The fourth round of the 2020 AMA Monster Energy Supercross Championship took place this past weekend at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, hosting the first Triple Crown race of the season. The Triple Crown is a unique format that only happens a couple of times per year, offering three main events per class as opposed to the normal format of having only one main event and heat races. Therefore, qualifying practice bears a higher level of importance as only the top eighteen riders earn a direct transfer to the night show. The rest of the fast forty competes in the Last Chance Qualifier which is run after practice as opposed to during the night show. Kyle Chisholm was sidelined for the fourth round of action due to a hard crash that he sustained the week prior in Anaheim and Scotty Wennerstrom came down with an illness that kept him out of competition for the weekend. Regardless, the other LS2 athletes that have made regular appearances in the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship made the trip to Glendale to do battle.
The stadium in Glendale has one of the largest layouts of the entire season, providing long rhythm sections, a massive start-straight, and one of the most treacherous whoop sections you’ll find on a supercross track. Dirt Wurx laid a lot of water down early in the day to combat the typical hard-packed and slick conditions in State Farm Stadium, presenting quite the challenge to the riders during practice. The track surface broke down and rutted up more than usual during the day and the increased importance of qualifying made things quite sketchy as everyone was going for it whenever possible. The long whoop section that was almost half the length of the start-straight was a crucial part of the track and a good run through them was imperative to a solid lap time.
In the 450SX class, Cade Autenrieth led the way for the LS2 riders in the 35th overall spot on the combined qualifying timesheet, clocking a best lap time of 1:07.321 in the process. A few further spots further behind him were the pair of Joan Cros and Bubba Pauli in 39th and 40th place, respectively, rounding out the fast forty. Fortunately, they finished right on the bubble and claimed the last two gate picks for the 450SX LCQ. Josh Greco recorded a 1:08.755 between both qualifying sessions and claimed the 43rd fastest time overall, narrowly missing out on the cutoff by only a couple tenths of a second.
Greco mentioned “Glendale was a hard weekend on me. I struggled in the whoops all day which is usually my strong point. After I pieced together a solid lap the last qualifier I mess up in the whoops, unfortunately missing qualifying by two-tenths of a second.”
In the 250SX class, David Pulley and Addison Emory both experienced some struggles throughout qualifying practice while attempting to tackle the treacherous track in Phoenix. Pulley only barely missed out on a spot in the LCQ with the 41st overall time, missing the mark by two tenths with a 1:11.253. Emory had a good pace in the first practice and showed more than enough promise to qualify within the fast forty, but he mistimed a triple jump and came up a little short, reaggravating a wrist injury that forced him to miss the rest of the day.
“Phoenix was another tough one with coming up a wee bit short for on a triple and I wound up breaking my wrist brace and reinjuring my wrist. I’m getting a new wrist brace for next weekend and we’ll be back at it in Oakland,” said Emory.
Pulley commented “I’m feeling more and more comfortable on the 250 every day. I took some big strides this weekend and I’m ready to go to war this coming weekend in Oakland!”
The 450SX Last Chance Qualifier was a hectic race from the gate drop to the checkered flag with only four spots up for grabs to earn a spot on the line for the three main events. Joan Cros blasted out of the gate and claimed his position right outside of the top ten, crossing the timing stripe in 11th place to start his first flying lap. Meanwhile, Bubba Pauli and Cade Autenrieth got caught up in the hectic nature of the opening rhythm section and were shuffled down to the back of the field, placing them in 22nd and 19th on the opening lap, respectively. Neither of them were able to make much progress throughout the four-lap sprint and finished within the same area that they started. Cros attempted to charge towards a transfer position with his immediate sights set on a place within the top ten, but he became engulfed in a battle that halted his progress and he eventually finished the race in 11th position.
“Day by day and inch by inch, the bike and my confidence have made progress to produce better results. That trend kept going in Phenox, even though my end result didn’t show exactly that. There were still many wins within my performance throughout the day and we can build on that for the next round in Oakland,” exclaimed Pauli.
Autenrieth said “I didn’t have the greatest weekend at Glendale. I had a big get off in the whoops in qualifying and took a hit right to my thigh from the bars. I ended up 35th in qualifying and went to the LCQ, had a bad gate pick and made the best of it, and then got into a pileup in the LCQ. I’m glad to be healthy coming out of it, I’m going to put this race behind me and I’m excited to redeem myself in Oakland.”
“The track in Glendale was sick and I still have some pain in my knee, but I’m starting to feel better on the bike. I finished 11th in the LCQ and I hope we can train this week and be better next weekend in Oakland,” commented Cros.
The fifth round of the 2020 AMA Monster Energy Supercross season is set to take place this coming weekend on Saturday, February 1st at the one and only Oakland Coliseum. The LS2 rider lineup will be back at full strength in both the 450SX and 250SX categories, making for what’s expected to be an exciting weekend of racing. •