First off, Chad Reed is back! Well, maybe. Probably. The Monster Energy Kawasaki racer is ready to mix it up, and is anxious to return to the podium in Houston. However, there is one on small issue; let’s call it a baby-sized issue that could stop the two-time champ from lining up with the boys. Reed and his wife, Ellie are expecting their first child any day now, and if Baby Reed decides it’s time to make an appearance, Papa Reed is out.
Another rider returning to competition after being on the mend is Honda’s Andrew Short. Short has been out since snapping his leg in San Diego back in February. While he was on the bench, Trey Canard filled in for the busted rider, grabbing five podiums in six races. The Number-29 rider just threw his leg over his CRF450R only a week ago and rode his first laps of a SX track three days later. We don’t expect that the Red Bull racer will podium right out of the gate, but then again, this season has been full of surprises.
Ryan Villopoto raced through the pain, and gained 3 points on Dungey. Can he keep the momentum after a weekend off?
Ryan Villopoto was happier than most to have last weekend off. The Kawasaki racer chipped a bone in his left big toe when he bailed off the backside of a berm in Jacksonville. I still get grossed out by the photo of his black-and-blue foot he sent us the following Sunday morning. Most mortals would be lucky to be walking with an injury like that, but RV went back out and won his heat and the main with his nasty toe. Word on the street is he is ready for Houston although still a bit sore. In Jacksonville he proved how bad he wants this championship, but the points deficit may be too much for him to make up.
Leading the championship by 21 points, Dungey has a sizeable lead, but one bad race could see it evaporate. Riding smart and staying out of trouble for the next five races should be enough to earn the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider his first Supercross class championship. He still has to be careful not to ride too cautiously, giving away valuable points to Villopoto. Will the Number-5 rider play it safe or bang bars with RV for the win at every remaining round? From what we know of Dungey, we expect the latter.
East Coast Lites
Dean Wilson is back and eager to put his Pro Circuit Kawasaki out in front after missing two rounds due his troubles in Canada.
After being held in the great white north of Canada for three weeks, Dean Wilson is back in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. The Kawasaki racer headed straight to the Pro-Circuit race shop upon his return. Wilson didn’t get any riding in while stranded in Toronto, but he is itching to pull some more holeshots and get back up on the box. Wilson now sits back in seventh place in the points after missing two races.
Wilson’s teammate Christophe Pourcel leads the East Coast Lites Championship by just eight points over Suzuki’s Austin Stroupe. With just two races left in the series, it’s time for Stroupe to bag his first win if he wants to be running the 1E number plate in Vegas. So far this season Stroupe has ridden consistently, but hasn’t able to make it all the way to the top rung. In Jacksonville it looked like it might have been his night, but a bobble trying to get around Brett Metcalfe cost him the win. If Kawasaki’s Pourcel wins again in Houston, barring a catastrophe for the Pro-Circuit rider, Stroupe will have to settle for second in the championship.
There are quite a few racers who are looking to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into Pourcel’s plans of a second championship. The “Wild Child,” Justin Barcia, could win another main event, or he could knock the points leader down trying to win. Barcia’s GEICO Powersports Honda teammate Metcalfe led the opening stages of the main event two weeks ago and could also get between Pourcel and Stroupe. Ryan Sipes, Blake Baggett, and Wilson could also spell trouble for the defending champ.