Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. The 2014 Monster Energy Supercross Championship makes the trek from the beaches of Daytona to “Motor City” in Detroit, Michigan, for round 11. Home of Motown Record Company, the NFL’s Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, and Bob Segar, Detroit is one of the most eclectic cities in the country. In what I feel is a fitting adjective, eclectic aptly describes the crew that will battle inside Ford Field this Saturday night. Just take a look a look at the five winners we’ve seen in the 450 class thus far: A teenage rookie from Germany wins the season opener, followed by a three-time defending champion from the U.S. who is countered by a veteran Australian former champion, then an American former champion, and finally another American former champion. Ken Roczen, Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed, James Stewart and Ryan Dungey are five very different colors of the rainbow and they have collaborated to produce a thrilling season of supercross beauty.
Alas, a bit of ugliness has manifested though the consistency of Villopoto, as the Monster Energy Kawasaki pilot earned his third win of the season in Daytona and now has a 28-point lead in the championship charge. Ryan has yet to finish outside the top five, has salvaged good results even through bad starts and crashes, and really kicked a mud hole in everyone the last time out. The 450 series has been devoid of a streak (three consecutive wins or more), and the Red Bull KTM duo of Roczen and Dungey are waiting in the wings in the unlikely event Villopoto has a DNF.
Meanwhile the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit team has dominated the 250 East division. Rookie Adam Cianciarulo has posted 1-2-1-2 finishes to earn a seven-point lead over teammates Martin Davalos and recent Daytona winner Blake Baggett.
We’re heading to Detroit where they’ll be racing up and down the grandstands, old school Pontiac supercross style. Let’s get Revved Up for both classes!
In addition to their second podium sweep, all three members of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki have now tasted victory. As dominant as the team has been recently, there have been some sketchy moments with a couple freak mechanical glitches. One cost Dean Wilson a win in Oakland, and could have ended Cianciarulo’s title quest had it happened in the main event instead of his heat race.
While faint, some championship hope remains for the GEICO Honda bunch as Justin Bogle is only seven points behind Baggett and 22 behind leader Cianciarulo. Davalos has been on the podium in all four races, but both of his main event crashes could have taken him out of the lead. A rookie mistake from AC could occur, and if Bogle is somehow able to win this weekend, things could get very interesting. Also, Bogle’s teammate Blake Wharton is still a guy that could bust out.
It’s hard to not look at the scoreboard, though. Payton’s crew has won six 250 main events in a row (with five different racers) dating back to Dean Wilson’s Anaheim 3 victory. Golf clap.
Following back-to-back wins at San Diego and Arlington, Yoshimura’s James Stewart has tallied 11-7-18 finishes to effectively remove him from 2014 title contention. Stewart has won in Detroit twice and will likely win again before all is said and done this season, but the crashes and bad luck have to subside first.
Ryan Dungey sits in second, one point ahead of Roczen, and the KTM duo has to keep plugging away and hope for Villopoto to suffer a DNF like they have. As the second most consistent riders in the field, if something happens to the champ and things get close in Vegas, Dungey will remember Anaheim 3, and Roczen will wish he kept it on two wheels in Indy.
However, it is Roczen who has the fire. He fought hard to pass Dungey and early sprinter Dean Wilson to earn runner up in Daytona. One of the members of “The Get Along Gang,” as a training partner of Villopoto and Cianciarulo, look for Kenny to use the remainder of the series to further blast his bargaining power for his next contract.
Soaring Eagle/RCH Suzuki’s Broc Tickle is a racer on the move following his career-high fourth place in Daytona. Another racer in a contract year, look for Tickle to continue to press hard down the stretch and further cement his worth. GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn has been fast, but unlucky the last couple weeks. Hahn finished fourth in Atlanta, and has come through the pack the last two weeks. He hit me up via text message and said he has been doing starts all week.
It’s kind of a mess throughout the rest of the pack. A lot of guys are injured or banged up, and some have simply failed to deliver. This has been a series to forget for Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Barcia, who continues to be involved with altercations instead of podium finishes. Regardless of the blame in the recent incident between himself and Malcolm Stewart, it’s an all too familiar situation and one he needs to remove from his program. JGR/ Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant was 10th in Daytona and there is simply more to be expected from the veteran speedster.
Unfortunately, Eli Tomac injured his shoulder again in Daytona but sounds like he is ready for Detroit and will try to replicate his runner-up effort at Indianapolis.
A couple of dark horses I’m looking at in Detroit are Motosport.com’s Weston Peick and Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports replacement rider Dean Wilson. Both racers have the talent to race in the top five, and Wilson proved he has podium potential. Wilson kind of reminds me of a 2001 Kevin Windham when he was on factory Suzuki and would be the fastest in practice all the time. Dean has similar talent and trains like a madman, he just has to put it together upstairs and he will be lethal.
It’s freezing cold outside Ford Field, but count on another huge crowd and some intense racing action this weekend. The track looks really cool, and the dirt should be the best we've seen since Atlanta. There are 140 laps left to race in the 450 class, but only four rounds remain in the 250s. Let's get jacked up for another offering of the greatest show on dirt and get ready to rock in Detroit!
Thanks for reading, see you next week.