Ryan Dungey finally scored the first 250 class moto sweep of 2009 with a 1-1, and title rival Christophe Pourcel followed behind to hold on to his slim points lead (it now rests at just three points ahead of Dungey). These two guys are at the head of the class and are extremely hot prospects for next year’s 450 class. The fact that both of them could be stepping up next year leads me to Millville’s third fastest 250 rider, the rookie Justin Barcia.
Barcia got more publicity as an amateur than any other rider he currently lines up against. The GEICO Powersports Honda rider came out swinging at Glen Helen and just about everyone was sure that by now he would have at least a moto win. But instead of winning motos, Justin has been part of the 10-rider grudge match that includes Brett Metcalfe, Tommy Searle, Broc Tickle, Jake Weimer, Blake Wharton, the now-injured Tyla Rattray, and whoever else decides to step it up that particular weekend. Justin was supposed to be the next big thing, and hey, he’s only seven races in, so he still could be, but the point that I want to make is that for the first time in a long time, there may be no “next big thing.” All of these guys are so talented that none are able to stand out above the rest.
Barcia isn’t the only rookie doing big things. Alex Martin finished a career-high 8th place in moto 1, and Kyle Regal finished 6th in moto 2 in the 450 class!
Not far behind the rookies of 2009 are twenty amateur riders who could join the pro ranks next month and shake up the top 10. Christian Craig will make his professional debut in about two weeks at the X Games, and he doesn’t plan to just fill a spot on the line. Dean Wilson went pro in Canada just to practice for the AMA nationals, and he was so good that they chose him for the Canadian Motocross of Nations team—before he actually turned pro!
Who else is coming? This year or next you’ll get to meet Eli Tomac, Taylor Futrell, Blake Baggett, Lowell Spangler, Travis Baker, Malcolm Stewart, and a slew of other amateurs who have been living and training for years as if they were already professionals. Loretta Lynn’s is just around the corner and after that it’s time to graduate.
There will be attrition, but in five years all of these guys you’ve never heard of will be foaming at the mouth for a 450 championship. Ryan Villopoto, Mike Alessi, and James Stewart will be in their late twenty-somethings by then, and season after season could be as wild as 2009 has been so far. Add in the usual exports from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and the future of AMA Motocross and Supercross looks good.