Welcome to 450 words where we’ll talk about … the 450 Class. Although it’s a 34-point lead for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto with just three races left, anything can happen as we’ve seen time and time again. It’s tough to see the Kawasaki Kid losing this lead seeing as how he and his main rival, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, seem to be a step above everyone else. But that’s why the gate drops and there wasn’t a number 1 plate given to RV at the last race.
Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia looks to have third place in the standings locked in and his teammate Trey Canard is battling Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart for fourth in points. None of this really matters in the grand scheme of things, what does matter is: will we see some challengers to Villopoto and Dungey in the last six motos?
We saw what happened at Millville. Stewart won the overall with a 1-3, Canard went 2-2 and Barcia was up front in both motos. It was a welcome relief to not see orange and green up front—no offence to the orange and green guys. I thought that Barcia would be closer to the front than we’ve seen (he was so good at Muddy Creek), and Canard, well he’s got the least experience in the class out of anyone in the top ten. Trey’s always good at Millville. Can he keep the roll going from here on out?
Can Canard (left), Stewart (center) and others challenge the Ryans down the stretch?
Simon Cudby photo
And then there’s Stewart. It had to be a relief to James and his team for Stewart to get an overall. It’s been a tough season for Stewart—the least amount of wins for him since turning pro, and of course there’s that pesky knee injury he’s dealing with. Maybe Stewart’s Millville win is the bump he needs to get up and challenge the Ryans. It’s got to help, right?
Something to think about is that the last two races are at the brand new Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and Lake Elsinore, California, and neither of these last two tracks really favor any one rider (one thing for sure, Unadilla doesn’t favor Stewart at all. He hates the place while Barcia loves it and does great here) and so if you’re like me and want to see some parity, you’re holding out hope that the last two tracks prove tough to master for the Ryans.
But I'm a betting man (I do live in Las Vegas), and I would think it should be a race to the finish for Villopoto and Dungey as they reclaim their front of the pack results after a wacky Millville, which is great for those guys and their teams but wouldn’t it be nice to see some more “Millville’s”?