A Matthes Report: Outdoors

Steve Matthes looks ahead to the outdoors

· 4 minutes read

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The 2019 Monster Energy Supercross series is finished and in America, we don't wait long to reflect before it is onto the next thing. This weekend the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicks off in Northern California. Twelve weekends, twenty-four motos, two classes and then we'll crown a couple of champions.

The supercross championships are an awesome accomplishment for any rider and the 450 one in particular is the pinnacle of off-road motorcycling titles but, in my opinion, the outdoor titles are way tougher to win. You cannot just get on a roll, get a few breaks and win one of these things. It's twenty-four motos in the heat, mud, rain and doing it for thirty minutes plus two laps at that.

I know we don't have the variety of tracks that you Europeans have over there, but they are still plenty rough and rutted. There is just something about the outdoors to me that signifies a man's championship, not sure what it is but my respect level for a rider goes up pretty high when they win one of these things. With that in mind, let's take a look at both classes and break them down.

(KTM Images/Simon Cudby)
250MX (Contenders):

Dylan Ferrandis, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Cooper, Chase Sexton and Alex Martin. I think the title is coming out of one of these guys with Ferrandis maybe the slight favorite. When he got back from injury last year he was pretty much dead even with the title winner Aaron Plessinger the whole summer, which indicates he would've been right there had he done the whole season. Dylan's full of confidence right now, as you all know, having just won an unexpected 250SX title. He is a bit older than the rest of the guys outside of Martin and will have experience…

Adam Cianciarulo is looking to jump up to title winner after that heartbreak in Vegas, but he has got to be more consistent than the summer of 2017. That was the last time we saw him race the nationals. ustin Cooper was third OA last year in the nationals, look it up and realise that he'll have an even better understanding of the tracks and the way things go. Plus that awesome Yamaha YZ250F.

Chase Sexton is a training animal and will be confident after that 250SX East title, so he'll be better than last year and that's scary. '23' has just got to work on his starts and, yes, Martin needs to be in here. He has not got the raw speed others have, but he has finished second in the series twice and was second in 2018 before getting hurt. The JGR Suzuki seems to be much better than last year and Martin deserves to be on here.

(Monster Energy/Octopi)
250MX (Wildcard):

Hunter Lawrence. The Aussie didn't have the type of season he wanted in the MX2 class in Europe last year, but he was coming around later on in the season when his bike got a bit better. He missed supercross with injury, but probably could have hit the last few and instead chose to focus on outdoors. He'll come into the motocross season way ready to go and looking to prove that the hype is real. He has got some real buzz coming into Hangtown from the test tracks. Could he win the title? Absolutely.

450MX (Contenders):

Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb, Zach Osborne and Blake Baggett. Gotta give Tomac the edge here as he goes for his third straight 450MX title and, although you know he wants the 450SX title badly, motocross seems to come a bit easier for ET3. Less downs for Eli, the longer race and wider track makes it better for him to come through the pack when mistakes happen. Marvin Musquin will be solid all year long, he has been equally as good outside as inside and he'll win races. Bonus for him is that he’s not coming into the season injured like he did in supercross. Can he break through and grab a title though? It's got to be frustrating for Marv at this point to seemingly be the bridesmaid.

Honestly, Roczen's on the list just out of respect for what he has done so far in his career. If he can't figure out what has been dragging his health down there is no chance he wins this thing, much less finish the series out. He'll be interesting to watch this summer. Can Webb do it again? I mean, why not? He is a past-motocross champion and obviously has his programme all set and ready to go. Would it surprise me? Yeah, it would, but this whole season has been amazing for Coop.

(Monster Energy/Octopi)

Blake Baggett wasn't as good last year as the season before, but he has got another year on the bike and will be good here and there. If he can figure out the down weekends, he'll be a factor. Sometimes he is so damn fast it is amazing, other weekends he is just not on it like he can be. Yes, Osborne deserves to be on this list too and he showed at the end of supercross that he can run the speed of the big guys. #16 is in shape (duh), his bike is good and he is a past outdoor national champion. Why can't he win this title?

450MX (Wildcard):

Jason Anderson. Jason's won motos before, but he has never won an outdoor national. That is kind of crazy to think about, right? His defense of the 450SX title didn't work out and he has been getting a bit of a late start to the moto season but maybe, with nothing to lose and wanting to salvage his season, he could be dangerous. Tough to see him breaking through all the above names but, hey, stranger things have happened.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Monster Energy/Octopi

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