The LS2 riders did their best to recover on Monday and Tuesday after only two days off of racing, preparing themselves in the best way possible for the first Monster Energy Supercross on a Wednesday night in the history of the sport. As opposed to the first race of seven to be held in Salt Lake City in the coming weeks, the weekday format allowed for proceedings to happen quite a bit later in order to cater to higher volume television hours. The evening program made the heat less of a factor for the riders and also for the track as direct sunlight was already vacating the stadium before racing even started. DirtWurx upped the technical difficulty of the track compared to the first race and also laid down quite a bit more water in the early stages of the day. Conditions were much better when the time finally came to drop the gate as the track held moisture well into the Main Events, creating much more raceable conditions.
The track was a little more technical and presented a longer lap time for the riders than the eleventh round just a handful of days ago. Kyle Dillin continued to contest the 250SX East class while Josh Greco, Scotty Wennerstrom, Bubba Pauli, and Kyle Chisholm made up the 450SX Class. The riders were a little more acclimated to the strange procedure of doing their “track walk” in a socially distanced format from the empty stands, but they needed as much time checking out the layout as possible.
In 250SX qualifying, Dillin landed in 39th place with a 54.024 second lap time. Meanwhile, Chisholm was the leading LS2 rider in the 450SX category in 27th position, recording a 48.423 second lap time. Bubba Pauli was in 31st position with a lap time of 49.810 seconds, Josh Greco claimed the 35th spot with a 50.607 second lap time, and Wennersrom slotted into 37th position a few tenths further back.
Racing got underway in the 250SX East class as Dillin burst out of the starting gate, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to secure the jump he needed in order to put himself within striking range of the transfer positions. He started down in 19th position and was able to advance one position up to 18th by the time the checkered flag came out. In the LCQ, the situation was more or less the same as Dillin started well outside the top fifteen and wasn’t able to make progress in the short sprint race to the finish line, eventually crossing the line in 19th position yet again.
In the 450SX class, all of the LS2 riders were seeded into the second of two Heats. Chisholm led the way for the LS2 athletes as he immediately claimed a transfer position and put one hand on a spot in the Main Event while Pauli, Greco, and Wennerstrom sat outside the top ten. Although they all did their best to progress, neither of them were able to put themselves inside the top nine transfer spots, sending them to the gate for the Last Chance Qualifier. Meanwhile, Chisholm held on for a 9th place finish and grabbed the last transfer spot, securing his place in the Main. The LCQ always makes for some intense and close-quarters racing and this time it was no different. Greco and Wennerstrom were well outside the top fifteen on the opening lap, but Pauli had a chance at making his way into the Main Event after starting right outside the top five. He crossed the line in 6th position on the opening lap and continually battled for position, but he wasn’t able to get where he needed to go, eventually finishing in 7th place while Greco and Wennerstrom finished 18th and 19th, respectively.
Pauli commented “Round 12 here in Salt Lake City started off very similar to last but after some more bike changes and getting more comfortable, I started to have some intensity that I felt like I’ve been missing this year. I did have one of my best LCQ runs this year. So that’s a positive note but I am not content with that. I deserve to be the Main Events.”
“Round 2 at Salt Lake went a lot better than the first round. I’m still struggling with arm pump and the high altitude isn’t helping with that. My blisters are bad from not being able to ride much with all the quarantining, so we’re working through that and just using these next couple weeks of consistent racing at altitude to try and get into better shape for outdoors. The track last night was far better than the first round, it held moisture way better but there’s only so much hope for the Utah SX dirt,” said Greco.
Wennerstrom commented “A much more difficult track awaited the riders for the second Salt Lake race with a whoop section of fifteen! Always a section of separation, I was looking forward to the challenge! But ultimately was the factor in sub-par results as I was not able to make passes through the whoops. Race craft has been a point of weakness for me the last two rounds but I am eager to change that going into Sunday’s race!”
Chisholm performed well in the 450SX Main Event, starting near the top ten and making moves forward in the early stages of the race. He became engulfed in some fierce battles throughout the first few laps with some of the factory level riders, but he wasn’t able to sustain that pace for the entire Main Event and eventually fell back to an 18th place finish.
Chisholm stated “After only a couple days, we were back at it racing on a Wednesday night. It definitely felt a bit weird but I was happy to be back racing again so soon. With this being a night time race, the dirt was much better since it was not as hot so the dirt held the moisture in much better. The track was also a little bit more technical with a long set of tough whoops. For some reason, I just didn’t gel with the track all day but I tried to push through and do my best regardless. I had some good battles in the heat race and was able to make it right to the main from there. In the main, I had a decent start and it was fun to mix it up with some of the top guys for a few laps. But I struggled to find a good rhythm out there and was just off a bit from where I want to be. All in all, it was still a good night of racing and I’m already ready for more in a few days once again.”
The riders get a few more days off in before the next round than they did previously, giving everyone a much-needed relaxation and recovery period before we return to race action on Sunday, June 7th at Rice-Eccles Stadium.