Anaheim 1 and all its glory is gone for another year… Now we dive into the real season and it starts this weekend at San Diego. For the 250 class I will be doing a top 5 rankings list every week before the weekends race. I find this class is very hard to rank because of the unpredictability that will no doubt happen every weekend. But nonetheless here is my top 5 riders heading into San Diego.
Aaron Plessinger (Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha)
Even though he didn’t win, I still keep Aaron as the man to chase this weekend and for the championship as a whole. He looked so smooth and fast all day and I really thought he was going to take the win, but a 2nd is still really good for the first race. Anaheim just confirmed my beliefs that he will win this coast because as good as Mcelrath was, Plessinger was still reeling him in. Shane deserved that win no doubt, but I’m just saying that plessinger was coming near the end of that race. Watch for Plessinger to take the win this weekend at San Diego.
Shane Mcelrath (TLD/Red Bull KTM)
Wow! All of us owe Shane an apology for not including him in the talks of possible A1 winners! I definitely did not see that one coming (I listed him 8th on my pre-season rankings, oops). Shane has been dealing with some injuries and obviously he just needed to come into the year fully healthy to show his true potential. He will be carrying the red plate into San Diego with momentum and all that pressure that comes with it. Okay, i don’t want to doubt him again and seem like an idiot, but i just have to see more performances like that to fully consider him a threat to win the championship. If he goes out and wins or gets 2nd this weekend I’ll be all aboard the Shane train. Let’s see what happens at San Diego.
Mitchell Oldenburg (TLD/Red Bull KTM)
The Freckle tied a career best finish of 4th at the opener and he almost caught Marty for his first podium. He always has those quiet 4th or 5th place rides when nobody really talks about him, well maybe its about time he has a loud ride! I know that podium is coming soon and I’ll just go ahead and make a bold prediction that he puts it on the box this weekend at San Diego and rides terrific. TLD has two really solid riders here with Mcelrath and Oldenburg.
Austin Forkner (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)
Well the rookie did what rookies do and that is have gnarly crashes. Forkner got his first nasty one out of the way when he went over the bars in the whoops before coming back to an 8th place finish and posting some fast laps while doing it. He admittedly said that the nerves got to him and he didn’t ride the best. Whether or not round two also causes pre-race jitters should be determined in the practice qualifying. If he is in the top 3 posting crazy fast laps then I expect a big night from the rookie. Watch out, because when he starts to feel it, he is going to be fantastic.
Jeremy Martin (Geico Honda)
Jeremy Martin did look like a new man early on in the day when he had the fastest lap of qualifying, but unfortunately that was his highlight of A1. In the main event Martin kind of did his usual thing which leaves us shaking our head in wonder. I was not impressed at all, he followed Reardon for the longest time and then settled in 6th. He has got to get better starts or move up way quicker if he wants any chance at this championship. The only reason I have him on this top 5 list is because he showed some crazy speed in practice and that still gives me a little bit of hope. We will see if Martin can put the Geico Honda on the podium this weekend at San Diego.
Photo by Rich Shepard