During the silly season most of the focus is on the makers and shakers in the 450 championships. For this little edition we are just going to concentrate on the 250 guys and who is capable of what. There has not been a ton of news on the question mark 250 guys and there are a more than a few coveted seats out there.
First and most obvious will be the PC team. They will return with Blake Baggett and to the best of my knowlege that is all they have signed so far for next year. Now that is a bit of a false statement considering they have Tickle signed, but that is a whole other issue. In short Tickle has pointed out of the 250 class, yet he still has one year left on his deal with PC and Kawasaki. I have heard quite a few scenarios and most of them involve a 450, but the question is for whom.
PC is not a 450 team and despite what many think there are some contract obligations that don’t allow for Mitch to run a 450 team. This puts Kawasaki in the position to come up with a third bike and I am pretty sure they are not wanting that. Then there is the scenario I heard that Brock would ride a 450 indoors and a 250 outdoors with Tyla Rattray doing the same thing along side Brock. Once again I will stress that there would be some major hurdles to overcome for this to be a reality and I wouldn’t be holding my breath on this one. The third and most probable option is that Kawasaki and PC buy out Brock’s contract and let him see what he can put together. I am sure Tickle would be tempted to take the deal, but if I am his agent I play hard ball and refuse, if possible. Brock really doesn’t have a 450 career ahead of him and the money is already there, so the kid needs to ride for something in the middle. As far as the other names I would expect Durham and maybe Decotis or Martin.
The Yamaha guys are looking pretty good and I know that Swanepol is confirmed with the Star Racing team. His team mates should be Malcom Stewart and possibly one of the names above. They have the Cosworth support and they have some funding so it should be a good team if they can keep their management issues in line. I think there was a little dissappointent with Sipes this year and I am betting most of it came down to the management issues. I think this year if they can find someone who knows what they are doing in terms of actually growing the riders then they could be championship contenders on both coasts. The other Yamaha team, MotoConcepts has their team taking shape and will also have a title contender. Kyle Cunningham should be a solid threat for race wins next year. The team has been slowly showing results and after all the distractions with Pourcel it is no surprise there was some mid season drama. Now that is all behind them and I believe they should be looking for just one more guy.
The Honda riders are for the most part signed up. The FC team will have Boggle, Tomac, Barcia in some shape or form and Will Hahn. Hahn was a major flop this year and most of it was due to injuries. I am sure FC and Hahn are expecting more this year and if they can keep Will healthy he should be there number one guy on the West Coast. Barcia however made things a little more difficult when he decided to step up to the 450’s and lay the wood down. I have heard a few rumors on Barcia for next year and most of them focus on Justin riding the 250 indoors and the 450 outdoors. Once again I will say this would be a foolish decision, but I would understand them wanting to defend the championship.
As far as Suzuki goes I am not sure what is going to happen. The whole Rockstar support may have had a major shift in brand loyalty and this has to make you wonder about their funding. Davalos and Morais should be out, but it does not mean they will be. I was joking the other day that there should be a rule for the 250’s that if you are a father you should be forced to ride the 450 class. My reasoning is that if you have a kid and compete on a 250 then you are either too young or too old. Morais is this guy and despite his nice guy image Ryan is kind of out of lives in my opinion. I am sure he will get a ride, but where is a question mark. Jason Anderson was pretty solid towards the end of the season and I think Jason should be back. This year was a rough one for the kid, but I think he will raise a few brows next year then snag a PC ride the year after. I know I am getting way ahead of myself.
As for the reamaining teams and riders there will be a dominoe effect just like in the 450’s. Also in a lot of cases what the 450 riders do dictate what the 250 guys will get. Suzuki is a company with a major issue to sign a high dollar rider and without Rockstart this is what makes me wonder about the lites team. There is the ARMA team, but they lost their top guy to Yamaha so I am not sure where that leaves them. There will be plenty of riders available for seats like that and the list will be long. Friday I will actually dedicate time to profiling each rider in the class and maybe fill in some of the missing holes in the class including KTM.