As the days of December continue to pass, preparations for the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season are in full swing with riders logging laps on the many Southern California test tracks. As the countdown to Anaheim 1 continues, airing LIVE on Fox Sports 1 on January 4th, it’s time to take a look at the bright future of the sport.
Traditionally, the premier 450SX Class gets all the attention and rightfully so. With names like Villopoto, Dungey, Stewart, Reed, Barcia, Canard, Millsaps and more all capable of winning every weekend it’s hard not to. However, this season’s crop of young stars in the 250SX Class could produce some major fireworks of their own. On paper there are a couple clear-cut favorites as both Dean Wilson and Marvin Musquin have a proven pedigree of success, while some of their fellow contenders have yet to even line up for a Supercross heat race. Nevertheless, the amount of talent in this division suggests that both veterans will have their hands full as they prepare to lead the way.
While the bulk of announcements as to who will be competing in which region have yet to formally be made, this is an overall scope of the 250SX Class and a bit of a forecast as to what we might see when they all go head-to-head for one time only in Las Vegas next May in the East/West Shootout.
The Favorites: Dean Wilson and Marvin Musquin
As mentioned earlier, this duo will come into the season as heavy favorites but by no means does their experience and success give them a free pass to the title. Considering how much they have accomplished and knowing that this will be their final year in the smaller displacement, you’ve got to figure they will be in separate regions in an effort to maximize title potential.
After all, despite their impressive credentials neither of these riders has won a Supercross championship, but with six and four career wins, respectively, they have stood atop the podium more than anyone else in the class. If both can be consistent and ride to their abilities they will be tough to beat, but we all know in the world of Supercross nothing is a sure thing.
The Threats: Jason Anderson, Cole Seely, Blake Baggett
These three riders also know what it takes to win. Both Seely and Baggett have three victories to their credit, but consistency and bad luck has ultimately prevented them from being constant title contenders. As for Anderson, his breakthrough maiden win towards the end of last season topped off a coming out party in 2013. He emerged as one of the riders to watch in the future and you’ve got to think he’ll keep the confidence going into 2014. This trio has the tools to battle for wins every week and likely will be in the hunt.
The Wild Cards: Blake Wharton, Malcolm Stewart, Zach Osborne, Jeremy Martin, Justin Bogle, Joey Savatgy, Darryn Durham, Kyle Cunningham, Martin Davalos, Zach Bell
This list of riders is a sign of the incredible depth in the 250SX Class. Each has shown the ability to challenge for a podium and could ultimately end up as factors in the championship battle. Riders like Blake Wharton and Darryn Durham have captured victories in the past so you never know what to expect from them. Kyle Cunningham and Martin Davalos are the class’ most experienced riders, which can ultimately play into their favor but could also work against them when battling their youthful rivals. Osborne, Martin, and Stewart will have their chances to shine as lead riders at their respective efforts, while Bell looks to make the most of his second full season of action. As for Bogle and Savatgy, their seasons are currently up in the air following recent injuries. Savatgy’s multitude of injuries – broken wrist, AC separation, broken ribs, partially collapsed lungs – very well could mean a heartbreaking premature end to his season after a big signing with Rockstar Energy Racing. As for Bogle – five broken vertebra and broken shoulder blade – he could potentially be on the line come the East Region.
The Rookies: Adam Cianciarulo, Cooper Webb, Matt Bisceglia, Shane McElrath
While each of these riders has never competed in Monster Energy Supercross, the amount of hardware they amassed as amateurs is astounding. Without a doubt, this is a collection of arguably the most decorated group of rookies to ever enter a Supercross season and this foursome could very well be the future of the sport in five years.
Each was able to get their feet wet last summer in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship and some Monster Energy Cup experience in its amateur showcases will no doubt lend a helping hand in the technical adjustment to Supercross. It’s hard to say what anyone expects from this group in their first season, but they are a cause for excitement in this loaded class.
The Import: Dean Ferris
In arguably the biggest news of the offseason, Dean Ferris was promptly relieved from his factory-supported ride in Europe to become Musquin’s counterpart at KTM. The Australian youngster turned heads last summer in the FIM World Motocross Championship and cemented himself as an up-and-comer with a strong outing at the Motocross of Nations in September. While his lack of experience makes him an unknown on U.S. soil, the vote of approval to get him stateside from team manager Roger DeCoster speaks volumes about his potential.
In the coming weeks, the 250SX Class picture will become a little clearer as we begin to learn who will be competing in which region. Regardless, with this list of 20 hopefuls and the many more expected to throw their name into the mix in 2014, it won’t really matter who is racing where because the competition guaranteed to be exciting with perhaps the most talented field ever assembled in the smaller displacement.FOX Sports 1, Monster Energy Cup, Supercross