Quick thoughts: Houston supercross – Vialle announces himself to America
Tom Vialle came into Houston as a two-time world motocross champ but had no supercross experience and that left an oxymoron situation when it came to predictions. Vialle is the best of the best outdoors but, with no supercross background at all, how much of that outdoor brilliance could overcome his lack of time on a supercross track, especially zero race experience? it was a conundrum that most who followed his GP career wrestled with all winter.
Well, as it turned out, Vialle’s starts and skills were transferable indoors as he led early and looked set for a podium in third as he locked into Max Anstie’s pace, his poise and skillset impressive. But then, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, Vialle was down – in a corner! Of all areas of the track to make a mistake, Vialle was not expected to falter in the corner, but the steep berms and ruts caught him out and cost the Frenchman a podium in his debut race. A shame for Vialle, but America now knows just how talented Vialle is. To do what he did at Houston in his debut supercross was really impressive. Once he gets more race time and gets the whoops figured out, Vialle will be a huge threat.
And so will Haiden Deegan. This kid has been riding supercross for a long time and raced at A2 in the supercross futures race in what is a complete contrast to Tom Vialle, but like Vialle, Deegan showed his potential with a strong and importantly solid ride that saw him move into fourth place not just get the start and stay there. The kid has a lot of hype, but it looks like he has the skills to deliver.
Max Anstie made his decision to go to the 250 decision, look like the correct one after a brilliant second place. Anstie showed his speed in WSX and that speed was underlined in round one of the AMA 250 east series, he is a title contender.
But the guy to beat is Hunter Lawrence as expected. Once he got his flow Hunter was gone, the style, the flow and speed was all on point and, if you are Hunter’s dad Darren, you have to be so proud to have your two sons leading both coasts in AMA supercross after selling everything in Australia to make their dreams reality. This is what dreams are made of for the Lawrence family.
The 450 class was about who could take the momentum. With Tomac coming off his first defeat of the year, Sexton, Webb only four points back, this was a pressure race for all concerned. Webb didn’t have the pace all day, Sexton looked the fastest all day and even passed Tomac for the win in the heat, but when it really, really mattered, with Sexton on his tail, Eli Tomac stood up and delivered.
This was a huge win and it was extremely impressive to see Tomac, who had been caught by a flying Sexton in the main event, to regroup while under pressure not just in the race but also the context of momentum for the championship, to pull it together, find more speed and pull away from the Honda rider who looked all day and night like he would be the guy to win the main event.
This was a message to his rivals, champ Tomac laid down the law in Houston. The rest have a problem.
Words: Jonathan McCready