10 Things to Watch For: OaklandThursday, January 26, 2012 | 6:50 PM
Although we’ve seen three different Lites winners in as many races, the one constant has come from Eli Tomac, who has set the fastest lap in all three races. In Los Angeles, Tomac’s fast time of 53.915 was even quicker than the fastest 450 lap of 54.341, which was set by Ryan Villopoto. Look for Tomac to be laying down more scorching laps this weekend.
This may be how the rest of the field views Tomac if he gets out front early.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Billy Laninovich has returned to supercross this year, and so far his results have been steadily improving. Laninovich took fourteenth at A1, twelfth in Phoenix, and tenth in L.A.. These results aren’t a complete shocker; Laninovich was once a podium threat every time he lined up, and even won a Lites main in San Francisco in 2005. What kind of results will Laninovich pull this weekend?
So far, James Stewart has watched while one by one, his main competitors have all taken race wins. Villopoto won the opener, Ryan Dungey took Phoenix, and Chad Reed ran away with it in Dodger Stadium. Despite a small crash, Stewart recorded his best finish of the season last week when he crossed the line in third place. If Stewart can keep it on two wheels tomorrow night, look for him to challenge for his first win of the year.
Gavin Faith made his professional AMA supercross debut last week as a replacement rider with the GEICO Honda squad, and while his eighteenth place finish probably didn’t turn any heads, it’s still worthy of mention. Even after the threat of rain cut practice down to a single session, Faith went out and made the main in his first attempt ever. Now that Faith has some experience under his belt, how will the rookie from Fort Dodge, Iowa, do in Oakland?
Can Faith improve after last weekend's scramble?
Photo: Simon Cudby
Do or Die
It can be very difficult to overcome a disastrous race, especially in a short series. After experiencing poor results last week, championship hopes for Marvin Musquin (nineteenth) and Cole Seely (fifteenth) aren’t looking very bright, and both riders are facing must win situations if they want to keep their title chases alive. Will Musquin and Seely rebound in Oakland, or will their championship flames be extinguished?
Life’s a Beach
The soil in Oakland is extremely sandy, and is unlike any of the racing surfaces we’ve seen so far this year. Sand tracks wear in differently, get rough quickly, and require a completely different type of bike setup. Sand also makes for some fierce roost, which is sure to provide vision problems for riders who run out of tearoffs.
A quick look at this week’s Bench Racing Ammo reveals just how much talent exists in both classes. So far, six races have produced six different winners. With guys like James Stewart, Jake Weimer, Ryan Sipes, Tyla Rattray, Marvin Musquin and Zack Osborne still chasing their first win of the season, Oakland has the potential to keep the new-winner streak alive.
Musquin will be one of many vying for a first win in Oakland.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Max Anstie didn’t have the best showing at A1 (sixteenth), but since then, his results have improved, with a ninth in Phoenix and a sixth in Dodger Stadium. Will the British rider’s upward trend continue Saturday night?
With all of the injuries taking place, we’re going to start seeing a wave of new or replacement riders in the pits. Last week it was Gavin Faith with the GEICO Honda squad. This week we’ll see Matt Goerke joining the BTOSports.com/Butler Brothers MX team, Cody Mackie to fill in for Josh Grant at DNA / Jeff Ward Racing, and Bobby Kiniry aboard a Star Valli Motorsports 450.
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