10 Things to Watch: Muddy CreekFriday, May 31, 2013 | 1:30 PM
By Jason Thomas, Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo
Leaving Hangtown, most were ready to hand Ken Roczen the 250 motocross title already. He commanded both motos and looked like he was poised to handle all challenges. Smash-cut to last weekend in Lakewood and now the situation has become a bit blurry. Eli Tomac simply ran away with the second moto and overall victory, cutting the points lead to five. Coming into a neutral race at Muddy Creek, who will regain that pivotal momentum and stake his claim for the title? - Jason Thomas
Boy Strength/Man Strength
Justin Barcia walked away with both holeshots last weekend. Unfortunately for him and Honda Muscle Milk, he wasn't able to hold off the leaders and claim his first victory in 450 Motocross. His coach Jeff Stanton predicted as much before the season, stating that Justin was still developing the strength currently possessed by perennial contenders Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey. The question is, as the series wears on, will he quickly develop the conditioning needed to prevail or will it take a full season to learn and grow before he is ready to take down the sport's elite? - Jason Thomas
Roczen has three moto wins in two races. Can he pick up another at Muddy Creek?
Blake's Bounce Back
After a dismal Thunder Valley for the defending champion, can Blake Baggett regain his form and get back in the title fight? After sitting out the supercross season with a wrist injury and parting ways with vaunted trainer Aldon Baker this off-season, all eyes were on the #1 bike to see how he would respond. Hangtown was a respectable day but last weekend it all seemed to be a struggle. Historically, Blake has been inconsistent with his starts and Lakewood was no different. What was different was his inability to slice through the pack as we have seen in most similar situations. Whether or not this change is due to the departure of his old training program has yet to be determined but one thing's for sure, Blake needs to come out and show everyone why the #1 is on his bike and back. - Jason Thomas
Coming off an impressive 2012 motocross campaign, expectations were high for RCH Suzuki's Broc Tickle coming into 2013. A factory Suzuki and the tutelage of 4929394920 time champion Ricky Carmichael was surely going to be the boost that BT20 needed to be in that podium conversation, right? So far, it just hasn't panned out. While many will point to Broc's poor starts as a huge contributor, his lap times are not where I’m sure he would like them to be either. With two of the next three races being what would be considered "home races" now is the time to turn it up. Momentum is everything in this sport and a great finish in Tennessee Saturday may be just what he needs to right the ship. - Jason Thomas
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Cooper Webb opened some eyes last weekend in Colorado. Passing a world champion for podium positions in only your second national will tend to do that. His second moto's have been a bit rough and tumble thus far but surely that will work itself out with experience. Coming into what has to be considered his home track, what are the expectations for the 175? Seeing him in the top 3-5 isn't a shock anymore and it will get easier for him each time he beats the guys he has looked up to for the past few years. Keeping his focus and composure is key for the youngster at this point but if Cooper finds himself out front early this weekend, everyone better keep their eye on the rookie. - Jason Thomas
Can Dungey stop the RV train this weekend?
Simon Cudby photo
This week will mark the second and final round for Belgian GP stars Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos. Although both were dealing with an unfamiliar race format (GP riders have much more track-time for practice), both did very well at the Rockwell Watches Thunder Valley National, with Desalle going 5-7 for sixth overall and Strijbos going 10-8 for ninth overall, despite going down in the first turn of the first moto and rounding lap one in twenty-fifth place. With the series heading to the Built Ford Tough Tennessee National, a new venue that very few riders have ridden before, the playing field should be slightly more level. How will the Euros do in their second attempt at Lucas Oil Motocross in 2013? - Aaron Hansel
With just two rounds down and facing a 12-point deficit to Ryan Villopoto, it's not panic time for Ryan Dungey quite yet, but the the dominant manner in which RV has won all four motos thus far has got to be cause for concern in the Red Bull KTM camp. Dungey has got to figure out a way to nip Villopoto's winning streak in the bud or his third 450 National Championship will be out of reach before he knows it. Can he turn the tables this weekend in Tennessee? - Aaron Hansel
Thanks to climbing results in the second half of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in 2012 and a breakout season of Monster Energy Supercross this year, Rock River Racing's Ben LaMay was awarded with factory equipment from Yamaha for the 2013 season of Lucas Oil Motocross. Unfortunately, a torn MCL suffered during practice the week before the Las Vegas Supercross prevented LaMay from racing the first two rounds of the season. He'll be back in action this Saturday however at the Built Ford Tough Tennessee National. How will he do in his first race back? - Aaron Hansel
Osborne returns home in good form.
Simon Cudby photo
GEICO Honda's Zach Osborne put in a superb ride in the second moto at the Rockwell Watches Thunder valley National, catching and passing both Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen, to take third overall (and his first ever Lucas Oil Pro Motocross podium overall) via 6-2 moto scores. The Virginian is obviously on his game, and with the Built Ford Tough Tennessee National, his hometown race, coming up this weekend, could it be his time to lock up his first career AMA win? - Aaron Hansel
Anderson Poised for Breakout?
Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson seems to be on the verge of a breakout performance that many expected to have seen much earlier after the former Horizon Award winner turned pro in 2011. Anderson collected his first career 250 supercross win in Salt Lake City, and now seems poised for a breakout race outdoors to catapult him to the next level. Will it come this weekend at Muddy Creek? - Chase Stallo
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