250 US Nationals preview – Vialle v Deegan?

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With no Hunter Lawrence, the 250 motocross title is up for grabs in 2024 and it looks like Tom Vialle and Haiden Deegan could take their supercross rivalry to the next level as they both seek their first US outdoor title!

Vialle, a two time world champ, has added the 250 East title to his impressive CV but the ultra motivated Deegan after the Supercross season, is last year’s SMX champ and fast the rising star in the USA. He showed last year in the outdoors than he can uncork some next level speed when he really needs it – but Vialle has now seen the tracks, has a better bike and will want to show America his GP speed that they didn’t get to see in 2023 – until Ernee!

To win the title against Deegan, VIalle will need that GP speed and the starts, once there his cold mind under pressure might be enough to edge the frighteningly fast but at times wild Deegan.

That said, there are more riders that can be champion and the field, as it can be sometimes, is probably deeper than the 450 class (get our 450 preview here) with so many factory bikes per manufacturer.

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250 West Champ, RJ Hampshire, thinks the throttle is a switch and doesn’t mind getting squirrelly to win – the speed is there but that speed comes with riding on the edge. He managed to limit the mistakes in supercross to win and limiting the mistakes will be key outdoors to stay in title contention. He was in it last year too until those mistakes eventually took him out of it.

The guy who could really make his presence felt is Levi Kitchen. If McAdoo hadn’t collided with him in the East West shootout, Kitchen had the West title under control – and he still nearly won it! Kitchen is a new rider this year. He always had speed on his day at Star but he could win one moto and get 10th the next, this year he has the consistency and the calmness of knowing he is one of the top guys now. Kitchen is for real and should be a title threat this year, he’s arguably better outdoors than he is indoors and he loves that PC Kawasaki.

PC Kawasaki are of course missing most of their guys with Forkner, Vohland and McAdoo out injured but Seth Hammaker has speed – if he can stay upright!

Jo Shimoda left that team to go to Honda and had a disappointing indoor season, he was still fast but could never put the puzzle together. Shimoda is usually better outdoors but he needs the starts and so far his starts on the Honda have been patchy. Fix that and he is another title contender.

Then there is Triumph, the bike has proven itself outdoors in the hands of Mikkel Haarup and Camden McLellan in the MX2 World championship, Jalek Swoll showed the potential in supercross and now their best chance of a debut title is coming in AMA motocross with Joey Savatgy who has been preparing all year for this 11 race series.

Savatgy is a great rider; strong, fit and fast with now veteran experience and he knows going in the bike can win. He might not have the races under his belt this season that his rivals have had doing supercross (Savatgy wasn’t allowed to race the 250 class indoors by the AMA) but his experience should over ride that and if he can top five while getting his racing feet under him, Savatgy should be up there all year accumulating points and keeping in that title fight. Don’t sleep on Savatgy.

The 250 AMA motocross title could be the most entertaining of them all in 2024!