2015 Monster Energy Supercross Preview | 250 West
One of the biggest topics of every offseason is what coast a 250 rider will compete on during the upcoming year. We've kept notes on the numerous intentions and rumors through the time off, and feel we have a solid grasp on what to expect come 2015. While everything in this post is the latest news and what we know, we've learned in the past that anything can change in just a moment with this sport.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Team Manager | Mitch Payton
Mitch Payton is known for waiting until the last minute to announce which of his riders will compete where, and this year is no different. Since two on the roster are currently injured and the one other healthy rider has a home in Georgia, we assume that Tyler Bowers and Chris Alldredge will carry the PC flag on the West Coast. Team-wide apparel deals will put every rider in Thor gear, SCOTT goggles, and Alpinestars boots, with Bell helmets now holding their heads.
Rider – Tyler Bowers
This ride marks the return of Bowers to Supercross racing. A rough start to his career resulted in a detour to the AMSOIL Arenacross, where the Kentuckian claimed four consecutive titles, and a prior 250 Main Event win proves Bowers has the experience he may have lacked in the past.
Rider – Chris Alldredge
Alldredge was overshadowed at last year's Loretta Lynn's Amateur National, but made his mark in the final round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with a streak of solid finishes. His limited Supercross experience makes for a question mark, but like any young professional, expect speed to come in time. (Because Alldredge hails from the Pacific Northwest, we'd think Payton will keep him out West, seeing how he is familiar with the soil and wouldn't need to make numerous cross-country trips to compete.)
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM
Team Manager | Tyler Keefe
Troy Lee's team stays on the West Coast, and that makes the addition of all three riders to this list incredibly easy. A new partnership with KTM takes the team to the next level, as they will be a select few to compete aboard the brand's all-new 250 SX-F Factory Edition. Of course, Troy's team will wear TLD gear and helmets, completed with Oakley goggles and Alpinestars boots.
Rider – Darryn Durham
Durham's history is riddled with injury, but immense talents have earned him a respectable ride for another season. The new bike and laid-back team should mesh well with Durham, and could be the perfect blend for Durham to deliver results.
Rider – Shane McElrath
McElrath's rookie season in Supercross was mixed, but those positive moments proved he has what it takes. He wasted no time jumping on the KTM at the start of the offseason, and with a few overseas races mixed in for good measure, may be hitting his peak when the year starts.
Rider – Jessy Nelson
Nelson is another rider staying with the TLD team, and like McElrath, learned plenty in the 2014 season. Stellar starts have put him at the front of the field before, and newfound knowledge should help keep him there as the laps click off.
Red Bull KTM
Team Manager | Roger DeCoster
Red Bull KTM will strike both coasts in 2015, with recent signee Justin Hill holding down the West side while Marvin Musquin makes another run back East. Fielding these riders makes the Austrian brand the only OEM running a 250 operation directly under its factory outfit, and Roger DeCoster will guide both through the season. Fox apparel will clad the riders, but the helmets, goggles, and boots worn is up to the rider.
Rider – Justin Hill
Hill's jump to KTM came with immediate results, as he claimed second place at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm and shocked many with solid rides at the Monster Energy Cup. Expectations for Hill are high, thanks in part to his exponential improvements over 2014, and he is slated as a title contender. As mentioned, he will wear Fox gear and boots, with a Shoei helmet and SPY goggles completing the kit.
Team Manager | Mike LaRocco
GEICO Honda has long been one of the top teams in the 250 class, but they've managed to grow even more in recent seasons with direct involvement from Honda and Yoshimura. A series of 250 team-wide deals will put all five riders in matching Alias gear, 6D helmets, Alpinestars boots, and 100% goggles. Since so many riders are under the tent, this is our best guess at which guys Mike LaRocco will mange on the West Coast.
Rider – Malcolm Stewart
In spite of his size and intentions to move to the 450 class full-time, Stewart is still on a 250 for 2015. A smart move, since jumping to the 450 ranks would have been forced Stewart to run the premier class as a privateer. But now he will be aboard what is arguably one of the best small-bore bikes in the field, and is viewed as a favorite for race wins and a title.
Rider – Matt Bisceglia
Bisceglia started to put the pieces together at the last rounds of the 2014 Supercross series, and the added knowledge will be helpful for a successful sophomore season. We've put Bisceglia on the West, mostly because he's remained in California for much of the offseason and a number of people on the team are unable to race this Saturday, due to health (Bogle, with shoulder injury) or ineligibility (Smith, needs to graduate Road To Supercross program).
Rider – RJ Hampshire |
CORRECTION: ALTHOUGH HAMPSHIRE WAS ORIGINALLY SLATED TO RACE WEST COAST, HE ANNOUNCED ON THE PULPMX RADIO SHOW THAT HE HAS SWITCHED TO THE EAST COAST.
