Whatever you want to call the National at Southwick, it returns for the first time since 2013 after it closed briefly and reopened as The Wick 338.
Formerly named Moto-X 338, Southwick retains its popular sandbox that should give riders one of the biggest tests of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series on Saturday and could represent an equalizer of sorts, much like a mud race, making for some interesting racing.
Ken Roczen, the current 450 class leader who is stomping the competition, has never won at Southwick but did take a Moto win in 2013 finishing second overall to, of all riders, Eli Tomac, the 250 class Champion that year with Roczen a distant second.
It's the reverse this go-around as Roczen holds an impressive 53 point lead over Tomac along with winning 11 of 12 Motos. Tomac put up his biggest fight of the season two rounds back at Tennessee losing first by mere seconds, but last week it wasn't even close. Tomac has yet to win a race and is running out of Motos to take the 2016 title fight to a final round showdown.
Ken Roczen often rides out front all by himself.
Thanks to injuries sidelining some of the sports top contenders, Roczen and Tomac have dominated the 1-2 spots and barring either of them going down, it's unlikely to change. The big question is whether Tomac can get out front and stay out front.
Marvin Musquin holds a nice 20 point lead ahead of Broc Tickle for third but Tickle is closing in fast thanks to back-to-back podiums. He took the tie-breaker from Justin Barcia last week and has a slim one point advantage on Barcia for fifth. Both riders should pass the injured Cole Seely for points after this weekend so who ever rides best gets into fourth. Barcia put forth his best ride of the year at RedBud but has yet to show the skills on display last year at this time when he brought a tenacious challenge to the eventual Champion Ryan Dungey.
Eli Tomac has 12 Motos to catch Ken Roczen for the 2016 Championship
Blake Baggett should get into the Top 10 for points after this weekend and could help shake-up the podium competition for the rest of the season. Since the 2015 fourth-place finisher returned from a Round 1 crash that broke his collarbone he's gone 8-7-7-5. Pretty, pretty, pretty good considering the gnarly get-off he endured. He took third in Moto 1 to start the season so if he's feeling alright, Tickle might just see his podium streak end.
The 250 class on the other hand is rife with contenders for not only the box but the Championship. The Top 16 riders continue to line-up at the gates and 10 riders have finished third or better at least once this season, though Jessy Nelson who started the year strong is out.
Cooper Webb grabbed the Red Plate last week for the first time this season taking it from Joey Savatgy who carried it every round except one up until now. Leads as large as 20 points have come and gone but don't expect Webb to fumble away his chances for a Championship. He's won three straight Motos, two straight overalls and the broken wrist he incurred during Supercross appears to be a non-factor at this point. He's riding lights out and has finished fifth or higher in every Moto except one this season.
Cooper Webb looking more like the rider to beat with half the season over
Savatgy lost his points lead last weekend after crashing in Moto 2. He regrouped out of the Top 20 but scrapped his way back to 16th to get five points (and seventh overall thanks to a second-place Moto 1 finish) which could prove crucial at the end of the year. Savatgy has five Moto wins on the season the most of any rider. No word on any lingering injuries from the crash.
Two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin seems to like the sand, well not riding in it anyway, as he went down in the sand section last week and moseyed his way back on the bike. At the time he was battling for the podium but settled on fourth-place. Martin, widely anticipated to three-peat as Champion at the start of the season since his primary rival from last year, Musquin, is now with the 450s has won two Motos but no overalls. Neither he, nor anyone else it seems, saw Savatgy, Webb and even his brother Alex Martin contending.
Alex Martin took third overall last week but is in fourth-place in the standings, 11 back from his brother and 45 from Webb. Both Martins' points total reflect bike malfunctions incurred at High Point where each netted no points for one Moto. Otherwise the Top 4 would show a much tighter race, but as seen all year, Motos giveth and taketh away.
The Martin Brothers have had their share of bad luck this season
Zach Osborne is also in mix holding on to fifth place just eight back from Alex Martin. He got a Moto win and second overall at High Point, losing the tie-breaker to Savatgy and finished third overall last week.
We picked Tomac to win RedBud with Roczen second and for some reason expected Weston Peick to step up and take third. Peick wasn't even close. Like we said last week, who saw Tickle coming? Again. In the 250 class we were right with Webb taking the overall but expected Jeremy Martin to start his ascent for a three-peat with Savatgy taking third.
So, who steps on the podium for Southwick? We'll make our guess, leave us yours:
- Ken Roczen
- Eli Tomac
- Justin Barcia
- Cooper Webb
- Zach Osborne
- Joey Savatgy
Gates drop for the second half of the Motocross season on Saturday at Southwick in Massachusetts. Forecast calls for mild temperatures with scattered thunderstorms. Buy tickets online or at the racetrack.
2016 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (293)
- Eli Tomac (240)
- Marvin Musquin (167)
- Cole Seely (151)
- Broc Tickle (147)
- Justin Barcia (146)
- Christophe Pourcel (136)
- Ryan Dungey (131)
- Justin Bogle (118)
- Jason Anderson (113)
250 Class Standings
- Cooper Webb (243)
- Joey Savatgy (232)
- Jeremy Martin (209)
- Alex Martin (198)
- Zach Osborne (190)
- Austin Forkner (164)
- Aaron Plessinger (152)
- Shane McElrath (124)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (117)
- RJ Hampshire (113)
Written By: AndrewT