NOTICIAS

The Time Sheets: Oakley Bomb Award

You can tell the off-season is closing in when there is suddenly a shortage of on-track action! Unfortunately there wasn’t a race this past weekend that we could feature in this column, as the results received from the Red Bull Pro Nationals just aren’t detailed enough! So instead, I thought that we could look at the riders that won the Oakley Bomb award at each round of the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series.

The 450MX Class:

Fastest Qualifier

Round 1

Justin Barcia (1:58.0)

Round 2

Ryan Villopoto (2:03.4)

Round 3

Josh Grant (2:04.9)

Round 4

Ryan Villopoto (2:13.5)

Round 5

James Stewart (1:58.6)

Round 6

James Stewart (1:55.0)

Round 7

Ryan Villopoto (2:15.7)

Round 8

Ryan Villopoto (2:07.9)

Round 9

Ryan Villopoto (1:53.4)

Round 10

Ryan Villopoto (2:16.3)

Round 11

Ryan Villopoto (2:02.1)

Round 12

Josh Grant (2.09.1)

Although some would argue that winning the ‘Oakley Bomb’ award doesn’t mean much, it was always awarded to the man in pole position. So you can be certain that the guys were pushing the boundaries in these sessions to ensure that they would be in the best position to succeed in the races. It is actually interesting to see some of the names in this list, as some of the riders were better at racing, rather than laying down a single fast lap, and vice-versa. Overall, there are not too many surprises on this list, as Ryan Villopoto was the fastest at the majority of the rounds.

Maybe the biggest surprise is who isn’t on this list? Despite finishing second in the standings, Ryan Dungey didn’t acquire the Oakley Bomb award at any point in the year. In order to post the fastest lap time, you have to lay it all on the line, and ride on the edge, which isn’t one of Dungey’s strong points. So, in my opinion, this is why he wasn’t the fastest qualifier at any of the rounds. Do you remember when James Stewart could throw down an unrivalled lap time on any track? Well, evidently those days are gone. But, he still has the speed, clearly, as he is on the list twice. Is it coincidental that he was the fastest qualifier in two consecutive weeks? Probably. However, you could argue that this was around the time that he hit his stride.

You cannot dispute that Josh Grant has the speed to contend at the front of the pack; he has always been able to put in one fast lap. It certainly was not surprising that he was the fastest qualifier at Lake Elsinore, as he grew up on the stereotypical, hard pack California tracks. It is that kind of speed that will continue to get Grant a ride year after year, as everyone believes that he will turn that speed into race winning consistency at some point.

The 250MX Class:

 

Fastest Qualifier

Round 1

Eli Tomac (1:57.5)

Round 2

Eli Tomac (2:03.7)

Round 3

Ken Roczen (2.02.0)

Round 4

Blake Baggett (2:14.8)

Round 5

Eli Tomac (1:59.8)

Round 6

Eli Tomac (1:58.3)

Round 7

Eli Tomac (2:18.0)

Round 8

Ken Roczen (2:08.7)

Round 9

Eli Tomac (1:53.4)

Round 10

Eli Tomac (2:15.6)

Round 11

Eli Tomac (2.00.9)

Round 12

Eli Tomac (2.09.1)

Unsurprisingly Eli Tomac occupied the title of ‘fastest qualifier’ more often than not; he was the recipient of the ‘Oakley Bomb’ award at nine of the twelve rounds, which is a testament to how much faster he actually was. It is interesting to see that Eli was faster than the riders in the 450MX class frequently, as well. It is intriguing that in both charts; the champions had more of a grasp on the title of fastest qualifier towards the end of the season. Maybe it is an indication that they really excelled as the year progressed; whilst others fell to the side, they remained strong throughout the twelve rounds.

In 2012, Blake Baggett was known for being able to throw down lap times much, much faster than his competition. However he was seemingly robbed of that title this year, as he was the fastest qualifier just once, at High Point. It is not surprising that he took the award home just once, as his results speak for themselves – he clearly did not have the speed this year. In fact I am a little surprised that he was the fastest qualifier at all!

I’m not too surprised that Ken Roczen was the fastest qualifier just twice, as well. In my mind his strengths this year were his starts, and consistency. In comparison, Tomac’s strength was his raw speed. It is interesting to see that Ken wasn’t the fastest qualifier again, following his Millville crash. It just goes to show that he clearly was not the same guy after that incident.

Words by Lewis Phillips

Image courtesy of Monster Energy

MX Vice Editor || 25

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