10 Things to Watch: Glen Helen

10 Things To Watch Glen Helen

May 22, 2014 3:50pm

By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo

 

Surviving the Game

You can’t win the championship at the first round, but you can lose it. By the end of Saturday we’ll have heard that adage so much we’ll want to fill our ears with rim grease, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. It happens every year, too. Whether a racer crashes in practice and is knocked out of action for a couple rounds with a concussion like Mike Alessi in 2011, or simply experiences mechanical problems, someone is going to start the season out in a deep hole. – Aaron Hansel

WP40

Weston Peick has been on the rise the last several seasons, and it seems that with each head-turning ride more people started wondering what the privateer hero could do with factory equipment. Well, wait no more, as Peick will be making his debut with the Soaring Eagle RCH Suzuki team this Saturday. Will this program take him to the next level? - Hansel

Another Shot

In 2009 a blown engine cost Christophe Pourcel the 250 National Championship, and the next year a crash at the final round blew the Frenchman's title run yet again. Now, with the full backing of factory Yamaha and veteran Erik Kehoe guiding the ship, Pourcel is back to try to seal the deal on what he was so close to claiming several years ago. Word on the dirt is that he’s been going very fast lately, but we’ll have to wait for Glen Helen to see where he stacks up in a very deep field. - Hansel

Will Dungey put an end to all this “wide-open” talk?
Will Dungey put an end to all this “wide-open” talk? Photo: Simon Cudby

Going for Three

Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen has been on a roll lately—in terms of season openers. He won the first round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship last year on a 250 and took top honors at A1 in Monster Energy Supercross earlier this year. Now, the last standing member of Aldon Baker’s power trio has an opportunity to make it three openers in a row. With the amount of talent he’ll be facing in 450MX it won’t be easy, but would you really be surprised if he pulled it off? - Hansel

Wide Shut

With Ryan Villopoto out for the summer, there’s a lot of excitement about how wide open the 450 Class is. But is it? Sure, we’ve got a slew of very fast guys like Trey Canard, Justin Barcia, a rejuvenated James Stewart, Chad Reed, Roczen and more, but history tells us that these things do not matter to Ryan Dungey, who has absolutely dominated everyone not named Villopoto at the Nationals the last four years. Will the refreshed, rejuvenated and revamped competition take him down? Or will he come out swinging at Glen Helen and put an end to all this “wide-open” talk? – Hansel

Back in Time

You have to go all the way back to 2008 to find the last time James Stewart captured an AMA Motocross Championship. His record that year? 24-0. After a lackluster 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross campaign, Stewart was revitalized in Monster Energy Supercross—winning five races, the most since 2011. The last time Ryan Villopoto was out for the summer Stewart reeled off four straight moto wins to begin the season. Will we see it again? – Chase Stallo

Weston finally gets his chance this Saturday. 
Weston finally gets his chance this Saturday.  Photo: Simon Cudby

Breaking the Streak

The last time Yamaha won an overall in the 125/Lites/250 Class was back in 2004 when Mike Brown took advantage of a James Stewart second moto crash at RedBud to capture the overall. That was 10 years ago! Most of the attention surrounding Yamaha has circled around the return of Christophe Pourcel. But Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha is packing a formidable 1-2 punch in 2013 MX Rookie of the Year Jeremy Martin and 2014 SX Rookie of the Year Cooper Webb. Both had successful rookie seasons a year ago outdoors. Can either rider (or Pourcel) take the next step and capture Yamaha’s first overall win in a decade? – Stallo

Champions Throne

The hype surrounding current 250SX West and East Region Champions Jason Anderson and Justin Bogle entering the Nationals is at a low whisper. Although the two combined for just one moto podium a season ago—Anderson at Millville—at times both were consistent top five threats. And they should be much better this summer. "I'm still feeling the rush of the championship and I definitely feel ready to get back on the bike and continue where we left off," Bogle said in a team statement. "I'm confident and fit and ready to get this outdoor season started.” Previously, consistency and health concerns have restricted their development. They changed their fortunes indoors—can they do it outside? - Stallo

250SX Champions Jason Anderson (pictured) and Justin Bogle enter Lucas Oil Pro Motocross under the radar. 
250SX Champions Jason Anderson (pictured) and Justin Bogle enter Lucas Oil Pro Motocross under the radar.  Photo: Simon Cudby

PC Power

Is there a team under more pressure to win the 250MX title than Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki? After having the 250SX East Region title ripped from their grasps, not once, but twice, PC has now gone nearly two years since their last title. (Blake Baggett won the 250MX title in 2012). Past champions Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett enter the season as title favorites, but the 250 Class is full of heavy hitters. How will PC respond? - Stallo

Red Riders

Pro Circuit has been on a nearly two-year title drought, but it has been 10 years since a Honda rider has won the 250/450 Championship outdoors. You have to go back to Ricky Carmichael in 2004 to find the last Honda rider to win the class. The red ranks lost one title contender already with Eli Tomac’s collarbone injury. Can Justin Barcia and Trey Canard change the brands fortunes in 2014? - Stallo