The eleventh round of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season finally occurred, but not in the stadium and city in which it had originally been scheduled. Feld Entertainment had to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, pulling a mid-season audible in order to finish the Monster Energy Supercross season before the start of the Pro Motocross season in (somewhat) traditional fashion. The originally scheduled finale of the season, Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah was chosen as the ideal candidate to host all seven of the remaining rounds of the 2020 season without the presence of fans in attendance. Many amendments have been made to the schedule and event proceedings in order to adhere to the contemporary social distancing guidelines that are in place due to the current situation and finally, eighty-five days later, the gate dropped on the eleventh round of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season.
The first of seven rounds to occur in Salt Lake City would be classified as a 250SX East round, reintroducing the likes of Kyle Dillin as one of the LS2 backed competitors on the gate. Meanwhile, in the 450SX class, Josh Greco, Scotty Wennerstrom, Bubba Pauli, and Kyle Chisholm made the trip to Utah to finish out the remainder of the Monster Energy Supercross season.
In the abbreviated and shortened qualifying sessions, riders were forced to quickly adapt to a fairly simple yet challenging layout with no track walk. The hardpack and slick nature of the dirt compound made throttle control an incredibly important asset to going fast throughout the day, especially in the Main Events. In the 250SX East class, Dillin ended both combined sessions in 38th position going into the heats. In the 450SX class, Chisholm continued the same trend from earlier in the season and led the rest of the LS2 riders in combined qualifying times with the 19th fastest lap overall while Bubba Pauli secured the 31st place qualifying time. A few spots further back in 35th position was Scotty Wennerstrom as Josh Greco claimed the 37th fastest time.
In the 250SX East class, Dillin was seeded into the first of the two Heat Races where he started well outside of the top ten. He was pushing to make up places in the early stages of the race and encountered some unfortunate circumstances on the fourth lap, forcing him a lap down from the leaders. He went onto the LCQ and immediately experienced some bad luck, starting in dead last position on the opening lap before clawing his way back to an eventual 17th place finish.
In the 450SX class, all four of the present LS2 riders were seeded into the second Heat Race, crowding the gate with the LS2 logo. Chisholm started furthest up the field as he challenged for a spot inside the top ten the entire race, but he just couldn’t make it happened as he missed out on the final transfer position by a few markers. Meanwhile, Pauli and Wennerstrom battled for the last spot within the top fifteen for the majority of the race as they eventually finished 15th and 17th place, respectively, while Greco came across the line in 18th a couple of seconds further back. All four riders jumped back on the gate for the LCQ and did their best to make it happen, but Chisholm was the only one who secured a start within range of the transfer positions. He progressively and methodically fought his way forward throughout the nine lap sprint to the checkered flag, comfortably securing 3rd position and earning his spot in the Main Event while Pauli, Wennerstrom, and Greco finished in 13th, 18th, and 19th, respectively. In the 450SX Main Event, Chisholm got pushed out wide on the start and was forced to fight his way forward from 21st position. The Floridian put his head down and charged hard on every lap, eventually clawing his way back to a solid top fifteen finish before the checkered flag was flown.
Chisholm commented “Well, we were finally back at the races and it felt good to be back racing. It was definitely a different feeling with no fans there and a little bit different schedule than normal. But all in al,l I had fun and was happy to be back racing again. My bike worked pretty well, we made an adjustment for the elevation in Salt Lake City and it felt good. I felt good on the bike as well. The track was not one of my favorites. It was pretty easy and short so it didn’t separate us very much. In my heat, I was in a good position right around a qualifying spot and I got taken out by another rider who crashed into me and took us both down, so that sent me to the LCQ. I didn’t have the best start in that race but I made some moves and caught the leaders and got into the main event. In the main, I didn’t have a very good starting position along with a bad start but I worked my way up with some consistent laps to a 15th. It was respectable but I didn’t ride my best. The elevation definitely made the race tough and with the short lap times, we did almost thirty laps! But I’m happy to get through it healthy and ready to battle again in a couple of days.”
There’s only a short turn around until the twelfth round of action in the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series which is set to go down at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Wednesday, June 3rd at 8 pm local time.