Since James Stewart exited Supercross and has yet to return to Motocross due to injury, there has been some upheaval in the mx pecking order.
And we’re only at the quarter way marker in the outdoor series, with plenty of racing ahead. Given the way the series has unfolded thus far it’s anybody’s guess as to how things are going to play out. This weekend the motocross show rolls into Budds Creek, Maryland.
For starters, Australian Chad Reed suffered bad luck and some mechanical demons last week at High Point (Pennsylvania) that wreaked havoc on his points lead. The defending champ went 13th and 18th for the day, dropping him to fourth in the points.
Taking over the top spot was Ryan Dungey who is on fire, riding with the same fluid style, determination and confidence that earned him the SuperCross title earlier this year.
Dungey has won the last four motos in a row, putting his Rockstar/Makita Suzuki in the coveted top spot. Dungey’s performances have reassured everyone of the youngster’s talents, a welcome turn after a somewhat questionable start to his outdoor season at the first two rounds. Various team personnel have stated that they were so focused on winning the SX title they were a little behind on the switch to the outdoor series.
All said, don’t think for a second it’s going to be smooth sailing for Dungey. For starters, Reed won Budds Creek last year and will certainly be coming into Maryland fired up and determined to reclaim the points lead.
But there are a number of strong contenders that would love nothing better than to upset things and stick a wheel in front of the pack. Among the riders vying for the title are Honda-mounted Brett Metcalfe, currently sitting in second place, 25 points off Dungey, with 101 points.
Mike Alessi, aboard the 350cc KTM, sits in third with 98. Reed, on the Kawasaki, is fourth with 95. Although it’s still too early to place any bets look for Alessi to get back to the pace he started the season with.
Also, the series is famous for big switchups at this point, with riders finding bike set-up and getting back into the groove of the demanding outdoor tracks. There are a number of riders in the hunt, like New Zealander Ben Townley, Josh Grant, Andrew Short and Davi Millsaps, who have all showed speed and flashes of brilliance.
I’ve learned not to try and make predictions when it comes to motocross. There are far too many variables to be able to intelligently forecast what will come. This is what makes motocross such an exciting sport.
If you run the numbers-although the points are starting to get separated a bit-you’ll see the title is still wide open at this stage of the game. And as we witnessed last week, just one bad day can upset the apple cart in short order.
The AMA Motocross Championship from Budds Creek airs on Speed TV this Saturday, June 19, at 9:00PM Eastern, 6:00PM Pacific.