The Seattle SX was horrendous for the riders – take Eli Tomac’s “today we were having fun” comment with a pinch of salt – but spare a thought for the mechanics who were stretched to full capacity behind the scenes.
“Tonight was stressful to say the least,” said Team Honda HRC rider Christian Craig’s spanner-spinner Rich Simmons, “especially getting the bike prepped after the heat race. The turnaround time was less than 30 minutes and we had to wash the bike outside before coming back in and swapping the clutch out.
“I honestly didn’t know if we were going to have enough time. It was all hands on deck so luckily, with the help of everyone, it worked out.”
Craig, who ended the night in 11th, was prepared for the conditions but couldn’t have had an idea of just how bad it would get with riders rolling the majority of the jumps and racing with their feet off the pegs through the deep ruts.
“It was a pretty crazy night,” he said. “Coming into this weekend everyone knew it was going to be muddy based on the forecast all week. Knowing that I tried to be open minded but, man, it was a tough day.
“In the heat race I didn’t get a great start and then just wore the clutch out too much and came to a stop so I wasn’t able to finish the race. The LCQ was pretty nerve-racking because you put so much pressure on yourself to make sure you transfer but then you add mud making it more challenging and anything can happen.
“I had a terrible gate pick in the Main but got a relatively decent start. I made some mistakes early on and slipped back, then had to pull my goggles off a little over halfway through the race.
“Towards the end I started clicking off some good laps and was able to make last-minute passes putting me in 11th. It’s still way off from where I want to be but I’ll take it and am happy to get out of here with a decent result considering the conditions.”