Daytona SX - Rider Comments
Posted on March 13, 2018
Round ten of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and round four of the Eastern Regional 250SX Championship went to the historic infield of Daytona International Speedway and we saw two new riders put their names in the win column for 2018–one making history in the process.
In the 450SX class, Smartop / Motoconcepts / Honda’s Justin Brayton made history with his shocking first-ever win at the Daytona SX. The veteran got the lead early and held off a charging Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac to become the oldest man (33 year 11 months) to ever win a Monster Energy Supercross premiere class main event. Justin was joined on the Daytona podium by Eli in 2nd and Monster Energy / Yamaha’s Cooper Webb in third–scoring the second 450 podium of his career and his first of 2018.
In the fourth 250SX East main event of the year, Troy Lee Designs / KTM’s Jordon Smith led every lap to score his first win of the 2018 season. Jordon was shadowed the whole main event by GEICO / Honda’s Jeremy Martin and Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, who crossed the line with the final two spots on the podium.
After the celebration rubber was left on the Daytona speedway, we gathered some quotes from riders to get their thoughts on the 2018 Daytona SX.
Justin Brayton: (1st in 450SX) “I can’t even believe it, to be honest. I’m speechless. I honestly do not know what to say. Daytona… just so much history here. If you’re going to pick any of them to win, it’s either Anaheim 1 or Daytona. It’s so special. To get my first one… pfft, just amazing. I got a little bit of a taste of it last weekend with that main event one win and I wanted it. It was a little bit of a weird week ’cause I’m reading stuff like, “Is it a main event win? Is it not?” I know it’s not, but I still won a race. I’m like, “Hey, just go get it done.” You always think you can win and you always want to win, and after the heat race [win] I knew I could. This track really suited my style more than any Daytona track has ever. But still, [Eli] Tomac is unreal here. I knew that I had to sprint the first four, five laps. That’s what I did. I executed that part of the race which set me up well for the whole race. That’s what I gotta do better, is believe in myself those first five laps. I was going all out to try to get a cushion that first lap. It was amazing, dude. Daytona winner! Supercross winner! It’s unreal–the week of my birthday too. I turn 34 this week. I feel like I gave some hope to the older guys, and I don’t feel like there’s any end in sight. I don’t know what the plan is, but it’s pretty amazing. I’m going to enjoy this tonight.”
Jordon Smith: (1st in 250SX) “There’s no better place to win, I don’t think, in the SX series other than maybe Vegas if the Championship is on the line. It’s super cool. I got to do a burnout on the track over there. That’s something you dream about as a little kid right there. This one is definitely a special one. I’m really pumped on the night. For sure this was a big one, The first two rounds were pretty rough this year. I felt really good on the bike, but it’s like, man… TK [Tyler Keefe TLD Team Manager] was just like, “You’re riding good. It’s just been a little bit of bad luck. It’s gonna come. Keep pushing and working hard during the week.” Finally it came tonight. I got off to really good starts and I couldn’t be happier.”
Eli Tomac: (2nd in 450SX) “At the end zone corner there, I just got hung up on the first lap. I had nowhere to go at the top of the berm, lost my balance and fell over. I actually looped out my bike. It was pretty sketchy for what it was. After that, it was just making the charge. The good thing was this years Daytona allowed for some good passing. There was long straightaways, lanes and jump combos you could do different. In that way it was good. At least we were able to make something out of it.”
Jeremy Martin: (2nd in 250SX) “I just like it [Daytona]. It’s one of a kind. You just kind of hammer and just pound the main line just like outdoors. We had a decent night tonight, and we were fighting for the win. We tried to chase the #45 machine but he did what he needed to do from start to finish. It’s Daytona, it’s hard to see. The sand is dark. I mean you can’t see the bottom of the ruts in some spots. You just kind of wing it and hope it goes good. I don’t know about any of the other riders, but it was quad city out there tonight. I mean you’re quading this, quading that. It’s the toughest race of the year as far as fitness. I had to slow down a little bit half way through the race because I’ve been sick the last couple of weeks. I tried to put on a push at the end to get the orange pumpkin and couldn’t quite get it done. (laughs)”
Cooper Webb: (3rd in 450SX) “It was really cool to race here. I grew up coming here, watching with my dad and I raced the amateur national when I was younger so it was cool to finally race here on the big stage and under the lights. It lived up to the hype. It was very rough and a very gnarly track. It was nice to get my first overall podium of the year and I feel like I had a solid main event.”
Austin Forkner: (3rd in 250SX) “It was a pretty solid night. It was hard to make up time with how the track was. You could sprint for a couple of laps but then I feel like you would start making mistake. That’s what I did. I would try to catch these guys, then I would kind of make a mistake and lose it then I would try to catch them again. That’s just how it was. I definitely got tired. The track was pretty brutal. This being my first time here, it was good. This is definitely the most outdoor style SX track that I’ve ridden so far. All in all, I didn’t feel great today so to salvage a 3rd I think was great.”
Christian Craig: (4th in 450SX) “I had a great week testing with the team. They came down to Florida right after last weekend and I feel like we really improved. Just getting more time on the bike and getting more comfortable was huge. I started off race day feeling really good. My qualifying position didn’t really show it, but overall I was happy with my riding. It’s all about having fun out there, and man, that’s what I did tonight. I was up front in the heat race, fell to third, but then the two guys in front took each other out so I ended up winning. You can call it luck or whatever, but I just put myself in a good position to capitalize on people’s mistakes. I had a good gate pick and some confidence going into the main. I grabbed the holeshot and led for almost the first lap, but [Justin] Brayton got by me pretty quick. I stayed second for quite a while. I just rode my hardest and did my best. Unfortunately, a couple guys got by me in the end so I ended up fourth. The track was so tough. This is only my second time racing Daytona and last year didn’t go well, so I really wanted to get some revenge this year. It’s better than the week before, but man, I was so close to a podium. I just need to keep putting myself in good positions and work on getting better each weekend.”
