Swizcorner "The pendulum comes crashing"
By:
swizcore
Just when you thought you had it all figured out.

 
Was there a full moon on Saturday night? Was it like Stephen King’s Tommy knockers? Maybe the AMA was handing out crazy pills? Whatever the circumstances that led to the absolute baffling turn of events during both main events on Saturday night in East Rutherford, it was an immediate classic. More than that, it is already on the short list of most memorable race nights in the history of Supercross. There have been more title-shifting singular moments on the track that have occurred but as a whole, the bizarre incidents all add up to one of the most entertaining races ever. Realistically, it probably is in a class all it’s own. From Ronnie Stewart riding backwards in the whoops and later QUALIFYING for the main in the SAME RACE after doing so; to Tyler Enticknap on the literal verge of qualifying for his first ever main, only to be denied by Devin Raper’s Alpinestar boot getting sucked in the rear wheel with the 723’s Dunlop just grinding away at that cowhide.
 
I’ve seen people dogging the East Rutherford track as being garbage and a shitty track, I gotta ask, “WTF race were you people watching?!” That track was the closest I’ve seen to a modern twist of a classic ’90’s era track I’ve seen in Supercross! It was everything a ’90’s track was to 250 2-strokes but stretched out a bit for the modern 4-stroke. The dirt composition and consistency was also very much a ’90’s throwback. Add to that that there were many passing areas and I would argue that this was one of the raciest tracks I can remember in the 4-stroke era. This track was straight up great, if you disagree, you either raced it and did poorly or I don’t know what you’re looking for in a track. It was a struggle for the top guys even when it was fresh and I love seeing that. It was a separator in it’s unpredictability and was just treacherous enough to keep any of the racers from feeling confident. Who wants to see these guys just twist the throttle 3 times and go from one end of the stadium to the next? Screw that, I want the ACTUAL most talented riders to have the advantage, the guys who rely on horsepower to measure up? Well, they get exposed and such is life.
 
On to the poignant topics at hand.
 
First lets touch on the goings down in the 250 East series. Coming into New Jersey, Joey Savatgy held a 6 point lead, with the series heading to it’s final destination, Joey now finds himself at a 1 point deficit. In and of itself this doesn’t sound terrible… until you look at the minutia of how these points now play out. Prior to NJ, Joey’s point cushion over the inarguable best of the East this year, Zach Osborne, was a confident 12. Following Joey’s ill-advised track cutting, it’s now both Zach Osborne and Jordon Smith who sit atop the points, looking down at the #17 Savatgy. If you want to get real deep into the long shot talk, Adam Cianciarulo still has a shot at this title if the top 3 all go down in flames trying to obliterate each other ala "Winners Take All" atop the finish line in Houston. He’s down 18 points but seriously, it’s not really a massive stretch to imagine how an Adam Cianciarulo Championship could be realized here. Think about it, Zach-O is the most aggressive guy in the class and that can go either way at any second, prior to this season Jordon was one of the sketchier super fast guys in the class and often crashed spectacularly and then we have Joey who just coughs up leads randomly albeit regularly. Now with his track cutting tendencies… Ok that was a joke but really, I honestly could see Vegas ending with AC holding a title and yes, it would be incredible but not the craziest thing ever. Not like the most dominant 450 rider completely unraveling under the weight of sole possession of the red plate.
 
What we saw from Eli Tomac in New Jersey only makes me respect these top guys even more. It can not be put into words the pressure involved, the work put in, the dedication, the focus, the mental toughness and acuity required to not only rise to the top but to seize the prize at the end of the war.
 

But first lets touch on the other pressing issue resulting from the 450 main, the lesser issue in my opinion. Marvin Musquin and Ryan Dungey are great friends, add to that they are training partners and teammates. Add to that Marvin just signed a contract with KTM through 2019 prior to the night show in New Jersey. Add to that Marvin is not in a position to himself secure a title for KTM and Ryan Dungey is and has been for the last 5 years… Do you see where I am going with this? Of frigging course Marvin was going to move over for Ryan Dungey! What in all of this championship scenario would ever lead you to believe anything else was even remotely possible?! Seriously, if you’re about to puff up and tell me how “racing should be pure”, “he needs to earn it” blah blah blah… you are either just one of those people who has always undermined Ryan Dungey and his accomplishments since day one or you just don’t understand the basic principles behind racing as a business and that’s exactly what it is. These guys don’t kill themselves year in and year out for our entertainment or because they appreciate the purity of racing, it’s a business and they are given the opportunity to do it by much larger entities than themselves to sell product. Sorry if you don’t agree but if you don’t, you are wrong. Accept it or continue to be pissed off. Don’t get me wrong, that “falter” was a terrible job of acting but in the end, it served the intended purpose.

 
Now, back to Eli. I can’t wrap my head around it. It has already been compared to Damon Bradshaw by a million race fans and that is quite apropos. Damon was the fire breathing beast who said what he wanted, punted who he wanted and feared no one and no track all of the 1992 season, until it counted. On that day when it was within his grasp, all his to cash in, he just faltered and crumbled. The perennial champ, the reserved, never flashy or animated Jeff Stanton secured another title by the most unexpected turn of events ever at that point. Now Eli still has another opportunity but the current day Jeff Stanton, Ryan Dungey, is the absolute last guy and I mean on planet earth, that you should bet against going into the final round, Las Vegas, where he is very good don’t forget. He has a 9pt advantage now and I would sooner invent a time machine and go back to the Coliseum in ’92 than bet against Ryan Dungey with a 9pt lead and one race to go.
 
What is so shocking about Eli’s NJ meltdown is how it followed on the heals of what was one of his most impressive rides of the season and one which was likened to a James Stewart type of crazy balls ride. RC made multiple references to the pressure involved with holding the points lead and just how different it is to be the hunted after being the hunter for so long. He didn’t look to be himself throughout the day but I must say in the opening laps right up until he pushed the front and went down in the main, he looked pretty similar to the guy we’ve seen most of the year. But from the moment he did wash the front it was like he was in a dream. He got up slowly, remounted slowly, fired the bike slowly… everything was in slow motion and when he did get going again he looked like a guy questioning his every move and his ability. Not at all like the Eli Tomac of the last 11 rounds of the series.
 
I can’t imagine what was going through his head as he floundered lap after lap in New Jersey and I can’t imagine the turmoil his head is swimming in through this week. There’s only one thing he can do and that’s tap into the crazy balls race craft he had at many other races this year.
 
Whatever the outcome, I can’t predict any shakedown of events in Las Vegas that wouldn’t end in some incredible action to wrap up what has been a series for the ages.
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