those issues have been exacerbated by the high altitude of Salt Lake City. If the series were following its regular schedule, I would think he could push through the rest of the series and still give Eli Tomac a challenge, but with the modified program that includes every race being held at altitude... I don't see things getting any better for Kenny over the next couple of weeks. I think Ken will struggle to recover between rounds, and the performance we saw on Sunday may become fairly frequent as we approach the end of the series. Nothing can keep Ken from racing dirt bikes. Life can throw anything at him, and he'll find his way back to the race track, but, man, it's been hard to watch all of the stuff he has gone through over these past few years. 

Ken Roczen (94).


Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

GD2 GD2 6/9/2020 2:58 PM

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