In a season just three rounds old, Ryan Dungey and Cooper Webb already boast win streaks that if continue to go unchecked likely means a long season for the rest of the field.
Gates to Round 4 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season drop on Saturday in Oakland where Dungey finished last year in second-place behind Trey Canard. Right behind him? Chad Reed. Another fun track set-up awaits. Check it out:
The last two rounds have showcased a Dungey/Reed 1-2 punch as both riders have finished first and second, respectively. So far, Reed's performance has prevented Dungey from an early run-away but another win by the defending Champion puts his lead at a minimum to 16 and while not insurmountable simply adds pressure for everyone else. Dungey's two-straight win streak and even more impressive 19 straight podium streak are up for grabs but with little reason to believe both end anytime soon.
Ryan Dungey goes for 20 straight podiums this week at Oakland
Besides Dungey and Reed, just three riders have stepped on the podium this year, Ken Roczen representing the freshest face after taking third at Anaheim 2. His starts have hindered his ability to get up front but a solid gate drop in Oakland could not only put him back on the box but endanger Dungey's place on top. Cole Seely started out with two straight trips with solid third-place finishes but rolled up in sixth last week. Jason Anderson, who won the opening round in impressive fashion, has tailed off a bit with two straight fifth-place finishes.
Cole Seely and Jason Anderson looking to get back on the podium
If not for a relatively minor mistake, Eli Tomac might have taken his first trip to the podium for 2016 at A2 but instead lost a close second and probable third, for his third straight fourth-place finish. Like Roczen, if Tomac gets out front early don't be surprised to see a wire-to-wire dominating ride. He's got the speed and at this point it's probably safe to end all the talk about last year's double shoulder surgery. Starting....Now.
Ken Roczen needs to find a way around Ryan Dungey if he's to get a win this season
Canard certainly brings success to Oakland but he's had far from it this season. After an initially strong outing to open the season, a crash midway through A1 dropped him from second to seventh and a quiet evening in San Diego saw another seventh-place. Unfortunately, last week felt par for the course as he crashed three times resulting in a cut hand he managed to race through but the final get-off brought home a DNF in the Main. Canard has dropped out of the Top 10 in the standings but a rebound effort can easily put him back into contention.
Finally, Davi Millsaps, a former MotoSport sponsored rider, is showing a resurgence as he led A2 for several laps before Dungey passed him. Then Reed. Then Roczen. Tomac too. Eventually, he finished seventh, which is where he sits in the standings, but his successful 2013 season is often overshadowed by the last two turbulent years. Millsaps finished second in Oakland three years ago behind Ryan Villopoto and hung in with the eventual Champion for much of the season. Leading the first four laps of the Main isn't easy especially with Dungey breathing down your neck.
So far, so good this year for Chad Reed
Others to watch include Jake Weimer who so far should be comeback rider of the year after his near career-ending crash last year with Canard. He's got two Top 10's this year, sits in ninth-place and just this week got a factory ride after RCH Suzuki tapped him to replace the injured Broc Tickle. Rookie Marvin Musquin is also showing more comfort on the big bikes with two straight ninth-place showings. And James Stewart? Still no word on when he'll return after the concussion sustained in Round 1. He's been cleared to race but he's keeping it safe making a decision during practice to hold out another week the last two rounds. Probably another race-day decision.
In the 250SX West class, it's all Webb so far. He's opened the season with three straight wins, has won eight of nine rounds dating back to last season and 10 straight podiums. If Dungey's lead is getting serious for the other riders in the 450 class, Webb's is critical. He's got an 18 point lead and just five rounds remain for him to wrap up back-to-back Championships.
It's not about catching Cooper Webb, it's keeping him from passing
Webb looks more like a machine then Dungey. He has yet to grab the holeshot and it doesn't seem to matter as whether he starts near the front or mid-pack he methodically works his way to the lead taking more than half the race to get there.
Last week, Webb and Christian Craig gave fans a battle to remember as Craig led for nine laps, banged bars and block passed with Webb before tightening up and ultimately falling to second and then third, for his first career podium. Zach Osborne took runner-up honors for his second podium of the year. Both have proven they can stay in the race, but keeping Webb at bay is proving a more difficult undertaking.
No word on Jessy Nelson, who finished second to start the season and crashed during practice the following week leaving him sidelined thus far. He was expected to give Webb the most competition this year but now in 13th place, 53 points behind the defending Champ, he hasn't a chance unless Webb has a similar fate. But like Dungey, Webb doesn't crash. Both are proving patience is a big key to winning.
Doors open to Round 4 at 12 p.m. with opening ceremonies starting at 6:30 p.m. and the Main event at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA. Buy tickets online or at the box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (72)
- Chad Reed (59)
- Jason Anderson (57)
- Cole Seely (55)
- Eli Tomac (54)
- Ken Roczen (51)
- Davi Millsaps (36)
- Justin Brayton (35)
- Jake Weimer (33)
- Marvin Musquin (31)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (75)
- Zach Osborne (57)
- Joey Savatgy (53)
- Jordon Smith (51)
- Jimmy DeCotis (47)
- Colt Nichols (43)
- Christian Craig (42)
- Kyle Peters (36)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (30)
- Kyle Cunningham (28)