The 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season nears the halfway point of the year on Saturday at the storied Daytona International Speedway, home to the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, FL.
Technically, halfway into the season arrives on Lap 10 since this is Round 9 of a 17 round series but who is counting? Probably Ryan Dungey. He's at least counting his points coming into Daytona, where he leads Ken Roczen by 33, three more than his lead over Trey Canard coming into this round (actually Round 10) last year. A round Dungey won for the first time in his career on his way to the 2015 Championship.
And yes, Dungey is the favorite to win again. In fact, from here on out it's not too far-fetched to consider him the favorite to win the remaining rounds. As the last round proved, even when he's out, he's not out. You just know somebody is probably thinking this:
Indeed, he'll be just fine as Dungey capitalized on a mishap when rookie (and Dungey's teammate) Marvin Musquin, the leader for 19 laps at Atlanta and just a few turns away from his first career 450 win, tried to lap James Stewart then bobbled off the track allowing Dungey to get his fifth win of the season. Musquin held on for second but he's not close to the Championship hunt, sitting in seventh-place.
Ken Roczen actually needed the break since a bad start pushed him back and he fought his way through the pack valiantly but only got to sixth-place, tying his worst outing of the year. Dungey added 10 points to his lead a week after Roczen shaved off three. It's not enough anymore to finish second though it's more than enough for Dungey to finish second. Dungey rides a 24 straight podium streak and 19 consecutive Top 2 finishes into Daytona.
However, look no further than the past two rounds if you're hoping for any chance of a Las Vegas Championship showdown in May. As seen in Atlanta, Musquin kept Dungey on his tail for 19 laps before encountering Stewart and likely would have won. The week before in Arlington, Roczen held on for 20 laps beating a feisty Dungey who couldn't make the pass. Dungey is not beat easily, but it can be done.
A brouhaha is brewing between Jason Anderson and Cole Seely, third and fourth, respectively in the standings as both had their worst outings of the year last week thanks in part to each other. Seely did not mince words postrace when he said he was out for justice.
As was widely reported, but not shown on camera, Anderson t-boned Seely knocking him down. It was the second time the two came together via Anderson and it looks like it won't be the last. Despite Anderson's attempt to apologize after the race, Seely looks ready for payback. And he's angry at Dungey too. So there's that. Some awesome helmet cam video of Seely's night in Atlanta:
Atlanta turned into a forgettable round for a lot of riders. Eli Tomac had his worst outing of the year finishing in 11th, Trey Canard started 15th and dropped a spot once the checkers dropped notching his worst finish on the season. Meanwhile, the Andrew Short, Wil Hahn and Phil Nicoletti pileup ended Hahn's season and leaves Short out with a concussion indefinitely. Nicoletti is banged up and bruised but should be ready to go on Saturday.
Meanwhile Chad Reed quietly took third-place last week and got into fifth-place in the standings. So, if Anderson and Seely tangle with one another this weekend, another solid race by the veteran could put him into third. No rain in the forecast either so Reed can breathe a sigh of relief. He's tailed Dungey twice this year for second-place so if he manages to get out front, he's got a good chance of capturing his fourth victory in Daytona and won't let that center spot on the podium slip away.
The 250SX East class got off to a hot start in Atlanta with Martin Davalos leading all 15 laps for the win. Davalos was an early Championship winner pick but past injuries and an off-season dance with Epstein-Barr were question marks. But so far he's turned those into footnotes.
Davalos did get some help from a downed Shane McElrath who Malcolm Stewart couldn't see and collided with in the sand section towards the end of the race. Stewart was a close second behind Davalos but the crash solidified the win. Stewart, who qualified first, held on for second. Aaron Plessinger took third. McElrath, the runner-up to Cooper Webb in last year's 250SX West contest, grabbed the holeshot but quickly gave up the lead and the collision with Stewart cemented his last place finish.
Jeremy Martin, the two-time Motocross Champion finished a respectable fourth after starting 11th and Justin Hill grabbed a Top 5 racing forward 16 spots from where he started.
Supercross Round 9 starts off Bike Week at Daytona and, as always, the Supercross track is built on the grassy area and this year the starting gate returns to pit road. Check out the track build:
Gates open at 12 p.m. (EST) with opening ceremonies starting at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Buy tickets online or at the box office. Oh by the way, Daytona is kind of, sort of, the birthplace of Supercross. Read about the History of Supercross.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (191)
- Ken Roczen (158)
- Jason Anderson (145)
- Cole Seely (134)
- Chad Reed (132)
- Eli Tomac (129)
- Marvin Musquin (114)
- David Millsaps (103)
- Justin Brayton (98)
- Jacob Weimer (77)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Martin Davalos (25)
- Malcolm Stewart (22)
- Aaron Plessinger (20)
- Jeremy Martin (18)
- Justin Hill (16)
- RJ Hampshire (15)
- Darryn Durham (14)
- Tyler Bowers (13)
- Alexander Frye (12)
- Jimmy Albertson (11)
Written By: AndrewT