Betting that Ryan Dungey won't add Detroit to his win resume in the 450 class on Saturday isn't necessarily a bad idea. He's got one win in the past four starts including a season worst third-place last week in Toronto.
Just don't bet his all-time record for consecutive trips (26) to the podium ends at Ford Field this weekend for Round 11 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season.
After winning four of the first six starts Dungey now appears focused on the end prize. He's never backed-up a Championship before and with a 34 point lead over Ken Roczen with seven rounds remaining it looks like the defending Champ is implementing what he does best - consistency.
In fact he got beat straight-up in three of the last four rounds and if not for a final lap glitch involving James Stewart and Marvin Musquin in Atlanta, Dungey would be riding a four round winless streak. Don't misunderstand, he's not dialing back his intensity. In Toronto he lost second-place after racing too hard trying to catch Roczen. The rare miscue didn't drop him off the podium though allowing him to break Chad Reed's record podium streak.
But, the lack of first-place finishes doesn't mean he's not winning. He's posted the most points of any rider since Round 7. Quite a bit more, actually. Dungey has 89 points to Roczen's 81. Marvin Musquin has 79 and no one else is even remotely close after that.
There's hope for the rest though. First off, he's beatable. Next, his lead after 10 rounds last year was 40 and when Trey Canard went down in Detroit, then Round 12, it all but assured Dungey the 2015 Championship. It's a bit closer this time around and last year momentum was in Dungey's favor having won three of the prior four rounds. Finally, he's got stiffer competition this year.
Eli Tomac is in the mix and could get into third-place after this weekend
Eli Tomac won Detroit in 2015, won two weeks ago and looked to be headed for a second-straight win in Toronto until Roczen passed him and ultimately he faded. He's also one solid race away from stepping into third-place in the standings. He might not be in the running for the Championship at 63 points out but all this talk about a disappointing season for someone who had double shoulder surgery last summer is a bit, well, melodramatic don't ya think?
Roczen destroys the field when he gets out front.
The low flying Ken Roczen
Musquin has three straight podiums including two second-place finishes and that near victory in Atlanta. Definitely bet on at least one win this season for the eventual Rookie of the Year. Canard just might exorcise his demons on Saturday as well by staying as far away from Jake Weimer as possible so getting the lead and keeping the lead is the best way to do just that.
All this to say Dungey winning is no longer a slam dunk as it was in the beginning of the season. But if he gets out front then open your wallet. If you made that bet.
Now if you want to discuss disappointing season then put Tomac in your review and figure out what's wrong with Jason Anderson. He blazed to a season-opening win, is under the tutelage of The Baker, who is helping to cook Dungey and Musquin, and Anderson just came off his worst finish of the season in ninth, granted he got fouled up in Justin Bogle's pile-up. He's only been on the podium twice this year compared to Musquin's four in his first year in the 450 class. Imagine where Musquin would be if he hadn't started the season coming off wrist surgery.
Right now, the third-place spot on the Championship podium is up for grabs between four riders and that race probably grabs the focus in the remaining rounds if Dungey continues to podium and put the title out of reach. A few more wins by Roczen and he'll atleast nail down second-place.
Elsewhere, James Stewart remains out after his get-off in Daytona left him with deep bruising in his lower back. He's now expected back at Santa Clara. Tommy Hahn settled for a DNF after the Bogle induced first-turn pile-up and a resulting foot injury keeps him out for another few rounds.
Josh Grant, who came off the couch to take seventh at Daytona and was thought to be attending Toronto but didn't make the trip, is indeed lining up for Detroit and we'll see him for the rest of the year. Chad Reed didn't make it past the first turn in Toronto when he fell at the start but he looks to rebound on Saturday.
Justin Hill enters Detroit with a win and confidence he can win again
The 250SX East class got up-ended in Toronto when points leader Martin Davalos didn't travel to Canada because of passport issues and he not only lost the red plate but dropped to fourth-place, 20 points behind Jeremy Martin. Justin Hill cruised to his first win of the season thanks in part to a first-turn pile-up that took out Martin, Malcolm Stewart, and a few others. Martin and Stewart entered the round in second and third-place, respectively.
After the crash, both re-mounted and saved their season as Martin somehow finished second and Stewart, despite entering the pits twice because his bike was busted up, took sixth. Martin now leads the field, by just two over Hill, and Stewart held on to third-place in the standings, 10 points ahead of Davalos and Aaron Plessinger.
A crash couldn't keep Jeremy Martin off the podium last week, he holds the red plate entering Detroit
Last year, Martin started the season exactly the same as this year 4-1-2. In Round 4, he took third, crashed in in Round 5 and by then Musquin was on his way to winning the 250SX East title. But this year seems different. The two-time defending 250 class Motocross Champion looks more at home on Supercross tracks and his comeback through the field in Toronto was reminiscent of what he seemed to do every other week last summer in Outdoors when he won the title.
But Davalos is back and the opening round winner has his work cut out for him if he's to get back on top. So far, Stewart has been mostly consistent, something that's plagued him in recent years and Hill now has a confidence boosting win. Like this year's 250SX West class, when a malfunction in Round 4 ended Cooper Webb's reign at the top then he grabbed it back a few rounds later, the most exciting racing is yet to come.
The 250SX East class gets a three week break after Detroit and returns April 9 in Indianapolis, IN.
Practice for Supercross Round 11 starts at 12 p.m. (EST) with Opening Ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. (EST) and the gates for the Main drop at 7 p.m. (EST) Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. Buy tickets online or at the box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (233)
- Ken Roczen (199)
- Jason Anderson (175)
- Eli Tomac (170)
- Cole Seely (163)
- Marvin Musquin (156)
- Chad Reed (142)
- Justin Brayton (125)
- Davi Millsaps (105)
- Jake Weimer (92)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Jeremy Martin (65)
- Justin Hill (63)
- Malcolm Stewart (55)
- Martin Davalos (45)
- Aaron Plessinger (45)
- Tyler Bowers (35)
- Matt Bisceglia (32)
- Benny Bloss (32)
- Alex Frye, Huntingtown (31)
- Jesse Wentland (30)