The second round of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season went down this past weekend in St. Louis, Missouri at the iconic Dome at America’s Center -- known for passionate fans and some of the best dirt on the calendar, it was sure to be an action-packed night of racing. Additionally, our very own Kyle Chisholm elected to take a trip to the ADAC Dortmund SX in Germany which operates across three separate nights throughout the weekend. The event attracted a few other American regulars as well as some of the top talent in Europe and proved to be a very entertaining and competitive event. Nonetheless, the majority of the LS2 athletes were competing at round two of Monster Energy Supercross in what is known as The Gateway to the West. Joan Cros, Scotty Wennerstrom, Bubba Pauli, David Pulley, Josh Greco, and Addison Emory all made the journey to the second round from Anaheim 1 while Cade Autenreith decided to take the weekend off for logistical reasons and come back swinging at Anaheim 2. Regardless, Kyle Dillin decided to make his 2020 Monster Energy Supercross debut in St. Louis, contesting the extremely competitive 450SX class.
The conditions during practice and qualifying in St. Louis were impeccable, presenting the riders with an extremely tacky dirt compound that provided more than enough traction. There were some technical rhythm sections and as the track broke down, some of the ruts presented challenges through the jump lanes, but they still served their purpose in the corners throughout the program. In the 450SX class, Joan Cros led the way for the LS2 riders in combined qualifying times with a 55.234, placing him in 27th position on the timing sheet. Scotty Wennerstrom was the next rider in line a little bit further back, managing to clock a 56.472 which was enough for 36th position overall and a spot in the night show. Midwest native, Bubba Pauli, finished up qualifying just one spot behind his teammate with a difference of only a tenth between their lap times, also punching his ticket to the night show for the first time in 2020 in front of his family and friends in attendance. Josh Greco found consistent improvements between practice sessions and looked comfortable on track, but unfortunately he missed out on qualifying inside the top forty by only one tenth of a second in 41st position overall with a 57.892 lap time to his name. A few positions further back was Kyle Dillin in 43rd position overall and David Pulley followed closely in 45th position overall, narrowly missing out on a spot in the fast forty.
Greco commented “I felt really good this weekend -- only my second day on a SX track including A1 and I’m starting to get my flow back. There’s a stacked field this year but we’re putting in the work to get back where we need to be. Unfortunately, because of a mistake on my last lap hot lap in the whoops I missed the show by a tenth of a second, finishing 41st.”
“It was definitely a building weekend for me. I didn’t get to ride all week, but I am feeling better on the bike every single week. I’m back on the 250 for A2 and the rest of west coast so I am ready to get on track and start clicking off some night shows and main events,” mentioned Pulley.
In the 250SX West category, Addison Emory earned a spot in the night show with steady improvements between sessions, proving that his wrist injury from A1 wasn’t enough to keep him out of action. The Yamaha rider knocked nearly a full second off of his lap time before the final qualifying stint, finishing up the day with a 58.555 in 39th place overall. Unfortunately, he encountered some misfortune in his heat race as he was collected in a first turn crash right off the bat. He miraculously remounted his bike and got back in the race, but was only able to manage 17th position after losing so much time on the opening lap. In the LCQ, he encountered a problem with his rear shock and mustered the best finish he could, finishing in 16th place at the checkered flag.
Emory stated “All in all it was a good night because I learned a lot but it was a little rough at times. I had no issue with my wrist but my shock snapped in a rhythm lane which made it hard to ride. We’re learning each weekend!”
Prior to the main events, there was another competitor inside The Dome at America’s Center repping the LS2 brand. Tennessee’s Tinley Mccoy made the trip to Missouri and registered to compete in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge, pitting her against some of the fastest 4-8 year old dirt bike riders across the nation. She showed her superior speed from the very first qualifying session by securing 4th place on the timing sheets, but she was able to improve in the next session as she moved into 3rd position overall. She knocked more than a second off of her time between sessions and backed it up with consecutively fast laps, proving that she’d be in the fight for the podium during the night show. The crowd responded to the fiery gate drop of the KTM Junior main event and Mccoy managed to put herself in a solid position right off the bat, utilizing a good start in order to slot into 3rd place on the track. She found another second worth of pace in the race compared to her qualifying time and settled comfortably into 3rd position over the course of the three lap race, putting a gap of more than ten seconds on the rider behind her. After an exhilarating three lap sprint to the checkered flag, Mccoy comfortably crossed the finish line with the final spot on the box to her name, stepping up onto the podium with a massive smile on her face.
In the 450SX class, Wennerstrom found himself as the lone LS2 rider in the first heat race and he fought valiantly in order to earn an 18th place finish, subsequently sending him to the LCQ. In the second heat race, Cros and Pauli shared the gate as they both attempted to find a way into the main event. They crossed the finish line in 13th and 14th on the first lap and the two of them rode in tandem for the opening portion of the race. Unfortunately, Pauli made a mistake which sealed his place in the LCQ while Cros fought his way forward to 11th position with the transfer position in his sights. The Spaniard wasn’t able to make it happen as he came up just short, finishing in twelfth position at the checkered flag. All three riders lined up on the gate in the LCQ with a shot at the top four and a transfer position to the main event, but it was certainly no easy task. Cros took the green flag as the top LS2 rider in 5th position at the beginning of the first flying lap. Meanwhile, Pauli and Wennerstrom found themselves outside of the top ten on the opening lap with a hefty gap to the last transfer position. Ultimately, Cros wasn’t able to make any forward progress and ended up greeting the checkered flag in 8th position while Pauli and Wennerstrom finished 12th and 21st, respectively.
“I had a productive day at our team’s home race in St. Louis! While I was under the weather a bit I saw improvement in my riding in all areas as well as my starts. I’m looking forward to a week of rest to recharge the body then I want to have a good race in Anaheim next Saturday,” commented Wennerstrom.
Pauli said “The hometown race was awesome! We made a lot of good improvements throughout the week and weekend. We are still not quite where we know we can be but it’s a good feeling to know we’re on the right track. I am really excited for the next few rounds as we start to get into the positions that we are capable of achieving.”
“I rode only two days on SX with the TXS Kawasaki before Anaheim and this was my second week on the bike. I improved a lot during the practice sessions and finished 3rd in my group. I have good starts and I rode some laps in the transfer positions, so I’m really happy. I hope I can continue growing race by race,” exclaimed Cros.
Kyle Chisholm had an up and down weekend over in Germany at the ADAC Dortmund SX, starting off as the fastest qualifier in his group on Friday. Racing action got underway shortly thereafter and he was poised for a solid finish, but things wrapped up early as he came together with another rider in his heat race and banged himself up in the process. He made the decision to sit the rest of the night out, recover, and try again on Saturday but ended up sitting the day out due to the sustained injuries. Chisholm returned to racing action on Sunday and overcame a last place start to finish 5th position in the final race of the weekend, ending the trip on a fairly positive note.
Chisholm commented “I’m bummed on the weekend after qualifying fastest in my group Friday and then going down a couple laps into my heat race. I definitely wasn’t at 100% but I’m glad to get one night of racing in at least. I feel good on the bike and my speed is good, so I’m ready to head home and heal up for A2 next weekend. Thanks to the Sturm Racing Team for having me over.”
The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series returns to Anaheim for the final time this season as the third round is set to get underway this coming Saturday, January 18th. •