The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season must feel interminable to Ryan Dungey.
Five rounds remain, nearly a third of the season still, with no signs of Eli Tomac breaking down. Tomac's fourth straight win last week in Detroit swallowed a chunk of points from Dungey's lead (who finished third) which is now seven. His lowest lead of the year since he led by the same amount over Marvin Musquin after Round 3 when Ken Roczen's season abruptly ended. Tomac was in fifth-place back then, 25 points behind without a podium.
Now, Tomac brings seven wins and five in the last six rounds into St. Louis on Saturday where Round 13 takes place at The Dome at America's Center. Dungey carries the red plate, something he's held on to since Round 4 in Phoenix, but with so many rounds remaining - seconds, thirds and sometimes fourths no longer cut it for the two-time defending Champion.
He's got the points lead but Ryan Dungey needs to open the throttle more if he's to win three straight Supercross Championships
Tomac's ascent injected much life into a series many thought ended after Roczen's crash which moved Dungey into first-place. Arguably Dungey was on his way to a win that night in Anaheim anyway but Roczen looked untouchable until then and after his exit, Dungey took on that classification. Then Tomac won two in a row. The 2012 250SX West Champion has never won a 450 class Championship; he's never even held a points lead in this premier Supercross class. That probably won't change this weekend either but if the past few weeks prove anything, he'll be at least three points closer.
Yet, if the past two years prove anything he'll be a bit farther out. Dungey won St. Louis in 2016 and 2015, winning decisively by leading every lap. Today though, leading laps seems almost as elusive to winning races for Dungey. He's had someone in front of him for every lap in the last four rounds and in the last two it's been his teammate Marvin Musquin.
Eli Tomac (left) and Marvin Musquin (right) finished 1-2, respectively, the last two rounds
Musquin's runner-up positions at Indianapolis and Detroit put him squarely into third-place for points breaking a tie last week with Cole Seely who, after not finishing below sixth-place all season, had his worst night of the year with a 10th place result thanks to a pile-up at the start which also affected Dungey.
And that's probably how the 2017 Championship goes down. A crash here, a pile-up there and whoever is out front when the dust settles goes the spoils.
Elsewhere, while the 450 title chase is mostly defined by Dungey and Tomac, with 125 points on the table, Musquin and Seely have an on-going fight for third and finishing the year in the Top 5 gives Jason Anderson, Davi Millsaps and Blake Baggett a big push. Baggett has two straight fourth-place finishes and Millsaps, who battled with Dungey last week, tied his best result of the season with a fifth-place showing. Chad Reed can't seem to find any consistency as he crashed out last week and posted his fourth single-digit points gain round this year. He's in eighth place
All podium contenders here: Adam Cianciarulo (left), Dylan Ferrandis (bottom right) and Joey Savatgy (top right)
The 250SX East class had a major shake-up in Detroit as Zach Osborne not only lost the red-plate and a nine-point lead but dropped to third-place thanks to a first turn crash. It's a bruiser for Osborne who looked ripe for the crown after three wins this season. Instead, Joey Savatgy, with one win but three-straight second-place finishes, gets the red plate back (after losing it in Atlanta) and a nine point lead over Jordan Smith, who got his first career win last week. And, despite a third-place finish in the Motor City, Adam Cianciarulo heads into St. Louis in fourth-place for points.
Two points separate fourth from second and any of the Top 4 riders can and have won this season. Combine that with an 18 point swing and multiple position switches in the standings after just one round, St. Louis could be a medley of fun.
Ohhh, and Round 13 is on April Fool's Day. Hopefully riders aren't superstitious. Strange things might happen.
Our Podium Picks for St. Louis:
- Justin Barcia
- Mike Alessi
- Cody Gilmore
250SX East Class
- Luke Renzland
- Mitchell Harrison
- Jerry Robin
Check out the track map for Round 13:
OK you got us. As long as something unusual doesn't happen - Our Podium Picks for St. Louis:
- Eli Tomac
- Ryan Dungey
- Marvin Musquin
250SX East Class
- Zach Osborne
- Adam Cianciarulo
- Dylan Ferrandis
Practice for Round 13 starts at 12 p.m. (EST) with opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. (EST) and the Main Event gate drop at 7 p.m. (EST) on Saturday in St. Louis, MO. Buy tickets online or at the box office. FOX Sports 1 provides television coverage albeit delayed by an hour.
2017 Supercross Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (254)
- Eli Tomac (247)
- Marvin Musquin (207)
- Cole Seely (196)
- Jason Anderson (170)
- Davi Millsaps (152)
- Blake Baggett (149)
- Chad Reed (131)
- Broc Tickle (130)
- Dean Wilson (127)
250SX East Class
- Joey Savatgy (124)
- Jordon Smith (115)
- Zach Osborne (114)
- Adam Cianciarulo (113)
- Dylan Ferrandis (86)
- Christian Craig (65)
- Luke Renzland (61)
- Alex Martin (60)
- Anthony Rodriguez (58)
- Mitchell Harrison (52)
Written By: AndrewT