Did you know Motocross starts on Saturday?
Yes, Motocross. Twelve rounds of glorious bar-banging racing on the most pristine tracks in the nation. It all starts at the Hangtown Classic just outside of Sacramento, CA this weekend.
So who is going to win?
Not just Round 1 but the 2015 Motocross crown?
For sure it won't be Ryan Villopoto. He quashed those crazy rumors of several weeks ago about making an appearance here quite abruptly. Besides he's hurt and he races somewhere else now. James Stewart doesn't have a chance either thanks to the FIM.
So, coming into Saturday's contest is the on-fire, recently crowned 2015 Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey. He last won a Motocross Championship in 2012 and in 2010 he grabbed both Supercross and Motocross titles. It's been five years since he took two crowns together so can he bring a third Motocross Championship home to compliment his recently won Supercross Championship? Winning both titles in the same year, again, could start inching "The Diesel" towards one of the all-time-greats status. Notice the word inching, he still has some racing to do but certainly 2015 is shaping up to be the year of the Dunge.
Ryan Dungey brings a dominating 2015 Supercross Championship into Motocross
In Dungey's way is Ken Roczen who surely wants to defend his 2014 title especially since his hopes to win the 2015 Supercross Championship ended early after he tweaked his ankle. Word floated around in the closing weeks of Supercross that Roczen might attempt to race the final few rounds but ultimately he dropped the hammer on the year to be 100 percent for Outdoors. If he's ready the season is already shaping up to be electric.
Trey Canard finished third last year behind Dungey and won four of the final five rounds in Motocross. He was holding on to second this year in Supercross, behind Dungey, when a gnarly crash ended his season in Detroit. One seriously broken arm later and Canard hasn't even started riding yet so he won't be lining up at the gates in Sacramento. With the caliber of racers in this year's field, he can't miss much time if he wants to win his first MX Championship in the 450 class.
Expect a lot of this type of racing between Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey this year
Eli Tomac is healthy and that should scare everyone else. Tomac finish second to Dungey in this year's Supercross chase and last year he missed the first four rounds of Motocross because of injury but went on a tear once in competition starting with a third-place showing at the Tennessee National. He finished only lower than fourth-place once and swept Spring Creek. He ended the year in fifth place despite missing eight Motos and if you match his scores with those above him for just the rounds he raced, he finishes with 319 points, 100 more than Brett Metcalf in fourth and one more than Canard for third.
Oh, don't count out Chad Reed. The 33 year old veteran surprised a number of people with his fourth-place showing in Supercross that included a win in Atlanta. He also finished in the Top 10 for every round except at Indy, a disqualification at A2 and when he sat out East Rutherford because of back issues sustained in early 2014 when a crash ended that Supercross season early and until then he was making a serious run at the title.
Reed hasn't won a Motocross title since 2009 and if he can stay healthy there's no reason to exclude him from the title hunt.
Blake Baggett should be a serious title contender
There's also a crop of rookies this year that made Supercross very interesting. Cole Seely took third for the Supercross year and finished eighth last year in Outdoors on the 250. Blake Baggett, the 2012 Champion in the 250 class, almost caught Reed for fourth place in his first year on the 450 in Supercross and last year took second behind Jeremy Martin in the 250 class for Motocross. Finally, Jason Anderson took seventh in Supercross and seventh last year in Motocross despite six no point Motos.
In the MotoSport class, the talk of Nick Wey extending his possible farewell tour was just that as he won't race in Outdoors. But don't be surprised if he takes in a few rounds like last year at RedBud and Budds Creeks.
Fredrik Noren, the 2010 Swedish National Champion who raced the first six rounds of Supercross this year before focusing on testing with Honda stays under the MotoSport/GPI/Honda Racing team for Motocross in the 450 class. Noren finished 10th last year in Motocross riding for the Factory Honda Outdoors team with Canard. Joining him is veteran Tommy Hahn who finished 11th in the 250 West class of Supercross this year and is moving to the 450 class for Motocross.
Spoilers who could contend week in and week out for the podium include Christophe Pourcel from France who is teammates with Anderson and won the 2006 Motocross World Championship in the MX2 class beating Antonio Cairoli. Wil Hahn returns from an injury sustained in Supercross and Josh Grant, who won the opening Moto last year, is riding alongside Reed on the TwoTwo Motosports team.
Marvin Musquin could give Jeremy Martin some trouble in his Motocross title defense
In the 250 class, Jeremy Martin is ready to defend his title but he'll have some strong competition in Cooper Webb who finished in third last year, two points behind Baggett. Webb brings a load of confidence into the season thanks to his dominating Supercross 250 West class win a month ago. Marvin Musquin, who finished fourth last year is also coming off a dominating Supercross 250 East class Championship win.
On the MotoSport/GPI/Honda Racing team, Kyle Peters could be a dark horse as he finished seventh this season in the 250 East class for Supercross. Peters finished 20th last year in the Motocross 250 class with a season best 14th place at High Point so he's got the experience to push him through a full season. Teammate Colt Nichols sustained an ACL injury in practice during the St. Louis Supercross round and is out for most if not all of Motocross.
Others who can compete for the 250 class podium include the newly healed Adam Cianciarulo, Joey Savatgy and Supercross Rookie of the Year Aaron Plessinger. Justin Bogle, who took fifth last year, and was unable to defend his Supercross title this year, should have more than enough motivation to compete for wins and the Championship.
Gates drop for Round 1 of the 2015 Motocross season on Saturday at Hangtown MX, 13300 White Rock Road in Rancho Cordova, CA. Check out the full schedule and buy tickets online. MAV TV airs the first Motos live and NBCSN airs the second Motos live.
2014 Motocross Final Season Standings
450 Class Final Standings
- Ken Roczen (532)
- Ryan Dungey (518)
- Trey Canard (468)
- Brett Metcalfe (334)
- Eli Tomac (319)
- Andrew Short (302)
- Weston Peick (290)
- Josh Grant (259)
- James Stewart (226)
- Fredrik Noren (207)
250 Class Final Standings
- Jeremy Martin (500)
- Blake Baggett (421)
- Cooper Webb (419)
- Marvin Musquin (408)
- Justin Bogle (368)
- Christophe Pourcel (355)
- Jason Anderson (276)
- Cole Seely (260)
- Jessy Nelson (252)
- Dean Wilson (230)