Professor Swizzlestick is in with his 2016 450 Supercross marks.
Professor Swizzlestick is in with his 2016 450 Supercross marks.Lead Photo By: James Lissimore
I like to take the week following the final round of a given series to really look at the season as a whole on a per rider basis. I take into account what I had anticipated of them prior to the series kick off, any troubles they dealt with or overcame during the series and of course, hoe they ended up when the final checkered flag fell.
Here we go folks, the 2016 Supercross report cards for the top 20 in 450 Supercross.
1. Ryan Dungey A- : Ryan Dungey was of course the favorite as the series kicked off. He had a full pre-season boot camp with Aldon Baker for the first time and having seen the drastic improvements to the Ryan Dungey Machine in 2015 after joining Aldon, we all knew he was going to be even better this year. And he was. He had the inside lines on nearly every main event start of the series and unbelievably, no one could rob him of this move.
Dungey was faster, more aggressive and more impressive than ever before. The only thing keeping him from a straight A, was Roczen surge during the closing rounds of the series. I wonder if Dungey’s podium streak will stand till the end of time? Probably.
2. Ken Roczen B : Ken Roczen’s series was just good enough to keep Dungey honest until the last few rounds when the title appeared to be all but wrapped up. Watching Roczen during the last 1/4 of the series reminded me a lot of Chad Reed’s second half of 2003 when he dominated Ricky Carmichael but the damage was already done by RC early and often.
Seeing how good Roczen looked in this home stretch really makes me think a move to Honda (or any other brand) is insanity. I don’t doubt that Roczen will be in the title fight for 2017 but I’ll always believe he’d be that much further ahead, were he still on RCH yellow.
3. Jason Anderson B : Jason Anderson’s 3rd place in the final series really should net him a grade in the A range but with his incredible ability to pass at will, he really should have more wins. The opening round was a shocker and other than that a technicality gave him his only other win. He has the speed but mistakes and infractions are all too familiar week to week with El Hombre.
4. Eli Tomac B- : Eli appeared to edge closer to where we expected him to be near the end of the series with 3 straight podiums but as a whole, I think I B- is on the optimistic end of where his series grade should be. He won in Daytona, looked pretty good when it was rutty and tacky; even had a few flashes of brilliance on nights that otherwise went awry. 2017 should be closer to what we expected for 2016.
5. Chad Reed C+ : Here’s a news alert: I’m a Chad Reed fan. Chad had a few shining moments early in the series and made most of the young guns look inadequate. In the end the thing that was most inadequate were Chad’s starts. They were absolutely atrocious. I did the research and learned that other than 2 races Chad never finished lower than where he began. Staying power, he has. Now he just needs to figure out what the root cause of these ghastly beginnings are and nip it in the bud.
6. Cole Seely B+ : This was an odd grade for me to give. Cole looked better than a 6th place guy to me and I also expected him to be higher than 6th in the final tally. SO how do I give him a B+ when he was worse than I expected? Easy. A B+ is a demotion. I had expected to be giving Cole an A prior to the season. He’s got race winning speed when he gets the start. The flip side of that is that when he doesn’t get the start, moving forward can be difficult.
7. Marvin Musquin B+ : Oh Marvin. What a series of fluctuation. In the beginning his wrist seemed to be far from 100%. Later he really came on and nearly won his first 450 main (Frankie will never forgive JS7) and then he kind of began to falter again. Year one with a B+ is fine. Marvin will win races in 2017.
8. Justin Brayton C : Remember a few short years ago when JB10 was pressuring RV2 for the title deep into the series? I do and I miss that promise.
9. Trey Canard C : Trey had himself a very average and forgettable season. He did hit the ground hard a few times but in the end, he made it through the series without serious or highlight reel-making crashes (ok that practice crash in Jersey was a DOOZY!) This was the final year of his Honda deal so he’s pretty much shopping himself and a completed series is far better than an abbreviated one.
10. Jake Weimer B+ : Jake’s series was a big step forward for the perennially injured former 250 SX champ. No real flashes of brilliance but a series top 10 is resume material for a guy on the rebound after a few series on ice.
11. Justin Bogle B+ : I see a bright future for Justin Bogle. His one year deal with Geico was a gamble on himself and in my opinion, he cashed in. I look for him on a good bike with strong backing for 2017.
12. Mike Alessi C : Mike actually looks better than ever in Supercross. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the class has improved as a whole, more than Mike.
13. Weston Peick C- : Just an abysmal year for Peick. What is going on with JGR riders?
14. Davi Millsaps C- : Davi is capable of so much more. I really hope he can find some kind of consistency and success again.
15. Christophe Pourcel C : So talented, so underachieving. Wants to win? Capable of winning? Show me.
16. Vince Friese B- : Vince was a topic of debate very often this year. Seeing how good he looked in the 250 class recently, I expected him to be better on the 450. Maybe he needs to bulk up a bit? That 450 looked to ride him more than the inverse.
17. Blake Bagette C : It didn’t go well.
18. Josh Grant C : It was nice to see JG turn his privateer Daytona ride into another shot at victory with a factory team… but then what? Not a whole lot from someone with shit loads of talent.
19. Broc Tickle C : Mulligan series.
20. Wil Hahn C : Wil struggled early but that hit he took which sidelined him was so dirty. He remained optimistic and giving it everything he had right up until he was down and out. I’d like to see JG with Wil’s heart. That would be impressive.