The gate drops on the penultimate round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series this Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kevin Windham took the win at last year’s race, and he commented that it’s the first time he’s ever recalled racing in the snow.
The 2011 AMA Supercross Series championship hangs in the balance in the next 10 days. Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, and James Stewart are separated by a mere nine points with only two races to go: Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
Kevin Windham Salt Lake City Supercross 2010
Certainly, this season has been one of the most memorable and most exciting in Supercross history. So what can we expect to see at Saturday night’s Supercross in Salt Lake City? Here are a few things to look for:
1. Wide Open Throttles
The top four riders know that if they want to be the one holding up the number one plate at the end of the season that they had better be the one putting down the fastest laps. The problem is there are 19 other riders on the track at the same time. The permutations are endless for how each rider would have to finish based on how the other riders finish to secure the coveted championship. Endless permutations or not, one thing is certain in the mind of each of those four – they must finish ahead of the other three.
2. E.T. Phone Home
Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac has been hanging around the top of the points standings all season. After finishing second in Seattle he sits only seven points out of first place. Just seven! Tomac already has one win to his credit in San Diego and has landed on the podium at all but the first two races of the year, which also happened to be the first two Supercross races of his young career. Look for young Eli to put it together in Salt Lake City and take full advantage of Vegas being a point-scoring round this year.
3. Some Get-offs
The riders battling for the championship in both classes will be pushing hard Saturday night. There are two potential results from riding on the edge like they will be in Salt Lake City: winning or crashing. Only one person can win in each class. That leaves room for a lot of other riders to find out first-hand if the dirt is really salty in the Great Salt Flats.
4. 250 West Lites: Same ol’, Same ol’
With Josh Hansen’s hand in pretty rough shape, Broc Tickle, Eli Tomac, and Cole Seely are the top riders out there. Seely has come out of his shell and is proving why is contender. Tickle has made the most out of having a PC bike underneath him. He was obviously very talented before Mitch signed him and he has done nothing but benefit from having his bike set up by one of the best in the business. Tomac hit the ground running in 2010, winning his first professional Motocross race at Hangtown. Heat exhaustion suffered at Freestone derailed him for several rounds, but he ended the season on a high note. He entered 2011 as a Supercross unknown, but continues to show he is a top level rider. A championship pedigree from both parents does not hurt him any. These three guys will be on the podium again Saturday, with Tomac on top as I mentioned above.
5. Supercross Class: Anything Goes
The only thing that has been certain in 2011 is that nothing is certain. Just when it looked like things were settling down, they went crazy again. Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey have held a pretty steady course throughout the year and it has left them in a good position. Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart have each won five races and each have DNFs. So, will steady and certain prevail or will it be edgy and unpredictable? Look for Reed and Dungey to remain steady and find their way to the podium. James Stewart’s hot streak comes to an end. He will make a big enough mistake to cost him the podium, but he is good enough to find himself back in fourth place. Ryan Villopoto can taste his first championship on the big bike and will race his way to the podium along with the Reed / Dungey combo.
Then again, with the way this season has gone, anything can happen and make my words look foolish. Get to Salt Lake and find out firsthand!
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