Pulpmx's Steve Matthes checks in from the US every single Thursday, presented by Fox.
For only the second time in the last eight years, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team failed to win a supercross title last season. The GEICO Honda squad captured both east and west titles with Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia and although the Pro Circuit team did win the 250MX title with Blake Baggett, it was hardly easy.
Decimated by injury and by the fact that factory Kawasaki team called up Tyla Rattray for the 450 class, team owner Mitch Payton tried to make due with Baggett and veteran Ivan Tedesco for the 12 round motocross series. But soon Tedesco got injured and it was Baggett versus the four GEICO Honda riders and two KTM Euro-kids.
And in a clutch final round at Lake Elsinore, Baggett captured the title in spectacular fashion and it was another plaque on the mantle for Pro Circuit. But something wasn’t right for the team, Payton knew that he probably got a bit lucky with his one rider avoiding injury and mechanicals to win the championship. And of course, being shut out in supercross, where the glitz and glamour of the sport is, wasn’t going to be acceptable for PC.
And in 2013, Pro Circuit is coming out with its biggest team ever in an effort to not only assure itself one or both 250SX and 250MX titles but it also wants the 450MX titles as well. Thanks to some fortuitous luck and a commitment by the teams sponsors, Pro Circuit is looking very, very strong this coming year.
With Jeff Ward Racing team falling apart, ex-pc racer Dean Wilson became the new PC recruit and will be a favorite to capture the 250SX east series (the coast he’s rumored to race in) and he’ll join Baggett, Darryn Durham, Justin Hill and Martin Davalos. Oh and although he wanted a full-time 450 ride, Tyla Rattray came back to PC and will ride 250SX. Even though Durham and Hill are hurt right now, by all accounts they will be ready to go in supercross.
Ah, but that’s not all. Payton is for the second year in a row fielding a 450MX team as well with Wilson and Rattray. Both very fast and very capable riders and we saw last year with Broc Tickle that the Pro Circuit team can handle the 450 crowd with the best of them.
Although Wilson and Rattray aren’t going to be the favorites going into the 450MX series, both racers are sure bets to be inside the top five and maybe challenge for wins here and there. Rattray raced last summer and at times seemed overwhelmed by the class but at other times he showed that he could be a serious factor. His year was a series of stops and starts with injury but he should be better. Wilson is without a doubt on the Justin Barcia level of rider and will be exciting to watch.
Again, if everyone can stay healthy, Pro Circuit is looking like a powerhouse team and they’re not going to take what was (for them) an off year just laying down. They’re not regrouping, they’re just reloading.