Justin Barcia (450SX): Justin Barcia has had a disastrous start to the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season, as he has no great results to speak of. Prior to the season opener, most pit pundits predicted that he would be in a position to fight for race wins, more often than not. However, Barcia has not been close to finishing on the box, let alone getting close to the lead. At this point, his best finish is a fourth, and he has finished in the top five on two other occasions.
Justin hit rock bottom at Anaheim 2, in my opinion, and he has been building himself back up since then. In recent weeks, he has shown some small flashes of his former self, which is promising. When he was struggling a few weeks ago, no one knew what was going on with him. Although most people said that his starts were the reason for his downfall, it can’t have been just, as that does not explain why his speed was so underwhelming.
I believe that it was a mental problem, as he had a lot of things going on. Firstly, Justin was expected to contend for the title, which adds pressure before the year has even begun. On top of that, he has also been trying to get a deal signed for 2015. I am sure that to some of you that seems peculiar, but a lot of the top guys try to get it sorted out early, for different reasons. Interestingly, rumours suggest that Barcia tested some different bikes also, which may have had a massive affect on him, as he may have realised that his Honda was not as strong as what some of his competitors are riding. After all, he was less than pleased with the 2013 model.
Anyway, I digress. In San Diego, Justin was fifth before he fell. He worked his way forward too, as he passed Justin Brayton, Andrew Short and Ryan Dungey to get to that position. The way that this season has gone, the fact that he passed those guys is an achievement. He may have fell, but there are plenty of positions that he can extract from the weekend. It is going to be a while before he wins a main event, if he does at all. I am not sure that he will get there, if I am honest. But, he should be stronger on the east coast; he has a lot more experience on the softer soil over there.
Dakota Tedder (250SX): Dakota Tedder has certainly been under the radar, so far this year, as no one has really talked about him at all, despite the fact that he has really improved. But, before we take a look at his season, lets look back at what he achieved in 2013, so that we have something to compare his results against. Dakota scored points at just four rounds last year, and his best result was a thirteenth.
Dakota is on the same program this year, as he is still riding under the team Tedder banner. Obviously, his own family is not going to fire him! Despite the fact that it is a privateer effort, his equipment is not awful. After all, he managed to grab the holeshot in the San Diego main event, against some of the more established riders and teams.
It is quite clear that his equipment is not holding him back, as he had one of his best finishes (a tenth) last weekend at Anaheim 3. Tedder then followed that up with an eleventh in San Diego. I am sure that he would have liked to finish a little further towards the front after grabbing the holeshot. But, the experience was new to him, and he will be more prepared for it next time. But, make sure you keep an eye on Dakota Tedder in the future, as I am sure that he will continue to progress in the coming months.
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: James Lissimore