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Since it’s the off-season we decided to change things up a bit in the Guts Racing Vurb Power Rankings. Going forward, Slaw and Troy will be ranking different topics until racing starts again at Anaheim. Ginger Dog is currently breaking up fights in middle school for the next few months and will rejoin the rankings once racing starts.
As always, feel free to flame away on Troy below or on social. Not Slaw.
Now onto this weeks topic: Ranking the best 450 silly season moves.
-This is massive for Red Bull KTM. They get one of the best riders in the world at a very young age. Sexton just turned 24, is coming off a Monster Energy Supercross title, and will be at the front of this class for many years to come. How could this not be number 1?
-Watching Eli Tomac ride off the track in Denver, his leg dangling off to the side of his bike, his dream scenario of clinching the title at his home race gone up in smoke, I thought it would be the last we’d see of one of the greatest to do it. In the back of my head I thought there might be a chance Tomac would return for this year. Mainly I couldn’t see a rider with the mindset of Tomac going out like that. Alas, he’s already back riding and will return for at least Monster Energy Supercross this year, which is awesome to see. He has earned the right to go out on his own terms, whenever that might be.
-Name another brand that needs Ken Roczen more than Suzuki? There isn’t one. Roczen is still a global superstar and needless to say, Suzuki needs a face of the brand. Can Ken still win titles? I don’t know. What I do know is that he will win races, get a ton of podiums and be the face of a brand that badly needs it. Also, how crazy is the meteoric rise of the Dustin Pipes led HEP team? What a job by Dusty and the squad.
-People tend to forget that Webb was in the THICK of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross title chase. Before he got hurt in Nashville, he was AHEAD of Sexton in points and only trailed Tomac by 11. If he had not gotten hurt, the title would have been his. He’s back where it all began and alongside Tomac and Justin Cooper, Star has one of the best 450 teams in recent memory. They are going to be a problem for people this year.
-Great get for this team, which is on the rise. Ferrandis is SUPER solid outdoors, but he needs to show more in SX this year, which is why he’s fifth on the list.
-The biggest team switch in the offseason belongs to Sexton going to Red Bull KTM. It was the worst kept secret possibly in the history of the sport. The defending 450SX champion left the brand that brought him to the big leagues! The best part about this change is that no one knows how it’s going to play out. Sexton is going to win races and be in the championship hunt, but will he be a different animal come Anaheim 1? Will he have some growing pains? That remains to be seen, however I’m most excited to see him race on the new ride.
-Webb going to Star Racing Yamaha was also an industry shaker. We’ve already witnessed him racing the bike during the SMX Playoffs, so the immediate excitement has worn off. What I’m most looking forward to is seeing how much more comfortable that he is on the bike come Anaheim 1. Remember, before Webb’s head injury at Nashville that he was making a run at the championship. Webb is a gamer and back home with the team that brought him to the pro ranks.
-Hunter Lawrence isn’t changing teams. He’s moving up to the 450 class full-time! This is going to be a big move for him and the 450 class and I don’t think we’re talking about it enough. Hunter has the abilities to win in the class right away and contend for podiums. Having both brothers in the same class again is going to be fun to watch. This 450 class just got deeper than the past several seasons.
-Roczen staying at HEP Suzuki wasn’t a surprise. The two parties have been working on developing the bike all season and getting better. They accomplished a win in supercross and had podium success. The most impressive results came at the SMX Playoffs and the MXoN. Rocen has found himself again and he looks as comfortable as ever.
-Ferrandis to Phoenix Honda was not on my bingo card for 2024. Factory Connection is involved as well and I love to see them back in the mix. We need to think about Dylan here while no racing is going on. Think about how good he is when he’s very comfortable on a bike. I know he just finished second in the Pro Motocross points standings, yet I think this is going to be a career reawakening for him.
Main image: KTM