Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 Supercross | Seattle Predictions

Photo: racerxonline.com
Last week in Houston was like watching a classic defensive struggle; not a lot of offense but you can't help but appreciate the two opposing forces.

The riders seemed to struggle with the track but it didn't seem to affect their relative performance.  There were however a couple of outliers which seems to indicate that some riders were more comfortable than others.  Ryan Dungey for example had the top score in the 450 class with a whopping 39.9% relative performance over his closest rival, James Stewart. The 250 class was tight with Jake Canada taking the top spot by a narrow margin of 4.6% (see charts below).

In terms of improvement from race to race from our top 10 this week, Mike Alessi had the greatest improvement from last week with a factor of 71.03%.  In the 250 class going back to San Diego, excluding Dean Wilson and Cooper Webb, the rider who improved the most was Malcolm Stewart with a factor of 12.99%.  I excluded Wilson and Webb because they had unusually poor performances at San Diego and subsequently showed excessive out performance.

Villopoto is on the cusp, Stewart is on the outside looking in, JGR and RCH are out of gas, Honda's are treading and the KTM's are taking on water; the 450 field is thinning out and there's not much time for anyone to change their circumstances.  The 250 class on the other hand is prime and ready to battle to the end as we head into the final stretch.

My record for this round from last year was lower with 30% from 50% with the handicap.  Plenty of room for improvement, I guess the riders weren't the only ones who struggled last week.  I'm sour on Seattle for embarrassing my Denver Broncos (yes, I said it) but I won't let that stop me from tuning in.  Supercross heads for the house of the Legion Of Boom, where green dominates on and off the field, will the Kawasaki's rule the day?  I guess we'll find out soon enough.  Seattle picks...

450 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Villopoto (-1)
2. Stewart, (+1)
3. Barcia (-1)
4. Canard (-1)
5. Dungey (+1)
6. Roczen (+1)
7. Tomac (-1)
8. Short (+1)
9. Hill (+1)
10. Peick (+1)

250 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Anderson (-1)
2. Seely (+1)
3. Hill (-1)
4. Wilson (+1)
5. Webb (+1)
6. Stewart (+1)
7. Osborne (+1)
8. McElrath (-1)
9. Nelson (+1)
10. Canada (+1)

The Roost'r




Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Supercross | Houston Predictions

Photo: racerxonline.com
Watching James Stewart reminds me of a line by the cool cat Sylvester: they forgot to put the cat out...the cat?..I'm the cat! When we weren't looking the number Seven has suddenly become a real threat.  Of course a lot would have to go right, or really wrong, for him to leap frog into the lead but I don't think he even saw it coming.

James Stewart is putting the fear into the Villopoto camp and it's starting to show. Speaking with a buddy here at work we've come to the conclusion that RV played it safe last week or in other words he was racing not to lose.  RV will have to fight the urge to push for the lead and that's hard to do for a competitor like him.  I look for James to press his competition these last few rounds and the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider will have to play his best game of SX chess.  It was great to see Trey Canard back in action with a fifth place finish and a top 3 TRAP score (see chart below).  The AMA point leaders all had great rides but the rider with the greatest relative performance was Josh Hill.  His consistency is improving and the RCH/Soaring Eagle Suzuki team has to be pleased.  Nick Wey rounds out my top 3 with another great ride.

Photo: racerxonline.com
The 250 East is coming down to the wire and the break couldn't have come soon enough for Martin Davalos.  Justin Bogle lost a little momentum last week but make no mistake he is on a run and Mitch Peyton knows it.  Blake Baggett had an outstanding ride but the fate of the number 4 lies with the competition and no one is going to lie down and let him catch up.  Kyle Cunningham also had a great ride with the second highest TRAP score in the class (see chart below).  This is a tight race and no doubt it'll be decided in Vegas.

So we head back to join the West Coast riders who are also embroiled in their own grudge match.  Jason Anderson clearly had the momentum but Seely and Justin Hill won't make it easy for him.  As of this writing I'm not sure where Dean Wilson stands but sitting fourth in points I would have to guess that he'll be back on a 250.  I'm curious to see how Shane McElrath performs after the break.  It seemed to me that he had been building some momentum heading into the break so it will be interesting to see how he answers the call.

The Colorado Rockies have their home opener this week so it should be a sports filled weekend.  Houston predictions on deck...

450 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Stewart (-1)
2. Villopoto (-1)
3. Roczen (+1)
4. Barcia (+1)
5. Dungey (+1)
6. Tomac (-1)
7. Canard (+1)
8. Peick (+1)
9. Hill (+1)
10. Short (+1)

250 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Anderson (-1)
2. Hill (-1)
3. Seely (+1)
4. Wilson (+1)
5. Stewart (+1)
6. McElrath (+1)
7. Webb (+1)
8. Nelson (+1)
9. Leib (-1)
10. Champion (+1)

Saint Louis TRAPs coming soon.  Thanks for checking in.

