When it comes to the championship, 2018 has certainly had its ups and downs. There was a lot of potential for this to be one of the craziest championships ever, but the series took a huge hit last weekend when Ken Roczen once again crashed his way out of the series with an arm injury. I won’t say much about the incident, but it really seems that Roczen has a habit of making those crucial mistakes. I still believe that this year will be pretty unpredictable when it comes to the individual races. Here are my rankings for round 7 in Arlington.
- Jason Anderson
There is no debate about the number one spot. Anderson is the top of the class right now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. He has all the momentum on his side and with a 28-point lead in the series, he may just hold onto that points lead the remainder of the series. Through 6 rounds he has won 3 races, landed on the podium 5 times, and had a worst finish of 4th. If he keeps this pace up through the remainder of the rounds he will win 8 or 9 races and podium around 14 or 15 times. Remind you of anyone? (The correct answer is Ryan Dungey). Although he certainly creates a tad bit more drama than Dungey… I’m not saying Anderson breezes by without having a bad race, he most likely will, but with 11 rounds left so will the other contenders. This is Anderson’s championship to lose.
- Marvin Musquin
Musquin looked really bad early on in the night, but my-oh-my did he ever turn it around late in the main event. He lost time on Anderson quickly, but once the track (whoops) broke down Musquin obviously was right back in the picture. Musquin will mainly just be trying to get back to the top step on the podium after that shoulder injury, but he is only 17 back of second place in the championship. You may be thinking well who cares about second place if Anderson is so far in front. Well this is Supercross folks and we are only one bad crash and resulting injury for the battle of the runner up position to become the battle for the title. Also Musquin and Anderson finally admitted that they aren’t exactly best friends at the moment. How long does the tension remain is yet to be seen.
- Justin Barcia
The speed has rewarded Barcia an extension through to the end of the year, but at the moment the inconsistencies has rewarded Barcia a huge 28-point gap to make up on Anderson. Not winning any races yet certainly doesn’t help his championship hopes as well. Its actually beyond crazy that we are in round 7 talking about Justin Barcia having the best and maybe only chance to catch Jason Anderson. Last week’s 8th has to be taken with a grain of salt as supposedly he lost his back break during the race which would explain his dramatic drop to the back of the pack. Barcia has looked really good this year so I expect a bounce back performance in Arlington with him battling it up front with Anderson and co.
- Cole Seely
I have placed Seely 4th on my rankings and that is actually probably a tad bit high as he just didn’t quite have the speed last week despite getting the holeshot. I haven’t really heard what is going on with Seely in the second half of these mains, but wow he really has let a few races slip through his fingers. I just think he is going to turn it around here sooner rather than later because if he continues to get these impressive starts than he is bound to close one of these races out right??? Seriously, if you ever have a chance to watch Seely ride a SX in person it is beyond impressive. His technique and style is so flawless and just a prize to watch. I guess you could say I have boarded back on the Cole Soul Train. Full Speed Ahead!
- Eli Tomac
Oh boy, this is getting from bad to worst for Eli Tomac and the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Tomac was involved in that first turn pile up with Webb, Roczen and Grant. All the other riders went out there and pushed hard, but I guess Tomac had a problem with his grip or something… I mean I’m not saying that he didn’t have a problem, but this just gives me a weird feeling. I get the sense that Tomac immediately gives up when he knows the win is out of sight like these last two weekends. If that is the case, the whole team works way to hard for him to not give it his best each and every week. From here on out this could go in two directions: Tomac could come out swinging at round 7 and be a major spoiler the remainder of the season orrrr these next few weeks go just as bad and Tomac pulls out of the series to nurse an injury of sorts to get ready for Outdoors. As for now I got to keep Tomac somewhere near the top of these rankings just because he is so so good when he is on.
- Blake Baggett
Baggett was definitely searching those first few weeks, but somewhere between round 4 and 5 he found what he was looking for and has back-to-back podiums. What is so great about these podiums is that he has pressured for the win in both of the races. If he keeps this up he may finally get rid of the stigma that he can only contend for wins in Motocross. It is going to be hard to break through with that elusive 450SX win, but he certainly has the confidence that he can do it (Watch out Daytona). I expect Baggett to be battling up front from here on out, but with a lot of riders starting to pick it up that position could be anywhere from 3-7th.
- Cooper Webb
Every now and then a rider is looking so fast on a track, but just has bad luck, which takes them out of it early on, and we are all left wondering what could have been. That pretty much sums up Cooper Webb’s San Diego. With the combination of the first turn crash and Roczen’s Honda smashing into Webb’s Bike, the night was over for Cooper Webb. However, this is definitely one of those nights were you can take away a lot of positives from. He was flying on that track and that is all I needed to see to be convinced that Webb can in fact race with these top guys and be a threat for wins in the remainder 11 rounds. Another thing that I noticed last weekend was that Webb, after pulling off to fix his bike many, many times still went out and raced hard even though he was SIX laps down! That is simply amazing and the fire you want to see in a SX racer.
- Weston Peick
At first glance Peick’s early season greatness has turned somewhat more predictable with 9-7 finishes in the last two rounds. However lost in all the chaos last night was Peick’s beast of a ride from 17th place to 7th! Wow that ride was actually super impressive and perhaps Peick is just going to have one of those years. It is time that we just accept that he can run up front with the Musquin’s and Anderson’s of the sport. On paper it is hard to imagine Peick beating any of the riders above him on this list consistently, but with bad starts and unavoidable crashes each week, Peick just might get many more top 5 finishes this year.
- Justin Brayton
I should be giving Brayton our love in these rankings as last week I even had him off the list. He continues to show that through all the craziness he can pull out great finishes. (6th at San Diego). He certainly has lost a bit of his flash out there as riders like Baggett and Webb are picking it up, but nonetheless he has 5 of 6 races in the top 7 and because of that he sits 6th in points. Look for another top 10 in Arlington.
- Dean Wilson
This year could have been featured the return of lightning fast Deano, but it all came crashing down in his first heat race of the year. Supposedly the shoulder injury is still bugging him quite a bit during the week, but while racing it is fairly strong and he is now slowly starting to build week after week. I still think it may be a few weeks until we see the Wilson we thought we might see early on (if we see him at all this year), but getting another top 10 finish this weekend would be a great foundation to build from.