Atlanta SX wrapped up round 2 of the 250 East Series and we got to witness a first time winner in Zach Osborne! Coming into this series, I thought the field was very stacked, but after a few rounds I really only see two real title contenders in this class. Osborne and Savatgy. Yes, there will be other race winners and contenders for podiums, but its looking like it could be a two man battle to Vegas. Here are my top 5 rankings for Toronto SX.
Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna)
After 49 career starts Osborne finally wins his first 250 Supercross! It is always nice to see a guy that has worked at it for so long get rewarded. I do believe that his move to the Bakers Factory represents that he wants to win and is ready to put in all the effort to get him to a championship. When I think back on Osborne’s career, it is pretty remarkable that he is in fact a SX winner and now a title favourite. He left USA and raced in the GPs because he just did not have any rides here and struggled with results. He was gone for 4 years in SX and he came back and bet on himself that he could be a player here in the American circuit and it now has worked out! Not only did he win last weekend, but also to me it seems like he has been the fastest guy for the first two weeks and now he will take the momentum and the points lead into Toronto! Look for him to be a top contender for the championship all the way to Vegas.
Joey Savatgy (Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Savatgy had an up weekend in Minneapolis and now he had a down weekend in Atlanta. I think you have to admit that he could have done better with his start. He wasn’t buried in the pack, as he was 8th after the first lap. I just assumed he would be able to pass guys like Nichols who only was two spots in front of him. He also got help from Ferrandis crashing twice and Smith crashing near the end. Where will we see Savatgy up in Toronto? He lost the points lead to Osborne, but in reality he is only 2 points back so it doesn’t mean much as of now. We are in the early stages of this series, but Osborne has been faster than Savatgy both weekends and Savatgy did not look too sharp last weekend so I think if he once again falls behind Osborne in pace, then we might have something to worry about here. As for now just look for a bounce back weekend to get back on the podium and be fighting for the win.
Adam Cianciarulo (Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Kawasaki)
On paper, last weekend was not good for Cianciarulo. He crashed once by himself and also got involved in a few other mishaps that held him back to 7th place. However, just from watching him ride at Atlanta, he looked real fast. He looked feisty and ready to do some damage, but things did not go as planned. It doesn’t surprise me that Cianciarulo is having races like this where he looks super fast, but cannot put it together. Remember that technically he hasn’t even finished a full year of Supercross races as he has only raced in 8! So time on the track will only do him good, but there is one thing that I am worried about and that is we have seen in outdoors last year that he can be fast and he often throws it away with little tip overs. This is all just speculation here, but maybe this will be a reoccurring problem. Anyways if he wants a shot at this championship, he needs a good finish in Toronto.
Colt Nichols (Star Racing Yamaha)
Nichols was super impressive last week in Atlanta and honestly he was impressive to come from dead last to 10th in Minneapolis. Basically he has been really good and he is only going to get better as the series goes on. The fact that he is out there riding is impressive alone!! This guy broke his femur in like December, what the heck. I see really big things from Nichols this year and I feel like we could be seeing a superstar in the making. I definitely see a top 5 next week in Toronto and more podiums and a win coming later on.
Jordon Smith (TLD/Red Bull KTM)
A 5th place in Atlanta that realistically would have been a 3rd if he didn’t connect with his teammate Martin late in the race. This great start to the season comes down to fantastic starts well actually two holeshots! He is fast enough that if he gets starts like that every weekend, he will be a player every week for the podium. I think if the stars align we could even see a race win from Smith. Of course he needs to keep up the great starts and so far it looks like he will be doing that. Points wise: he is only 7 back of Osborne and is right in the mix of things, but I don’t really see him as being a legit title contender AS OF NOW. Things could all change this weekend in Toronto. Check back after Toronto and I think we will see a clearer picture of the race for the championship.
Christian Craig (Geico Honda): Craig’s season has been disastrous so far, but he will be back in action in Toronto. Will he turn his season around or will he continue the slump like his teammate in the west Jeremy Martin.
Alex Martin (TLD/Red Bull KTM): Alex Martin had a great rebound with a second place last weekend. He will try to keep the momentum going in Toronto.
Photo from Motocross Action Mag