A slew of victories and championships at this year's Loretta Lynn's made Hampshire the valedictorian of the graduating class, but he struggled to live up to the hype in his first pro races. A past win in the Amateur All-Stars portion of the 2013 Monster Energy Cup showed Hampshire understands what it takes to ride a Supercross track, and guidance from Tim Ferry will help ease the transition. We've put Hampshire on roster for this weekend, mostly because we doubt the team would put two complete rookies (Hampshire, Smith) on the same coast.
Team Manager | Steve Lamson
2014 was far and away the biggest year in the team's history, and there's a very good chance the effort improves even more in the next few months. And how could they now? They have direct support from Yamaha, are aboard some of the fastest bikes in the pits, and have a stack of young riders willing to push the limits, consequences be damned. All will wear matching ANSR gear, Bell lids, 100% goggles, and Gaerne boots.
Rider – Cooper Webb
Webb's rookie season was eventful, to say the least. He scored a number of solid finishes and showed speed throughout the entire West Coast series, but had a number of run-ins with other riders. Sure, aggressiveness is needed in the 250 class, but Webb needs to find the right amount without ruffling too many feathers. A stellar summer put him second in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and many have him pegged as a favorite for the 250 title.
Rider – Aaron Plessinger
A promising standout in the amateur ranks and during last year's Arenacross series, Plessinger is set to make his debut at A1. Those AX finishes were impressive, and he slayed the field in those tight confines, but how will he handle the pressure of a professional race? Anything could happen there.
Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna
Team Manager | Dave Gowland
Rockstar Energy Racing's progression from a small satellite outfit to top-tier team continues in 2015, and they are now the official factory effort of the rebirthed Husqvarna brand. Three guys comprise the 250 portion of the team, with two reportedly set to race on the West Coast. A new deal will put all the small-bore riders in FLY Racing apparel, with Airoh helmets, Dragon goggles, and Gaerne boots completing the look.
Rider – Zach Osborne
A list of injuries disrupted Osborne's time at GEICO Honda, but he managed to land a deal with the Husqvarna team midway through 2014. Solid results in past Supercross races, especially the handful of events in 2012 which earned Osborne a ticket back to the US, indicate that Osborne can run at the front of the field at any given time.
Rider – Zach Bell
Bell is another young rider that seems to be equal parts speed and injury. The footage of his Dallas 2013 crash is forever burned into our brains, and unfortunately there have been a few more slams in the time since. A departure from GEICO Honda resulted in a new gig at Rockstar Husky, and since Bell seems healthy/in California, we expect him to be on the line.
Team Manager | Christina Denney
Rider – Alex Martin
Martin has made progress in his time on the pro scene, and his return to the Yamaha-backed team will help continue the trend. Running on the West Coast might be a questionable decision, seeing how the elder Martin could make a bigger impact on the East Coast, but he’ll still be in the thick of the action during the entire season.
Rider – Greg Geher
A complete rookie to the professional ranks and the latest signee to the Rock River team, there are plenty of question marks around Geher and his potential. Remember the name and check back as the season continues.
Team Manager | Andy Bakken
Rider – Josh Hansen
This will be Hansen's umpteenth return to the professional ranks after time away from the track. Thanks to support from Motosport.com, Hansen has created a new team from the remnants of Weston Peick's 2014 program but gained factory Kawasaki support. However the elephant in the room is how long he will last until something, good or bad, happens. He could win a number of main events or fail to reach the halfway point. Regardless, you have to keep eyes on the 100.
Team Manager | Marty Smith
Rider – Scott Champion
Rider – Cole Martinez
Rider –Zack Freeberg
Rider – Cheyenne Harmon
One of the many Yamaha supported teams in the pit area, the Strikt/Slaton effort will field four riders on the West Coast. Scott Champion, Cole Martinez, Zack Freeberg, and Cheyenne Harmon will race under the guidance of icon Marty Smith. Champion and Freeberg have cut impressive finishes in the past, and the entire team adds depth to the 250 field.
Team Manager | Guy Cooper
Rider – Tommy Hahn
Hahn seems to have unfinished business with professional racing, and after a number of one-off attempts at the Nationals, is back for another run at the 250 class. Although he may be the oldest of the field, the veteran is certainly one of the fastest and most mature.
Rider – Nico Izzi
Izzi's promising career hit a rough patch after a crash in 2009, but it looks like he's overcome the issues and will be back on the line at Anaheim One aboard a Yamaha with support from Rockwell Watches.
Rocket Exhaust Racing
Rider – Michael Leib
Despite a number of good finishes in 2014, Leib was unable to land a spot with a team for 2015 and will instead run the privateer route on the West Coast. Backed by Rocket Exhaust and anyone that wants to support his program, the Southern California native has the potential to make waves any given weekend.