Why the Seattle Supercross can be so cruel

With a slick, rutted track and a tendency to rain, the race in Seattle can punish or reward.

Supercross 2013 Seattle
© Team Suzuki

The Seattle Supercross is a knife that cuts both ways, and sometimes very sharply. Given supercross’ element of danger and extreme degree of difficulty, this could be said about any supercross race, but when it comes to CenturyLink Field’s open air design and Seattle’s reputation for April showers, this race takes uncertainty to a whole new level – especially for riders looking for a solution to sizable point deficits late in the season.

Coming into the Seattle Supercross this year, Eli Tomac (250SX) and Ryan Dungey (450SX) were in the unenviable position of needing some kind of lucky break. With both trailing the leaders in their respective classes by significant margins, a misstep created by the soft, slick and rutted out mess that made up the track in Seattle this year from series leaders Ken Roczen (250SX) and Ryan Villopoto (450SX), combined with wins from Tomac and Dungey, was just what they needed to get back into the title fight.

Supercross 2013 Seattle Ryan Dungey
Things didn't go Dungey's way in Seattle© KTM Images

Of course, the thing about muddy races is that they favour few, and have just as much potential to pound another nail in a rider’s championship coffin as they do to provide a much-needed boost in the points. This is something that Tomac and Dungey became all too familiar with over the weekend.

Tomac’s nail was pounded when, after leading for over half the race, he made a small mistake in the whoops that snowballed into a spectacular over-the-bars get-off over the double jump that followed. He was able to get up and pilot a twisted bike to second place, but the damage was done, as Roczen took the win and stretched his lead to 20 points over Tomac. With just two races left, both expected to be dry, it’s all but over for Tomac now.

Supercross 2013 Seattle Eli Tomac
Ken Roczen had the advantage over Eli Tomac© KTM Images

Dungey’s misfortune came mere seconds after the gate dropped when Josh Hill went down right in front of him on the start. Just like that, Dungey, who still rode a great race to come from nearly last to fourth on a tough track, gave up more ground to Villopoto and surrendered second in points back to Davi Millsaps. Interestingly enough, Seattle is where Dungey clinched the title in 2010 on a nasty and rutted track, not unlike the one featured this year.

That’s just the way things go in the giant question mark that is the Seattle Supercross. It often delivers a significant shift in points; the only question is, what way will the knife cut?