Le Cobra strikes back!
Le Cobra strikes back!
Photos by Simon Cudby
Marvin is going to lay awake at night thinking about how he threw that first moto away. What happened there?
That first moto wasn’t good at all for Marvin. He crashed twice which is very unusual for him. The first time he was leading and stuck his front wheel in a pile of mud. I guess the track crew scrapped the mud off the track and put it on the outside for that run before the finish. He got it with his front wheel and I am assuming, since we didn’t see the crash, that his bike came to a sudden stop and he went over the bars. He should’ve been aware of that and this kind of mistake shouldn’t happen when you have his experience. Five laps later, he crashed before the sand whoops. What I’m worried about is that after his 2 crashes he didn’t get his focus and his speed back. He clocked a 2’18”4 in the second lap. After the crashes he was doing 23s to 25s. That’s up to 7 second slower from his best time. When you race for a championship, you can’t do that even if you have to pull the throttle cable with your teeth!
“He doesn’t need to calculate points and do some math. He has to win and give 100% every moto, every lap, every turn and every jump. If he doesn’t do that he will not be champion.”
At the end of the moto, guys like Alex Martin and Savatgy clocked 2’19s… Marvin finished 8th, 7 seconds behind Hampshire in 5th. 7 seconds is the difference of 1 lap from best lap time to one of his laps in the second part of the race. He could’ve salvaged 3 points right there. In the second moto, Marvin is the only rider of the top 10 that didn’t improve his lap time from his first moto. The track was obviously faster but it didn’t show for Musquin. No disrespect to Savatgy, Smith or McElrath, but they shouldn’t be with 9 seconds of Marvin at the end of a MX moto. I think, after 30 laps of both motos, only the laps before his first moto crash were good. That crash while leading killed his day which shouldn’t. He never got his groove back in the next 28 laps…
Jeremy put a lot of points on Marvin the last two weeks but Marvin’s tracks are coming up..did J Mart make up too much ground or were these points given up not too bad?
Whenever you’re within a moto to the leader with 8 motos to go, you’re still in contention. In 2014, MM went 1-1 in Washougal and 2-5 in Unadilla while Jeremy went 4-4 and 3-1. If you compare the points difference between them on those 2 races, Marvin gained 7 points… I am not sure how Marvin’s wrist is since Red Bud. I don’t know if it still bothers him. That could still be an issue. His strategy should be really easy and simple now. He doesn’t need to calculate points and do some math. He has to win and give 100% every moto, every lap, every turn and every jump. If he doesn’t do that he will not be champion. Unless, obviously, if Martin has a couple mechanical issues or an injury. I’ve said it since the beginning of the East Coast SX Championship, I haven’t seen Marvin ride like I know he could. He looks flat. He doesn’t use his technique enough. I don’t see the spark we’ve seen from him in the last few seasons even though he’s been very successful this season so far. I’m very intrigued about this. I am not sure if it has something to do with his new training program with Aldon but something is different. I see him just riding and not being creative like we used to see. If he wants a chance to catch Martin in the championship, he will have to step it up. Mentally, going to Washougal where he won both motos last year should help him. Objectively, if he rides at his best with the starts he’s been getting (while Martin has been struggling a bit off the gate), he can easily give Jeremy a run for him money in the last 4 races.
” He’s on his way to sweeping both championships like he did in 2010. I’m impressed with Ryan. He’s like a good french wine, he keeps getting better and better with time”
Ryan Dungey was remarkable at Millville as he stopped Barcia’s race streak…what did you see?
Dungey’s confidence and riding are at their best right now. Historically when Dunge is the favorite and the best on paper, he’s tough to beat! With RV not racing here this season, Roczen not really at his best and Tomac out, Dungey is the man. He should be! But, it’s also a tough position to be in because everyone wants to beat you. Ryan has been delivering since a while now this season. He had a great SX season and carried it over in MX. He made some nice and cool passes in Millville. His inside line down the huge downhill when he passed a few guys was pretty sick. That’s something he had the potential to do in the past but he didn’t really do it. I remember him spending 17 minutes behind Windham in the first moto in Millville in 2010, a “replacement rider” at the time. That Dungey is long gone.
