We’ve had staffers at all four rounds of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this year—so we’re throwing questions at ‘em. Here’s Jason Weigandt, Chase Stallo and Aaron Hansel on call. Add your thoughts below.
1. Stewart and Baggett go 1-1. Does one round matter?
Chase Stallo (Web Slinger): In simplest terms: No. Look, James Stewart and Blake Baggett have both seemed to “have figured it out” going back to Thunder Valley. Do I think this will lead to either starting a five-race win streak? No. Too much depth and talent in both classes. Both will, and arguably should, gain heaps of confidence from High Point. I’m just not sure it will translate into a championship run for either.
Jason Weigandt (TV Talker): It does when you’re talking about these guys. If some underdog shocked the world I’d say take it with a grain of salt, but here we’re talking about two riders who have won these titles before. This is repeatable. Look how quickly they made up points, by the way. Baggett practically made up an entire moto of points in the last three motos alone, and it’s not like J-Mart crashed out or DNFed. I think the 1-1s change the championship complexion completely, these dudes are right in the hunt. No room for error, though.
Aaron Hansel (Likes himself some stats): A single round by itself is not a reliable tool when speculating about how the rest of a season will play out. A look at Stewart’s and Bagggett’s results from Glen Helen, a 6-6 and 8-3, illustrate that point when held up to their dominant rides at High Point. That said, a 1-1 says much more than a bad result—you can’t luck into a win but you can luck into a poor finish. We already knew Stewart and Baggett would be title threats if they could find their old form. Their 1-1 rides on Saturday are a good indication that they’re headed in that direction, and fast.
2. Honda Muscle Milk might get a fill in for Justin Barcia. Who do you nominate?
Stallo: I’ll look at this from two angles: 1) If Honda decides to go the privateer route (I don’t necessarily think they will go that direction) there are three probable candidates, two of which are not racing right now: Fredrik Noren, Nick Schmidt and Tommy Weeck. Noren has had the best results, but Weeck and Schmidt both ride Hondas. I think that gives Schmidt and Weeck a slight edge. From there I think it’s a tossup. Schmidt had a fantastic supercross season, while Weeck has been better outdoors. I’ll give it a 10 percent chance anyone I mentioned gets picked up.
The other direction Honda could go is to pluck someone like Ben Townley or Tommy Hahn off the retirement line. Both are long-time Honda riders (Tommy has rode for Honda Muscle Milk). Both could contend for top fives. And both are well liked. This is pure speculation, but it wouldn’t shock me to see either of these two get picked up by Honda.
Weigandt: Thanks, Chase, for taking every available candidate so I can’t sound original. I think Schmidt is a logical choice, but he’s not a guaranteed top-10 and these teams usually want that. I’d have to put Top Jimmy Albertson on top of this list, he was given this chance by Honda before, but he just moved to KTMs…
What’s Mike Alessi up to these days? I haven’t seen him at the Nationals. Kidding. I vote in the direction of Townley, depending on his level of prep. If Townley is back and serious, I’d expect them to go there. Please just don’t pull a Chad Reed’s replacement in 2012, PLEASE.
Hansel: There isn’t anyone available who is going to be breaking into the top five, so why not turn this into a feel good story by rewarding a hard-working privateer? There’s a lot out there, but I’m going with Fredrik Noren. He’s currently KTM mounted but there’s two weeks till round five. On a shoestring budget (his girlfriend has to occasionally serve as his mechanic) he sits fourteenth, has scored points in seven of eight motos and has even come close to busting into the top ten. Honda looks good for helping out a likable privateer while getting a guy who can still put points in the red column. It’s about as win-win as you can get when actual wins are out of the question.
3. Who has the best accent in the game right now? Georgia Lindsay? Langston? One of the French?
Stallo: This is pretty obvious, right? Georgia Lindsay is way better looking than Grant Langston, so I’ll go with her.
Weigandt: I’m so perplexed by Justin Hill’s accent buffet that I’m voting for him. He has like 17 accents in one right now. He’s like the Golden Corral of accents.
Hansel: Dean Wilson’s dad. If you’ve ever been on track walk and heard him jokingly (we think) threaten to bend Dean over his knee and dole out physical punishment, you know what we’re talking about. Second place? Justin Hill’s faux South African twang.