Jason Anderson hasn’t had much time to digest and enjoy his first ever 450 supercross title with Hangtown getting the Lucas Oil Pro motocross champoinship in the states off this weekend – just two weeks after the Vegas supercross!
Traditionally the riders in the supercross title fight haven’t had much testing time outdoors so will that give defending motocross champion Eli Tomac the edge of Anderson and his title rival Marvin Musquin in the first couple of rounds?
Tomac won the most races again in supercross but just like last season he couldn’t wrap the title up and just like last season he will be hoping he can rebound with the outdoor motocross championship.
Tomac will have to start as favourite but last year Blake Baggett was on the charge until he broke his thumb and, like Tomac, wasn’t in the supercross title chase so should come out swinging at Hangtown a track he usually excels at.
Marvin Musquin also had his opportunity last year to win the title but injury got in his way, just like this year’s supercross championship. Can Marvin put the disappointment of the losing the supercross title aside and use it to fuel his fire for motocross?
The biggest question mark is Ken Roczen, the German is not long back o the back and only ride pain free a few days ago. The normally very self confident Roczen admits it might take him a while to get back up to full speed but he will do his best to remain in title contention in the early rounds as he bids to return to full fitness during the season.
Justin Barcia will be on factory Yamaha and has always been strong outdoors on the blue machine, Alex Fay will take over Cooper Webb’s factory Yamaha machine until Cooper Webb recovers from his broken leg with Christian Craig, an excellent 450 rider, taking over Cole Seely’s HRC Honda for the outdoor season.
But it looks like the big four of Tomac, Anderson, Musqin and Baggett will lead the charge again but there are plenty of riders chomping at the bit to get in amongst it with Barcia and Roczen if they find their flow more than capable of getting into the title fight.
The stacked 250 class looks set to be an all out war! Reigning champ Zach Osborne is fresh off his second 259 supercross title and will be desperate to represent team USA again, this time at Red Bud, and to do that he probably needs to win the title again!
But former two-time national champ Jeremy Martin is coming into the season bang on form. An impressive end of season supercross run will energise Martin who is always traditionally better outdoors. One of the hardest workers in the sport, Martin, on the 2018 Geico Honda, should be better than he was last year and on paper at lease the championship could be an all out brawl between Martin and Osborne, two. Sry intense and aggressive rides whose styles perfectly suit the loamy American circuits.
If he gets the starts Aaron Plessinger certainly can’t be discounted, he loves the outdoor races and excels when the conditions get rough. His size might be the main thing holding him back out of the gate but other than that Plessinger wit( the confidence from the 259 West supercross title and a relaxed outlook appears t have all ethe tools to go for the motocross title this year.
Joey Savatgy is always strong outdoors but ever since Zach Osborne knocked him down in Vegas he has struggled to get the job done despite always being in contention. This is another opportunity for Savatgy to get the monkey off his back and get his first ever title. He works hard, he’s fast and has the fitness, but has he got the mental strength under pressure?
Savatgy’s teammate Austin Forkner is back on the bike after his broken collarbone that ruined his supercross chances. Forkner is explosively fast outdoors and if he limits the mistakes should be up there, he has the experience now and if he can get back to full fitness should be a contender.
The young kids like Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper have a year’s experience under their belt, they have the speed but just need to show the consistency. Garrett Marchbanks will make his debut for Pro Circuit Kawasaki as America’s young guns get ready to flex their muscles and push the old guard out.
Add in riders like a Dylan Ferrandis once he is back from injury, plus the TLD KTM riders Alex Martin and Shane McElrath and the class should create some superb, intense race all year!