Photo: Simon Cudby – KTM Images

The 2013 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX Western Regional Championship reconvenes this Saturday night for round number seven and the Seattle Supercross. With rain always in the forecast at Century Link Field, it is the perfect place to start the three-race sprint to Vegas. Heading into their eight week break, the defending champ, GEICO/Honda’s Eli Tomac, won his fourth main event of the year in San Diego, but with his DNF at round four in Oakland, Eli trails Red Bull/KTM’s Ken Roczen by seventeen points. The two have won all six 250SX West main events so far in 2013, but with Ken’s worst finish of the year being second place, his consistency rules the day.

In the first few rounds of the series, Roczen was definitely a tick off of the number 1’s pace, but his strategy of staying consistent and waiting for a mistake from Eli paid off big in Oakland. In Oakland—after handily winning the first three main events of the year—Eli crashed twice and ended his day with a DNF 20th while Roczen scored his first win of ’13 and secured the points lead. At the next round in Anaheim, Roczen backed that up with a wire-to-wire win that solidified his place at the top of the points. Unfortunately for Tomac, he struggled after a bad start in Anaheim and was only able to grab the third spot on the box. With that, Roczen’s lead over Tomac grew to twenty.

After watching Tomac ride away from him at the first three rounds of the year, and then winning one by default in Oakland, I’m not sure Roczen believed he could beat Tomac straight up. But after winning the next race in Anaheim, I think Kenny started to believe. At round six in San Diego, Tomac got the start, and it quickly began to look like the first three rounds all over again. Eli checked out, but Kenny’s newfound confidence showed as he reeled in the GEICO/Honda. With five laps to go, Tomac led by five seconds, but when the checkered flag waved, his lead was only .202. While Kenny did not get the win, he did head into the break knowing Tomac was no longer on another level.

Eli Tomac - Photo: Devin Davis
Eli Tomac – Photo: Devin Davis

Now the series resumes this weekend with just three rounds left on the schedule and Roczen holding on to a semi-comfortable seventeen-point lead. A lot can happen in three main events so the Championship is by no means on lock, but there is going to be a huge mountain for Tomac to climb unless he finds some help. He needs to win, and he needs a couple riders to step up and finish between himself and the #94. Luckily for Eli, we are not in the East—where there are only four podium contenders—because the West has plenty of riders that can step up and play point snatchers.

First, there is Eli’s teammate on the GEICO/Honda squad Zach Osborne. After a breakthrough year in 2012, most expected Osborne to be a factor in ’13, but so far the #338 has had a disappointing year. Zach sits eighth in the Championship with a season high fourth at A2. Zach came into 2013 off a couple of serious injuries, so I’m sure the GEICO squad is hoping the eight week break and a couple GNCC podium finishes during the break will put him back on track. If Zach’s on point and his starts are dialed, he could definitely play spoiler.

Eli Tomac  (1)  Cole Seely  (43)  Photo: Devin Davis
Eli Tomac (1) Cole Seely (43) Photo: Devin Davis

Then there’s the two Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders: Tyla Rattray and Martin Davalos. Both came into 2013 with lofty expectations, but both have had less than stellar performances thus far. Martin, has had flashes of brilliance—with a 3rd at Phoenix and a 2nd at A3—but Tyla has had us all scratching our heads with 8th place being his best finish on the year. I can’t see Tyla being any help for Eli, but Martin has shown he has the speed to mix it up with the top-two. Martin will be looking to quiet the critics, so I do expect to see him costing either the #1 or the #94 a few points.

The person with the best chance of stealing points from the Championship players is Troy Lee Designs/Honda’s Cole Seely. Cole came into 2013 recovering from a serious injury—that had him sitting out all of the 2012 outdoor season—and surprised everyone with how fast he got back up to speed. While the Californian’s speed was on point, the three-time main event winner’s fitness had not quite caught up. He did, however, start the year on the podium in three of the first four main events, but the last two rounds before the break were disastrous. With numerous crashes and finishes of 12th and 15th, his championship hopes ended. Cole now sits more than forty-points back, but with his health and fitness back on point, I expect him to be fighting for wins. Cole won the Seattle SX in 2011, and he should be more than ready to play spoiler at the ’13 edition.

Ken Roczen (94)  Jessy Nelson  (36)  Photo: Devin Davis
Ken Roczen (94) Jessy Nelson (36) Photo: Devin Davis

Another team that will be in Seattle and looking to grab a spot on the box is Rockstar Energy Racing and their weapons: Jason Anderson and Ryan Sipes. Anderson started out 2013 a little slow, but the New Mexico native landed on the podium in two of the last three main events. Look for Jason to carry that momentum into Seattle with him on Saturday. As far as Sipes goes, you never know what you’re going to get. The two-time main event winner broke his hand early in the year but has been on the bike and, from what I’m hearing, looks good. Ryan is awesome in rutty conditions like we usually see in Seattle and is the defending Seattle SX winner from 2012. Ryan is dangerous and will be looking to salvage what has been a rough 2013.

Two riders who haven’t been on the box yet in 2013, but definitely have podium potential are Star Racing’s Kyle Cunningham and MotoThump/HRT/Honda rider Austin Politelli—who has been a huge surprise. Both Kyle and Austin started the year hovering around the top-ten but moved into the top-five just before the break. Politelli scored a career-best fourth in San Diego, while Kyle—who has been on the podium in the past—scored two top fives in the last three main events coming from the back.

With all these podium threats and rookies like Joey Savatgy and Jessy Nelson looking to make a name for themselves over the last three rounds, this Championship could get intense. Also, with rain falling all week in the Seattle area and a solid chance of rain Saturday night, weather could become the great equalizer. I know the German Roczen grew up racing in Europe where rain is a’plenty, but he has not seen anything that resembles a SX with peg deep ruts. Seattle can get gnarly and could change everything. If Ken leaves Seattle with more than a seventeen point cushion, I’m calling game over. If not, game on.

Ken Roczen - Photo: Simon Cudby - KTM Images
Ken Roczen – Photo: Simon Cudby – KTM Images

See ya in Seattle.

2013 250SX Championship Points

1. #94 Ken Roczen – 138
2. #1 Eli Tomac – 121
3. #43 Cole Seely- 95
4. #21 Jason Anderson – 88
5. #38 Kyle Cunningham – 83
6. #40 Martin Davalos – 82
7. #338 Zach Osborne – 82
8. #176 Joey Savatgy – 62
9. #59 Christian Craig -62
10. #36 Jessy Nelson – 60


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.