Rookie Report, Glendale: Grading the 250SX West Through 5 Rounds

Rookie report, it’s back! I thought I was bringing this new great idea to the table. Then Troy said that Vurb did this 14 years ago, but to hell with that I’m taking over now.

Each week I’m going to report on the rookies in the 250 class and give you a little insight on how the new guys are doing.

So, I’m about four rounds behind on the 250SX West Region rookies, but I am going to catch you up to speed on how these guys have been doing. There are only a handful of rookies on the west coast since a majority of these guys prefer the east coast to give them a little more time for training. But, let’s talk about the riders who decided to dive into SX head first and take on the west.

Julien Beaumer – Red Bull KTM

Qualified – 5th

Heat – 4th

Main – 7th

Grade – B+

Juju has been nothing but impressive. He seemed to struggle towards the end of his amateur career and when he announced that he would be going pro and racing the 250SX West Region for Red Bull KTM it honestly caught me by surprise. I wasn’t 100% sold that he would be ready for such a challenge. Juju picked up Davi Millsaps and holy sh!t. Juju obviously has unlimited talent on a motorcycle and he was bound to find success in the sport, but damn has he found it quick. Juju, Davi, and the KTM team have possibly found the young star they have been looking for. Juju has three top tens. The only races he has not been in the top ten are San Diego and San Fran, where he was still able to get in the main both nights with some of the worst conditions you could have for a race. Juju continues to impress me every week and I think a podium is without a doubt in his future this season. 

Ryder DiFrancesco – Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GASGAS

Qualified – 8th

Heat – 6th

Main – DNF

Grade – C+

If you’ve follow amateur motocross at all in the last 16 years, you have probably heard of this kid. Remember that little long hair kid on the Pro Circuit Jimmy Johns bike? Well, he has finally made his pro SX debut this season, but not on the team he grew up with. Ryder D had been on Kawasaki’s pretty much his whole life (65’s – 250 Outdoor pro debut) and this year he made a big change. Ryder signed with TLD Red Bull GASGAS in the offseason and made the decision he was ready to go west coast for SX. Ryder’s rookie season has been somewhat bumpy. He has either finished in the top ten or DNF, with one of those rounds being the mudder at San Francisco. Ryder took a big hit at Glendale on Saturday. He posted on social media that he is bummed on the results, but looks forward to the break they are about to have when we shift east. I’m still giving Ryder a C+ on his up and down season so far. It’s really hard to judge his true speed with some of the rounds being mudders and the switching of teams. Maybe he isn’t used to the big switch yet? Ryder is yet to have a top 5 finish and has squeezed into the top ten three times with two 8th’s and a 9th place finish. Maybe this break will be good for Ryder and we will see him come back in a few weeks and show us what we all know he is capable of.

Anthony Bourdon – Toyota of Redlands Bar X Suzuki

Qualified – 12th

Heat – 8th

Main – 12th

Grade – A

This dude flat out rips. He has been racing GPs for years and had some success in the French SX series. He decided to hop across the pond and teach these young guys a thing or two. Bourdon is on a Suzuki (if you know me I’m a huge fan of anyone willing to bark the kick start RMZ) and damn is he making it look easy. Now, I understand that we haven’t seen him on the podium, but the 25-year-old is riding damn good. Sitting fifth in points, he has made the main event in every round so far this year and has even been in the mix up front a handful of times. Does Anthony have the speed to be on the podium? That I’m still unsure of, but, we all know SX is all about being there every week and being in the mix because you never know what will happen. Consistency is the name of the game and Bourdon has been in the top ten twice and just missed it by 1-2 spots in the other rounds. He seems to be catching on pretty quick and it’s fun to see this guy mixing it up with the factory boys.

Slade Varola – HBI Race Team

Qualified – 23rd

Heat – 11th

LCQ- 5th

Grade – B

Slade was a privateer coming into the 2024 season and was picked up by Matt Bell over at HBI Race Team for some support. He’s another rookie who has had a bumpy start and he’s been getting the full effect of how rewarding SX can be, or how quickly it can not go your way. Slade has had a lot of great moments. He has qualified for two main events and missed the other three rounds, one round being a mechanical issue, only allowing him to go out for one practice session. Slade pulled two holeshots this weekend at Glendale, but wasn’t able to capitalize on either of them. He pulled the holeshot in heat 1, but would unfortunately crash quickly. A red flag would restart the race and he would miss the main by one spot. Varola would bounce back and pull the holeshot in the LCQ and the red flag came out again with almost two minutes left. The restart would not go in his favor. Getting caught up in a first turn pile up would put an end to his night. Slade pushed hard, but was unable to get into the top four. Slade belongs in the mains, I think he just needs some luck to come his way.

Matti Jorgensen – AJE Motosports

Qualified – 20th

Heat – 10th

LCQ – 21st

Grade – B

Like Juju, I don’t think Matti’s amateur career had ended the way he’d hoped, but going pro has been going very well for the 18-year-old from Sweden. Matti has made three main events so far with his best being a 13th. Matti was looking really strong in Glendale. He missed the main by one spot out of the heat and was leading the LCQ until a red flag would restart the race. Matti was unfortunately caught up in some first turn chaos off the restart where his bike would become locked with another riders, thus ending his night. Jorgensen has been holding his own on the west coast and with some more time on the track, we’ll see him break into the top ten.

Main Image: Octopi Media

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