May 22, 2014, 11:47 AM EST
There’s only two days left until the start of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, and the 450 Class has been shaping up for a great championship battle ever since defending champion Ryan Villopoto announced that he’d be sitting the season out due to injury.
With a deep field lining up this year, there are several riders with credible championship aspirations, but the two leading favorites – and the most popular preseason selections – are Ryan Dungey and James Stewart.
Dungey, who won 450MX championships in 2010 and 2012, should be given the slight edge due to his consistency. He’s raced 48 motos over the last two seasons and has only posted one DNF during that timespan. He also rarely ever finishes off the podium, meaning that even if he doesn’t win the majority of the races, he’s unlikely to give away a big chunk of valuable points to his competition.
When put to the “eye test” though, Stewart clearly has the speed to beat Dungey. The knock on Stewart, the 2008 champion, is that he has a history of being an “all or nothing” sort of rider – he either wins the race, or he crashes trying. In order to win the title, he not only needs to beat Dungey head-to-head, he also will have to avoid the mistakes that have cost him many points in the past.
Several other riders will be in the mix as well. Among them is Trey Canard, the oft-injured 23-year-old with a ton of talent. Preseason reports on Canard have been nothing but glowing, as he’s reportedly been turning some of the fastest laps of any rider during recent testing sessions.
For a more detailed breakdown of all the 450MX title contenders and top-ten hopefuls, check out the preview posted on ProMotocross.com.
The season starts Saturday with the Red Bull Glen Helen National, and all four motos will be streamed live online on ProMotocross.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. Practice streams live at 1:30pm ET, with the pre-show airing at 3:30pm ET and the racing getting underway at 4:00pm ET.
Video from NASCAR America
- LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s hunt for sponsorship 1
- Sponsorship woes leave Jeb Burton scrambling again for a NASCAR ride 3
- Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick: “I’m as comfortable as I’ve ever been” 0
- Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas 14
- Start times for 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races 9
- Bowyer on Gordon: “You’re never good with somebody when it got that ugly” 25
- NASCAR considers unveiling 2016 rules at Sprint All-Star Race in May 2