After a one-year hiatus, Gillette Stadium returns to the Monster Energy Supercross calendar this weekend as the series visits the home of the New England Patriots for a second time. With the removal of MetLife Stadium from the 2018 calendar, this Saturday’s action is the best opportunity for the sport’s northeast fans to get their dirt fix—and one that will prove crucial to determining this year’s 450SX and 250SX East champions.
With only a handful of rounds left before champions are crowned in Las Vegas, it’s time for the contenders to separate themselves from the pretenders in the title chase. While Jason Anderson’s masterclass might have put the 450SX title out of reach, four riders are all within shouting distance of the 250SX East title. Here’s what we’ll be watching for this weekend:
How should we characterize Eli Tomac’s season?
You have to feel bad for Tomac, whose seven victories are far and away the most in 450SX right now. After falling just short of last year’s championship, an injury in the Anaheim opener left him off of the Houston entry list and essentially ended this year’s chances right there. That said, Tomac also has had four rounds where he’s scored 10 points or less, also hurting his title hopes. Looking at the standings right now, it seems hard to believe that we’ll see any change in the running order—robbing the series of the dramatic points chase it deserves. (Both Tomac and Marvin Musquin missed the Houston round, giving Jason Anderson the chance to stretch his lead.)
Can anybody force Jason Anderson off of his game?
“El Hombre” truly has been the man this season, carrying a 39-point lead over Musquin into this weekend’s action. His seventh place finish at Daytona remains his worst (!) result of the season, and he’s placed fourth in the other three races where he’s missed the podium (Glendale, Arlington, and Indianapolis). Everywhere else, he’s been a nearly unstoppable force, taking four victories in a bid for his first 450SX title. Anderson’s career has been full of ups and downs, from winning the 250SX West title in 2014 to nearly losing his ride for poor performance, so he’ll have plenty to savor if he can hang on.
Who’s going to take the 250SX East win in the return to Gillette Stadium?
The last time Supercross competed in New England, Ecuadorian rider Martin Davalos took the 250SX East victory; although he remains in the class, he hasn’t won an event since. Defending champion and current class points leader Zach Osborne was competing in 250SX West two years ago, so he didn’t run this race last time it was on the calendar. That leaves Jeremy Martin, who finished second here in 2016, as the incoming favorite. He’s got good reason to be amped this weekend anyway—only 16 points from the championship lead, he’s coming off his first win of the season in Minneapolis.