AMA Supercross Heads East to Dallas for Round 7
The beginning of the long eastward swing for the AMA Supercross series begins this coming weekend at cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas. In what's been an outstanding start to the 2013 season, things will be rebooted in the 250SX class while the intensity promises to increase in the 450s.
Last weekend's racing in San Diego was predictably outstanding, with points leader Davi Millsaps taking the 450 main event win for the 2nd time this season. It wasn't without drama, though, as Chad Reed was quickly closing in on the #18 in the early portions of the race before sliding out in a corner. It appeared for a while that Reed, who'd been off the pace all day prior to the main event, was setting Millsaps up for a pass that would've led to his seventh win at Qualcomm Stadium. It was not to be, however, as once Reed got rolling again he found himself mid-pack and fighting to keep from falling further back before picking the pace up. Millsaps joins Ryan Villopoto as the only rider to win two main events this season in the 450 class.
After Reed hit the deck it was Justin Barcia who pressured Millsaps for a while, but was unable to make a move before the checkers flew. It was a significant win for Millsaps, who's points lead is now to 19 over 2nd place Dungey.
Speaking of Dungey, he's rather sneakily cemented himself into 2nd place in the series, and within striking distance of Millsaps should he DNF or have a particularly bad night. Dungey's long been known as Mr. Consistent, and it's served him well on his way to multiple Supercross and motocross championships over the past couple of years. This year appears to be no different, as he's ahead of every other title contender including defending champ Ryan Villopoto, who's eight points back. By all accounts Dungey has re-gained his mojo and, with a good start, has already proven he's got the pace and stamina necessary to win.
Villopoto had another one of those forgettable nights, when after storming to his heat race win but getting a so-so start in the main, he fell during his effort to chase down the leaders. RV was showing a solid bit of fight before that happened though, battling hard with James Stewart, Reed and Justin Brayton before finally making his way past them all. Look for the #2 to regroup on the series' eastward swing beginning this weekend, which brings softer, more rutted dirt into the equation and which has historically favored his style of riding.
San Diego was the 2nd time in Supercross history that a staggered re-start occurred during a night's show. In Heat #1, Ryan Villopoto had just made his way to the front and was pulling away when a rider further back in the pack suffered a scary crash and was being attended to by medical staff in a main racing line. Since it'd happened at right about the halfway point of the race, it was decided that a re-start wasn't fair and per the rulebook, a staggered re-start was ordered where the riders lined up in the order in which they were racing in when the red flag flew. Never a dull moment at AMA Supercross!
In the western regional 250SX class, there's no doubt a few riders who aren't appreciative of having the next seven weeks off. There are several riders who, after six rounds, were just finding their true speed - riders like Jason Anderson (above). After scoring an impressive 2nd podium this season, Anderson made it clear that he had the leader's pace after himself being the leader for several laps in the San Diego main event, but he also appeared to drift off the pace after being passed by both Tomac and Roczen. It must be frustrating for Anderson not being able to line up this weekend to re-test his staying power at the front.
So once again it was Roczen and Tomac out front, only this time switching spots as Tomac was barely able to squeak out his fourth win of the season. Still reeling from the 19th place he suffered in Oakland, Eli is still seventeen points down on Roczen who's consistency and speed has been critical this season as he's not finished off the podium - or even worse than 2nd - in six rounds. Perhaps because of Roczen's consistency and the big points gap for the west title race (and the relative unlikelihood that he can make up the difference in the remaining couple of rounds), Tomac and his team have decided to let him run in the 450SX class beginning in Atlanta. Sure to be a front-runner from the first gate drop, this adds a whole new dimension to an already incredible field of talent.
Of course this weekend marks the beginning of the eastward swing of the series, and the debut of such talent as Dean Wilson (above). Wilson is one of several top names beginning their run at a title in Dallas and over the next eight weekends. Dean's #15 Pro Circuit Kawasaki is a known quantity at the front of the pack, and pursuing him this time are a host of rookies and a few other established stars.
Wilson's teammate Justin Hill is a good example, making his career supercross (and, for that matter, professional racing) debut with a lot of hope for solid results. Hill is going to be chased by a number of other fast rookies, namely Geico Honda's Zach Bell as well as several others. A complete rider list is available here: http://www.amasupercross.com/entries.aspx?eventId=173&class=1
As far as more established stars to challenge for wins, look for the #13 of Blake Wharton to be a threat for every race win. Additionally, KTM's former FIM World Champion Marvin Musquin will certainly be on point to snag wins every weekend, as will Honda rider Wil Hahn. The east looks to be nearly as stacked as the west and Dallas this weekend is sure to be a barn-burning opener to the east regional series. Keep tabs on the action with our Live Timing & Scoring right here on amasupercross.com, and look for practice and race photo updates both here and on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AMASupercrossChampionship .