The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series has just embarked on the final weekend off, as the riders and teams now face three-weeks of consecutive races, which will culminate with the final at Lake Elsinore at the end of the month. Currently the leaders have their respective classes on lockdown it seems, as Ryan Villopoto (450MX) and Eli Tomac (250MX) each have a solid lead with three rounds remaining. But there are still a handful of battles to keep an eye on – here is a detailed look at those.
Fourth: James Stewart (269) vs. Trey Canard (263):
At Millville, James Stewart and Trey Canard provided us with some great racing; it seemed as though they were very close in speed. So, this battle for fourth in the standings will hopefully escalate, and we will see many more races similar to Millville. Obviously James has the upper hand at the moment, however he does have a tendency to be inconsistent. I believe that this battle is going to come down to whether Stewart can stay upright. Unadilla has been unlucky for James in the past, so this weekend is going to be his greatest test.
Sixth: Mike Alessi (195) vs. Andrew Short (191):
I am actually quite surprised that these two riders are so close, as Andrew Short hasn’t really had much of an impact on the top five – whereas Mike Alessi has some podiums to his name. But of course, the real reason that these two are close is that Alessi had all of his points from Washougal taken away. Undoubtedly the MotoConcepts rider has been stronger, so I believe that we will see him pull away from Short in the final three weeks – unless disaster strikes. At Millville, Short actually beat Alessi, so he could potentially steal the position.
Twelfth: Chad Reed (144) vs. Phil Nicoletti (142):
Well, no one predicted this, did they? I did not think that Chad Reed and Phil Nicoletti would be in a fierce battle for twelfth with three rounds remaining. But, motocross can chuck up all kinds of surprises! If you are going by the results of this season, Nicoletti seems to be slightly faster than Reed, as he has posted two finishes inside the top six – whereas the Aussie hasn’t gotten into the top six once! However, Chad does seem to be picking up speed, so he is most likely to finish in that spot. Malcolm Stewart is seventeen points in front in eleventh, which is more than likely an unattainable goal – but anything could happen.
Seventh: Justin Bogle (209) vs. Jeremy Martin (207):
Both Justin Bogle and Jeremy Martin have been standout performers so far this year, as they have really made a name for themselves, whilst battling at the front. It is surprising that they are so close in the standings, as I don’t think I have seen the two fight it out at all, in the nine rounds run. I would have to bet that Jeremy would end up with that seventh position; he has the highest glass ceiling out of the two, I believe. But Bogle has run at the front more, and he is the better starter – it all depends on what he does with those starts though.
Tenth: Cooper Webb (170) vs. Justin Hill (170):
Honestly, this fight for tenth surprised me. If you ask every fan of the sport, most will tell you that Cooper Webb has been much faster than Hill. Despite this, they are tied on points. Now, part of the reason that they are tied is that Cooper has failed to score points in three motos – whereas Justin has missed the top twenty in just one. But part of the challenge is being there every week, so you cannot take anything from Hill, because of this. Justin has upped his pace in recent weeks, and beat Webb more often than not. If he can continue this trend, he might steal the last spot in the top ten.
Sixteenth: Joey Savatgy (89) vs. Adam Cianciarulo (89):
Intriguingly, there is an underlying story to this battle, which makes it even more interesting. Joey Savatgy is not a fan of Adam Cianciarulo – probably because of the attention that he has received. So, you can be certain that Savatgy does not want to be beat by AC! However, Joey will have to give up this fight, as the FMF KTM pilot has been ruled out of the rest of the year with the wrist injury that he sustained at Budds Creek.
Words by Lewis Phillips