Written by: Justin Freund
Photos by: Kurt Schellenberger
Indy SX was repetitive of previous races, so at this point you could talk about it without even watching it. The racing seems to be the same thing week-in-week-out. Dungey is getting good starts, Canard is getting horrible starts, Tomac is crashing, Seely is smooth and steady, and Reed keeps crashing. As fans, we are very spoiled, seeing one guy walk away with wins week-in and week-out. This is what everyone saw throughout the 1990s with Jeremy McGrath, seven years of consistent winning. We haven’t had seven races of repetitive racing and I find myself struggling to stay focused just watching the race. I do not know how people watched seven years of it with McGrath.
Who Is Really Riding the Number 5 Bike?
Ryan Dungey is a different person this year all around. Roger DeCoster, team KTM manager and motocross legend, talks about how Ryan has matured on and off the track, and I couldn’t agree more, he’s just a totally different guy. Since last year a lot has changed. In the off-season he got married to his wife, Lindsey, and went on his first ever vacation. Some time away from racing may have let him step back and re-evaluate his mentality on his racing. For 2015, KTM launched their all-new factory edition 450, which is the most advanced off-road bike ever produced. Dungey’s bike hovers just above the AMA weight limit, which is unheard of in the 450 class. Weight was a huge concern, but they also set out to fix the problems Dungey and Ken Roczen both complained about; which is ultimately what led to Roczen switching to Suzuki. The front end was flexing too much coming into corners, and just wasn’t stable all around. I think that was why Dungey struggled so much in the whoops last year, also. They played around with larger front axles and different triple clamps, but with that frame geometry of the 2015 model they couldn’t get the feel they were looking for. KTM is the most proactive team in the pits, and they are willing to spare no expense designing the next best bike. Also coming into this season Dungey already knew Ryan Villopoto wasn’t going to be lining up in Anaheim. I think this is the biggest factor in the equation of success. Dungey is such a mental guy. By that I mean when things are going well and his confidence is high, he is borderline unbeatable. However, when things are going bad he gets very down on himself and he never performs to his potential. If RD was out front and RV was behind him, RD was always more focused on not getting passed instead of riding his own race, hitting his marks and putting in good laps consistently. RV had him beat before the gate dropped indoors or out. RD is now on his longest win streak of his career.
The New Holeshot King
Andrew Short has been on fire coming out of the gate lately. This week they pointed out that he is doing third gear starts, which is no secret. Short has been doing third gear starts for two years now, a trick Michael Byrne showed him. The only drawback to a third gear start is right out of the gate it doesn’t have the snap that second gear does but when it does come on, it comes on much stronger. I think the power delivery on the new bike makes up for the first few feet out of the gate, then pulls for the entire straight. When you do a normal start in second gear, there is a minor delay in the power while shifting from second to third. Starting in third eliminates that hesitation. A .01 second advantage on a start can make the difference in first or tenth.
Trey Canard is still getting bad starts, and not just bad starts, he’s dang near dead last coming into the first turn.
The Jason Anderson and Blake Baggett Incident
Jason Anderson had a horrible night. Back in Daytona, he and Blake Baggett bumped each other a few times, and that spilled over into practice at Indy. In the turn after the finish Blake cut down early, came across the track and took out Anderson’s front wheel. It was pretty brutal for practice. Then when Jimmy Albertson went down in the rhythm section, the practice was put on hold, and the riders went back to the starting line to wait for him to get moved off the track. When riders do starts in practice they don’t line up perfectly in a line across. They are generally staggered in multiple lines behind each other. Jason Anderson lined up behind Baggett, took off early intentionally hitting Baggett’s handlebars taking him down. Afterwards FIM Race Director, John Gallagher had words with both riders and sent them back to the truck missing the second half of the practice. In the heat Anderson’s bad night continued when he made an overly aggressive pass on Jake Weimer, taking them both down. He managed to get the last transfer spot out of the semi to get to the main. In the main he started 15th, bounced around a few positions and ended up 17th just a couple seconds away from being lapped TWICE!
In the Lites class the KTM dominance continued. Marvin Muquin ran a flawless race from start to finish, again.
Dazed and Confused
The only other race winner this season, Jeremy Martin, had a rough night. In the heat race he got a little buckwild in the whoop section, running into the back of another rider and going down very hard. I strongly believe he had his bell rung, and shouldn’t have been able to race. When he got up he stood there looking at his bike with his hands on his helmet shaking his head, in what I assume, was an attempt to clear his vision. He managed to get going again and tried passing for the final transfer spot. I think he assumed his reputation on being a past champion would make other riders move over for him. In his altercation with Potter, I think he thought Potter would let him go by, which clearly was not the case. All of the racers, including privateers like Potter, are fighting for their dream and will not give an inch. Martin tried going around the outside (a very strange idea, maybe dazed and confused), and Potter gave him a nudge into the tuff blocks. In the LCQ, Martin had a mid-pack start, and was making moves only to get sideways in the whoops again. I think he was a bit panicked and was just forcing the issue. He could have hit the whoops at a slower, consistent speed to just get through them; he was much faster everywhere else on the track, he would have gotten in. His championship hopes were crushed in Indy. It is now a two man title chase between Bogle and Musquin.
What’s Up with Davalos?
Martin Davalos is experiencing a disappointing season after nearly winning the title last year. We knew his fitness was going to be off, seeing as his ankle injury kept him off the bike for a very long time. He said back in January he was struggling with his body, and he just assumed it was taking a while to get back to normal since he’s been off the bike for so long. It turns out he is actually dealing with Epstein-Barr causing his adrenal glands to not work and giving him no energy, tough conditions to try to compete in SX.
Quick shout out to my buddy, Luke Vonlinger, who got absolutely plowed in the 250 LCQ on the first lap while in qualifying position. No word on how he is doing, but he got up and walked off under his own power. After watching it again, Adam Gulley had nowhere to go, he didn’t know which direction he was going to fall, and was on the brakes trying to stop. Not intentional, but still tough to watch.
Arnaud Tonus will most likely miss this weekend in Detroit as they are still trying to figure out the illness he is dealing with. Canard and Dungey got selected for the post-race drug testing, expect no news there. This coming week the track goes up into the stands, again like last year, always neat to see a change for the riders. Hopefully this weekend brings some excitement. See you next week!