Like Chad Reed said in his MotoUSA interview this week, “Motocross is gnarly.” This Saturday at High Point will be no exception, with the weather once again threatening to make the racers lives difficult. Last week the heat took its toll on the riders will to race; this week rain is forecasted just in time for the first moto to go off the line. The racers will have to deal with ruts and slippery corners at the very least if the skies open up; worst case could see mud puddles and standing water. But High Point is a track that hold s a special place in any hardcore MXer’s heart, as it was founded by the late Dave Coombs Sr. Everyone will be going full tilt for a win in Mount Morris, muddy or not.
Last weekend Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey waxed everyone with a 1-1, proving that Hangtown was a fluke. The rookie SX champ has got the conditioning to go the distance, and I would put him up against any other rider in a test of endurance. What remains to be seen is if he can deal with wet and sloppy conditions if it dumps on Saturday. Some of his worst performances in this year’s Supercross Season came in the slop. Look for him railing in perfect conditions and struggling a bit in the rain.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Chad Reed is a happy racer right now, and happy racers tend to do well. He was satisfied with his second place in Freestone, and was looking forward to making some tweaks to his KX450F during the week. Mud races don’t seem to faze Two-Two, so either way the weather goes look for Reedy on the podium after both motos, possibly standing in between Dungey, Josh Grant or Andrew Short.
A missed first moto blew Andrew Short’s chances of a podium out of the water before the gate even dropped, but the red rider rode a decent second moto. The heat caused him to lock up towards the end, but he ran as high as third during the 35 minutes of tortuous heat. During the last few races of the Supercross Season Shorty was up on the podium, surprised to be there. He may just surprise the fans in Mount Morris, this weekend.
Josh Grant has had great first motos so far this season. Can he put together a decent result in Moto 2 to get on the podium at High Point?
Josh Grant is another rider that could be up on the box this weekend. He’s still getting back in the groove and has already cracked the top five in two of the four motos of 2010. His second moto has been a problem, but you’d better believe the JGR camp has got Number 33 working on his stamina toward the end of the day. If he get’s a good start, look out; he’ll ride his Yamaha into the ground to hold onto the lead. Sometimes it’s heart not talent or conditioning that gets a rider to the line first.
I know; you Mike Alessi fans are thinking I forgot about the mid-sized KTM rider. It’s a total roll of the dice with Number 800. He’s wicked fast on the 350, but tends to hit the dirt a little too often. Not to mention if the rain isn’t too bad the dirt will be heavy, and a 100cc disadvantage in deep loam may be too much for Alessi’s talent to make up for. Then again, if it’s muddy and sticky a lighter bike could be the ticket.
Brett Metcalfe, Davi Millsaps, Ben Townley, Kyle Regal, and Tommy Hahn are also riders you should keep an eye on, especially if they are near the front on the start. And don’t forget Justin Brayton is back in the mix this weekend. The Iowan is still sore from a practice crash before the Hangtown, but he has posted some good results riding injured before.
Dean Wilson’s second moto screw up cost him the overall in Texas. Expect him to gun for the trophy this weekend.
In the 250 Class, I’m calling this weekend for Dean Wilson. Wilson rode much better than some expected in Texas, and would had had the overall if not for a case of mental vapor lock right at the end of the second moto. There is no way that the Canadian kid is not going to be extra hungry for his first motocross overall this weekend. He’ll either win or lock up completely from the pressure.
Wilson’s teammate Jake Weimer did not have the best weekend at Freestone. In fact, he was the only Pro Circuit rider outside of the top five overall. This may be his race to bounce back; he can ride in the mud. As a champion he knows what he needs to do, and I’m sure Mitch Payton has told him. Weimer once told us that Payton gives 110%, and he expects the same out of his riders. I’m not saying Weimer didn’t give it his all in Texas, but he didn’t look like himself.
The rookie holeshot master, Eli Tomac wilted in the Texas humidity last weekend, but this weekend the temps are
forecasted to be cooler. It will be interesting to see if he can go toe-to-toe with Christophe Pourcel and the rest of the Pro Circuit team. I expect that the newb will get at least one holeshot and will be a solid pick for a podium finish.
Then, of course, there is the point leader Pourcel. While I am forecasting a win for Wilson, the super smooth Frenchman is not going to make it easy. “Superman’s” charge through the pack in the second moto at Freestone was awesome to watch. When Pourcel is out front it’s not as obvious how fast he is in comparison to when he has the throttle to the stop and making up time on the leaders. Maybe I should change my pick for the overall? Yep, Pourcel will win. No wait, Wilson will. Ok, the bike will probably be green.