With college football on the brink and most major league sports playing inside a bubble, Slaw is more than happy with ANY racing we get this year. To get Monster Energy Supercross and Loretta Lynn’s in, MXGP underway, and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starting this weekend, this is one happy dog!
Here are 6.5 things I’m excited to see this season—in the 450 class.
1. Who Will Challenge Tomac?
With a Monster Energy Supercross premier class title finally crossed off his to do list, Eli Tomac is once again the favorite for the 450 Pro Motocross crown. He’s coming off a third consecutive title a year ago, in which he won 11 of 24 motos and had a 58-point gap on second place Ken Roczen at seasons end. With Roczen out, where will his main challenge come from?
2. Marv’s Back!
While Zach Osborne is high on a lot of folks list (*cough* Steve Matthes *cough*) don’t forget Marvin Musquin is finally back in action starting this weekend. Since moving to the 450 Class in 2016, Musquin has finished inside the top three overall in this championship every year—including back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018. The major question coming into this year is his health. We haven’t seen Marvin since Ironman last year when he suffered a knee injury and his recovery has been longer than initial anticipated. If 100%, Marv will certainly challenge for wins. A title? That’s to be determined.
3. Webb Wagon
While last year wasn’t the year many expected of Cooper Webb coming off a supercross title, he did show flashes, going 1-1 at Millville. A couple things to keep in mind. 1) He’s no slouch outdoors. He is a past 250 Pro Motocross champ. 2) He’s had plenty of time to get ready this year, unlike last year, and has to be fuming after missing out on a second supercross title. With Kenny out, could Webb be the main threat to Tomac’s crown?
4. AC Makes His Debut
Last year’s 250 Pro Motocross Champion Adam Cianciarulo makes his highly anticipated 450 debut outdoors this weekend—on a track he dominated at as an amateur, winning 11 mini cycle titles (tied most all-time) before turning pro. AC’s supercross season was up and down and filled with a few injuries, but after a complete 250 season last year, in which he won seven motos en route to his first title, the industry is excited to see him in the great outdoors. Staying healthy will be his key to the summer.
5. Who Else?
With Kenny out, Marv coming back from injury, AC a rookie, who else could challenge Tomac? As we said, Osborne is high on everyone’s list, and for good reason. He had a great rookie season last year and ended supercross with a win. And, most importantly, seems to be healthy coming into the season.
Justin Barcia is always known to throw in wins and could get hot. Consistency hasn’t always been there, which may hurt his title chances. Blake Baggett is a beast outdoors, but injuries have slowed him in the past. Can he stay healthy this year? Jason Anderson will also be a factor, but he has yet to win a moto in his Pro Motocross career. Can one of this guys challenge the champ?
6. Savatgy’s Back
Hands up if you forgot Joey Savatgy rode for JGR? Probably a lot of you out there. He really hasn’t even raced for the team after breaking his heel at the AUS-X Open at the end of November and missing all of supercross. Word on the hot streets is Joey could have returned for the end of supercross but wanted to be 100% coming into outdoors. This is a big year for him, as he’s on a one-year deal with the team. Will the extra prep give him an advantage? We’ll find out this weekend.
6.5. The Schedule
In case you missed it (which if you’re reading this and didn’t know what I’m about to tell you, we can’t be friends) the traditional 12 round series has been slimmed to nine because of (again, if you don’t know what I’m about to tell you, we can’t be friends) COVID-19.
Here is the schedule for this year:
Round 1 – Loretta Lynn’s National, Aug. 15
Round 2 – Washougal National, Aug. 22
Round 3 – Ironman National, Aug. 29
Round 4 – RedBud 1 National, Sept. 5
Round 5 – RedBud 2 National, Sept. 8
Round 6 – Spring Creek National, Sept. 19
Round 7 – WW Ranch National, Sept. 26
Round 8 – Thunder Valley National, Oct. 3
Round 9 – Fox Raceway National, Oct. 10
Main image: Monster Energy Kawasaki