The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross series crosses the northern border into Xanadu as Toronto welcomes the halfway point of the season with Round 9 on Saturday at the Rogers Centre.
The Good News First: Nothing is wrong with Ryan Dungey.
Perhaps that's not such good news, for some anyway. Nevertheless, no, Dungey is not losing it as some have speculated, instead that one little victory in Atlanta last week showed strong vital signs in his quest for a third straight Championship. Dungey carries a 25 point lead into Canada the same spread he held over Trey Canard two years ago after eight rounds. He'll need it as the Great White North isn't exactly center podium territory. Dungey finished third the last three rounds here and only has one win, back in 2011.
Ryan Dungey enters Toronto with only two wins but maintains a solid points lead
So never mind the bad news, because whether or not Dungey is riding with kid gloves (enter reason here) he seems to hit marathon stride at this point in the season delivering three-race win streaks in the second half of the series for each of the last two seasons. Which means owning a full round worth of points lead at the midway point of the series certainly indicates which the way the wind is blowing but it's not an impossible feat to overcome.
The always hopeful, yet discontented Eli Tomac brings the most wins of any rider in the 450 class to Toronto but a sluggish first three rounds and a crash at Arlington resulting in a season-worst 15th place puts him a bit in limbo. Tomac nearly caught Dungey last week and has three wins and four podiums in the last five rounds. Yet, he's in third-place two points behind Marvin Musquin who, contrary to Tomac, posted a strong first three rounds to start the season followed by two ninth-place finishes.
Eli Tomac has never been on the podium in Toronto
Speaking of Musquin, he finished second in Toronto last year ahead of Dungey, already has a win this year and five total podiums but continues cruising under Dungey's radar. His fifth-place in Atlanta did him no favors dropping him nine points further back from his training partner and allowed Tomac to close the gap.
Meanwhile, Cole Seely is trying not to lose his grip for a title year since he followed a podium in Texas with a fifth and sixth in the last two rounds, respectively. Seely, considered a contender, only has two podiums this year, no wins and is in fourth-place, 36 points behind Dungey. He's solidly in the Top 5 but needs a sweet miracle if he's to ride the red plate this season. Looming low and ominous is Jason Anderson who has slowly climbed his way up the standings ladder after a disqualification at Anaheim 2 dropped him to ninth. He's finished 4-3-4-4 the last four races and rounds out the Top 5.
Elsewhere, Blake Baggett grabbed his first podium last week with a third-place result ending a rather tedious start that included finishing in 14th, 20th and 17th place. He jumped from 11th place to ninth, now tied in points with Chad Reed and just a point behind Dean Wilson in seventh. A similar showing on Saturday could put him into sixth place depending on whether Davi Millsaps returns. Millsaps was injured in a practice crash at Atlanta leaving him sidelined for the night show but expects to line up in Toronto. Millsaps is no stranger to making memories in Canada either, as he is the defending Canadian National Champion.
Zach Osborne riding high heading into Toronto
In the 250 East class, Zach Osborne fulfilled some Middletown dreams with his first career win last week and that, coupled with a third-place to start the season, he rides the red plate on Saturday. Osborne needed just five laps to make the pass on Jordan Smith in Atlanta and led the rest of the way taking the checkers by six seconds over Alex Martin.
Recall that Osborne got his first career Motocross win last summer and now at 27 years old with a rough professional start in the United States and then a three-year stint overseas, a few more wins could perhaps put this budding Cinderella Man in line for a Championship.
Joey Savatgy, who won the 250 East opener two weeks ago, finished fourth in Atlanta and now trails Osborne by two points. Smith who grabbed the holeshot and led for five laps but in the end finished fifth, drops a spot to third in the standings while Colt Nichols third-place result last week helped him jump from 10th to fourth-place.
And don't take the limelight off Martin who certainly hasn't lost the will to fight. After a first lap crash in Minneapolis resulted in a DNF, Martin roared back with a second-place perhaps salvaging his season. Currently, in ninth-place (rather than dead last to start the 250 East season) with 23 points, Martin has his work to do but like last year on both coasts, anything can happen.
Adam Cianciarulo is also finding his way with a respectable fifth and seventh to start the season. The oft injured rider who missed the last two Supercross seasons, rounds out the Top 5 for points, just one behind Nichols.
Our big money podium picks for Toronto:
- Eli Tomac
- Ryan Dungey
- Jason Anderson
- Zach Osborne
- Joey Savatgy
- Alex Martin
Check out the track map for Round 9:
The countdown, of course, for Supercross Round 9 begins at 12 p.m. (EST) Saturday when practice and qualifying start. Get in your seats by 6:30 p.m. (EST) for Opening Ceremonies and the gates drop for the Main Event at 7 p.m. (EST) in Toronto. Buy tickets online or at the Rogers Centre box office. FOX Sports 1 provides delayed television coverage airing at 10 p.m. (EST).
2017 Supercross Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (174)
- Eli Tomac (149)
- Marvin Musquin (147)
- Cole Seely (138)
- Jason Anderson (121)
- Davi Millsaps (98)
- Dean Wilson (84)
- Chad Reed (83)
- Blake Baggett (83)
- Broc Tickle (76)
250SX East Class
- Zach Osborne (45)
- Joey Savatgy (43)
- Jordon Smith (38)
- Colt Nichols (31)
- Adam Cianciarulo (30)
- RJ Hampshire (29)
- Luke Renzland (28)
- Kyle Peters (24)
- Alex Martin (23)
- Fredrik Noren (21)
Written By: AndrewT