Stock Report: Risers and Fallers in the 450 Class

The second period of the season played out much like the first period out front, with Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey snatching up all the wins in the 450 Class. Behind them though, it's been a bit of weekly crapshoot. Justin Barcia has been relatively consistent, as has Trey Canard, but everyone else has had plenty of ups and downs. Since we last had an offweek (after Round 4 at High Point), several riders have climbed the charts with strong races, while a few others have seen their stock take a hit for various reasons over the last three races. Here's a look at the guys moving in one direction or another lately.

First the guys on the upswing...

Andrew Short

As Andrew Short's starts have improved, so have his results in his first year with BTO Sports KTM. The peak of his season thus far came in thie first moto at Southwick when he inherited the lead following James Stewart's crash. He came within two laps of winning the race, but was unable to hold off Ryan Dungey. He took another top five moto finish the following week at RedBud and has steadily been building momentum.

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 11th 7th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 16.6 10.8
Avg. finishing position 15.5 9.2
Top-five starts (after 1 lap) 0 3
Top-five moto finishes 0 2

 


Shorty's gone 2-16 and 4-12 in back-to-back weeks. (Photo: Matt Rice)

Josh Grant

It's been a rollercoaster season for the JGR rider, but he's getting hot right as the Silly Season rumors begin to pick up. He started to put things together at Muddy Creek, where he was the top qualifier, but bike problems in the second moto forced him out of the race and left a major blemish on his day. Things improved at High Point when he turned two good starts, which included winning the Motorcycle Superstore Holeshot in Moto 2, into 5-8 finishes. He battled through some poor starts at the next two races to finish between 11th and 14th in all four motos, but then things really clicked at RedBud. After qualifying third in practice, Grant got off to top-two starts in both motos and posted a 3-5 score for his first overall podium of the season. If he can keep riding at that level consistently over the last five races, he should contend with the likes of Stewart, Barcia and Canard for more podiums.

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 13th 9th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 13.0 11.7
Avg. finishing position 16.1 9.5
Top-five moto finishes 1 2
Top-15 moto finishes 4 6

 


Was RedBud the beginning of multiple podiums for Josh Grant? (Photo: Matt Rice)

Malcolm Stewart

The younger Stewart brother continues to adapt quickly to the 450. Originally just a goal for Mookie to strive for, top tens have suddenly become the norm for the Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Honda rider. His career-best 3rd-place finish in the 2nd moto at Budds Creek was part of a five-moto streak where Malcolm finished higher than his brother, something that didn't go unnoticed by James. "It's starting to get heated at the house a little bit," James said after RedBud. "I was actually starting to lose my status. He beat me the last five out of six motos, so I told him he was gonna get burned today. It was starting to suck there for a little bit."

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 15th 11th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 13.3 11.2
Avg. finishing position 16.5 9.3
Top-ten moto finishes 1 5
DNFs 1 0

 


A 4th-place overall (9-3) at Budds Creek signaled that Mookie has arrived. (Photo: Amy Schaaf)

Justin Brayton

Two years ago, Justin Brayton finished 7th overall in points despite missing one-third of the season with injuries. Racing the full schedule last year, the JGR rider finished 7th overall again but really peaked in the middle of the season with 6 of his 7 total top-five moto finishes coming during Rounds 4-8. Plagued by crashes and bike issues early in the year, Brayton is rounding into form during mid-season once again. He's traditionally run pretty well at Washougal and Spring Creek, the next two tracks on the schedule, so hopefully that bodes well for his chances of carrying this recent success over to the backend of the season this time around.

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 18th 15th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 22.1 10.2
Avg. finishing position 21.5 11.2
Top-ten starts (after 1 lap) 2 5
Top-ten moto finishes 2 5

 


Brayton (15th) sits just 30 points behind 7th-place Andrew Short in the 450 Class standings. (Photo: Amy Schaaf)

While these guys are some of the hottest names in the 450 Class right, naturally their rise has coincided with a dropoff from a few of the guys that garnered attention earlier in the year. Coming out of High Point, the three riders below were being commended for their solid top ten seasons. Things have taken a bit of a turn since then, with injuries, crashes and bad luck all playing a factor.

Here are the folks looking to get things turned back around, starting this weekend.

Mike Alessi

Despite enjoying a good season, one knock on Mike Alessi was that he wasn't pulling the holeshots like he was last year. That seemed to turn around at Budds Creek when Alessi grabbed both Motorcycle Superstore Holeshots. He turned the first moto into a second straight podium finish and was running in the top-three again in Moto 2 before crashing out. His rib popped out of place, leaving him unable to finish the race, and since then Alessi's recorded 8-12 and 37-9 finishes at Southwick and RedBud, well off the pace of his first four races. The opening moto at RedBud included two crashes for the MotoConcepts rider that led to a DNF. Having won a moto here last year, Washougal presents a great opportunity for Alessi to get back on track on Saturday.

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 5th 6th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 6.3 11.5
Avg. finishing position 6.8 17.2
Top-six moto finishes 6 1
DNFs 0 2

 


Does Alessi have more Washougal magic in store for this weekend? (Photo: Amy Schaaf)

Tyla Rattray

The forecast was looking bright for Tyla Rattray after a 4-4 at High Point landed him on his first career overall podium in the 450 Class. Since then, injuries have kept him down. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider didn't line up for Moto 2 at Budds Creek after crashing out of the day's first moto. He returned a week later at Southwick, finishing 10-8. It was good enough for 6th overall thanks to a crazy day of racing in the sandbox, but the downside was a pair of first-turn crashes for Rattray that kept him from a good start in either moto. At RedBud, Rattray would not even make it to the starting gate when injured ribs during practice ended his day prematurely.

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 7th 12th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 13.0 23.0
Avg. finishing position 11.5 17.8
Top-ten moto finishes 6 2
DNFs/DNS's 1 4

 


With Dean Wilson sidelined, Rattray is Pro Circuit's lone 450 rider right now. (Photo: Matt Rice)

Ryan Sipes

The biggest faller on this list, Ryan Sipes has dropped from 8th to 14th in the points over the last three races. Despite running inside the top ten in many of the motos, he's been falling victim to exhaustion, crashes and bike failures. After a top five in the first moto at Budds Creek, Sipes was running there again for the first half of Moto 2 before he began feeling the effects of heat exhaustion. Following a 22nd-place finish, Sipes received treatment from the Asterisk medical team. The following week, three crashes in two motos left Sipes with no points to show from his weekend at Southwick. At RedBud, Sipes had a top ten start in Moto 1 but stalled his bike on the opening lap, and the Rockstar Energy Racing rider went on to record a 12-14 score on the day.

  Rounds 1-4 Rounds 5-7
Point standing 8th 14th
Avg. starting position (after 1 lap) 15.3 16.5
Avg. finishing position 11.1 18.5
Top-ten moto finishes 5 1
DNFs 0 1

 


Sipes finished 8th in 450 Class points in 2010. (Photo: George Crosland)

The week off seems to have come at a good time for all three riders. Hopefully they'll arrive at Washougal healthy and re-energized and can recapture the form we saw over the first four races.

The Peterson CAT Washougal National starts at 4PM ET this Saturday, with live motos televised on Fuel TV and NBC Sports Network. Once again, AlliSports.com will have live streaming coverage.