Ryan Dungey secures the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross Championship on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
Oh, wait. This is a race preview article.
In truth, Dungey needs two points more than Ken Roczen something he guarantees with a win. Which he's done the last three straight (or four depending on how you look at it) rounds. And for three straight rounds, Roczen, certainly not for lack of trying, was the first loser. His words.
Despite the season-long Dungey domination, some of the year's best racing has occurred in the last three rounds with Roczen tailing Dungey just a second or two behind, on occasion getting a wheel-length out front and once even pulled into a full-on lead on his way to take the checkers. Mistakes have been costly, Dungey's made less.
A win also gives Dungey a career record nine victories in a season. He finished second in the Houston race last year when he clinched the title in Round 14 and since he's made it clear he wants to win and that's what's expected don't look for anything different from him on Saturday.
Ken Roczen is always within view but just out of reach of Ryan Dungey
Nor expect Roczen to fold up camp. If he can push the title race off another week who knows what can happen during the week. Riders crash in practice, in the Main or get sick leaving them on the sidelines for a round or two, or three. Sometimes mechanical failures occur mid-race upending the Championship points race. But, finishing second to the best Dungey we've ever seen isn't all that bad, is it? Unless he gets in Jason Anderson's way, who is only 20 points back, and doesn't finish second.
Anderson's aggressive riding ticked off Cole Seely earlier this year, who vowed revenge, and then in St. Louis Anderson took out Justin Brayton, who sort of issued his own warning. Seely never did get his chance and is likely out for the rest of the season with a chipped vertebra but lots of excitement could be brewing for these final rounds though Anderson has been riding lights out the last four rounds taking three straight (or four depending on how you look at it) third-place finishes. Maybe Anderson should get all the credit for Dungey's success. Dungey is just trying to stay away from him!
Jason Anderson might want to stay airborne as long as possible if retribution is coming his way
Trey Canard has three straight Top 5 finishes, a season best, and is so close to getting on the podium. Bad starts continue to be a season long theme forcing him to come from behind which he's done quite handily but too little too late by the time Dungey crosses the finish line first. Chad Reed has a 20 point lead on Marvin Musquin for fifth-place in the standings, not bad for the veteran and finishing strong for the final three rounds could help him catch Eli Tomac (18 points ahead) to end the season in fourth-place. He's finished in front of Tomac in four straight rounds and if he can get back on the podium like he's done three times this year it's doable.
James Stewart finally threw in the towel probably to the relief of many people including himself. Stewart's first season back after a 16-month performance enhancing drug violation derailed at the start of the season and he never was able to get back on track.
A concussion at Anaheim 1 more or less negated the first seven rounds, then he got hurt at Daytona which left him sidelined for three more rounds. He finally looked good, real good at Santa Clara but a mechanical failure ended his night. He fractured his ankle at Indianapolis and Weston Peick colliding into him last week was the hay bale that broke the camel's back. His focus turns to Outdoors which is just a month away.
If the 250SX East field gets this view of Aaron Plessinger for 15 laps he'll take over the points lead
So, while Dungey possibly polishes his back-to-back trophies for the final two rounds, the 250SX East class is a mess and just the way we like it. The first five rounds featured five different winners and as Jeremy Martin took his second win of the season last week, Malcolm Stewart was the latest front-runner to find trouble on the track. He mitigated some of the damage though and retains the red plate, albeit by one point.
Martin's win helped negate two bad rounds and put him into third-place, 16 points out of first place. He says he has no chance at the title but consider this:
- Season opener winner Martin Davalos was the favorite after the first two rounds, he's now in fourth-place.
- Justin Hill put everyone on notice after winning Toronto and movied to within two points of first. He season went south after a practice crash. He's missed three straight.
- Aaron Plessinger was in fourth-place, 20 points from the lead after Round 3 and now he's a win away from taking the lead.
- Malcolm Stewart's 10 point lead vanished after one round.
- Martin was 27 points from the lead and one round shaved 11 points from that deficit
Whatever mind games he's playing is anyone's guess, whether it's with himself or others. But since seven other riders have reached the podium serious competition exists in this class.
Another early day for riders as Supercross Round 15 is broadcast nationally on FOX. Doors open at 9 a.m. (EST) with opening ceremonies at 3:30 p.m. (EST) and racing starts at 4 p.m. (EST) on Saturday. Buy tickets online or at Gillette Stadium box office. Check out the track map:
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (328)
- Ken Roczen (280)
- Jason Anderson (260)
- Eli Tomac (226)
- Chad Reed (208)
- Marvin Musquin (188)
- Cole Seely (173)
- Justin Brayton (161)
- Trey Canard (154)
- Jake Weimer (114)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Malcolm Stewart (115)
- Aaron Plessinger (114)
- Jeremy Martin (99)
- Martin Davalos (83)
- Tyler Bowers (78)
- Gannon Audette (77)
- RJ Hampshire (77)
- Shane McElrath (73)
- Justin Hill (63)
- Matt Bisceglia (58)