The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis hosts Round 14 of the 2016 AMA Supercross Championship. In an interesting twist that's sure to have some late-risers unhappy, track walk begins at 7 a.m., with the free practice beginning at 8:30 a.m. This is the earliest start to an AMA Supercross in the sport's history, and the 2:30 p.m. ET start time for the television broadcast is the reason. The race is to be broadcast live on Fox nationwide. This will mark the first of two weekends with early start times being broadcast on the mother station of Fox and should make it available to a much wider range of viewers. If all goes to Ryan Dungey's plan, more people than ever may see him wrap up the title early next weekend in Foxboro...
First things first though, and that's last weekend's battle between these two former teammates - Dungey and Ken Roczen. In what many have called the best race of the season, the two traded paint and position several times in an epic main event that saw a few mistakes by Roczen result in another win by Dungey. His seventh win of the season, Dungey is now on course to wrap the title a couple of rounds early as he heads into this weekend with a 45-point margin over Roczen.
With awesome starts all season, Dungey's been on a roll for quite a while now, with 29 straight podium finishes he leads the all-time list and is now a champion's champion. In a field as stacked as this one is, this is an incredible performance by a rider who - had he quit racing even last year - had nothing left in the sport to prove. The most remarkable part? Dungey could easily have switched into points-conservation mode several weeks ago but he hasn't, and his rides the past two weekends have shown that. Kudos to Dungey for keeping things interesting up front.
Ohio born and raised former GNCC racer Aaron Plessinger got his first 250SX win in Indy, no doubt thanks to the rutted surface that must've reminded him of home. By this point it's common knowledge that Aaron is the off-spring of multi-time GNCC champ Scott Plessinger and it's safe to say that Aaron's a bit of a chip off the ol' block, particularly when the tracks get rutted and messy. Aaron's first 250cc outdoor AMA Pro Motocross win came on a rutted and messy Ironman race in Indiana last summer.
Despite Plessinger's awesome performance, Malcolm Stewart maintained his points lead in Indy. The two had the makings for a great battle brewing for a while there before Stewart cut his losses and maintained a safe second place as the race wore down. The two are clearly enjoying their time at the front, and have become good friends both on the track and off. After Plessinger's win...
... Stewart joined him on a jump just past the finish line to perform a victory dance in front of the nearly full Lucas Oil Stadium. It was a popular moment, for sure. Look for these two to get a bit more serious as the series winds down and that very small points lead of Stewart's becomes tougher to maintain.
Mitch Payton's Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team has been in a slump lately, and with the injury of Arnaud Tonus, one of the KX250F's opened up. Payton picked a relatively unknown privateer in Gannon Audette to fill the seat, which seemed like a solid choice considering Audette's already finished as high as sixth on his own KX250F. Well, the decision turned out to be a good one as Audette landed on the podium in third for his debut on the team. Well done, Gannon!
Christophe Pourcel's return to the track was looking to be a good one as he ran toward the front five for much of the main event. A scary cash into a bowl turn had him tumbling head over heels though, and coming off a chipped vertebrae in his neck just a few weeks ago, Pourcel was probably a bit shook up after that one.
Another great ride in Indy came from a rider we've come to expect a lot from: Trey Canard. Another mediocre start this time led to Canard moving up through the pack and NOT crashing (or being crashed into), which resulted in one of his best finishes of the season: fourth. Maybe this was a break-out ride for Canard, so we'll go out on a limb and call for a podium in St. Louis, which would be his first trip up there all season.
The photo above illustrates several key elements of last weekend in Indy: 1) James Stewart was there but DNS due to twisting an ankle in the super deep... 2) Ruts, which developed due to the softer dirt that was available in Indy and 3) It was retro weekend! We feel the award for most gorgeous throw-back bike went to the Yoshimura Suzukis of Stewart and Baggett.
Round 14 of the 2016 AMA Supercross Championship is coming up in less than 24 hours. Look for complete coverage on our Instagram account - @AMASupercross, our Facebook page AMA Supercross Championship, and right here at AMASupercross.com for Live Timing & Scoring. If you're a SUPER Supercross fan, download our $0.99 smartphone app: "AMA SX" on iTunes and the Google Play store. TV schedules are available at Supercrossonline.com.