Motocross, motocross, motocross! After five long months of cold weather and supercross, it’s finally time to get down to business. Motocross is what most of you readers spend your weekends doing and where your passion lies. For the pros, it’s a turning of the page and a completely different approach to racing. The heat is turned to an 11 and the bumps become death defying. It’s the true essence of the sport and I, for one, am fired up.
Hangtown has been the debut race for several years now and is a tough place to kick things off. The Hangtown dirt is difficult to find comfort on and the sharp bumps don’t help. For riders trying to find their ideal settings, this track just adds to the confusion. Almost every rider will complain about their bike feeling “stiff” this weekend. That’s a by-product of the hard bumps, which will give a harsh feeling. The Dirt Diggers have helped that a bit by bringing in all kinds of dirt from other locations in recent years but as race time approaches, the hard base will appear. That hard base will have the riders asking for softer settings and also cause many-a-blister on Saturday afternoon.
This year’s layout looks to be much of the same. It still has the long uphills and downhills that Hangtown has always been known for. An overwhelming percentage of passes will be made on these downhills so proper suspension setup and the riders’ confidence are crucial to success. If the rider feels he can accelerate down the hill and his bike will respond favorably, he will push harder and be willing to attempt passes. If the rider is unsure of what his bike will do, he is going to hesitate and brake earlier, slowing his lap time.
The Fly 150 jump was a cool addition in recent years and marks a true test for 450 horsepower. Rounding the right-hand sweeper, riders need every bit of momentum available to jump the entire distance. It’s always fun to see riders stretching their 450 legs on one of the biggest jumps of the year. If you’re looking to see who has the power and who doesn’t, look no further.
Who is the man to beat in the 250 class?
Can anyone stop Eli Tomac this summer?
Who will be the top KTM/Husqvarna rider between Blake Baggett, Marvin Musquin, and Jason Anderson?
Does Cooper Webb find his stride now that we have moved outside?
Will the bad blood between Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and Zach Osborne flare up?
Will the 94 degree heat take a toll on Dylan Ferrandis?
Osborne is coming off of his first championship and should have more confidence than ever before.
Adam Cianciarulo won Las Vegas and has led Hangtown before.
Tomac doesn’t have either of his biggest rivals in this series making him the big favorite.
Jeremy Martin has been riding outdoors for several weeks in preparation for this outdoor assault.
Baggett has been counting down the days to get this ball rolling. He is locked and loaded.
Joey Savatgy had a heart breaker end to the supercross championship and now has to bounce back quickly.
Jordon Smith had a huge crash in Las Vegas and hasn’t been able to ride in the subsequent days. Between he and Savatgy, that’s two guys with tough endings to the season that were also the top two riders at Hangtown a year ago.
Musquin had a horrible Las Vegas and with Ryan Dungey retiring, the pressure is on more than ever.
Roger DeCoster rides Dungey’s vacated KTM 450 and turns in a respectable 5-3 score.
Osborne collides with a Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider and Mitch Payton burns down the AMA truck.
Ken Roczen makes an epic comeback, riding with one arm. He finishes just behind DeCoster in both motos.
Jeff Emig still thinks that Tomac was unable to pull away from the pack, lost three seconds per lap for seemingly no reason, and was caught by Josh Grant, Anderson, Baggett, and Chad Reed.
Martin Davalos sports a “Suck it, Matthes” buttpatch in his 450 debut.
Baggett holeshots the first 450 moto.