The Roost'r

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 Supercross | St. Louis Predictions

Photo: racerxonline.com
His savoir-faire once again swung the pendulum of fortune in his favor and in a Supercross instant James Stewart found himself atop motorsports Mount Olympus last week in Toronto.  The news didn't stop there as both points' leaders suffered from their own maladies with only Villopoto able to salvage the evening.

What a privilege it was to witness such an effort by a SX athlete, like a Minotaur plowing through the competition, James Stewart shut down a lot of his critics with a devastating performance.  I thought one of the most important passes was that over Justin Barcia.  Racing through the field can take a lot out of you but to keep it all together and make the pass for the lead says a lot about James' shot at a title.  Villopoto could have taken it easy but he was racing to retain his cushion over the rest of the field and that's exaclty what he did, perhaps he senses the winds of change.  I was thrown off by the Roczen fade, he is usually a strong finisher but for some reason he wasn't on last week.  Other than the Stewart beat down and Villopoto's hairball there wasn't a whole lot to speak of from the 450 class.

The 250 class on the other hand could see some significant impacts from Saturday night with Adam Cianciarulo going down and losing the points lead at the same time.  Baggett also going down was the nail in the coffin on a very disappointing season.  He was on pace for a record performance but he just couldn't win the battle over the whoops.  Justin Bogle had a find ride and now sitting third in points the title chase is tight and certainly within reach of the Geico Honda rider.  Martin Davalos is in the catbird seat if Cianciarulo can't make it back, all he has to do is keep Bogle close and ride mistake free, which has been a bit of a challenge for the Kawasaki rider.  We had some outstanding performances from a couple of riders, James Decotis and Matthew Biscegila, both scoring in the top tier of the Toronto TRAP (see charts below).

I was curious to see how my top 10 performed on a relative basis so I calculated the percentage change (PC) from one race to the next.  The list below shows my predictions for St. Louis plus the PC from Detroit to Toronto.

450 SX (+/- handicap) / PC

1. Stewart, J (-1) / 38.95%
2. Villopoto (+1) / -13.67%
3. Roczen (+1) / 204.43%
4. Barcia (+1) / -19.35%
5. Dungey (+1) / -0.66%
6. Peick (-1) / -19.22%
7. Brayton (+1) / -23.09%
8. Short (-1) / -13.19%
9. Wilson (+1) / 32.86%
10. Hill (-1) / 18.61%

250 SX (+/- handicap) / PC

1. Baggett (-1) / -34.41%
2. Davalos (+1) / 67.02%
3. Bogle (+1) / -6.48%
4. Lemoine (+1) / -23.64%
5. Martin, J (-1) / -27.41%
6. Friese (+1) / -7.21%
7. Thompson (+1) / -10.40%
8. Decotis (+1) / 156.43%
9. Cunningham (-1) / 9.45%
10. Martin, A (+1) / 17.94%


A quick look at James Stewart's numbers clearly confirms what we saw and heard from number Seven with the Suzuki rider earning the highest score in the class.  The results for Roczen of course reflect his DNF at Detroit so we need to take that into consideration when evaluating his relative performance.  The numbers also look fairly accurate when reviewing Martin Davalos' score.  It's interesting to see how a rider can have a better finish yet score lower on the grid.  In the case of James Decotis and Weston Peick, they actually finished in the same position but notice how their performances differed from one race to the next. Looking at my notes it seems to have come down to the start although I can't help but compare the top scorers, Decotis, Davalos, and Wilson to Stewart.  Did these guys actually have better performances than Stewart?  Ask them and you're likely to get mixed opinions but it appears to me that Decotis and Davalos had better relative performances than James Stewart but that should not diminish the fact that he had a remarkable personal effort.

It's still too early to tell how accurate these numbers are so further testing will be needed before any definitive conclusions can be made.  Thanks for checking in.

The Roost'r




Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 Supercross | Toronto Predictions

Photo: supercrossonline.com
HEY BABY, it's a DOG EAT DOG FREE-FOR-ALL in this business and last weekend at the MOTOR CITY MADHOUSE our WEEKEND WARRIORS were ready to WANGO TANGO. Villopoto put a STRANGLEHOLD on the competition and now it's time to TURN IT UP as the boys of Supercross go STORMTROOPIN' into Toronto.

