450 Words: Depth Chart

450 Words Depth Chart

June 18, 2013 12:00pm
To be honest, I’m kind of sick of using the term “Missed all of last season with injury” while I’m announcing the broadcasts of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. But in the 450 Class, it’s an unavoidable truth. Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed, Dean Wilson and Trey Canard didn’t race at all last summer, plus James Stewart and Tyla Rattray missed about half the races. This year’s field also features 450 newbies like Justin Barcia, Ryan Sipes, Phil Nicoletti and Malcolm Stewart. Sans Wilson (out again) this entire group battles every week, and of course this all adds up to a term even more overused: depth.

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.