The steep, sweeping hills, plus those gnarly jumps of Glen Helen should help settle the dust Eli Tomac left all other riders in last week for Round 1 of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series that resumes Saturday in Southern California.
Tomac blitzed the competition at Hangtown including the newly crowned Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey who finished runner-up in both Motos to Tomac. In the first Moto, Dungey rolled past the finish line 22 seconds after the checkers dropped and in Moto 2, well, Tomac was already showered and headed home by the time Dungey claimed second-place.
But the tough Glen Helen, a place Dungey won last year and where Tomac has never even raced before on the professional level could help determine if the brilliant riding by the current points leader can last longer than one round or if the clouds of inconsistency move in like it did for Supercross. Dungey is just six points back of Tomac and a sweep on Saturday, which is not out of the question, puts him in at least a tie in the standings. Tomac said he's practiced there before but knows it's always prepped different for race day.
Tomac and Dungey were the only riders to finish in the Top 3 for both Motos at Hangtown and could make this season a two-man race very quickly. Ken Roczen, the defending Champion, is dealing with a stress fracture in his spine which hindered him in Moto 1 but he came back for fifth-place in Moto 2. Regardless, he's got a painful road to repeat as Champion. Trey Canard, who broke his arm midway through the Supercross season remains out and not expected back until Budds Creek at the end of June or possibly RedBud in July.
But, a pack of riders can make things very interesting for the current title favorites including two rookies. Jason Anderson, who took third in his first Supercross race in the 450 class, repeated the effort last week for Motocross. Just a point behind him is fellow rookie Blake Baggett who took fifth overall at Hangtown and finished fifth in Supercross, just three points behind Chad Reed. Tied in points with Baggett is Weston Peick, who took third in Moto 2 but also struggles with crashes and inconsistency. If he stays upright, Peick can threaten for the podium every week.
Don't forget rookie Cole Seely, who finished third in Supercross, but would rather forget his first race on the 450s for Motocross when his day ended shortly after the gates dropped in Moto 1. A crash gave him a bruised leg and banged his head up pretty good but he'll be on-board for Glen Helen.
Fredrik Noren looking for more Top 10 finishes at Glen Helen
MotoSport rider Fredrik Noren took 10th place twice at Hangtown for ninth overall. The 2010 Swedish National Champion caught fire midway through last year's campaign and can use that experience, plus his overseas resume, to work his way upfront and battle in the Top 5. Veteran Tommy Hahn grabbed 13th in Moto 1 but 16th for Moto 2 giving him 16th overall.
Tommy Hahn can fight for the Top 10 at Glen Helen
In the 250 class, don't get your eyesight checked because you're seeing double. Defending Champion Jeremy Martin grabbed the overall at Hangtown thanks to his first-place Moto 2 but he's tied in points with the reigning 250 East Class Supercross Champion, so both riders don the red plate.
The 250 class could prove to be the most exciting racing of the season with two champions brawling it out, a third in Cooper Webb, who is the reigning 250 West Supercross Champion, if he's not too badly hurt from a collision in Moto 2 on Saturday. He took third for Moto 1 but did not finish Moto 2 and looked to be in serious pain off the track. No word on his availability for Glen Helen.
Speaking of third, rookie Chris Alldredge went (5-3) and grabbed third overall which no one really expected but he took sixth-place overall at the final round last year in Utah which was just his third round of that season. His first round, just two weeks prior at Unadilla, he took eighth overall. Outdoors clearly suits him and a podium contender he is.
Don't forget Adam Cianciarulo. He lost a chance to compete for a Supercross title this year after a hard crash in December at the Geneva Supercross which required shoulder surgery. When healthy he's a heavy favorite and since he'd never raced Hangtown before his (9-11) day for eighth overall is quite respectable and he'll only get stronger from here. Remember he led the 250 East class in Supercross last year through Round 5 until an injury sidelined him for the 2014 season.
Kyle Peters won't run out of gas in Glen Helen
In the MotoSport class, Kyle Peters, who competed for a Top 5 finish in the 250 East class for Supercross, took 15th in Moto 1 but didn't finish in Moto 2 because of a rookie mechanic's mistake and he ran out of gas midway through. Team manager Guy Cooper was none too happy about that. Cooper said veteran mechanic Gregg Albertson, Jimmy Albertson's brother, is now wrenching for Peters.
Gates drop for Motocross Round 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday at Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, CA. Buy tickets online or see the TV schedule.
2015 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Eli Tomac (50)
- Ryan Dungey (44)
- Jason Anderson (34)
- Weston Peick (33)
- Blake Baggett (33)
- Broc Tickle (28)
- Brett Metcalfe (26)
- Christophe Pourcel (25)
- Fredrik Noren (22) - MotoSport rider
- Phil Nicoletti (19)
250 Class Standings
- Jeremy Martin (47)
- Marvin Musquin (47)
- Chris Alldredge (36)
- Alex Martin (33)
- Anthony Rodriguez (29)
- Aaron Plessinger (24)
- Joey Savatgy (24)
- Adam Cianciarulo (22)
- Matt Bisceglia (20)
- Cooper Webb (20)