I suppose the Ted Nugent references would have gone better before Detroit but nothing says Supercross like a little unpredictability.  Detroit was a lot of things but a Double Live Gonzo it was not.  Save for the high bank turn over the end-zone stands there was not a lot to talk about.  Far be it for me to complain about my favorite pastime for a normal night out at the races sure beats a night on the couch, unless of course your date feels like wearing nothing but your favorite rock show jersey all evening [insert coil spring sound effect here].

Watching James Stewart is like staring straight into a 100 watt Marshall cabinet; he can blow you away but when it's over all you have is brain damage.  Don't get me wrong, I totally dig Bubba but I just don't know if he's getting better or worse.  Stewart took the checkered flag last week but he's right, his hopes for a championship are all but over; the clock is ticking and the rookies show no signs of slowing.  Great rides by Hahn, Peick, Tickle, Barcia and Brayton who all scored in the top tier (see chart).

Photo: supercrossonline.com
In the 250 class it was déjà vu for the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team with Adam Cianciarulo taking the checkered flag once again.  This time however I believe he earned it fair and square; I won't slight him again this season.  On the other hand, if Baggett can't seem to find his rhythm he'll quickly become the Kenny Bania of the class.  As for Martin Davalos I think he's been watching too much James Stewart tape.  If these guys don't figure it out they'll soon be watching Justin Bogle show them how it's done.  Finally, Jeremy Martin had an outstanding ride and put forth a convincingly effort to an 8th place finish; congratulations on a job well done.

This must be somewhat of a homecoming for Cole Thompson so I expect him to have a great showing this weekend.  Carpe diem boys, make this one count.  Toronto picks s'il vous plaît.

450 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Roczen (-1)
2. Villopoto (+1)
3. Stewart (+1)
4. Dungey (-1)
5. Barcia (+1)
6. Tickle (-1)
7. Brayton (+1)
8. Peick (-1)
9. Grant (-1)
10. Hahn (+1)

250 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Cianciarulo (-1)
2. Davalos (-1)
3. Bogle (+1)
4. Baggett (+1)
5. Martin, J (-1)
6. Cunningham (-1)
7. Thompson (+1)
8. Friese (+1)
9. Martin, A (+1)
10. Lemoine (+1)

The Roost'r


Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 Supercross | Detroit Predictions

Photo: racerxonline
Daytona was like watching a fuse burn behind a Howitzer; hands over your ears waiting for the big bang.  One of the the guys at Racer X online felt the race kinda fizzled like the fuse just before igniting.  Of course it's impossible to be bored watching the greatest motor sport on earth but I suppose when compared to a 'normal' round, Daytona fizzled on some level.

The boys in green stole the show and for both Villopoto and Baggett they did so in dominant fashion.  I particularly like the Barcia/Stewart highlight; what's a race without a little controversy?  Roczen and Dungey kept it honest and what a great ride by Wilson and Hahn.  Will Hahn ruled the top spot on my TRAP with an outstanding ride; give him a holeshot and watch out.  Josh Grant also had an inspired ride; let's see if he can keep it up.  James Stewart?  I got nothing!

In the 250 class it was Blake Baggett and a whole bunch of losers.  My biggest question is where has he been the past 3 rounds?  He will be tough to beat if he can only catch a break.  Davalos I thought could hold off the rookie Adam Cianciarulo but track conditions, so they say, played a big part on his struggles to hold his position.  I still look for Martin to keep it close and perhaps pull ahead in points in the next couple of rounds.  It would be remiss not to mention the efforts of Cole Thompson who had the highest CLAW score on my TRAP so congratulations on a fine ride.

Reviewing my record, it's painfully obvious how difficult it is to predict the outcome of a race but my motivations go beyond predictions and although I won't be busting Vegas anytime soon I am making progress.

Saint Patrick's Day is right around the corner so raise those glasses for a little Irish tradition; May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you're dead... Detroit predictions on tap!  Cheers!

450 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Villopoto (-1)
2. Stewart (+1)
3. Dungey (-1)
4. Roczen (+1)
5. Barcia (+1)
6. Hahn (+1)
7. Tickle (-1)
8. Brayton (+1)
9. Short (-1)
10. Grant (+1)

250 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Baggett (-1)
2. Cianciarulo (-1)
3. Davalos (+1)
4. Bogle (+1)
5. Martin, J (-1)
6. Friese (-1)
7. Thompson (+1)
8. Bisceglia (+1)
9. Decotis (-1)
10. Cunningham (-1)



The Roost'r

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Supercross | Daytona Predictions

Photo: racerxonline.com
Indy turned into a night out with Hunter S. Thompson; adrenalized lunacy and paranoia followed by bewilderment then acceptance and you could see it right on Ken Roczen's face.  No one could use a sober remedy more than Kenny, who left the main after his 'boom shakalaka' off a triple on the loamy Indianapolis track.  Ivan Tedesco also had a scary moment just off the start but it looks like he'll be ok.

