Photo: Garth Milan
The Red Bull Straight Rhythm is back and so is James Stewart.
Last year's inaugural Straight Rhythm proved so successful the second annual event was announced five months ago and it looks like Red Bull can now claim ownership to a highly anticipated yearly competition that brings the best and fastest riders from Motocross.
The 2015 Straight Rhythm is Saturday at Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The dirt track is built on the existing horse track with grandstands set up along the length of it for fans. Forecast calls for a not-so balmy 97 degree day, similar to last year which didn't keep more than 10,000 fans from attending.
The Straight Rhythm features head-to-head style racing in a best-of-three format on an "unwound" 2,500 foot long track constructed with 10,000 cubic yards of dirt that eliminates cornering but keeps the whoops and jumps. In fact, this year's course includes 74 jumps, table tops, 400 feet of whoops, speed checks and a 10 foot high finish line jump. Also new is an elevated start.
Two classes compete: The Open which is any size engine bigger than 250cc and the Lites Class for the 250cc engines.
On the list of participants to this year's Straight Rhythm for the Open Class: 2015 Supercross and Motocross Champion Ryan Dungey, 2014 Motocross Champion Ken Roczen, 2015 250 SX East Champion Marvin Musquin, Dean Wilson, Justin Brayton, Andrew Short, Vince Friese, Kyle Chisholm, Thomas Ramette, Kyle Partridge, Josh Hansen, Mike Alessi, Ivan Tedesco, Brett Metcalfe, Nick Wey and James Stewart.
Stewart returns to racing for the first time since his 16 month suspension for a failed drug test taken at the 2014 Seattle Supercross. He unsuccessfully appealed the decision in December. Stewart is the defending Straight Rhythm Champion sweeping every competitor last year. Musquin, who also went undefeated last year, is the defending Champion in the Lites class but is moving to the Open class this year.
Dungey participated in the "test" two years ago but was unable to participate in 2014. Roczen is also new to the Straight Rhythm and so is Alessi. Fan favorite Travis Pastrana who rode a 500cc 2-stroke bike last year is not returning because of his obligations with the Nitro Circus tour.
The Lites class includes: Jessy Nelson, Shane McElrath, Justin Hill, Matt Biscelgia, RJ Hampshire, Malcolm Stewart, Kyle Regal, Jordan Smith, Brandon Scharer and Michael Leib. All riders were invited except Scharer and Leib who qualified last week at Pala Raceway. However, a timed qualifying event on Friday eliminates two riders from Saturday's competition.
Racing starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., in Pomona, CA. Seating is first come, first serve and gates open at 11 a.m.