He’s improved a lot in this department in the last couple years. I’ve also noticed that his bike was on point in Millville. The best I’ve seen his MX bike work in motocross ever. He even mentioned it in his post race interview. I’ve tweeted it after the motos because it was very noticeable this weekend. His KTM looked very stable and very balanced. I think they hit the nail on the head with his set-up. I’ll be curious to see how it works in Washougal. In the past, that’s the track his bike looked the worse in my opinion with the lack of grip and choppy bumps. He’s on his way to sweeping both championships like he did in 2010. I’m impressed with Ryan. He’s like a good french wine, he keeps getting better and better with time.
What’s going on with Kenny Roczen right now?
I think that’s a question he would love to know the answer to… I actually don’t really know. As an outsider watching the races from his couch, it seems like he just wants this season to be over. His crashes in Oakland and Atlanta seem to have taken the wind out of his sails. Add to that his injury before the start of the MX season and you have a great rider, a title contender, behind the 8 ball. It’s tough to come back from two injuries in one season while all the riders keep improving and keep their race pace/fitness up. There’s obviously something wrong with him. We don’t see him ride with his usual radical style. Just like what I said about Marvin, we’re missing the spark from him. Could it be because of his injuries, not being able to fight for the SX championship and not starting the season at 100%? It could well be it. Is it a bike issue? That, I don’t know because it’s tough to know what’s going on when you follow the races only on TV.
“There’s obviously something wrong with him. We don’t see him ride with his usual radical style. Just like what I said about Marvin, we’re missing the spark from him.”
I’ve talked about it in a previous column, I think he just needs to finish the season and regroup to prepare the 2016 season the right way. He’s still young and has the riding abilities to rebound next year. The amazing Ken from Anaheim 1 hasn’t vanished. He just need to refocus and go back to work. If he isn’t at 100% and not “feeling” it, there is no reason to push and get hurt again for nothing. Dungey is too far ahead in this MX championship for Ken to make a difference. Even if he wins the last 8 motos, he won’t be champion. The strategy to finish the season healthy and get ready for 2016 is the good one in my opinion
Martin had no clutch in the first moto and told me he had to really focus on keeping momentum up..what would that be like?
Look, Bubba won a lot of races and championship without putting a finger on the clutch. You would think is a big disadvantage but if you know how to be in the right gear and how to keep your momentum in the turns, it’s not as big of a deal as Langston and Weigandt said it was on TV. The challenge is to adapt quickly during a moto and Jeremy did just that. That’s the impressive part. A lot of guys would’ve been way more affected by it. It shows you how good and how driven he is. Just like in the first moto of Red Bud when he got passed by Webb and Marvin… He was struggling and all of the sudden he refocused and find the answers to pass them back to go win the moto. When you want to win a title you have to overcome challenges and deal with them. A clutch lever that’s flapping around shouldn’t make you lose too many points…
Millville is a great track, talk about racing there
Millville is a challenging track with a lot of ruts, sand whoops and it’s pretty hard physically. It’s also not very easy to pass. Even if the track might look wide, it gets narrow with the ruts. They’ve improve the flow of the track in the last few years though. Millville, like Red Bud, is one of the toughest tracks. You have to be fit to perform. Line choices and momentum in turns are the key because there’s always a challenge at the exit of the turns, a hill or some whoops. If you mess up the two turns before the two sets of whoops, you’re basically screwed and you will lose a lot of time in them. It’s the same for the turns before the uphills. You also have to find spots to “rest” and breathe. This weekend for example, the challenge was to not get stuck in the soft and muddy berms. It’s very easy to lose time like that. You have ride smooth and barely touch them. If you’re too agressive and hit every berm hard, you go backwards.