First timers Seely and Wilson had fine performances while Tomac and Dungey showed off their potential.  Villopoto and Stewart were in damage control mode and each managed to come out of Indy without incident.  Mike Alessi once again had a great qualifying round and a great start in the main but true to form he can't seem to close.  He's got a lot of heart but something is missing and I suspect he won't find the missing ingredient before Las Vegas.  One rider who rode out of his mind was Josh Hill, only Stewart scored higher on my chart with Villopoto not far behind, and that's some great company.  Kudos to Josh Hill.

The 250 class was far less volatile than the 450 class (see charts below) which is uncommon given the experience differential.  This is just more proof that this week was unusual on a number of levels.  Baggett, Cunningham, Oldenburg and Bogle all had outstanding performances, all scoring high on my TRAP this week.  Cianciarulo once again was the beneficiary of a Davalos faux pas.  To his credit, Adam was exactly where he needed to be thanks to his great start.

So last week I decided to try and predict rider momentum and thanks to the orgy of consequences my results blew.  I did however rediscover how consistent, in terms of pure performance, some of these riders actually are, at least over the past 2 rounds.  As it turns out, many of the top 10 had inconsistent finishes but their performances were rather consistent.  Daytona is a favorite stop for many reasons; if we're lucky we might have some foul weather (who can forget the 'slop' back in 2008.)  Check out http://racerxonline.com/2014/03/04/sign-of-the-lap-times-indianapolis for the play by play.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote "never look back unless you are planning to go that way."  There is only one chance at second chances, who will emerge in the second half?  SX thunder is coming to Daytona - line up the shot glasses; picks-a-pouring...

450 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Stewart, J (-1)
2. Villopoto (+1)
3. Roczen (+1)
4. Dungey (+1)
5. Tomac (+1)
6. Barcia (-1)
7. Tickle (+1)
8. Brayton (+1)
9. Grant (+1)
10. Wilson (+1)

250 SX (+/- handicap)

1. Davalos (-1)
2. Cianciarulo (+1)
3. Bogle (-1)
4. Baggett (+1)
5. Friese (-1)
6. Wharton (-1)
7. Thompson (-1)
8. Decotis (+1)
9. Bisceglia (-1)
10. Oldenburg (+1)

The Roost'r



Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 Supercross | Indy Predictions



Photo: supercrossonline.com
James Stewart could have been the first to pull off the first hat trick this season in the 450 class but it appears that the number 7 is doomed by his own Sisyphean task.  He did however post the highest score on my TRAP which just goes to show you that the heart of a champion never dies.

Villopoto remains in the top spot but for how long?  I knew Ken Roczen was fast but I had no idea he could be dominant – just imagine what Tomac can do when healthy.  The injury monster came out again and this time bit Barcia right in the onions.  I sure hope he's good to go because no one needs a win more than Justin Barcia.  As for the Alessi/Tickle controversy; let sleeping dogs lie.

In the 250 class we may have a new contender in Martin Davalos.  Although not my highest scorer, that distinction would go to Cole Thompson, Martin has been showing some speed of late while Blake Baggett can't seem to catch a break.  Adam Cianciarulo once again is proving he belongs although I believe he's been the beneficiary of some unfortunate luck by the veterans and it'll be interesting to see how he does when everything starts to fall into place for the other guys.  For the play by play, check out www.racerxonline.com for more info.

In my previous posts I've been making predictions with +/- 1 handicap for each rider and looking over my results I'd like to try something new for this round.  In addition to making my regular predictions, I'd like to try and predict whether a rider will place higher or lower on the TRAP from his previous position, in this case his TRAP position at Atlanta.  The idea is to connect with the riders' momentum.  I'll run some scenarios through my spreadsheets to help me out; should be interesting.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."  The battle for points rages on; Indy picks on deck.

450 SX (+/- handicap) [Higher or Lower]

1.Stewart (-1) [H]
2.Villopoto (+1) [L]
3.Roczen (+1) [H]
4.Dungey (+1) [L]
5.Brayton (-1) [L]
6.Tickle (+1) [H]
7.Peick (+1) [H]
8.Tomac (+1) [H]
9.Hahn (+1) [L]
10.Short (+1) [L]

250 SX (+/- handicap) [Higher or Lower]

1.Davalos (-1) [L]
2.Baggett (+1) [L]
3.Bogle (-1) [L]
4.Cianciarulo (+1) [L]
5.Wharton (-1) [H]
6.Friese (+1) [H]
7.Thompson (+1) [L]
8.Decotis (+1) [L]
9.Cunningham (+1) [L]
10.Martin, A (+1) [H]

The Roost'r