GEICO Powersports Honda
24 – Brett Metcalfe: A new team, a new number, and a new outlook, Metty is my pre-season pick to take the title. His experience combined with his team should result in his first win and possibly a championship.
61 – Blake Wharton: Rookie Blake Wharton turned a lot of heads in last year’s AMA Motocross championship and will probably do the same indoors.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
377 – Christophe Pourcel: It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Frenchman race, so right now he’s a question mark. He knows how to win—he did it two years ago in Phoenix over a very fast Ryan Villopoto. He’ll have the equipment, but will he have the speed and endurance?
981 – Austin Stroupe: Austin showed he could win both indoors and out in 2008, so I can definitely see him up front all season long.
20 – Nico Izzi: Izzi fast? Yes he is. He finished third overall in last year’s Eastern Regional standings behind Canard and Villopoto, and neither of those riders will be on the line. Look for Izzi to be up front.
Division 7/Star Racing Yamaha
41 – Matt Lemoine: Look for the Star pilot to be in the top five.
159 – Darryn Durham: Houston will mark the first time he lines up with the big boys. Should be interesting to watch how last year’s co-AMA Horizon winner fares.
Canidae/Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki
74 – Branden Jesseman: The 2003 Eastern Regional Lites champion knows what it takes to bring a title home, but that was six years ago.