Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! I have one in my garage right now and I can’t wait to go shred it this summer! Thank you to Yamaha for believing in my ELITE columns on this dirtbike website enough to sponsor me. What a dream come true!
I did a version of this column last year, but with the 250 class riders who I thought absolutely made a name for themselves in 2021. This year, we saw the success of a handful of 450 SX privateers, who should continue to battle for the top privateer spot for years to come. The guys on this list have shown great speed and put in some incredible results on not even a fraction of a budget of the teams. Is creating your own 450 program the move? I certainly believe it is. If you can make it to the races, you can run the products that you want, and be your own boss. If you’re a main event guy and can make all the races you’ll end up making good money for only five months of work. Here is my take on those privateers who crushed it this season.
Justin Starling – FXR/SKDA/JSR Motorsports/Troy Dog SQUAD
Best Finish: 9th//Salt Lake City
Starling is getting his own column next week too (that’s what happens when you’re in the SQUAD) and we will be going over his entire season. However, MY rider and I completely crushed it this season. We won the LCQ at Anaheim 1 and found our stride quicker than any other season we have ever raced. Starling found his speed in practice sessions too. Midway through the season it was no surprise to see his name inside of the top ten of the combined practice times. At Indy, with myself and the rest of the SQUAD in attendance, he put in a then career high 11th place finish. That top ten was close and he wanted it bad, especially after seeing Ryan Breece and Cade Clason get one for themselves. So, what did Starling do? He embraced the Troy Dog Squad even more, said he wanted to get a pineapple tattoo, and went on to finish 9th at Salt Lake City. He’s got the same program for 2023 and at this point WE’RE going to be fighting for the top ten spots for years to come. Great job Star Dog.
Ryan Breece – Westside & Mount Rushmore Motorsports/TPJ Racing/WTP/DSC
Best Finish: 10th//Indy & Salt Lake City
I remember doing a Privateer Profile on Breece in 2016 where he told me how he was amazing at football and could have gone to college or something to play. Well, good move racing to dirtbikes because this year he came back to play! After sitting out last year and racing a horse on a dirtbike in the offseason, Breece put in a banger season. He tied Starling for 16th in points, but lost the tie breaker due to the best finish I’m assuming. Two top ten finishes is no joke, especially out of the TPJ rig. Hats off to Breece for a great season. I don’t know much else about his season because he won’t return my texts, but then again he could have a different number. Stay tuned, I’ll get to the bottom of this.
Cade Clason – SGB Unlimited Honda
Best Finish: 10th//Detroit
During the middle of the season Cade’s stock was on fire, but then it started to dwindle as the season hit the home stretch. At one point it looked as though Cade was going to finish higher in the points than anyone on this list. He finished 10th in Detroit and backed that up with a 12th in Indy, 11th in St. Louis, and a 13th in Foxborough. This year Cade invested in himself after winning the PulpMX privateer money last season. The investment paid off. If you look at how far he’s come after his suspension from racing, it’s been a complete career rebuild. He will bounce back and build more next year. The speed is there. He just needs to work on consistency in his finishes.
Logan Karnow – THE PEOPLE/Namura Pistons/FXR/TCD/Rick Ware Racing/ Occasionally an OnlyFans account
Best Finish: 15th//Detroit
I wrote about Karnow this week for my other column, Troy Dog’s Shack. I’m not really sure what the future holds for Karnow and he told me he doesn’t know either at this point. Does he decide to go back to the 250 class or stay in 450? I personally think he should continue down the path that he was on in the second half of SX. He’s got several opportunities with sponsors, including a new wave of OnlyFans money. If he can map out a plan for next year with the same mindset then he should be able to get some ROI over an entire series. Another upside for Karnow is that he is progressing every year and has created a large social media presence. This season he showed potential as a 450 privateer and next year I think he can make the jump up to battle for the top 20 in points and really have an “I’m here to stay” type of year.
Main image: SBG Honda