Privateers and the Stewart's: Seven Deuce Deuce, Ronnie Mac and more…
With Anaheim 1 only a few days away, let's jump right in with some breaking news. Malcom Stewart; he is OUT! There is no concrete reason, only mentions about him not being ready. Despite what everyone is saying about James Stewart, he will NOT be racing at all this season. James is currently in no shape to race, and I hope he calls it a career even if an opportunity becomes available. He has had too many concussions and I personally don't want to see him take any more punishment. And finally, Justin Barcia in coming into the season with an unreported wrist injury sustained during training.
As far as privateers to watch keep your eyes on my favorite guys, the Enticknap brothers. Adam and Tyler have been grinding it out at Castillo Ranch within an earshot of Roczen. Watch Tyler, this is his season to make the jump from making night shows to riding main events. Adam has been in quite a few main events and after riding the Australian SX series for Honda I look for him to be a regular main event participant, after the first few events (need a few Factory guys to have issues). I don't expect any more than 1 or 2 privateers in the first couple main events. But as every series progresses we lose a few Factory riders and the Enticknap brothers will be there ready to sneak in through the Semi or LCQ.
Jimmy Albertson is back on a 450 where I believe he belongs. This season he only has to worry about himself and his program since Motorcycle Superstore pulled the rug out from under his 250 team. He has the speed to bump some Factory guys from the main events, nobody does better on the bubble than Jimmy. Look for some “air wheelies” across the finish line from the guy who plays Ronnie Mac in the LCQ’s.
(According to GBowman: Kyle is now on a 250, see comments)
Next is another casualty of the Motorcycle Superstore rug pulling incident, Kyle Cunningham. Kyle is riding a Husqvarna and when his confidence is high he can ride with the top dogs. He has a 4th place finish in the 450 class at Las Vegas when he rode for Vali Yamaha. Like most riders, Kyle struggles with confidence. If he makes main events early he could be a real pain for riders, specifically Josh Grant and Mike Alessi.
Team Tedder’s Dakota Tedder has a smooth style that works well with the 450, if he stays healthy and doesn't drop to the 250 class in the East he will find his groove on the 450. The field thins out by the time the series goes east and that is where he could potentially start being a mainstay in main events. Nick Schmidt will be a mainstay battling for the 4th or 5th spot in Semi’s and LCQ’s. He is a guy who Factory riders fear in qualifying, he proved in Germany he can beat anyone in a short race.
Other guys to throw in the mix for main events, given the right circumstance; Cade Clason, Alex Ray, Austin Politelli, Dustin Pipes and Jeff Alessi. For the sake of racing I hope Jeff Alessi doesn't make the main, he has no interest on racing the full twenty minutes. I refer to it as “pulling a Kyle Partridge,” or being a rolling spectator during the main event.
Look for my analysis, interviews and more from the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross series.
In case you missed it: