For the 20th time in its history, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross heads to Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernadino this Saturday for the Giant RV Glen Helen National. Now in its seventh appearance on Memorial Day weekend, this iconic race has served as both season opener and finale in the past, and legendary riders like Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Dungey, and Grant Langston have won here in both classes over the years.
As only the second round of this year’s Pro Motocross season, we don’t have too much to go by in terms of forecasting the championship yet, but last weekend’s schedule opener at Hangtown at least clued us in as to what we can expect from 2018. With that in mind, here’s what we’ll be looking for when the gate drops this afternoon:
Is Eli Tomac just going to run away with the 450 title for the second year in a row?
Sometimes, it feels like Tomac is the only rider we can really talk about in the 450 class. Sweeping both motos at Hangtown after an eight-win Supercross season, he started out his defense of the red plate and the number 1 in the absolute best way possible. If that’s not enough, he’s a past Glen Helen winner from the 2015 season, and even has some extra motivation: he could only muster ninth in last year’s overall after a disappointing 19th place in the second moto undercut his runner-up finish in the first.
Can Ken Roczen stay within shouting distance of the leaders in the early stages of the season?
Having just returned to his factory Honda after missing a huge chunk of the Supercross schedule, Roczen has admitted that his expectations aren’t too high for the early outdoor rounds. Still, he can’t be too happy with his Hangtown performance, can he? He debuted with a solid sixth in the first moto, but fell back to 16th in the second—especially disappointing since he had been running as high as third in that race. Not cracking the top 10 overall has to be tough to accept for the two-time 450 champion.
Who wins the Zach Osborne-Jeremy Martin battle in the 250 class?
Osborne and Martin went 1-2 in both 250 motos at Hangtown to kick off the season first and second in the championship. Last year, Martin won the first Glen Helen moto, but Osborne’s consistency won him the overall on the way to the overall championship. Other top riders like Aaron Plessinger and Martin’s brother Alex will complicate matters, but this looks like the head-to-head battle to watch this weekend—just like it probably will be all the way through the Ironman season finale in August.