250 Words: West Reset

250 Words West Reset

April 16, 2013 5:00pm
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac was the overwhelming favorite for the 2013 250SX West Region title. After all, he was the defending class champion and had performed well at off-season SX races like Bercy and the Monster Energy Cup (where he won a main event over everyone on a 450). During our pre-season prediction podcast, we said Tomac could potentially win as many as six races in the nine-race 250 West tour. Guess what? Those predictions are right, as he has four wins with three rounds to go.

But there’s a problem: he’s not the points leader.

That honor goes to Ken Roczen, who has been ultra-consistent (finishing no worse than second at any race) and has also garnered two wins of his own. Tomac, meanwhile, crashed out in Oakland, handing over huge points. Roczen now leads by 17 with three to go.

Eli Tomac is faced with a 17 point deficit with three races to go.
Simon Cudby photo

The chase resumes this weekend in Seattle, and Tomac was hoping to come into the race with considerable momentum after a four-race stint on a 450 back east. But his results were mixed in those races, so he’s not running downhill as expected. Roczen raced the big class once this year, at Daytona, where he showed speed but faded back a few spots (getting passed by Tomac in the process). Also, remember that Roczen rode the big class a year ago in Seattle and almost won it.

But you can’t dissect Roczen/Tomac without looking at the rest of the riders. After two months of watching injuries deplete the 250 East field, it’s key to remember how strong and deep the West group is, and that it presents several threats to steal points from the two title contenders. Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Honda’s Cole Seely is over 40 points behind Roczen, but he has led quite a few laps this year. While his conditioning didn’t seem up to running Roczen or Tomac’s pace for all 15 laps, remember that he entered 2013 after a long layoff following big injuries last year. He’ll likely be much stronger after this break, and he’s won Seattle before.

Roczen is seeking his first career 250SX title.
Cudby photo

Elsewhere, MyPlash/Star Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham was trending upwards before the break, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson has been much improved this year and landed on the podium at the last west race in San Diego, and Martin Davalos goes into every race with the speed to win. Don’t forget Tomac’s teammate Zach Osborne, who was plagued by injuries in the first half of the year but is healthy now, so expect his riding to improve quite a bit. Similarly, Rockstar’s Ryan Sipes has missed time with a broken hand but should be good to go for Seattle, and he’s always fast.

That’s a lot of fast guys out there, and Tomac has to hope a few of them can get in the way. But right now Roczen controls his destiny, and he’s won titles before and knows how to handle the pressure. Tomac, though, will do everything he can to apply as much as he can. Should make for a great showdown starting this Saturday night.