Rested riders return to action for Round 12 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season on Saturday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
The 450 class got its only break in the series last week for Easter Weekend and finishes the 2016 series with six straight rounds. The 250SX West class returns after a six week hiatus but takes another month off once the checkers wave on Saturday before wrapping up their season along with everyone else at Las Vegas in May.
This is the second year at the new stadium built for the San Francisco 49ers which, for many fans in the Pacific Northwest, stole the round in Seattle. But we hear Supercross indeed might return to the Emerald City in 2017 though Eugene, OR boasts a pretty favorable venue that could host an annual round. Just in case the scheduler is reading.
A pretty long start highlights the track though certainly not as long as some of the other rounds like Detroit and Atlanta, and a gnarly whoops section should help make it a fun night. Check out the track map:
Ryan Dungey is the defending winner at Santa Clara and he had already wrapped up the 2015 Championship by the time the series held the inaugural round at Levi's Stadium last year. But this year, he's probably coming in a little ticked off since he got a win taken (stolen?) from him because of a Red Cross flag controversy. Though a lot of pundits commented on his loss of revenue (certainly Dungey's bank account is plenty full) perhaps of more value when all is said and done is the win.
It's not easy getting wins in Supercross, though Dungey makes it look easy sometimes, so when he hangs up his boots, you have to wonder if he'll look at his final win count and think, "It should be this many wins." Then again, maybe this win-strip propels him to six straight victories. He doesn't need to take the checkers anymore this season, with a 39 point lead, taking third-place (or even fourth-place) the rest of the way guarantees him back-to-back titles with Ken Roczen winning out.
Marvin Musquin (L) and Ryan Dungey have finished successively in the last four rounds.
Speaking of Roczen, if he wants a chance at turning the Las Vegas round into a Championship winning bout he not only needs to win out but for Dungey to have a really bad round. Like a 1 point round. At least a single-digit round. Something. Something that allows Roczen to really carve into Dungey's lead.
Third in line for the Championship hunt is last round's de facto winner, Jason Anderson. Dungey's two-spot penalty gave Anderson his second win of the season and moved him to within 14 points of Roczen. He's still 53 points out from first and for him to win the Championship requires a miracle. His best hope is catching Roczen to take second-place in just his second year in the 450 class.
Ken Roczen's Championship hopes fading fast.
Finishing in the Top 5 for the year might offer the best racing of the season since four riders have a legit chance to grab the fourth and fifth-spots. And, if Anderson encounters a few rocky rounds add him to the list as his third-place spot goes up-for-grabs. Eli Tomac is currently in fourth just 14 points behind Anderson and six ahead of the surging Marvin Musquin, who has four straight podiums. Musquin is the likely Rookie of the Year and is on a mid-year tear that rivals his training partner Dungey.
In the last four rounds Musquin grabbed 86 points while Dungey took 87 and if luck swung the other way, Musquin would have two wins and be tied in points with Tomac. Just behind Musquin is the fading Cole Seely who has three podiums on the year but finished in 10th twice along with an 11th place finish in the last four rounds. Seely had a run-in with Anderson at Atlanta and some post-race comments indicated must-see TV was on the way but Seely has battled the ground more than Anderson since that Round 8.
Chad Reed remains in the mix and got back into it after placing fourth in Detroit. He's fallen from second-place after Round 3 to seventh thanks to a get-off at the start in Toronto which led to a DNF and rough outings at Arlington and Daytona got him across the finish line in 12th for those rounds and just nine points each.
Trey Canard's moderate mid-season consistency put him into the Top 10 after he effectively missed three rounds from injury earlier this year. Former MotoSport sponsored rider Davi Millsaps missed the last two rounds because of an injury at Daytona so if he's still out for Saturday Canard should make up the two point deficit and climb into ninth-place in the standings.
Finally, all is quiet on the James Stewart front though he posted a video online of him riding. He is expected back for Santa Clara after that deep bruise suffered at Daytona but unless he's fully healed, don't count on it.
Winning the final two rounds guarantees Cooper Webb repeats as 250SX West Champion.
The 250SX West class might crown a Champion if Cooper Webb wins and Joey Savatgy has a bad day. Barring that and thanks to the mechanical failure in Oakland that netted Webb just a point it's likely he'll battle to repeat in Las Vegas. Webb won the Santa Clara round last year a week after securing the 250 West title.
Savatgy salvaged his season after a crash at Arlington left him in last place on Lap 2 and he raced back to finish 10th. The crash ignited controversy and placed blame on Christian Craig for switching lines in the whoops. Regardless, the formerly retired rider went on to finish second and move to within five points of Savatgy. Craig has five straight podiums including his first career win and still has a shot at the Championship though he'll need as much help as Anderson needs to win the 450 title.
Expect more bar-banging battles between Joey Savatgy (L) and Christian Craig.
Holding on in fourth-place is the consistent Colt Nichols who has a podium and five Top 5 finishes this year. The former MotoSport rider is having a break-out year fully returning from a torn ACL he suffered prior to the night show last year in St. Louis where he finished 16th despite the injury. He's just 12 points back from Craig but also needs to hold off Zach Osborne who is in fifth, just seven points out from fourth.
Doors open at 12 p.m. (PST), opening ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m. and the Gates drop for the Main at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Buy tickets online or at the box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (253)
- Ken Roczen (214)
- Jason Anderson (200)
- Eli Tomac (186)
- Marvin Musquin (178)
- Cole Seely (173)
- Chad Reed (160)
- Justin Brayton (128)
- Davi Millsaps (105)
- Trey Canard (104)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (145)
- Joey Savatgy (134)
- Christian Craig (129)
- Colt Nichols (117)
- Zach Osborne (110)
- Jimmy DeCotis (99)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (97)
- Kyle Peters (87)
- Kyle Cunningham (69)
- Jordon Smith (63)
Written By: AndrewT