View From The Infield: Taming Glen Helen 2

Heading to Glen Helen, the riders were concerned about how gnarly the track would be. As usual, it was a man's track, and conquering it was no easy task. But it was just about the perfect mix of rough, technical...and safe.

View From The Infield: Taming Glen Helen

After taking a pair of moto wins at Hangtown, Eli Tomac has the look of a guy who's happy with his riding and equipment but is also deadly serious about having a solid summer season. With its proximity to the factories, and race shops, it was a great place to show what he could do.

You never know who you might run into on the gate. Justin Barcia's mechanic, Shawn Bell, wrenched for Chris Alldredge (876) at Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Chris is riding a mostly stock KTM 250SX, and was inside the top ten for the first half of the moto. We're not sure what happened after that, but the two-stroke fans were definitely digging it.

The 450s head down the start straight in moto one. It'd be interesting to see how fast they're really going at the end of the start straight. Talking with Benny Bloss on Friday, he said this is on of the few places on the National circuit where he's wide open in fifth.

Christian Craig had the jump on the pack early in moto one, but went down hard shortly after this. Unfortunately, it sounds like an ACL injury was the result.

Benny Bloss blending up some roost to Jason Anderson and Marvin Musquin in the sandy section.

Just about everyone was stoked to see Ken Roczen lead half of moto one, especially considering how tough the conditions were. He's showing progress every weekend so far, and is in great shape. Now he's just working on the sharpness and fitness that comes from racing on a weekly basis.

Marvin Musquin's 2-3 in the motos scored him another second overall.

What was up with Ken Roczen in moto two? Heading down from the top of Mt. St. Helens, he heard a grinding sound, but couldn't figure out what it was, or where it was coming from. He said he wasn't going to send it off of anything big before determining the cause, and after a quick stop in the pits, they determined that a rock had gotten caught between the chain and chain guard on the engine.

Memorial Day weekend is always big for racing, and as far as we're concerned, Glen Helen is one component of that. Phil Nicoletti was in the top ten in both motos, and eighth overall.

One of the better battles in moto two was between Justin Barcia and Weston Peick. As you can see, Weston was shaking out his right hand over some of the jumps, and not long after that, Barcia went by.

Blake Baggett was among the leaders in moto two, but a crash left him with a scraped-up hand. If you look closely, you'll also see that his grip got ripped off in the crash...and he rode the bulk of moto two without one, as he worked from the back of the pack to ninth place. That's crazy.

Jason Anderson was about two laps shy of catching a 450 moto win here. Looking forward, while he may not be fond of the altitude in Lakewood next week, he did finish on the podium there last year.

The win in the second moto made it four straight for Eli.

Eli's champagne spraying skills have gotten a lot better over the years. Of course, he's had lots of practice.

The length of Glen Helen's start straight means you see guys tucked back, and holding it wide open. That's Gage Schehr on the right of the lead group, enjoying some time near the front of the pack.

Aaron Plessinger had one of those days you dream about, going 1-1 for the first time in a National...and on a track that he's not particularly fond of. It'll be interesting to see how he does as we head across to the country to come of the tracks that he does like.

The weather made it tough to figure out track prep. During practice there was light drizzle that kept things nicely coated, but it was already this dry for the first 250 moto. Fortunately, the track crew got a handle on it, and it wasn't as dusty for the rest of the day.

Garrett Marchbanks was just inside the top ten overall at Glen Helen.

Fourth in the first moto was the best result of the day for Justin Cooper. He was sixth overall this week, and he's currently fifth in points.

Banging bars and clicking gears on the way to the first turn during the start of moto two.

Alex Martin got the jump in 250 moto two, but Aaron Plessinger quickly sliced through the pack and into the lead

The gang at Glen like to go big for the National, and the finish line jump was no joke.

Here's a rider view of the takeoff of the big uphill triple. This one got some tweaks the week before the race, and while it was still big, the riders felt a lot better about this whole section than they had after seeing early videos of it the week before.

After injuring his ribs at Hangtown, Austin Forkner had a tough first moto, and bounced back in moto two with a sixth. Joey Savatgy was the top Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki finisher, with a 6-4 for fifth overall.

Alex used a pair of third-place finishes to take the battle for Martin brother supremacy this week. His second overall finish. topped Jeremy's third overall and 5-2 score.

Zach Osborne and Jeremy Martin were having a good battle for a portion of moto two, but a mistake by Zach allowed Jeremy to get away...and kept Zach off the podium.

Dylon Turner urging Jeremy Martin on. He had a shot to catch Aaron Plessinger in moto two, but came up just short.

There was nowhere to rest on the course. Even the "easy" sections were filled with ruts, bumps, and other surprises. Chase Sexton was ninth overall this week.

Aaron Plessinger was pumped! This was his first 1-1 overall, and first time outdoors with the red points leader's plate. After the first round, we'd have thought it was going to be a Zach Osborne and Jeremy Martin show this summer. Not so fast...

MXA's Jody Weisel handed out the trophies to the 250 podium finishers. Much later, we spotted Bud Feldkamp helping direct traffic leaving the facility with a CHP officer. While they occasionally catch some heat, these guys work their tails off to try and put on a good event for the riders and fans.

Photos: GuyB

GuyB 5/27/2018 5:58 PM

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