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AMA Supercross Thoughts: The Second Tier

We have heard so much about those riders that are vying for the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Currently, there are seven different riders that are in a position to challenge for the win, or the podium at least. Each week, those riders that have the podium positions on lockdown overshadow those riders that are in the ‘second tier’. But, we often see these riders edging closer to the lead pack, and making their presence known.

What riders are we talking about? Currently, Andrew Short is leading that ‘second tier’. The BTO Sports KTM rider may be eighth in the series standings, but I would argue that thus far he has not been the fastest rider in the ‘second tier’. I do think that both Jake Weimer, and Justin Brayton have shown more flashes of brilliance. In fact, it has been quite obvious that these two riders have had the greatest impact on the lead pack. So, why is Shorty ahead of them both in the title fight?

Andrew Short is known for his consistency; once again, it has served him well thus far so far. Hence why Andrew is in such a great position in the series standings; but of course Short has had to overcome a lot of adversity in the last eleven weeks. So, it is more impressive that he has continued to post some consistent results; switching teams, and manufacturers halfway through the year is never easy. It would have been interesting to see what kind of results he would have posted if he had stayed on the Chaparral Honda team, a string of top ten results to start the year were a good indication that he could of potentially broke into the lead pack.

Justin Brayton has had quite a turbulent season thus far, with many highs and many lows. So far his season has been quite similar to last year, just with fewer visits to the podium. He has shown flashes of raw speed, and he has also been quite inconsistent; not too long ago, most thought that the JGR Yamaha rider would be the one to break into the lead pack. But, it [the last two rounds] has been costly for him; a set of results outside of the top ten is the reason for his overall ranking of ninth. The next few weeks will be the greatest test for him, he has to find a way to rebound whilst most remember his stronger finishes; at the moment he is fighting one of his lowest points thus far.

If I had told you at the beginning of the season that Matt Goerke would be at the head of the second tier at different points, would you have believed me? I don’t think that anyone would have. Undoubtedly, Matt has been (and continues to be) the surprise of the season. Sure, he had some solid results last year, but nothing on this level; even with a depleted field, Goerke did not have this much of an impact on the series. Although he has rarely split the lead pack, the fact that he beat Eli Tomac (and we all know how much hype has surrounded Eli’s 450SX debut) straight up in Indianapolis is an indication that he is very fast and very comfortable at the moment.

But, he is down in eleventh in the series standings; so he is not a solid top-ten contender yet. Although he is now just one point behind Broc Tickle, so that could all change in Toronto this weekend. What about Broc Tickle? I stated in an ‘AMA Supercross Thoughts’ piece earlier in the year that Broc has underperformed; really that hasn’t changed. Tickle may be in front of Matt Goerke at the moment, but Matt has actually shown more flashes of brilliance thus far. The fact that he came in with no expectations (whereas Tickle was tipped to do great things) further supports the fact that the season has been great for the BTO Sports KTM rider so far. Potentially, Tickle could do great things still. However, Weston Peick beat him straight up at the weekend; considering the equipment that he is on, you would not expect that.

At the moment, Jake Weimer is finding out how quickly things can change in Monster Energy AMA Supercross. After the first couple of rounds, most considered him to be a contender for podiums; he was quickly establishing himself as a member of the lead pack. But, an injury to his ribs at round five dramatically slowed his progress, and his momentum. He has not been the same rider since then; in fact he is getting progressively worse since his return. But, that is because of racing incidents and bike issues in part. Some flashes of speed in the qualifying practices have proven that he can still run upfront; he needs to get back to that quite soon though.

So, that is a look at the riders that have had some great moments this year; but just haven’t been able to place themselves up inside of the lead pack consistently. Will one of them do it by the end of the season? With six rounds remaining time is running out. But if they could, it would open the eyes of most.

Words by Lewis Phillips

Image courtesy of Simon Cudby/KTM Images

MX Vice Editor || 25

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