Stacked 250SX East battle set to kick off Saturday night
The Monster Energy Supercross tour will get a blast of fresh air as Round 7 marks the onset of the Eastern Regional 250SX Championship. At the conclusion of qualifying in Minneapolis, 40 new faces will break dirt as they begin their quest for the No. 1 plate in Las Vegas. Not that the season needed to get any more exciting as Justin Hill, Shane McElrath, Austin Forkner and Aaron Plessinger have thrilled fans with outstanding racing action, but this East Coast group is quite arguably the deepest gate full of 250SX contenders we have seen in years.
Leading the way is the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki duo of Adam Cianciarulo and Joey Savatgy. We say “leading the way” because the Pro Circuit team owns more 250SX titles than any team in Supercross history. In addition, Joey and Adam are multi-time main event winners and for Savatgy, he lost the 2016 Western Regional championship by a single point to Cooper Webb. Joey has been training at “The GOAT Farm” with Ricky Carmichael and is a heavy favorite to finish the game this year and capture the championship. Meanwhile, Cianciarulo enters 2017 off of a string of injuries and will be eager to prove that he can be consistent and challenge for the title. He is strong with talent and speed.
The Geico Honda team is no stranger to winning either and has posted two entries in the name of Christian Craig and RJ Hampshire that will be stout. Craig won his first career 250SX main event in 2016 and has as much natural talent as any rider in the field. As for Hampshire, he has a couple of seasons under his belt and could serve as a wild card in the title fight.
Another potent team vying for the championship will be Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha. Boasting a three-rider squad, the likes of Colt Nichols, Dylan Ferrandis and Mitchell Harrison will be a force to be reckoned with. Nichols was slated to run the Western Region, however he suffered a broken femur and was forced to switch coasts. Preseason reports from the test track said that Nichols was absolutely flying before the injury. Harrison enters his sophomore season with a lot of potential and will be riding hard as he will be in a contract year. Then along comes a dark horse by the name of Ferrandis. The Frenchman is a relative unknown to American Supercross, but placed seventh in the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship with 7 podiums and a win.
We can’t forget about 250SX class veteran Zach Osborne. Owner of multiple podium finishes, Zach has had to fight off nagging injuries for the past couple seasons and if the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna pilot can stay healthy, he has strong championship potential. His preseason scouting report lists that he has been training at the Baker’s Factory in Central Florida with Ryan Dungey, Marvin Musquin and Jason Anderson, which will no doubt have Zach in shape.
Finally, the Red Bull Troy Lee Designs team is as solid as ever. With Jordon Smith and Alex Martin bringing the Orange Brigade to the starting line, expect to see an immediate podium presence from the duo. Smith has blazing speed, but a propensity for crashes. If he can keep it on two wheels, he will most certainly surprise. As for “A-Mart,” the veteran is extremely fit and always gets good starts. With a little luck, he has race winning potential.
Ah, but wait, there is more!
Team Rocky Mountain ATV/MC WPS KTM rider Benny Bloss has potential to really shake things up. The 6’6” AMA Rookie of the Year and AMSOIL Arenacross graduate has a solid preseason report card and team manager Forrest Butler says his corner speed is exceptional. Keep your eyes on #34.
Throw in names like Kyle Cunningham, podium finisher Gannon Audette and Lorenzo Lorcucio and we have an extremely talented and deep field.