The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship is back in action this Saturday after a three-week hiatus to the 41st year of racing at the ‘Dilla. With track features like the “Gravity Cavity,” "Skyshot,” and the “Wall,” Unadilla is one of the most unique tracks on the circuit. Not only is the greatest show in dirt back in action, but one of the fastest racers to ever throw a leg over a motocross bike is rejoining the ranks of the 450 class. That’s right, James Stewart is finally returning to competition after being on the disabled list for seven months. This Saturday we will see if Dungey’s winning ways are because of the absence of the fastest racer in the world. We will also see if Trey Canard can continue to make up ground on Christophe Pourcel.
Bubba is back! The big question is if he will be able to give Dungey a run for his money right out of the gate.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve been caught in the middle of several heated discussions about whether or not Stewart is going to return and wax Dungey. Almost everyone thinks that is going to be the case. Stewart is without a doubt the fastest man to ever ride a MX bike, but he’s been out of competition for seven months and has to be a little rusty. Stewart is going to wreck shop in practice, but 35 minutes of moto is a different thing entirely. For sure JS7 is going be on the podium, but don’t expect him to be on the top step just yet.
With seven overall wins this season Ryan Dungey has a commanding points lead and could basically cruise through the rest of the season to take the crown, but we all know RD5 ain’t going out like that. Look for the current SX champ to prove that his impending MX championship is because he’s the fastest and hardest working rider on the line week in and week out; not because Stewart was hurt and Chad Reed has Epstein Barr. If you’re part of the MotoUSA Fantasy Motocross League
, Dungey is still the sure thing for your A-rider.
If Shorty can keep grabbing the holeshot there is a chance we'll see him win an overall before the seaon is out.
So that’s two of the three expected podium riders, but who could be the third. After his first lap crash at Washougal, Ben Townley claimed that Unadilla is his. His results had been steadily improving before hitting the dirt hard at the last round. If BT101 can keep it rubber-side down he might make another trip to the box to pop the celebratory champagne. Andrew Short is another podium regular as of late thanks in part to his holeshot skills. If Dungey gets a bad start, Short could win a moto this season.
In the 250 class, Trey Canard is on a roll and closing in on Pro Circuit’s Christophe Pourcel and his points lead. The GEICO Powersports rider has finally found his flow on his Honda, but it might be too late for him to gain enough for the championship. Sitting 38 points back with four rounds to go, Ice-Trey needs to continue his winning streak and hope that Pourcel has problems.
While it’s Canard’s championship to win, it’s Pourcel’s to lose. The crafty Frenchman just needs to stay on the podium for the last four rounds in order to take home the red Number 1 plate. Before Washougal it was thought that the Pro Circuit rider was perhaps a little unmotivated to lay it all on the line, and was gong to play the numbers game for the rest of the
Pourcel is eight motos away from a championship, but Canard is charging hard to shrink his 38-point lead.
season. He proved that motivation was not a problem as he raced the second moto without a clutch, keeping everyone but Canard in the rearview. It’s going to get interesting in these last four rounds, and I’m looking forward to a close race between the 377-Kawasaki and 38-Honda this weekend.
What about the other guys on the two powerhouse small-bore teams? The Pro Circuit squad looks to have the edge on the GEICO boys. Dean Wilson and Tyla Rattray are always in contention for a moto win. Justin Barcia and Blake Wharton on the other hand have laid down some killer rides, but have been inconsistent in their results. This weekend I think we’ll see a lone Honda being chased by a pack of green machines, and the rest of the GEICO squad not being much of a factor.
The temps this weekend are going to be on the cooler side for a change, and we could see some of the less fit riders push a bit harder. This could help shake up the points and add some fresh faces in the mix. Stay turned to MotoUSA for the all the racing action from the ‘Dilla!