For many (ourselves included), the tension and excitement of the 250 division has been the only thing keeping us from falling asleep in the sun next to track while at the Nationals. The young, talented racers that make up the class have made this race season unforgettable and as we come to the end of the year, three in particular have a chance to claim the first National titles of their career.
436 points / 9 moto wins
With a disappointing Supercross season behind him, Blake Baggett needed to find redemption in the summer months. Pegged as a main contender for the 2012 title following his third place finish in last year’s championship, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider showed his cards in the first round of the year when he tracked down and passed Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen for the overall at Hangtown. It has been much the same since then, as Baggett’s ability to find unorthodox lines have moved him to the front of the pack more than a few times. With a 24-point advantage coming into the final motos, this is Baggett’s championship to lose.
412 points / 4 moto wins
2012 is Justin Barcia’s final chance to claim a 250 Outdoor title. With a lucrative ride next season at Team Honda Muscle Milk, the two-time East Coast Lites Champion has no worries in terms of a stable future, but the missing trophy on his mantle forces him to ride each moto like it his last chance. The GEICO Powersports Honda rider has led the most laps of anyone in the class, but has not been at the front at the final flag, which is truly the only one that counts. Barcia is not afraid of slamming his way to claim a moto win, and with only four chances left, it may be necessary.
408 points / 6 moto wins
Following his splash into the professional ranks, where he swept Hangtown 2010 with 1-1 scores to take the overall in his first ever professional race, Eli Tomac’s outdoor career has fallen flat. Until now, that is. Tomac has grabbed six victories this summer and has a chance to swoop in and steal the championship should Baggett and Barcia crack or falter over the next two weekends. While aggressive moves are not his standard strategy, Tomac has shown he can and will park a competitor for the win.
Steel City has seen its share of game-changing moments over its time on the schedule, including Grant Langston’s rear wheel exploding and Ryan Hughes’ valiant last-lap struggle to push his bike uphill. While one hopes nothing as dramatic will happen to any of the three title contenders, the idea that a massive event can happen is hard to shake from your mind. Though only four rounds remain, this season is far from finished.