Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Motocross / Washougal: 450s

Photo: allisports
Privateers rarely get noticed but this year out at Washougal Tommy Weeck blew in like a rare hurricane over the Pacific Northwest.  A veteran of the track, he tore it up coming in as the top privateer overall on the Roost'r Trap – great job! 

We all know how Round 9 went down by now so let's take a look at moto 1 and moto 2 in the 450 class.  Privateers like Weeck, Mikhaylov and Harrison had notable performances but it was Eli Tomac who took charge in moto 1 outscoring his closest rival, Ken Roczen, by a margin of 59% while Dungey, Canard and Metcalfe rounded out the top 5.  Looking back at my results there seems to be a point where top riders separate themselves from the field and in moto 1 that over/under line was between Ryan Sipes and Tommy Weeck.  The biggest underperformers were Kellian Rusk, Jimmy Albertson and Evgeny Mikhaylov all scoring below this over/under line.  Fredrik Noren continues to impress and one guy to look out for. 

Top privateers in moto 2 were Tommy Weeck, Tommy Hahn and Kellian Rusk while Kenny Roczen, Weston Peick and Eli Tomac came in as the top 3.  Tevin Tapia also had a fine performance in moto 2 while Chad Reed had the most disappointing results leaving the race early.  The over/under line was between Tommy Hahn and Kellian Rusk with Matt Goerke taking the title of most disappointing performance as the highest AMA points leader, not including Reed, scoring below the over/under line.  Tommy Weeck had another great moto coming in 5th just behind Ryan Dungey – numbers don't lie, Weeck had a great ride. 

Finally, the 3 riders who made the biggest moves from moto 1 to moto 2 were Kellian Rusk (Pos), Matt Goerke (Neg) and Tommy Weeck (Pos) with the greatest percentage change from moto to moto.  Clearly the most undervalued rider of Round 9 was Tommy Weeck.  

Home field certainly has its advantages and Tommy Weeck did his best to catch the eye of any potential sponsors but we all know that one race neither makes nor breaks a career; hopefully this was enough to keep it going.  Good luck to Ivan Tedesco and thanks for the memories.  Unadilla in the gate; stay tuned.
The Roost'r

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 Motocross / Spring Creek / 250 class

So the season is over and I'm only up to round 8.  If this were a real job I'd be sitting in a diner with Cosmo Kramer looking over my shoulder for crazy Joe Davola.  Well we all know who won by now and although Dungey was on a run it was just too little too late to catch his teammate Ken Roczen; gratulation Kenny and thanks for the memories.

So how did the boys do out at Spring Creek?  This week I decided to look at the 250 class so let's get started with moto 1.  It's clear to me that Jason Anderson had the best performance in this moto outscoring his closest opponent, Blake Baggett, by 3.97 points.  The next closest performance was that of Cole Seely who was seriously outscored by Anderson to the tune of 12.98 points.  The performances down the line were all pretty close but the most disappointing I thought was that of Hill, Bisceglia and Cunningham.  The most impressive again I thought was Anthony Rodriguez, he just keeps grinding out the laps.

In moto 2 it was a much closer race.  Top dog in this moto was Cooper Webb followed closely by Jason Anderson with a point differential of only 2.09 points.  Jeremy Martin had another outstanding ride and managed a comfortable 3rd place on my trap followed by the Frenchman Marvin Musquin.  Baggett had a disappointing finish as did Bogle and more tough luck for Cunningham.  In this moto Anthony Rodriguez scored up to 7th place on my trap, ahead of riders like Pourcel, Alex Martin, Joey Savatgy, Bell, Seely, just to name a few.
Figure 1 has some overall categories I thought were noteworthy.  Most Undervalued and Overvalued are just a couple of categories I came up with to help me identify the riders I think are worthy or not worthy of sponsorship dollars.  Of course this is just per race and certainly does not reflect their overall value throughout the course of a season but it's an interesting exercise. 

So there it is, Spring Creek is in the Roost'r books.  Washougal is on tap so check back to see how everyone stacked up on the Roost'r Trap; till then!

