Since joining the 450 class in 2010, Ryan Dungey finished outside the Top 10 twice, both at Anaheim, both a Round 5 which occurred in 2011 and 2014 when he got just one point.
Those are the odds Ken Roczen faces on Saturday for Round 16 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross series in East Rutherford, NJ if he's to push this year's title to the brink.
Dungey wasn't able to wrap up consecutive Championships last week but carries a 43 point lead with just two rounds remaining. It's all but a foregone conclusion that he'll be crowned the 2016 Supercross Champion winner and it's likely to come this weekend since he just needs to finish 14th if Roczen wins. But a crash, getting caught up in another crash putting him way behind or even a mechanical failure as Cooper Webb can attest, certainly throws a wrench in trophy lifting plans and like Roczen said in an interview with Racer X, "A lot of things can happen. It's not over until the fat lady sings."
Roczen who shadowed Dungey in the three previous rounds leading up to Round 15 in Foxborough put on a riding clinic at Gillette Stadium beating Eli Tomac by nine seconds and Dungey by 25 seconds. The rutted and rough track conditions clearly suited Roczen and Tomac and put Dungey out of his element. Forecast for Saturday in New Jersey calls for Friday Night Rains but clearing Saturday before starting again on Sunday.
Ryan Dungey might have his hands full on Saturday but it shouldn't keep him from hoisting the 2016 Championship trophy
By this time last year Dungey had the title wrapped up and finished second to Tomac at MetLife Stadium. He's not one to mail in a race and made it clear he wants to win each and every time he's on the track. Makes sense, he missed out on back-to-back Supercross titles thanks to that Round 5 in 2011.
It all may be too little too late for the challengers but Dungey indeed has challengers now. Tomac is not lying down waiting for Motocross, he grabbed second-place last week, his first trip to the podium since his win at Daytona on the Motocross-like track there. Jason Anderson has five straight Top 5 finishes and briefly pushed Dungey into fourth-place last week nearly ending the defending champ's podium streak at 30 but Dungey excelled through the whoops a few laps later and got back on the box.
Interesting, had Dungey's "win" in Detroit not been overturned because of that Red Cross flag business, he could post DNFs in the remaining rounds and still come out as Champion. Now he's got a little bit of mental pressure but it shouldn't rattle him too much. It happened once, don't expect it to happen again.
Elsewhere, Chad Reed needs a strong finish to hold off Marvin Musquin from taking fifth-place in the standings. The veteran has a 21 point lead over the rookie, who has an ailing wrist. After four straight podium trips, including three second-place finishes one of which was oh-so-close to his first 450 class win, Musquin has 21 total points in the last four rounds. A crash in Santa Clara derailed his season a bit but he should still be a lock for Rookie of the Year.
After a rough start to begin the year Trey Canard has a string of solid races and a secure spot to finish in the Top 10. He's yet to get on the podium but two strong races to finish the season should help him hold on to eighth and possibly move up a spot.
Malcolm Stewart needs to fend off Jeremy Martin in the remaining rounds to keep his title chances alive
The 250SX East class is in a true chase to the Championship since the Top 4 riders all have a legitimate shot at the title especially when considering the events taken place thus far in the season.
Malcolm Stewart holds on to the red plate with some breathing room after grabbing third in Foxborough which helped mitigate some of the damage at St. Louis when he finished eighth. Aaron Plessinger's podium streak ended last week which also ended his hopes of taking the points lead from Stewart. Plessinger was just a point behind heading into Round 15 and riding a wave of momentum that included results of 2-1-2 in the previous three rounds. A bad start left him in catch-up mode but he salvaged some points and mitigated the damage.
Jeremy Martin on the other hand now has some serious momentum finishing 1-2 the previous two rounds after crashes in Detroit and Indianapolis seriously ruined his chance for a Supercross title. And now Martin Davalos, who carried the points lead after two rounds then lost it after missing Toronto, comes away with his second win of the series last week. Davalos is the farthest behind of the Top 4 but if the history of this series is any indicator, anything can happen.
At any rate it is Stewart's title to lose. He's got four podiums this year including a win so if he can stay on top of the box, he'll get his first Championship and a ticket to the 450 class next year.
Back to night racing for Supercross Round 16 with doors opening at 12 p.m. (EST), opening ceremoines at 6:30 p.m. (EST) and racing at 7 p.m. (EST). Buy tickets online or at the box office. Watch it live on FOX Sports 1.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (348)
- Ken Roczen (305)
- Jason Anderson (278)
- Eli Tomac (248)
- Chad Reed (220)
- Marvin Musquin (199)
- Cole Seely (187)
- Trey Canard (170)
- Justin Brayton (170)
- Weston Peick (115)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Malcolm Stewart (135)
- Aaron Plessinger (130)
- Jeremy Martin (121)
- Martin Davalos (108)
- Tyler Bowers (93)
- Shane McElrath (91)
- Gannon Audette (91)
- RJ Hampshire (90)
- Anthony Rodriguez (70)
- Justin Hill (63)
Written By: AndrewT