Zach Osborne: (4th in 250SX) “It was a decent weekend. I started in the back of the pack in the main, but came all the way up to fourth which is great. I was really close to the top-three but I just ran out of time. I’m just going to keep plugging away.”
Marvin Musquin: (5th in 450SX) “It’s really disappointing to finish 5th tonight. I felt really good all day on my bike and I feel like we threw away a win. I had a good start and was there in 3rd but this time I tried to be smarter with my passes and it worked as I got into the lead. I was able to pull away a little until I made a big mistake, almost looped out and landed on the ground in the mechanic’s area. I then had another crash in a turn quickly after getting back on the bike, which took me a little bit of time to reset and refocus so I fought hard to come back to 5th. We are looking to get back on the podium in St. Louis.”
Martin Davalos: (5th in 250SX) “I felt good all day today. I felt smooth and in the main I put in 15 solid laps. I’m still pretty banged up from Dallas, so to leave here with a fifth place is good.”
Weston Peick: (6th in 450SX) “Daytona went better than expected for me. I got sick this past week, and I was obviously sore from my crash in Atlanta. I got off to a decent start in my heat race, but then got tangled up in the first turn. I charged up to third, so I was happy with that. I had a good start in the main event and rode in third place for quite a while. Then, due to being sick and sore, I fell back a few positions. Regardless, I’m happy to get some good points and head into next weekend feeling better.”
Kyle Peters: (6th in 250SX) “I had a good day. Right off the bat I felt better than all of the other races. I got in a little bit better of a flow. My practice times were up there. I had a good start in the heat race and rode defensively, so I need to work on that. Everyone flinched off the gate at the start of the 250 main event and I got a terrible jump, but I came around in the top ten. I need to be a bit more aggressive with my riding, but I’m gaining ground. Sixth place isn’t where I want to be, but we’re making improvements. The goal is to be on the box, and I’m not satisfied until I get up there.”
Jason Anderson: (7th in 450SX) “I had great qualifying sessions. I fell down in the heat race after getting hit with a tuff block, but came back to ninth to qualify for the main. I didn’t have the best gate pick in the Main, but I made my way through the pack and ended up falling down. I was able to finish seventh. My points are still good, so I’m just going to move onto next week and keep the train rolling.”
Sean Cantrell: (7th in 250SX) “I was really looking forward to Daytona and its unique track and layout. It was a fun race but was easy to make mistakes throughout the long laps. I’m learning each week and was really happy to put up my best result so far. We’ll keep pushing and learning as the season continues.”
Jimmy Decotis: (DNS/Crash in 250SX) “Not the way I wanted to end my night. I Had a big crash before the finish line. I’m thankful to be walking. Couple fractures in the L2 and L3 and some broken ribs. Back injuries are scary so I feel I’m truly blessed with the outcome. Thank you so much Ichor Sports Medicine, Doc Bodner and everyone at the medical unit. You guys are the true heroes of this sport and it’s so awesome to see a friendly face when you are laid up on the ground. I’m extremely bummed right now, I love racing my dirt bike and these next few weeks will be tough. I’m going to see a specialist on Tuesday when I arrive back in Charlotte. I will update everyone on my return as I learn more…thank you Jamie Routley and my whole fam for being there for me and the whole JGRMX team and sponsors. The Rippa will be back don’t you worry.”
Broc Tickle: (10th in 450SX) “Tonight was tough. I struggled in the first practice with some issues but by the third practice I felt like I was riding well. I ended up getting an okay start in the Main Event and pretty much stayed where I was at. I didn’t make much progress but I was running a decent pace for the majority of the race. The track was tough mentally and physically but we’re going to regroup this week and get ready for St. Louis.”
Michael Mossiman: (22nd/DNF in 250SX) “My heat race was awesome. I got the holeshot then finished second and was feeling great. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the Main after my big crash, but I’m looking forward to next week.”
Dean Wilson: (8th in 450SX) “I had a more positive weekend. I qualified third, which was cool, and got second in my heat race. I really felt good all day, but struggled to find flow in the main. I was running seventh pretty much the whole race, but got passed by Jason in the end. I’m glad I got through it and I’m looking forward to next weekend.”
RJ Hampshire: (DNQ/Crash in 250SX) “I felt good on the bike all day yesterday. Had some pretty good speed and my foot just slid off hitting my shifter in those rollers during that heat race. After seeing the pictures from the crash I’m very thankful I didn’t take that shot to my head. I have some fractures in my T3/T4 in my back and ribs. Also have some damage to my lungs which is why I’ll be spending a couple nights in the hospital. I’ll be getting some more checkups this week on the shoulder also.”
Malcolm Stewart: (16th in 450SX) “I felt really good on the RM-Z450 all day long. The heat race went well, and I finished fourth. In the main event I was running in seventh place after a few laps, but tangled with another rider. I fell back to 18th, and moved up to 16th by the end of the race. That’s part of racing. The important part is to learn from mistakes and keep moving forward.”
Tyler Bowers: (14th in 450SX) “Overall, tonight was good. I hadn’t raced Daytona for a number of years and I forgot how rough and rutted out it gets. These conditions aren’t my strong suit but we got an LCQ win and put it in the main. We’ll continue to improve and move on to St. Louis.”