If anyone needed a reminder just how short and intense 250SX championship chases are in Monster Energy Supercross, they need to look no further than the West Region. After just two main events and thirty laps of racing, it's down to a two-horse race for the title and one long shot.
Before the gate dropped on the main event at Chase Field in Phoenix, the vaunted Pro Circuit team was pretty much done for this coast. First, 250 outdoor champ Blake Baggett started the day injured, then made it worse with a practice crash. He will now go get that hand/wrist fixed and look forward to wearing his #1 plate beginning at Hangtown in May. He should also hope it's luckier for him than #4 has been so far.
Next came former world champ Tyla Rattray, who simply looks off the pace indoors. He followed a modest eighth at the Anaheim opener with a mediocre twelfth in Phoenix and is now 22 points behind the leader—almost a full race in what's only a nine-race sprint.
The third man, Martin Davalos, was pretty much out of contention before this one started due to a last-place finish at the opener. He rode to a spirited third, but he's not going as fast as the guys up front either.
After consecutive runner-up finishes, Roczen sits six points back of leader Eli Tomac.
Simon Cudby photo
Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson is now 32 points down after failing to qualify due to a crash in the LCQ, and TLD Honda's Jessy Nelson was a solid fifth after last weekend's spectacular trip over the bars off the start, but he's now 31 points back—the same as Malcolm Stewart.
The two guys everyone is chasing—GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac and Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen—are so fast and fluid, with machine-like consistency to boot, that this title fight will obviously came down to the two of them. The long shot is a game Cole Seely of the TLD Honda team, who has the chops to win races but is already 12 points down.
This is the new look of what it takes to win in 250SX: pure speed, a lightning-fast bike that will help you get a good start, and the ability to lay down fifteen straight laps going almost as fast as the top guys in the 450 class. In fact, just a year ago, Justin Barcia, Saturday night's 450 winner, was one of these guys.
No matter how this title turns out, I honestly can't wait to see what Tomac and Roczen (as well as Seely) will do when they move up to 450s. If they can ride a bigger bike like they ride these ones, the old guard in the 450 class is going to have their hands even more full.