Three weeks away from the gate drop at Anaheim 1 on January 9, 2016 for the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season which starts the year for 250SX West class.
Last year, Cooper Webb finished seventh in Round 1 but destroyed the field the rest of the way for the West title. If his offseason is any indicator, he's going to be tough to beat as he goes for a second straight Championship.
The 250SX East class gets some additional training time as their season doesn't start until February 20 in Dallas. Defending Champion Marvin Musquin is now in the 450 class so that leaves the door open for Jeremy Martin to grab a Supercross title before he goes for the three-peat in Motocross and moves on to the big bikes.
Both coasts in the 250 class look stacked and show the future is bright for Supercross. Every one of these riders looks forward to the day they can compete in the premier class but until then the action is just as exciting and the competition just as fierce.
Some riders have declared which Coast they're campaigning in others wait until the week before. Everyone is testing right now so let's see how they match up.
#1w Cooper Webb - Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
Cooper Webb proved a mediocre Round 1 result doesn't prevent a Championship. After a seventh-place to start the 250SX West series last year, Webb went on to decimate the field winning six of the next seven rounds en route to a dominating Championship season. No one doubts had he not got hurt in Round 1 of Motocross this year he might very well be entering the 2016 racing season with two Championships. He's got one more year on the small bikes so look for him to defend that title. With all the offseason success overseas, wish the rest of the field luck in trying to catch him. No word yet on what class but look for him to defend that West Coast Championship.
#6 Jeremy Martin - Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
The two-time Motocross Champion should enter the 2015 Supercross season brimming with confidence. Though his success in Outdoors hasn't crossed over to Indoors it's not like he's barely making the Top 10. Last year he finished no lower than fourth with a win and four Top 3s. He missed Indianapolis because of injury but even a win there wouldn't have put him in second or anywhere near 250SX East Champion Marvin Musquin. But Musquin and runner-up Justin Bogle have split for the 450 class in 2016 practically handing the reigns over to Martin. Don't expect him to compete in the same close as his teammate...
#26 Alex Martin - Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
Alex Martin is on a new team joining his brother Jeremy and Webb. He's surrounded by talent and brings a fair amount of it himself to the track. He finished in sixth-place last year in the 250SX West class but just seven points from taking third for the season. That rough outing in Phoenix was the difference.
#23 Aaron Plessinger - Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
Aaron Plessinger might just give Webb the most difficulty in repeating as Champion assuming the teammate rides in the same class. Plessinger took fifth last year, just 12 points from a second-place finish which he was very close to getting. Four Top 5 finishes couldn't make up for bad outings at A2 and San Diego but were more than enough for Rookie of the Year honors, an award he also brought home for the 2015 Motocross season.
#31 RJ Hampshire - Geico Honda
RJ Hampshire finished fifth in the 250SX East class for 2015 with 100 points thanks to some relatively consistent riding. He missed just one round and took third at Indianapolis. He followed that up in Motocross with another solid season finishing 10th and coming on strong for the final five Motos ending the season on a fourth place high. What Coast he rides this year is still unknown but don't be surprised to see him back in the East to give him more time after that possibly career-altering crash at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm.
#50 Malcolm Stewart - Geico Honda
Malcolm Stewart seems ripe for a breakout season but he's got to eliminate the point valleys to make a run at the Championship. Last year in the 250SX West class, Stewart grabbed first, second, third and fourth place finishes. The other three rounds were single digit point totals including just one point twice. A consistent season in 2015 would have put him runner-up to the 250SX West Champion Cooper Webb. Instead...
#30 Shane McElrath - Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM
Shane McElrath brought it home the final three rounds in for the 250SX West class in 2015 and took second-place on the season just seven points ahead of Zach Osborne. McElrath finished second at San Diego and Houston which helped cement his Top 3 finish. No word yet on which Coast he'll race.
#13 Jessy Nelson - Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM
Jessy Nelson won A1 last year and was in second place at the end of Round 6 until injury sidelined him for the season. He turned in a solid Motocross season, finishing fifth with four podiums, and there's no reason to believe he can't compete for a Championship. No word yet on which Coast he'll race.
#44 Adam Cianciarulo - Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Three weeks out and no news on Adam Cianciarulo. Like Trey Canard in the 450 class, no news is good news which means Cianciarulo isn't hurt and has a chance to show what he can do. He missed the last six rounds of Motocross though did exit on a high note taking second in Moto 2 at Budds Creek. But he hasn't raced in Supercross since 2014 a season he led by 17 points through Round 5 before popping his shoulder out in practice before Round 6 and he never returned.
#53 Tyler Bowers - Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
The four time Arenacross Champion is sticking with Supercross after a ninth place finish in the 250SX West class. Two compressed discs and the displacement of the L5 vertebrae left him in excruciating pain or without feeling ended the 2015 season after Round 6. But prior to pulling out of the series Bowers stepped on the podium three times and had five Top 4 finishes. Despite just one point in the Houston Round and a DNS in the final round Bowers was 20 points from a second-place finish and 10 points from the Top 5.
#37 Joey Savatgy - Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Joey Savatgy had one bad round last year which cost him from finishing on the Championship podium but he did secure third-place in Motocross thanks to his first overall at Unadilla. He's definitely in the mix, has the talent and speed and could take the 250SX East class, if that's where he rides, rather handedly.
#16 Zach Osborne - Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Zach Osborne held on to second-place entering the final round of the 250SX West class but a rough outing in the final round at Santa Clara dropped him to third, just a point in front of fourth-place. He started the Motocross season with a one point Moto but the season went up from there with six Top 3 finishes to land a fourth-place overall.
Who is going to surprise this year? Not just a Top 10 finish but a real charge for the Championship. Every year it seems at least one underrated rider comes out of the woodwork or another, finally healthy, or on a solid team with support gets that fire in their eyes and fights for the podium each week. Look out for these riders:
- #38 Christian Craig - Geico Honda
- #66 Arnaud Tonus - Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
- #35 Chris Alldredge - Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Read about the 450 class - Looking Forward: The 2016 Supercross Season