I find it hard to believe that the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series is heading over to the east coast already; the first six rounds have flown by! But, now the series will move into a new chapter, as the 250SX East class will kick off their title fight. We have seen the likes of Roczen and Tomac battle it out, now it’s time for some different stars to grace the track in an effort to clinch their maiden title.
There will be quite a few interesting storylines to follow in the 250SX East series; all of which will be alluded to throughout this piece. Interestingly, we will most definitely see a first-time champ crowned at the series finale in Las Vegas; not one rider on the east coast has won an AMA Supercross title previously. In my opinion, the talent pool on the east coast this year is not as deep as it is out west. But, that does not mean that there won’t be some great racing, as there are still a handful of potential winners.
Undoubtedly, Dean Wilson (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) is the favourite going into Arlington, Texas this weekend. However, there are two massive question marks surrounding the Scotsman. Firstly, he has not lined up behind a starting gate in ten months; so this makes me think that his race craft might be a bit rusty, for the first few rounds at least. I do believe that the shoulder injury that kept him off the bike last summer is now one-hundred-percent, so he is coming in with no lingering issues. It is also worth noting that Wilson was not meant to be contesting the 250f class this year; therefore his focus was on a different goal just two months ago. However, he did land in the best place possible on the Pro Circuit team; he has had time to get accustomed to the 250f again, also. There is no doubting the fact that Dean would have liked to contest the 450SX class, though.
Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) will be looking to collect his maiden AMA Supercross title in only his second attempt, also. Surprisingly, I do think that Marvin (pictured) suits supercross more than he does outdoors, because of his smooth style and impeccable technique. Musquin now has a full-season beneath his belt, so I think that the Frenchman will be much more confident in the 250SX East series this year. However, he is yet to claim a main event win; he will need to get that monkey off of his back before he can challenge for the title. I do think that Marvin is one of the favourites for the title; you can bet that he will be consistent, also.
Wil Hahn leads the Geico Honda team into the 250SX East series; Wil is due a victory, he has come close so many times. In 2010, Hahn finished second in the 250SX West series, splitting Jake Weimer and Trey Canard. Therefore he is definitely capable of challenging for the title. However, what has transpired since that year has not been great for him; he has had to deal with many different injuries (some serious). He hasn’t actually completed a full 250SX series since 2010; so it will be good for Wil to make it through the year unscathed. However, if he can gain some confidence I can definitely seem him stealing a win or two.
The east coast is where most rookies decide to make their AMA Supercross debut, because of the extra time that they would have to prepare. The two top teams in the class (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki and Geico Honda) will have rookies under their tent. Justin Hill (the younger brother of Josh) will be beneath the Pro Circuit awning, and Zach Bell will be aboard a Geico Honda. They are both unknown quantities currently; they could follow in the footsteps of Ryan Dungey, and Trey Canard by winning their first race, or it could take them a little longer to get used to racing inside of a stadium. Jeremy Martin (the younger brother of Alex) will be making his debut on a Star Racing Yamaha; he too could have an impact on the series.
Unfortunately, two of the title contenders will not be fully recovered from their pre-season injuries before Arlington this weekend. Justin Bogle (Geico Honda) is on the sidelines with a broken scaphoid in his right wrist. Bogle had surgery before Anaheim 1, and hoped that the injury would be one-hundred-percent by the time the 250SX class kicked off. It looks like he will miss the opening few rounds because of the injury, however. Darryn Durham (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) is still struggling with the Achilles tendon that he tore a couple of months ago. Although he has started riding again, it will take some more time for him to be one-hundred-percent race ready.
What about Blake Wharton on the Rockstar Energy Racing team? Admittedly, Wharton has never put himself in a position to win the title; however he does have plenty of experience, maybe 2013 will be the year that he challenges for a championship? Last year, he did seem comfortable aboard the Suzuki; he even clinched his second career win! If he can find some consistency, he could grab a few more victories.
Well, the 250SX East riders have not been seen on-track for four months; it will be intriguing to see who has spent their time at the test track wisely. Remember, there is a live stream of the timed qualifying practice if you want to catch some of the action; this should begin at 8pm UK time, on Saturday night.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of KTM Images/Simon Cudby