We are five rounds into the 250 west coast series and this weekend at Arlington marks the last race before a long break when the series shifts east. The west coast rounds have all be hit hard with rain with the exception of the indoor round in Glendale. Who knew it rained so much in California? Anyways at Arlington, there will be no worries as we go racing under a roof. Here are the top five 250 west riders heading into Saturday.
Justin Hill (Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Kawasaki)
That’s three in a row for Pro Circuits Justin Hill. He is on another level at the moment and I’m starting to think that nobody can bring him down. If you go back and include San Diego, were he came from behind and almost won, he has been the fastest rider for 4 straight weeks! We have always known that this kid has some serious SX skill, but it was a matter of putting it together for a series. It seems he has done that now and will take the red plate into Arlington, but he will need to win most likely to keep the red plate over the break, as McElrath is only 1 point behind him. Now the only thing that I am worried about, and I’m only slightly worried, is that in the past we have seen Hill make some big mistakes. Maybe he has that figure out now and we will see him cruise his way to a championship, but it is still something to keep in mind because as of now I’m thinking the only guy who can take Hill down off the top step… is himself.
Shane McElrath (TLD/Red Bull KTM)
I think there are two ways Shane could look at his last race in Oakland. 1. “Wow I’m lucky to not be hurt from that heat race crash and considering I had to race through the LCQ, getting a podium is a good result. Take the positives and move on.” 2. “Forget everything that happened at Oakland, I am a title contender and I simply cannot go through the LCQ two weeks in a row. In the main I got a decent start but couldn’t move past 3rd and was getting pressured by Decotis late for 4th. This is a whole new weekend let’s regroup and get a win.” For me I think personally he needs to pretend Oakland never happened. He was off the pace and he is going to need to find some extra speed if he wants to challenge Hill at Arlington.
Aaron Plessinger (Star Racing Yamaha)
If there ever was a race that Plessinger could get his first win of the season… that was it. Soft, chewy and rutty conditions are what he excels on! I have been saying starts starts starts and then he finally gets a pretty good start and he gets caught up in the Forkner incident in the second corner… Yes it wasn’t is fault, but he also crashed coming through the pack and that caused him to only make it to 6th place. He now sits 16 points back of Hill and with four races left he will need to win all of those, plus get some riders in between him, Hill and McElrath. It is going to be very difficult, but it is not impossible. I think there is nothing to lose for Plessinger now so just go out and try to get some wins.
Martin Davalos (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna)
Marty had his best finish of the season last weekend at Oakland so that is a plus. I was actually surprised to see him holding his pace in second on such a gnarly track. Davalos has actually got a top 5 at every race so far! I found that pretty impressive considering how often he has crashed in years past. This whole year he has just been a tad off the race leaders pace and so I find myself wondering that if Marty had won at San Diego, maybe just maybe he would be in this fight still. Well unfortunately for him that did not happen and now he is looking at yet another 250 SX championship that has slipped through his grasps. This weekend look for Marty to capture yet another top 5.
Austin Forkner (Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Well the rookie made another rookie mistake last weekend at Oakland when he had a big crash in the first rhythm section of the first lap. He is lucky that he is okay because that was quite the tumble and then he got hit by Hansen’s bike immediately after. That has actually only been his 2nd so-called rookie mistake and so he has been riding this series pretty consistent so far. I’m a little bummed that I haven’t seen the balls out speed that most of us were expecting, but things have been pretty decent I guess. He won’t have momentum on his side, but look for a rebound race at Arlington.
Photo from Motocross Magazine