Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes

Kit Palmer | April 27, 2018

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes – The penultimate round of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series could crown its new champion tomorrow at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. And with that in mind, a formal press conference was held at the stadium today, Friday, April 27, and the top five riders in the 450SX Championship were invited, those being points leader Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac, Justin Brayton and Blake Baggett. Funny thing was, the rider who stands a good chance of clinching the 450SX title tomorrow, Anderson, was a no show.

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac, Justin Brayton and Blake Baggett made up today’s press conference at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Photos: Kit Palmer

Anderson chose to not to attend for health reasons. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team rider is prone to altitude sickness, and with the Salt Lake City stadium located approximately 4300 feet above sea level, he’s literally laying low until tomorrow’s race. He’s discovered that the best way to combat altitude sickness is to not even try to acclimate his body to it, but to instead arrive at the last possible second, take care of business, and get out of town as quickly as possible. It worked for him at last year’s outdoor national MX at Lakewood, Colorado, which is located near the Mile High city of Denver. He hopes it will work again tomorrow; he plans to arrive early in the morning Saturday.

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Marvin Musquin is the only rider with a chance of catching Jason Anderson for the 2018 450SX title.

Without Anderson, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about, except for, of course, the on-going conversation about the take-down move that Musquin put on Tomac to get the win last week at Foxborough, but you could tell that neither one wanted to talk about it anymore—when the subject came up, Tomac’s response was a firm, smile-less “no comment,” quickly nipping that topic in the bud. But you can bet that it will be revisited again real fast if something happens on the track between these two riders tomorrow. You know the AMA will be watching them closely as will everyone else in the stands. We will have to wait and see.

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Eli Tomac simply hopes to keep building momentum for the upcoming outdoor nationals.

In other news, Josh Hill is back on the Monster Energy/Factory Yamaha Team. He’s getting a second chance in what should be much better riding conditions while filling in for the injured Cooper Webb. The last time Hill filled in for the team, it was the wet and muddy Seattle round, so he’s hoping to get the chance to really show what he can do on a “normal” track. The weather here today is sunny and, actually, hot. Race day is expected to be similar but with more clouds; thunderclouds, however, are looming.

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Blake Baggett announced his three-year contract extension with his current RockyMountain ATV-MC KTM team.

Blake Baggett made the announcement that he’s signed a three-year contract extension with his current Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS Team and was all smiles. “It’s one less thing you have to worry about, and you know what your future is, which is nice,” Baggett said. “You know who you’re going to be working with and they know who they’re going to be working with—for me it establishes that they believe in me and they believe in me for the next three years. I just need to put it together and prove to them it’s worth it and win races.”

After the conference, Tomac, Musquin, Brayton and Baggett, and a few other invited riders, got the chance to spin a few laps on the Salt Lake City track, including Jake Weimer, who is back on the bike again following an injury earlier in the season.

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Josh Hill is filling in for the injured Cooper Webb on the factory Yamaha team.

With two rounds to go, a top-4 finish will seal the deal tomorrow for Anderson, which will be his—and Husqvarna’s—first 450SX title. If Musquin finishes second, then Anderson only needs a seventh-place finish to clinch. Musquin pretty much has a lock on second place, as does Tomac in third.

The race for fourth place in the championship, however, is still wide open. Brayton currently holds that spot, but Baggett is lurking close behind, by just three points.

Westin Peick has all but locked up sixth in the championship.

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Jake Weimer is back following an early season injury.

The 250SX West Championship returns to action tomorrow, where Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger leads Adam Cianciarulo by 17 points with two rounds to go. Joey Savatgy is just seven points in back of his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate in third, and Savatgy is just seven points ahead of fourth place Shane McElrath.

And, don’t forget, tomorrow’s race is another early one, with opening ceremonies set to begin at 3 p.m. local (Mountain) and will again be shown on Fox.

2018 Salt Lake City Supercross Race Schedule

Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Salt Lake Supercross Pre-Race Notes
Salt Lake City SX paddock

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editor@cyclenews.com'

Kit Palmer | Editor Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes ever since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.

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