Each race week, we recap the previous weekend's fantasy highlights, provide top-secret fantasy training tips and make "expert" predictions for the coming race.
That's My Specialty.
Certain riders are better at particular track conditions. When making predictions, analysts will say a rider is better at a certain track or the track will be soft from rain all week so certain riders will do better. Specializing at certain tracks or in particular conditions is due to many factors: the rider grew up riding that particular track as an amateur, they lived in muddy, hard pack or sandy conditions, similarities to their main practice track, etc. I've compiled a list of the top 20 riders from each class and where their specialties lie. The labels are just summaries of riders' backgrounds and past results. Sometimes riders struggle despite being a favorite.
450 Top 20 After Round 5:
250 Top 20 After Round 5:
Team Name: Cody105
Real Name: Cody Hockema
Rd. 5 Score/Finish: 411/65th
Season Points/Rank: 2,266/14th
450 Class: 190 Points
Fredrik Noren (6) 9/8 - 84 points
Kyle Chisholm (12) 15/22 - 62 Points
Joey Savatgy (2) 11/18 - 29 points
Coty Schock (18) 30/33 - 15 points
The weather has been easy on the riders so far this season, but the major player at the inaugural WW Ranch outdoor national was the heat. Many riders live and train in similar conditions, some even just down the road from the race. How can they do motos in the same heat every week, yet we see Florida-based Chase Sexton unable to even ride the second moto due to heat exhaustion? It's hard to replicate the heart rates riders hit on race day. The higher mental intensity translates to higher physical intensity. Winning his first ever pro moto had Sexton on such an adrenaline rush that he pushed his body well past any levels reached in the average practice moto.
You can see where the conditions got all of my riders; except of course my shining star, Freddie Noren. He was unphased, battling with Eli Tomac for most of the second moto. I even heard he had no mechanic and, while other riders kicked back in air conditioned motorhomes soaking in ice baths, Fast Freddie was changing air filters and prepping his bike between sessions. That dude is gritty.
Kyle Chisholm redeemed himself in his home state after a disappointing return to the season at High Point. His 15th in the first moto then a massive holeshot in the second had me rubbing my hands together. He crashed early and only pulled off 22nd, mentioning the heat did get to him by the end of the day.
After qualifying sixth, I thought Joey Savatgy was a smart pick. Turns out, counting on a guy who's just returned to racing on the hottest day of the season is not so smart. I think the heat got to him in both motos, even worse in the second moto where he finished 18th.
I've been sending it with a few picks every week but lately the packages have been returned to me, making an odd ticking sound. My 18 handicaps guys have let me down a few weeks in a row now. Being 14th in the series, it's important to manage the championship by not gambling on high risk riders. Coty Schock has been on my radar for a few races with a 21st at Budds Creek and a 26th at High Point. His handicap was 18 for Florida where he qualified 21st. Come race time he couldn't quite crack the top 30.
250 Class: 221 Points
Jordan Bailey (11) 10/12 - 100 Points
Ty Masterpool (6) 16/16 - 44 points
Brandon Hartranft (6) 31/9 - 40 Points
RJ Hampshire (-1) 6/11 - 37 points
Jordan Bailey has finally paid off for his team owners! He looked fast in qualifying and is a life-long Floridian so I was feeling confident it was his time.
Weighing less than my dog and riding that fire-breathing dragon of a Star Yamaha, I thought Ty Masterpool would do better in the deep sand. Perhaps wrestling the bike around a deep, bumpy track was a little too much in the heat.
Crashing out of moto one prevented Brandon Hartranft from a potential top ten overall. At least he was able to save his energy and pull off a ninth in the second moto.
Another Florida native, RJ Hampshire, seemed like a safe choice. His starts were not on point and was caught in a pile up during the start of the second moto.
Round 5 - Florida - MotoSport.com Pro Series
MotoSport.com Pro Series Points Standings
Top Rider Scores
450 Class - Round 5 - Florida
250 Class - Round 5 - Florida
Picks of Interest
Here are a couple of interesting picks for the weekend. These are by no means a guarantee, just some guys to consider.
Cody Hockema (Cody105):
450 Class: Chris Canning (14) - Ryan Down (16) - Brandan Leith (17)
Look for these and other high handicap Southwick specialists in the qualifying results. It wouldn't be surprising to see these names in the top 20. Last year, Leith took 11th with Canning behind him in 12th. Dowd went 17/21 for 24th overall. Make sure to check qualifying when choosing these riders. Races like Southwick have quite a few local specialists who can pay off big time.
250 Class - Derek Drake (8)The rookie grabbed the moto one holeshot in Florida and began to pull away. A mishap in the rollers threw him to the ground and he decided to sit out the rest of the day. He is ready to go for Southwick and word around the pits is Derek knows how to ride sand.