Lots of people seem to dislike Red Bull’s straight rhythm because it’s taken out the curves of supercross, but I love how different it is. The 2016 running was yesterday, and while I was unable to attend, I’ve still got a little bit of a recap for you courtesy of Red Bull. Plus, we’ve got a video link if you want to watch some (or all) of the entire event.
For me, there were two highlights:
1. This is the first time they ran the finals at night on the same day of qualifying.
2. Josh Hill came out with Alta’s electric Redshift MX, and he placed 4th in the Lites (250cc)! Here’s a link to Hill’s first run. He then lost the next heat, but came back to win the rubber match in the best of 3 quarterfinals. I desperately want to try this bike in the dirt.
Red Bull has a great player on their site that will let you watch the whole event. The best part is that at the bottom, you can jump ahead to markers for any of the heats so you don’t have to wait through the filler.
Here’s Red Bull’s press release on it:
Musquin dominates Straight Rhythm event
Marvin Musquin returned to Red Bull Straight Rhythm on Saturday, taking the overall win in the Open Class and doing so without losing a single race. The performance echoed his results at the 2014 event, when he also won every race, albeit in the Lites Class.
The event, which features a unique form of supercross in which riders race head-to-head on a ½ mile track with no turns, once again took place at Fairplex in Pomona. Starting on a warm afternoon and transitioning into night under a luminous sunset, the event’s final races took place under the lights on the front stretch of the former horse track.
The 2016 course proved to be the fastest one yet, with the 74 jumps providing several line options which riders experimented with through trial and error throughout the day. The course also provided some of the closest racing in the event’s three-year history, with multiple photo finishes deciding the winner at the last second directly in front of the crowd.
Musquin established himself as the man to beat early on in the Open Class, putting down the fastest time in qualifying and never looking back. Musquin faced four opponents in his quest for the overall victory, and dispatched each of them with relative ease. Only a bobble in the finals against teammate Ryan Dungey put him in jeopardy but he quickly recovered, cementing his undefeated status at the event.
“It’s so intense,” said Musquin. “It’s only 40 seconds but we are holding our breath and you can feel the rider right next to you, you can hear them. The crowd was really getting into it, it was so much fun. To win here today means a lot.”
As the Lites Class racing progressed, it quickly turned into a shootout between the three Troy Lee/Red Bull/KTM riders: Shane McElrath, Mitchell Oldenburg and Jordon Smith. The three often looked indistinguishable on the track, donning the same gear, same factory bikes and often choosing the same lines. But in the end it was McElrath, the 2015 runner-up, who finally snatched the win from Oldenburg in the finals.
“It was fun to compete against my teammates today,” said Shane McElrath. “Fortunately I was able to come out on top. Hopefully this race is under the lights again next year and it will only get better from here.”
Ironically, it was a bike that makes almost no sound at all that had the loudest buzz coming into the event. Some people loved it, some people hated it, but in the hands of Josh Hill, no one could argue that the Alta Motors Redshift MX electric motorcycle wasn’t competitive. Qualifying in fifth place and knocking out Kyle Cunningham in the quarterfinals, Hill and the Alta bike finally fell to Mitchel Oldenburg, ending up in forth place. Nonetheless, the commendable performance is a major step forward for the future of electric bikes in motocross competition.
Also notable, was the performance of fan-favorite Ronnie Mac, who despite only set to race in an exhibition match against Trevor Piranha, but talked his way into a practice session and proved so fast he was entered to race in the Lites Class. He qualified in seventh place, matching him up against Jordon Smith, who had qualified in second place. Amidst thunderous applause from thousands of spectators, Ronnie Mac put forth a valiant effort, but couldn’t best the lightning fast Smith.
Open Class Results
1. Marvin Musquin 2. Ryan Dungey 3. Josh Hansen
Lite Class Results
1. Shane McElrath 2. Mitchell Oldenburg 3. Jordon Smith