Break time! Five rounds down in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and now the riders and teams get a two weekend break to figure out what went right and what went wrong. We're going to do the same here. Steve Matthes and Jason Weigandt, who have been to every race and watched every moto, weigh in on those who have performed better, and worse, than expected through the first five rounds.
Better Than Expected (under par):
Nico Izzi—Rockstar Star-Valli Yamaha—9th in 450 points
Izzi crashed out in practice this weekend at Budds Creek, but before that, his season had been a revelation. It’s not shocking to see Izzi log fast laps here and there, as amateur super-talents like him always tantalize with speed and potential. But consistency? Staying power? Toughness? That only comes by doing the work, not just talking about it, and it’s clear Izzi is putting his money where his mouth is. Prior to Budds, he went 11-10-4-DNF-5-5-8-10. And that DNF came while running fourth in Texas late in the moto. He’s been solid, and that’s a major improvement for a guy known for burning a few fast laps during the weekend, but not holding on for the finishes. - Weigandt
Jason Anderson—Rockstar Suzuki —7th in 250 points
Anderson’s rookie season sucked. Credit to Dave Gowland and the Rockstar Suzuki guys for giving him a second chance, and credit to Anderson for doing the work and getting his head on straight. As many top prospects falter as succeed, so Anderson was heading down a slippery slope. He’s climbed back up, though, running seventh in points with 139. Last year after five rounds? He was 19th in points with just 37. In fact, Anderson is now in the running for “next guy” status behind the Big Four (Baggett, Barcia, Roczen, Tomac) and mister fifth, Musquin. That’s pretty good, and about where we thought he could be last year. - Weigandt
It's has been a career year thus far for Izzi.
Simon Cudby photo
Jessy Nelson- Lucas Oil Troy Lee Honda—12th in 250 points
When star rider Cole Seely went down at Salt Lake City with internal injuries that are going to keep him out for the year, TLD Honda manager Tyler Keefe decided to bump rising amateur star Nelson to the big team for the start of the Nationals. The plan was for Nelson to finish out amateurs and then join the team later this year. But desperate times call for desperate measures. No one really knew, without much prep time, how Nelson would fare but at the second round in Texas, Jessy led for a while and now, he’s just outside the top ten in points and adapting quite well -- all things considered. - Matthes
Broc Tickle—Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki—6th in 450 points
No, I’m not just saying this because Tickle went 2-2 at Budds Creek. But even if I were just going off of that one race, it would show legit progress because it marked Tickle’s best National Motocross finish ever. Even before Budds Creek, though, Tickle seemed closer to the front than in his mostly forgettable supercross season, including a podium in a moto at Thunder Valley. Even DNFing two motos already with mechanical problems, Tickle is sixth in 450 points. Even in an injury-riddled season, Tickle was just ninth in supercross. - Weigandt
Jake Canada—MotoConcepts—11th in 250 points
This kid got a shot as a fill-in for the MotoConcepts Yamaha team in 2011 after a top ten finish at Colorado and hasn’t looked back since. Talk about making the most of an opportunity. Canada was a solid top ten guy in the East Regional Lites class in supercross and now, outdoors, he’s backing that up with more top tens. Nothing against his machine (it’s a Honda by the way) but when you look around the guys he’s racing against, he’s doing the most with the least. MC owner Mike Genova saw Jake’s potential and signed him up during supercross to another deal for 2013 and right now, the guy with what I think is a great name is a big surprise this outdoor season. - Matthes
After a tough rookie season, Jason Anderson is starting to shine.
Simon Cudby photo
Worse Than Expected (over par):
Jimmy Albertson—BTOSports.com/BBMX Suzuki—16th in 450 points
I’ve been a big fan of Top Jimmy for a long time, he’s one of he nicest guys in the pits and is pretty funny. Having said that, I thought that with the most support he’s ever had this year he’d really be the break out guy of the season. Supercross was okay, he’s not the best at that stuff, but outdoors, this was where my man was going to shine! He once got top ten in the overall standings on the Valli Yamaha, the guy can ride the rough stuff, no doubt about it. But it really hasn’t happened for Jimmy this year for whatever reason. He’s working hard and trying but it hasn’t come together for the big palooka yet. On the bright side, his best finish was this past weekend at Budds Creek. But to me, he should be closer to the top ten, or in it, more times than not. - Matthes
Justin Brayton—Team Honda Muscle Milk—10th in 450 points
We saw signs of life from Brayton at Budds Creek via 5-8 finishes and fifth overall. That’s about where he should have been all along, but he sure wasn’t at the first four races. Dude only had two top tens in the first eight motos. This is a guy who battled Villopoto a few times for the lead this year in supercross! Interestingly, Brayton didn’t have much of an explanation for the rough start. No injuries, and he didn’t even make bike changes before Budds because he said the bike was fine. Maybe he’s gotten it all straightened out now and can just pretend the first few motos never happened. - Weigandt
A career year indoors for Brayton has not translated outdoors.
Simon Cudby photo
Kyle Regal—JGR Yamaha—18th in 450 points
Regal’s definitely bounced around a lot with different bikes and teams but when he landed on the JGR team for the summer, I thought it was going to be a real sleeper move. Instead, it’s been like he’s literally asleep through five rounds. Regal’s ridden the Yamaha YZ450F before and liked it, he’s a hard worker, he’s podiumed Nationals before on a privateer Honda, the JGR guys are top notch so what is the deal here? He’s got more motos with no points (6) than ones with points (4). This is not the Kyle Regal we’ve seen each summer. Maybe he needs a Honda with Jim Lewis setting it up or something, not sure. I do know that in talking to Kyle, he says that there will be a new Kyle Regal at RedBud in two weeks. Let’s hope so! - Matthes
Kyle Chisholm—DNA/Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki—13th in 450 points
Chizz is a great guy, and I thought this would be a “go to the next level” year for him. He was really finding some speed early in 2011 before some injuries, and, he’d now be back on Kawasakis, the brand he grew up on. He also won the Paris-Bercy Supercross in the Fall. It was all coming together! But, we haven’t seen results. Not one. Chizz has been in the top ten in just two motos so far and sits 13th in points. Part of the problem is that Chizz has had some nagging injuries all year, but continues to ride through them (with diminished results) where some other riders would sit. But still, at no point indoors or out, have we seen the flashes of brilliance I expected from time to time. And now time is running out. - Weigandt
Malcolm Stewart—J-Star JDR KTM —16th in 250 points
Last year on the Arma Suzuki team, Malcolm “Mookie” Stewart was a real surprise. The younger brother of James, Mookie didn’t always take racing as serious as James and not much was known about his prospects. But then he came out and showed that he has some serious skill. He also ended up crashing a few more times than anyone would’ve liked. Still, the Mookie Fever was rampant in the pits and when Stewart got the JDR KTM ride for this year, a lot was expected of him. Probably too big for a 250F, Stewart hasn’t had the outdoor (or indoor, for that matter) season that he or his team wanted. There’s been some highlights like his last to 11th ride this past weekend of his sixth overall at Lakewood but all too often, it’s been crashes and zero points on the board for Stewart. Consistency is tough to do in the 250 class but Malcolm is better than this, our fever tells us so. - Matthes
Injuries have played a part in Chisholm's disappointing year thus far.
Simon Cudby photo