The regular crop of riders in the 2015 Motocross World Championship series get some new competition this weekend for the final round held on Sunday at the Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, CA.
The newcomers have no claim on the Championship but how they finish could impact, better or worse, the final point totals for those who started the series in February. Romain Febvre wrapped up the premier MXGP class two rounds ago and swept last week in Mexico but the MX2 class is yet to be decided and is a close battle between Slovenia's Tim Gajser who holds an 18 point lead over Latvia's Pauls Jonass.
A number of Americans plan to take advantage of the competition since it's on their own turf and a track raced earlier this year in the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series but it won't be the star-studded affair many were hoping.
Eli Tomac won the 450 class at Glen Helen in Motocross in convincing fashion but his hard crash a week later ended his season. He's out. The dream of some to watch Ryan Villopoto take the MXGP Championship on his home turf fizzled long ago. He's retired now. Ryan Dungey who won the 450 class Motocross Championship is taking some much-needed rest. Justin Barcia is sitting this one out to prepare for the Motocross of Nations the following week in France and so is Jeremy Martin, the two-time 250 Class Motocross Champion. Ken Roczen of Germany, last year's 450 class Motocross Champion, had back surgery shortly after this season ended so he's out.
But Cooper Webb who won the 2015 Supercross 250 West Championship and rode in the 250 class for Motocross is jumping up to a 450 for the MXGP which should give him some much needed experience for the Motocross of Nations when he rides on the 450 for Team USA. Josh Grant is riding and so is Davi Millsaps, who did not compete in Motocross after a turbulent end to the 2015 Supercross season, but he found a new team and should be ready to go. Jason Anderson one of the fastest riders in Motocross this season, who finished sixth, is also riding.
The Frenchman Marvin Musquin who was just one mechanical failure away from a possible 250 Class Motocross Championship moves to the 450 class for Glen Helen though he'll ride the 250s for MXoN on Team France. Brett Metcalfe of Australia is also riding.
In the MX2 class, Americans Joey Savatgy, Chris Alldredge, Shane McElrath and Jessy Nelson join established MXGP rider Thomas Covington, who secured his first career overall win last week in Mexico with a (4-1) day. Covington is out of the Top 10 in the standings but could finish the year in the Top 10 with another strong performance on Sunday.
The big story revolves around Gajser and Jonass and their Championship battle could have been even tighter if not for two get-offs last week in Mexico from Jonass, one resembling Chad Reed's famous "Chadapault" at Millville in 2011, but Jonass battled back to grab needed points. He'll need more than a (1-1) though as Gajser could wrap up the title after the first race if he secures enough points.
In the MXGP class, Gautier Paulin of France is a near lock for second with a 23 point lead over Russian Evgeny Bobryshev. British rider Shaun Simpson, who impressed with a fourth-place at Unadilla last month, cannot catch third-place but should hold on to fourth with a 39 point lead over Max Nagl of Germany. Eight time MXGP Champion Antonio Cairoli of Italy is listed but he's been out for months with an injury.
Qualifying races start on Saturday with Race 1 and Race 2 on Sunday at Glen Helen Raceway. Buy tickets online.
2015 MXGP Season Standings
- Romain Febvre (688) - 2015 MXGP Champion
- Gautier Paulin (566)
- Evgeny Bobryshev (539)
- Shaun Simpson (481)
- Maximilian Nagl (442)
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (426)
- Antonio Cairoli (416)
- Glenn Coldenhoff (393)
- Todd Waters (344)
- Clement Desalle (331)
2015 MX2 Season Standings
- Tim Gajser (556)
- Pauls Jonass (538)
- Max Anstie (506)
- Valentin Guillod (475)
- Jeremy Seewer (467)
- Jeffrey Herlings (423)
- Julien Lieber (418)
- Jordi Tixier (393)
- Benoit Paturel (356)
- Petar Petrov (304)