The Roost'r
Figure 1

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Motocross | Budds Creek

Photo: George Crosland, allisports
I often criticize our broadcast crew for not paying enough attention to the entire field.  There are individual races all over the track and some of the most exciting are often found in the back.  Years ago the Speed Channel broadcast the CMRC (Canadian Motocross) series and Marc Travers, Brian Koster and Ryan Gould set the bar pretty high with the most exciting and extremely entertaining race commentary you’ll find.  I’ve concluded that one of two conditions exist with our crew; either Jason Weigandt and Grant Langston are not as skilled or they are asked not to cover the back, I’d like to believe the latter.  I suppose it’s all about the Benjamin’s and until privateers can lure an audience things aren’t likely to change.  This will never happen here at The Roost’r because the privateers make all this relevant.

Alright, so what’s new this week?  I’ve been trying to figure out how to account for some random variables for more accurate evaluations and I believe I may have come up with a tweak to my formula.  It’s a small tweak, one I call MaxMob, and when applied it creates a TRAP that may make a bit more sense to race fans.  I’ve also decided to add an extra slide to help give my TRAP’s some context.  I took a little extra time comparing the video to my spreadsheets and my figures seem to support the results.

It’s important to note that I’ve excluded up to 18 riders in certain categories this week for not meeting my base parameters.  The greatest % change category shows the 3 riders who had the largest point differential between motos either positive or negative.  Most Undervalued and Overvalued (not pictured) is a category I’m particularly interested in.  These categories at the end of the season should ultimately identify who deserves the richest contracts in terms of relative performance – but then how do you put a price on a million dollar smile?

Next post I may avoid some redundancy and I’d like to keep them short but for now this is it.  Thanks for clicking in.

The Roost'r

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 Motocross | RedBud

RedBud; that has a different meaning here in Colorado but for those dirt bike enthusiasts it means just one thing and that’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.  I actually missed the broadcast and as of this posting I have yet to catch the replay so this should be fun.

The problem with TV is that the broadcast focuses on the front and they often miss a lot of what's happening in the back.  My TRAPs illustrate a race in one frame so now you can keep tabs on your favorite rider in every moto without having to read through paragraphs of text the day after, hoping your guy is mentioned.  Remember, I'm NOT looking for winners and losers but rather measuring individual performances.  You can find box scores and play-by-play anywhere, here you're going to find something different.

It appears that we are on the threshold of some groundbreaking technology that will absolutely change the way we watch motorsports.  This new technology will take timing and scoring to a whole new level but it’s too early to tell if this technology will be available to “the great unwashed.”  I suppose only time will tell.

Well, I’ve decided to cover just one class again given my time constraints and I actually find it more interesting to focus on one group of riders so let’s take a look at the 250 motos.

It's all about the O so I updated this post to reflect the entire field however I did exclude 15 riders for scoring outside the base parameters.  I ran a whole bunch of filters to find some of my favorite stats and you'll find some of them in figure 1.  The overall TRAP for Red Bud is posted below. 

Figure 1
It appears to me that some of these riders had better rides than their finishes would suggest.  I should remind everyone that I haven’t seen the full coverage but I suspect I’m not far off.  Below are the TRAPs for the 250 riders.  I'd like to catch up  but now we have NFL preseason and Shark week; it's always something.

CORRECTION: Jessy Nelson should be 2nd overall in moto 1.

The Roost'r

Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Motocross | Muddy Creek, TN

Photo: Cudby (racerxonline)
Jimmy Jack and I were sitting in Union Station the other day sipping a cool one, tossing around the idea of scaling some rock over the weekend.  As cool as that sounds, there's no way I'm sharing a rope with that monkey.  Between Fireball shots JJ did have one coherent thought; why not analyze both motos of one class?  Didn't think you cared, I asked.  I don't, he replied, I just thought it'd get me a free beer.

This week I decided to give my friend some props and focus on the 450 class only.  Just out of curiosity I thought I'd measure the performance of the top 10 from moto 1 to moto 2 and here's what I found.

Rider         Percentage Change
Roczen        +10.32%
Dungey        -12.28%
Stewart, J    +7.80%
Canard        +10.68%
Metcalfe      -24.47%
Peick         -33.73%
Grant         -56.33%
Stewart, M    -57.06%
Reed          -35.89%
Short         -15.43%

So how did this affect their finishes?

Rider          Moto 1     Moto 2
Roczen         2          1
Dungey         1          2
Stewart, J     5          11
Canard         4          4
Metcalfe       9          7
Peick          10         5
Grant          11         6
Stewart, M     14         10
Reed           16         9
Short          6          8

Jimmy is back home measuring his yard stick with a ruler but he did have time to pose the first question; how can James Stewart have positive performance yet finish worse in moto 2?  A thought like that had to hurt so I figured I'd better answer.  Before I get to that I want to point out pair of riders in Roczen and Canard.  Both had similar relative performances and notice how their finishes in moto 2 varied slightly.  

