Wow, what a difference one week can make. Last week we were so excited for a two man all out war between Dungey and Roczen. They were on another level and us fans were just ready to take it all in. Well that all came to a crashing halt at around the half way part of the 450 main event when Ken Roczen had one of the gnarliest crashes one could have on a dirt bike. Roczen is out now for most likely the season and once again Dungey is sitting real pretty to win his 4th SX championship.
Here are my top 10 450 riders heading into round 4 at Phoenix.
Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM)
“Congratulations to Ryan Dungey on his 3rd consecutive SX championship and good luck in whatever you plan to do after retirement” This is most likely what we will all be saying after Las Vegas comes rolling around. I do believe that if Dungey wins the SX championship this year he will end his career on a winning note. Now that Roczen is out, Dungey is most likely going to win this thing and not only win but just cruise into Vegas like Dungey likes to do. HOWEVER, we are at round 3 and you never know what could happen with supercross. Dungey is the number 1 guy hands down now and look for him to be winning A LOT.
Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM)
Musquin has started with 3 straight podiums and actually is only 7 pts back of his teammate Dungey. If anybody was to challenge Dungey for the title, Marv is your guy, but that is a big IF. Musquin is great and all, but we are talking about Ryan Dungey the most consistent supercross rider in history (either way great for Red Bull KTM). So at Anaheim last weekend, Musquin finished 2nd and was not that far off of Dungey for the lead. So you would think if Musquin got the start and was with Dungey, he could match his speed. Unfortunately I don’t think that would be the case. As we saw at round 2 when Dungey was chasing Roczen, he has a whole other level that he can get to if its needed and If Marv were to pressure him I see Dungey reaching that other level. I hope I’m wrong for the sake of the series, but we will see next weekend at Phoenix.
Cole Seely (Honda HRC)
Seely finished for his first podium of the season last weekend at Anaheim and looked to have the top speed for a lot of the race. If it wasn’t for a stall mid race, he may have gotten 2nd ahead of Marv. A surprising note is that Seely actually got the fastest lap time of the main event besides Roczen. Seely can ride SX and he is another rider that could possibly race Dungey week after week. With Tomac struggling, Anderson missing the last race and Roczen out, Seely and Musquin are really the only guys who we can hope to put a dent in Dungeys chances. I expect Seely to be anywhere in the top 4 next week at Phoenix.
Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna)
An incident with Friese in the heat race left Anderson out for the rest of the night with a DQ. The word is Anderson was yelling and hitting/shoving Vince at the podium before the incident that we saw take place in the tunnel. Obviously he has got to be really bummed about the situation and it probably cost him any hopes at a title. This could go either two ways for Anderson. He could come out with his pants on fire and race incredible to go on and win many races this year, or he could come out with his pants on fire and punt any rider off the track that gets in his way and ultimately leading to a bad rest of 2017. Stay tuned because this could get interesting.
Weston Peick (JGR Suzuki)
Number 5 on my rankings is a rider who is no stranger to the Vince Friese antics. Weston Peick is riding great! He had two solid top 10s and was hoping to get into the top 5 and last weekend he did so props out to Weston. The next step is for him to remain in the top 5 on a consistent basis and I don’t think that is unrealistic at all. He has the momentum on his side and looks great out there and that is why I have him higher up on my list than these high calibre riders like Tomac, Reed and Webb.
Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
This is not good guys, not good… Tomac has gone backwards in all three rounds later in the race and last weekend was the worst race for Tomac who started in 10th and barely moved forward. As a guy who is paid to win and was expected to at least battle for a title this year, things are real bad for the Tomac camp. He must be shocked at these results and I just imagine everyone is shaking their heads in disbelief. Where is Tomac??? I have no idea when he figures this thing out. He could come out swinging at Phoenix and podiums or the struggles continue for some time yet.
Chad Reed (Monster Energy Yamaha)
The Aussie looked better this last weekend but a poor start kept his results back to a 7th. From what I’ve heard, Reed is not at all happy with his season so far. He expects to be up front and unfortunately he just hasn’t had the speed yet. He was making his way forward near the end of the race and Grant and Peick, were the next two riders ahead of him. These are two guys that he should be beating every week. I do see Reed cracking that top 5 in the next few rounds and this weekend look for him to be from 5-8.
Cooper Webb (Monster Energy Yamaha)
The rookie finally got a good ride in and looked way more comfortable all day. I will say he looked better in practice when he was near the front consistently, but when he got out there racing he seemed to tense up a little bit. Nonetheless a hole shot and 4th is a great stepping-stone for Webb. Although I don’t expect him to have podium speed any time soon so I see Webb only grabbing a top 10 at Phoenix.
Davi Millsaps (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM)
3 top tens to start 2017 for Millsaps. That is totally respectable for this KTM rider who said he wasn’t 100 percent coming into the season. The goal for Millsaps is to stay healthy this year. He seems to always be dealing with nagging injuries so a full year on the bike should do him so good. Look for another top 10 in Phoenix.
Malcolm Stewart (Ride 365 Seven Suzuki)
Mookie made his debut last week at Anaheim; unfortunately it was the wrong Anaheim. I’m not really sure why he couldn’t have this deal done by the opener, as he knew he didn’t have a ride by December, but it is what it is and he is here now and that is all that matters. For being a couple races behind he looked great! You could tell from his heat race that he has the speed needed so we will just have to see how long it takes him to get his fitness up and stay on two wheels as that is why he finished 18th last weekend. I really think Mookie can get a top 10 at Phoenix so that’s why I have him on my list.
Photo by Steve Cox