The Daytona Supercross is the midway point in the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series. There are eight rounds in the book, and there will be eight rounds to go once the checkered flag flies at Daytona International Speedway. Ken Roczen is coming in with a six-point lead over Cooper Webb, with defending champion Eli Tomac 31 points off Roczen’s pace. “So, I guess you can say things are getting pretty serious,” as Kip famously pointed out in Napoleon Dynamite.
Daytona is different, so I’m not going to do the usual analysis. Every round, I comb through previous results, looking for patterns to make my RMFantasySX.com Top 5 selections. I’m going to do that again, but this time most of my data comes from Daytona results dating back to 2016. The long, flowing track at Daytona is significantly different from the tight stadium circuits. Instead of as many as 29 laps in the 20-minute Main Event, expect 18 laps to be put in at Daytona 2021.
Eli Tomac is the King of Daytona. He is on a 1-1-2-1-1 run at the storied venue, and none of his closest competitors have ridden every Main Event over the last five years at Daytona. Tomac has led more laps than all of the other riders combined (49 of 94 laps) from 2016 to 2020. Bringing it forward to 2021, Tomac has his back up against the wall in the series. Down by 31 points, if Tomac can’t turn it around at Daytona, it’s unlikely he will repeat as Supercross Champion. I’m going with Tomac as my pick to win at Daytona, even though he hasn’t won a Main Event since Round 2 at Houston.
Cooper Webb has his own strong history at Daytona. Although Webb has only ridden the last three years, he has gone 3-2-3. Other than Tomac, no other rider has performed even close to Webb at Daytona. Webb is coming off back-to-back wins in Orlando, so he is certainly a credible choice for the win at Daytona, even though he’s yet to take the top step there. Perhaps that lack of a Daytona victory will propel Webb. Webb is my choice for P2, though feel free to put him down as the winner.
With a strong Daytona record, and on a nice streak since Indy3, I have Marvin Musquin down for P3. Although Musquin didn’t ride Daytona last year due to injury, he is 3-15-5-3 in his four previous races. The P15 was a result of illness, so we’re looking at 3-5-3 when he’s healthy. With his 3-7-2 run in the last three races, it’s Musquin in P3.
Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson should be battling it out for P4. Roczen had a P5 in 2016, then missed 2017 and ’18. Since then, Roczen is 8-2, with a crash at the start in 2019, making P8 the best he could manage. Anderson is 4-3-7-DNS-4 at Daytona, which is impressive. That’s enough to make Anderson a solid Top 5 choice. Roczen has a bit more upside potential, and could find himself on the podium at the end of the night. Add in this year’s performances, and I have Roczen for P4 and Anderson in P5. Warning: I may be underestimating Roczen.
Justin Barcia is the odd man out. Coming into this, Barcia is a solid Top 5 pick based on 2021 results. However, Daytona has not been Barcia’s favorite venue. He has missed three of the last five Daytona races, finishing in P11 in 2017 and P5 last year. So, a Top 5 finish is a more-than-reasonable prediction for Barcia. However, there are five other riders with better Daytona records, and all of them have performed well enough in 2021 to give them the nod over Barcia. No doubt about it, Barcia in 2021 is not the Barcia we have seen the last few years. While it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the podium, Barcia’s record doesn’t support him as a supercross fantasy pick ahead of Tomac, Webb, Musquin, Roczen, and Anderson.
As always, the RMFantasySX.com Wild Card is a difficult call. It’s P10 this round.
The natural Daytona Wild Card choice is Zach Osborne (Update: Osborne is out for Daytona with a back injury). He has three P10 finishes this year, plus a P9—that’s half the races. Osborne has no Daytona history to draw on, so that doesn’t help.
Justin Brayton took P10 at last year’s Daytona, and Brayton has a P10 and P11 so far this year—another good choice (Update: Brayton will not be racing Daytona). Don’t forget that Brayton was the only interruption in Tomac’s Daytona win-streak, taking the win in 2018. Also, Brayton missed O2 last week due to a chest injury. His status for Daytona is TBD.
Dean Wilson is an intriguing play. Wilson has been in either P12 or P11 in every Main Event he has raced this year. With Adam Cianciarulo out with a broken collarbone, Wilson moves up one spot. Wilson was P7 at Daytona 2020, so that’s a bit of a warning.
Aaron Plessinger is often P10-adjacent, with two P9s and a P11 in 2021. Plessinger was P6 at Daytona last year, however.
Dylan Ferrandis is hit and miss. He’s a 450SX Daytona rookie, so who knows? Ferrandis is unpredictable, with a different finish at every round. His year has had P6, P7, P8, P9, P11, and P12 finishes, plus the outlier P2 and P22 Main Event results. Since Ferrandis doesn’t have a P10 this season, maybe he’ll fill in his Bingo card at Daytona.
Finally, Justin Bogle jumped up to a P10 at Orlando 2. He has had three P16s this year, and nothing better until O2.
With all of those choices facing us, there is no prohibitive P10 favorite. I’m going with Dean Wilson, with the customary crossing of fingers. I need a few breaks, as I’m only in the top 25-percent of RMFantasySX players—last year I finished in the top one-percent.
If you didn’t want to read all of that, here are my 2021 Daytona Fantasy Supercross picks:
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!