But I’ve stumbled on a stat that helps illustrate just how deep this field is. Check out the final top five in points from last year’s 450 Class:
1.Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 580
2.Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 453
3.Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 355
4.Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 354
5.Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki, 349
Those five riders are still there this year, too, and a look at the 2013 points after four rounds shows a similar pattern.
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 193
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 177
3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 148
4. Trey Canard, Oklahoma City, Okla., Honda, 120
5. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki,116
6. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 104
7. Tyla Rattray, Durban, South Africa, Kawasaki, 95
8. Ryan Sipes, Elizabethtown, Ky., Suzuki, 79
9. Jake Weimer, Twin Falls, Idaho, Kawasaki, 69
10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 67
11. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 62
Grant (left) and Weimer (right) are just part of a loaded 450 field.
Simon Cudby photo
Lay ’em next to each other and you’ll see the similarities. At the end of last season, Weimer, Short and Tickle were separated by six points in a battle for the 3-4-5 spots. This year, they’re separated by seven points for the 9-10-11 spots. Alessi and Dungey, again, lay further ahead, with similar gaps in points. The only difference is that the returning riders and the newbs have slotted into those gaps.
If you’re looking for proof of depth, this is the ultimate example. But we have more! Check out sixth and seventh in last year’s standings.
6.Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki, 277
7.Justin Brayton, Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Honda, 247
Same order this year—Grant is once again behind the Weimer/Tickle/Short battle, just two points back sitting in 13th. The difference is that Phil Nicoletti is actually jammed between in 12th place, a point behind Short and a point ahead of Grant. Brayton is back in 18th, with riders who did not race last season—Clement Desalle, Kevin Strijbos, Malcolm Stewart and Chad Reed—jammed in between him and Grant.
Out of last year’s top seven, the order is exactly the same except now Tickle is five points ahead of Short, where as last year he was five points behind him. Otherwise, the two seasons are more similar that you’d imagine, only with a lot more talent trying to cram their way into view.