Their finishes aren't so surprising but the numbers indicate Canard had as good a ride as Roczen  with far different outcomes. So why the difference?  Just ask Canard and he'll tell you, it came down to the start. Again, not much of surprise but at least we have numbers to show for it.

Back to Jimmy - the answer is simple!  You didn't watch the races.  If you did you'd see that James was, well James and encountered more problems on the track.  It should be abundantly clear by now that timing is everything and I don't mean lap times.  Perhaps in another time or another year a rider like Trey Canard would be dominating the circuit but instead its guys like Villopoto and Roczen.  Its too bad that some great riders will someday fade into obscurity but until then I'll record their finest hours.

I'm trying to keep these posts short but there is so much more to gather from my charts I just don't have the time dig in deep; hopefully that will change at some point.

Till then, here are the 450 TRAPs for Muddy Creek.


Monday, July 28, 2014

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 Motocross | High Point

Photo: Cudby/racerxonline
We are evolving here at the Roost'r camp in ways I hadn't anticipated.  My interests have been progressing more into the periphery of the "roosty" sport of dirt bikes, make no mistake though the racing and the bikes still drive my passion.  I've tried to keep a balance between quantitative and qualitative analysis but lately the numbers seem to be winning the motos.  It's no surprise, numbers flash at me 8 hours a day and uncovering a new way to enjoy my favorite pastime keeps my wheels on the ground.

Statistics is not unlike riding a new track; trust your instincts, give it a couple of test runs then twist the throttle and hope you don't crack your dome.  Alpha in my industry is the driving force behind many of our decisions.  It's a factor in determining the value of a portfolio given a level of risk and only when we've identified significant alpha will we deploy capital.  This week I decided to put my "El Capit├ín" hat on and talk about how one might employ statistics to identify the M.U.V.R. or most undervalued rider.

My buddy, I'll call him Jimmy Jack, asks me why are you taking all the fun out of motocross?  My reply, "because I can."  All joking aside, the business side of the sport can be equally exciting with non-stop maneuvering behind the scenes creating a unique and dynamic season year after year.  Billy Beane couldn't stand to watch a pitch but he absolutely loved the sport of baseball.  A live game was only confirmation of a game he'd already played on paper and since there is not much attention being paid to the subject in motocross I thought I'd concentrate my efforts here.

The best I can do as a casual observer is to simulate what I might do as a team manager to uncover the MUVR.  Alpha should at the very least assist in identifying value in motocross and only a combustible mix of statistical analysis and applied mathematics can rut it out.  So what's the alpha generator in motocross? Having pondered the question for some time I've come to the conclusion that there are three main factors to consider.  Obviously part of the equation lies in the rider and his abilities.  Now he doesn't run around the track so another factor to consider is the equipment and the support he receives.  Finally there is the level of competition he faces and to a lesser extent the track itself.

Of course one moto or one race is not enough to come to any kind of conclusion so historical data and a keen eye are critical.  Given my time constraints I doubt I'll be able to provide any meaningful results in this post but at least you know what's in the works.  I understand alpha looks great on paper but it ultimately comes down to execution and that's really where the nobby meets the dirt.  In the meantime, below are two traps from High Point.  A TRAP for those not familiar is my proprietary scoring method for evaluating individual performance.

A quick glance at moto 1 of the 450 class revealed a lot of parity with 31 riders all scoring within tier 2 and 3.  Roczen was the top performer followed closely by Grant.  You may have also noticed Fredrik Noren from Sweden clawing his way up the rankings, now sitting 13th in points.  Another glaring fact is that KTM has officially arrived with some very impressive showings.  In moto 2 of the 250 class I had 3 riders scoring in the top tier, 2 of which I had never heard of; Dylan Slusser of Butler PA and Brandon Riehm of Annadale MN.  The rest of the field held their own in tiers 3 and 4, Matt Lemoine being the only rider scoring in tier 2 but just barely.

In the off season I hope to score every moto in every race so I have one full season of stats to work with.  I can't say how this will translate to supercross but then that's why I do this.  Muddy Creek profile up next, till then enjoy Budds Creek.

The Roost'r