(Screenshot via Supercross Youtube)
It wasn’t pretty at all one bit, as a complete mudfest took place at Oracle Park for Rd. 2 of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship. However, the racing was nothing but exhilarating.
From riders going down on the last to second last lap and losing a position or two. To riders fighting for their life to stay up and keep a clear view of the track. San Francisco brought a great atmosphere, considering the conditions all day long.
(Sam Donsig/Intermission Sports)
1. CHASE SEXTON (↑2)
Chase Sexton moves up two spots from last week's power rankings and rightfully takes the No. 1 spot from Jett Lawrence. For most of the day, Sexton was coming second best off. He set the second fast lap in qualifying (01:09.3370) and finished second in his heat race. However, when it mattered the most, Sexton showed up and dominated the main event. After getting a perfect start, the Red Bull KTM rider held 1st place for the entire duration of the moto.
He stayed composed and rode with the right level of aggressiveness. Considering the treacherous conditions on the track, Sexton maintained his level and still held a strong lead for most of the main event. Mud on Saturday night showed why Chase Sexton was the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Champion.
2. ELI TOMAC (Unranked)
Eli Tomac cracks into the top five for the first time after an impressive performance at Oracle Park. He showed his experience on Saturday night in the mud despite not winning. I know that he won in his mind, after the off-season he has had for himself. Tomac put it all together in the main event after a tough qualifying session, which saw him set only the 10th fastest lap. He had to do some work, and he did.
Tomac got a good start and stayed calm during the entire moto. Tomac did not fall and drop out of the top nine. His performance transferred well into the main event, as he did the same. Tomac focused on the start and took it one lap at a time. He didn’t try to hunt down Sexton and just worried about himself and the riders behind him.
3. KEN ROCZEN (Unranked)
Ken Roczen bounced back in a big way from last weekend’s mishaps. From finishing ninth to on the podium, Roczen put in a vintage performance. Despite only setting the sixth-fastest lap in qualifying, it didn’t stop him from any issues in his heat race and main event. In both races, Roczen applied a perfect balance of aggressiveness and cautiousness. Roczen did a great job fighting hard for positions while dealing with the conditions. He calculated every decision thoroughly in both motos.
Roczen rightfully deserves this No. 3 for three main reasons. He was consistent throughout the night in terms of finishing position. Roczen stayed composed on the bike and didn’t fall in the mud once. Other than skipping the whoops section just a few times. Lastly, Roczen did a great job keeping a consistent pace throughout the night.
4. AARON PLESSINGER (↑1)
Aaron Plessinger had an up-and-down day at Rd. 2 of Monster Energy Supercross. He set the fastest lap in qualifying to slip down a few positions and out of a heat win. It just wasn’t Plessinger’s night. However, when the bright lights were on the cowboy from Ohio, Plessinger put together a decent performance to finish fifth.
Plessinger deserved the jump in one position, and you might ask why. Well, based on his performance throughout the whole day. He put on an excellent performance in the mud, and it was something that people were expecting from him. Plessinger is a strong rider in treacherous conditions, and he proved it on Saturday night. Plessinger was calm throughout the night, which propelled him to finish in the top five and earn some critical points.
5. SHANE MCELRATH (Unranked)
Shane McElrath was a surprise to myself and several fans as well. Considering he qualified 24th, I didn’t expect to see him finish in the top five. Regardless of what I thought, after a strong performance in his heat race, where he didn’t lose focus or worry about being too aggressive. McElrath finished seventh and punched his ticket to the main event.
From there, McElrath took advantage of the conditions and had a great start out of the gate. He was able to make the right decisions in terms of when being aggressive and sitting back. Which ultimately helped him finish where he did. Regardless, I am excited to see if we will be seeing him in the top five next weekend at Rd. 3 in San Diego, CA.
It wasn’t just the 450SX class power rankings that were quite different. Compared to last week’s power rankings. The 250SX West Regional class had several change-ups and many newcomers.
250SX WEST CLASS
(Sam Donsig/Intermission Sports)
1. JORDON SMITH (↑1)
Jordon Smith moves to the No. 1 spot for this week’s power rankings after a masterclass in the mud. Smith perfectly orchestrated his way through the track and not be affected by the conditions at all. Other than a rough qualifying session that saw him set the 10th-fastest lap. He looked comfortable on the bike in the mud, finishing second in his heat race. Smith set himself up for a successful race in the main event later that night.
Smith got a great start and never looked back. He led all eight laps of the main event and got the holeshot. That is the definition of pure domination. I am excited to see what Jordon Smith will accomplish this season. It won’t be Smith’s only time he is at No. 1.
2.LEVI KITCHEN (↑2)
Levi Kitchen moves up two spots from last week’s power rankings after a complete performance on Saturday night at Oracle Park. Yes, Kitchen did not have the best qualifying sessions compared to other riders. However, in the main event, he put his best foot forward, leading to him getting on the podium. Kitchen was composed throughout the main event and did not once slip up. He extruded confidence on the bike and didn’t let the mud affect his race. Confidence is a common theme among all the riders I put in the top five for both classes.
From the point of the gate drop in the main event to the chequered flag, Kitchen didn’t let anything faze him or make him lose any track positions. I am excited to see how he fares next week in San Diego, CA and if this consistent form run continues.
3. GARRETT MARCHBANKS (unranked)
Garrett Marchbanks breaks into the top five after missing out last week by the smallest of margins. Marchbanks put in a strong performance at Oracle Park on Saturday night. Between an excellent combined effort in qualifying, his heat race and the main event. Marchbanks looked comfortable on the bike, and this was prevalent in qualifying. He set the fourth fastest time and put himself in a prime position for the heat race and main event.
He performed like a rockstar, finishing on the podium in both races. Marchbanks bounced back from last weekend and capitalized on mistakes from other riders. Made overtakes when the time was right and didn’t force anything. It seemed that all night, Marchbanks never felt the pressure. He was able to keep it clean and composed throughout the whole night.
4. PHIL NICOLETTI (unranked)
After not making the main event last weekend due to a mechanical problem. Phil Nicoletti’s weekend was much more enjoyable on Saturday night. He had a standout performance on Saturday night at Oracle Park despite struggling in qualifying and not putting in the best lap. However, things changed in the heat race, with Nicoletti finishing seventh despite struggling to keep pace with the lead pack ahead.
Regardless of how he performed throughout the night, the main event is where he shined the most. Nicoletti got a great start and kept out of trouble. He looked comfortable on the bike and kept Carson Mumford and company behind him. I look forward to seeing what Nicoletti does next weekend in San Diego, CA.
5. CARSON MUMFORD (unranked)
Carson Mumford rounds out the power rankings at the No. 5 spot after a solid performance on Saturday night at Oracle Park. Considering he is going up against factory riders, Mumford surprised many people. He put in a solid qualifying lap, setting the seventh-fastest lap. Mumford used that momentum, and it translated well into the heat race. Mumford finished fifth and clinched his spot in the main event.
He displayed a strong pace throughout the main event, which was prevalent from the start. Mumford didn’t lose his footing in the muddy terrain, one of the few riders that kept it clean. Mumford looked comfortable on the bike, like several other riders in the top five of my power rankings. I do expect to see Carson Mumford again in the top five.
It was a crazy race, to say the least, from the weather to the racing and everything that took place in between. There you have it, my power rankings for the 450SX & 250SX West Regional class after San Francisco. Stay tuned for more motorsports-related content later this week. As I preview Rd. 3 of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship and answer all the burning questions.
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