MX Title Predictions
The guys over at Vurbmoto asked a round table of Vurb insiders who they thought would win the 250 and 450 AMA Motocross Championshiop and how Ivan Tedesco will do if he rides the 250 class this summer. I thought I would join in the fun and answer as well.
The first question—“Who is holding the 250 title at the end of the season?"—is probably the hardest to answer. On the line will be the 2011 250 National Champ Dean Wilson, the two-time MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin, the 2011 MX2 World Champion Ken Roczen, the two-time Eastern Regional Lites SX Champion Justin Barcia, the 2011 Western Regional Lites SX Champion Eli Tomac—just to name a few—along with a stable of possibilities like Blake Baggett, Darryn Durham, Jason Anderson, Blake Wharton and Justin Bogle.
The 250 class is as stacked as it has ever been, so how can anyone really pick a winner? I'm not sure, but here it goes: Ken Roczen. Kenny is an incredible outdoor motocross talent, and last year he not only won the MX2 World Championship, but he rode an amazing race at the 2011 Motocross of Nations. The German handily beat the MX2 class—that featured Wilson, Baggett and Musquin—and decided that wasn't enough. He went 4-2 against the best MX1 riders in the world and finished second in the MX1-MX2 race, just three seconds behind Chad Reed and ahead of Ryan Dungey. It was a ride that put him ahead of any other MX2 rider on the planet in my mind. Will I be surprised if any one of the guys mentioned previously beats him? No, but that is exactly why this is the class to watch in 2012.
Three weeks ago, the second question Vurb asked—"Who is your 450 champion?"—might have been an easier one to answer. After Ryan Villopoto went down with a knee injury, Ryan Dungey seemed like the obvious choice, but what a difference a week can make. James Stewart is all signed, sealed and delivered to Yoshimura/Suzuki, and the videos I have seen of James on the Zooker have made me a believer. My pick for the 2012 450 AMA Motocross Championship is James Stewart. Some seem to have forgotten what James can do on a motocross track, but I have a feeling they will be quickly reminded. The last few years Bubba has been a motocross specialist stuck in a supercross-only body. Will Dungey win races? Yes, but I think in the end, James will win his second 450 National Championship.
The final question that Vurb asked was, "If Ivan Tedesco races the 250/Lites class, how will he do against the young talent?"
Man, that's a tough one, but I'm going to go with not good. First off, Ivan has been on a supercross-only contract the last couple of years and, on top of that, injured most of the time. I know if he does decide to head to Hangtown on a 250, it will be on the best bike available, but even still, I think top five is a stretch for the former 250 National Championship winner. The class is packed full of blistering fast, young and hungry kids, and I cannot see Ivan—at this stage of his career—beating them. If I am wrong, Ivan will definitely be the feel-good story of the summer.