McThoughts | 250 East Supercross Preview
By Jeff McConkey
Photos by Billy Rainford
This year’s 250 East class is looking pretty strong on paper. We have a defending champion, a few vets, and a bunch of guys ready to take the next step. There are 5 guys who have won main events (yes, I’m including Blake Wharton), and there are quite a few that have a very good shot at it in 2018.
The tracks will be soft and rutted, and will breakdown very fast, but that’s what these guys are training for. I called Jordan Smith for his first win last season, so I’m going out on a limb and calling him for the championship. He was so very close in 2017, and I think if he’s healthy, he’s got this.
Below are some predictions on a few of the major players lining up in the East.
1E Zach Osborne: Zach will be very good. He will be able to win with good starts and bad starts. But I think his bad races won’t allow him to repeat as champion. This is his last season on a 250f, as he moves to the 450 class full-time starting in outdoors. I think if he has a few bad rounds he will focus on his 450 outdoor debut and spend more time testing.
6 Jeremy Martin: Some people are just better outdoors than indoors. Jeremy Martin is one of those people. He has some serious skill, but he either has a black cloud over him, or he just puts himself in bad positions. He will get the odd podium, might even win Daytona, but his bad races will eliminate him from the championship hunt.
24 Dylan Ferrandis: Dylan was a very good surprise last season, but his fitness was lacking. He now has a year under his belt, and he’s going to be very dangerous. He will win races, get podiums, and challenge for the title.
29 Martin Davalos: ‘Mr. 250 SX’ is back yet again for another 250 SX season. I don’t like it, but I get it. Davalos is a heat race stud and that equals television time. It makes sense, but he made his SX debut in February 2006. It is time to move on.
31 Colt Nichols: Colt is due for a few wins. But he always seems to get hurt right before the season, and then is rushed into action. He will be very good if everything is healed. Podiums should be easy, but I can’t call him for wins until I see how he looks in Texas.
35 Austin Forkner: The sky is the limit for Austin, but unfortunately he has had some serious injury issues. If healthy, he can match anyone’s speed, but he can also hit the dirt quite a bit. I think he gets his first win, but he will also have some bad races. He’s not ready to challenge for a championship yet.
36 RJ Hampshire: It’s time for RJ to step up. he has been racing SX since 2014 and only has 1 podium. That isn’t enough when you’re on a powerhouse Factory team. I’d like to expect podiums, but I just don’t see it. He will have some good rides, but I think top 5’s will be his best.
37 Fredrik Noren: Fredrik will be decent, but he’s more of an outdoors guy. He should get a couple top 10’s on the right nights.
38 Luke Renzland: Luke finished 8th overall in East Coast SX last season. I think it will be hard to do better. The class is pretty stacked and I don’t really see him getting that much better. But maybe I’m wrong?
43 Sean Cantrell: I think this rookie will wow us at times, but I’m afraid he will have some rookie struggles at the same time. Main events and clean laps need to be the goal.
44 Lorenzo Locurcio: 5 main events last season with a 5th at Daytona. The goal needs to be main events at every round. The consistency just isn’t there yet.
45 Jordan Smith: Jordan will be very fast and very dangerous. He knows how to win races, and he now knows what it’s like to be in the title fight right up until the checkered flag in Vegas. I think if he can stay healthy, he can challenge for the title again. I don’t think he will get much consideration in the championship talk, which is crazy. I’m going out on a limb, and I’m predicting that Jordan wins the championship with multiple wins.
47 Jimmy Decotis: Jimmy was good last season but seemed to go backwards. Turns out he was fighting an illness, but the good news is that it’s under control. He led some laps and knows the pace, so there’s no reason he can’t do it again. Jimmy will get himself a few podiums this season and be a threat every Saturday.
56 Anthony Rodriguez: A-Rod has always had the speed, but he has also had a problem staying on 2 wheels. Usually, when young riders lose their factory rides, they disappear quickly. Anthony’s signing was a bit of a surprise, so I hope he makes the best out of it. He has top 5 speed, but to stay on 2 wheels he has had to back it down a bit.
76 Kyle Peters: Kyle will be a top 10 threat every weekend. He is way better at SX than anyone gives him credit for. He got a 2nd in Indianapolis back in 2013, and has a 4th, a few 6ths and 7ths over the years. This guy is really good and has a ton of experience. He should be fighting for top 5’s on good nights and top 10’s on off nights.
85 Josh Cartwright: Josh is our SX / University specialist. As a full-time student, Josh has made 10 main events since 2015, with his best finish being a 13th in Detroit last season. Cartwright is a product of The Goat Farm, so you know he’s improving and that there are no easy days. I expect Josh to show up with a fresh “Cartwright” every weekend and for him to be inside the top 15 trying to crack the top 10.
95 Joey Crown: Joey was injured snowboarding and his SX debut will be delayed.
96 Zack Williams: Zach has 10 250 SX main events under his belt. His best finish being a 12th at Houston in 2013. If healthy, he should be a main event guy every weekend, and top 15 should be the goal.
174 Josh Osby: I think Josh will be the guy having people searching through their programs trying to find out who he is. Injuries robbed Josh of his first SX season, but after a great outdoor season in Canada, and a very solid off season at Club MX, I think Josh will be a main event guy every weekend. Josh should be in top 15 easy, and knocking on the door of the top 10.
179 Westen Wrozyna: I just want to see Westen get out of Supercross healthy. I think night shows need to be the goal early on, and just keep building and learning and towards 2019. He hasn’t had enough time in SX to be thinking main events this year.
2018 250 East Coast Championship Predictions
1st Jordan Smith
2nd Dylan Ferrandis
3rd Zach Osborne
4th Colt Nichols
5th Austin Forkner