The 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series is in full swing; all of the riders have settled into a speed that they feel comfortable with, and know where they belong within the pack. I do believe that some of these riders have not met the expectations that we had of them (or they had of themselves) prior to round one. So, let’s take a look at those riders that have under performed through the first seven rounds.
Broc Tickle (RCH Racing Suzuki) – 450SX
I was unsure about putting Broc Tickle on this list at first; however his performance at round six (San Diego) cemented the fact that he has underperformed for me. I believe that prior to the first round there were some very high expectations placed on the shoulders of Broc, and that these were not really justified. Most thought that because of the factory Suzuki beneath him, Broc would start mixing it up with the established title contenders (I thought that Tickle would slot into ‘the second tier’). But, thus far he is yet to show even a flash of speed.
This has been blamed on his bad starts, which is something that Broc Tickle is notorious for. But, he had the opportunity to prove what he could do with a good start and he faltered. He dropped backwards through the pack so quickly, that after starting second he was relegated to eleventh after just twelve laps! The San Diego track was evidently one-lined and tough to pass on, also. However, his quick descent through the field could be blamed on nerves; Broc doesn’t have much experience at the front, because of his bad starts. There is still time for him to turn it around; maybe next time he starts up front he will stay there?
Tyla Rattray (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 250SX West
Although the 250SX West title chase is now a distant memory; the struggles of Tyla Rattray are at the forefront of my mind. Admittedly, Tyla is not a supercross specialist; but he has been in contention for the title in past years. Therefore, I thought that he would be a firm fixture within the top five (at least) in 2013, but it has not worked out that way. So far, Rattray has been unnoticeable in the midst of the field; he hasn’t even shown a flash of brilliance in any of the opening six rounds. In fact, at round five he didn’t even make the main event!
It seems that some think that his poor results are down to a mental issue; perhaps his crash from last year is still at the back of his mind? Fortunately, Tyla can now focus on testing and training for the outdoor season, which is where he is most comfortable. But, when the 250SX West series resumes on April 20th there will surely be pressure on Rattray to perform, as he will need to prove to some 450f teams that he is capable inside the stadiums.
James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki) – 450SX
It is no secret that the opening rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series haven’t gone to plan for James Stewart. But, we are lucky to have him out there because of the knee injury that he is currently dealing with. Still, he has proven in practice that he could fight for wins despite the torn ACL; however that speed has not been transferred to the main events. At this point, he has not made it onto the podium once, which is very uncharacteristic of JS7. Already, Stewart has proclaimed that the title is out of his reach; because of the inconsistent results he has had to deal with thus far.
All he can do now is try to clinch a few victories for his Yoshimura Suzuki team; we all know that he is capable. Also, now that the series has moved east I do think that he will be much more comfortable. He can live at his Florida compound, and the softer east coast dirt is to his liking as well. Up until this point, he has been unable to train during the week (you may have noticed that he has been getting tired in the main events) but he can put the work in during the week now. All of the factors indicate that his season might turnaround soon.
Josh Grant (JGR Yamaha) – 450SX
Prior to the first round, I had high expectations of Josh Grant. Reports from the test track did indicate that Josh was looking the best that he has done in quite sometime; but good results have not materialised for him thus far. So far, his best finish has been a tenth (he finished in this position at Phoenix and A2). But, aside from that he hasn’t been in the top ten; I thought that he would be a firm fixture at the front at every round.
Admittedly, since round five he has been dealing with injuries to his shoulder and ankle. But, before that he had struggled. Now, it is just a matter of trying to get fit enough to execute a solid twenty laps, which he will be trying to do every weekend.
Words by Lewis Phillips