We are three rounds into the 250 SX East Region and while Toronto was an exciting competitive race, it is starting to look like there is one clear favourite: Zach Osborne. The racing will no doubt be entertaining to watch every week, but this could be a sleeper for the title because at the moment I don’t think anybody can beat Osborne. Of course, there are still 6 rounds remaining and everything could change at any race. Here are my top 5 rankings heading into Daytona.
Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna)
Osborne is on another level right now and I don’t think anybody could argue against that. He has been quite a bit faster than everybody else every week so far and honestly I don’t see any reasons for him to slow down this freight train that he has boarded. Do I think he will win every race from here until Vegas? No, of course not, but he isn’t losing anytime soon if he keeps it on two wheels. He now takes a 12-point lead into Daytona and it has only been 3 rounds! I think last year he was ready to win and had the speed, but with a mix of crashes and the dominant Cooper Webb on his coast it just didn’t work out. Now, he has moved to the Baker’s Factory and finally is really ready to put in the work and get this thing done; it is certainly showing. Don’t be surprised if it is another blowout this weekend in Daytona.
Joey Savatgy (Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Savatgy finished 6th place last weekend in Toronto after running up in 2nd place late in the race. He crashed trying to do the difficult 3-3-4-3 section and it left me kind of scratching my head as to why he would try the quad so late in the race when the track was so beat up. I mean, he had a gap on 3rd and was already so far behind Osborne so it wasn’t like he was going to catch him? I really think that he messed up that one and lost 7 crucial championship points. Even after he got up and back to pace, Ferrandis caught him and passed him on the last lap and then Savatgy went in hard to try and rebound back and took both riders down. They both still finished 5th and 6th respectively, but he wasn’t thinking very clearly and could have lost even more points. Is it too early to say that Daytona is a must win race for Savatgy? He sits 12 points back and cannot fall any more behind with the way that Osborne has been riding.
Colt Nichols (Star Racing Yamaha)
I was watching Nichols all day in qualifying/practice as I noticed him to be the first rider to jump the 3-3-4-3. Man, he looked good and he made that jump seem easy. He busted out that jump in the first free practice and I could hardly believe it! It took all the other top 250 riders until the 3rd time on the track to start jumping it. So, he was jumping the quad and looked amazing in the whoops, but then I would look at the live timing and he was back in like 9th??? I was bewildered! It is crazy how somebody can look so great and look like they are going the fastest, but yet be over a second off the pace! He has been struggling with his qualifying times all year for whatever reason, but dang he was fast in the main! He was all over Cianciarulo for 3rd, which would have been 2nd because of the Savatgy crash, until he made a small mistake and went down. He still managed to ride to 4th and he even jumped the quad on the last lap of the race! Nichols is looking better every weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the box this weekend in Daytona. My bold prediction: He will win not just 1, but 2 races before the season is over.
Adam Cianciarulo (Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Cianciarulo got back on the podium for the first time since 2014 with a second place effort. I thought he looked pretty good out there, but he claimed that he rode tight and not very well. I am not sure what is up with riders on the podium being bummed with their rides and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all mind games. It seems pretty silly to me, but maybe there is some truth to it? I don’t know. Nonetheless a 2nd place is a great ride for Adam and he just needs to continue to podium and build week after week. If all goes well, I think we will see him winning one of these races. Just don’t get hurt buddy! Expect a top 5 performance in Daytona.
Christian Craig (Geico Honda)
Craig has definitely been the most underperforming rider on this coast. He was many people’s pick to be the champion and at least be in it for some wins and podiums. Yeah he got a podium last weekend, but come on… it was given to him. He actually didn’t ride that well and he should be happy with the result, but move on and try and be better for Daytona. I was trying to figure out what has went wrong for Craig and I think it may be the added pressure coming into the season. Last season he was the underdog, the guy who had retired and worked construction. This year he had championship pressure and I think he was prepared for it, but things happened and he hasn’t lived up to the expectations. I think the pressure, combined with the delayed start when he got pushed back to the East Coast, is why we have seen these results. Well, now he that is out of the championship and can just focus on a week-to-week basis, maybe this will let him get back to the top step of the podium.
Jordon Smith (TLD/Red Bull KTM): Smith did not get the start last weekend in Toronto and finished 7th place. Can he rebound in Daytona?
Dylan Ferrandis (Star Racing Yamaha): Ferrandis seems to be getting better very week and once he gets accustomed to this SX thing, he could be a podium guy.
Photo from SupercrossLive