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FXR Racing Presents the East MX2 Preview- Who Might Be Champion?

Coming into the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan, the MX2 class was perhaps the most anticipated one to watch. With a host of young and aggressive riders from Canada and the USA, guessing who might come out on top was a certain mystery. However, as the first four rounds of the series unfolded in the west, it has become clear that this 2017 title will definitely go through the defending MX2 Champion, Cole Thompson. Other than at Round 4 in Regina, Thompson wasn’t the faster MX2 rider on the track, that honour went to Shawn Maffenbeier. However, Thompson remained a consistent podium finisher and took advantage of the mistakes and the bad luck suffered by his competition. As the 2017 MX2 Series now heads east to some of the toughest tracks this country has to offer, all of the riders, including points leader Cole Thompson, must prepare for the most gruelling six rounds of the summer. Here are my predictions on who might finish in the top five when the series wraps up at RJ Motosport Park in Barrie, ON.

So far in each and every moto there has been some incredible battles in the MX2 class. With the east being even more challenging, can anyone catch Cole Thompson?

1. Cole Thompson – KTM Thor Racing

After the first four rounds of the series, Cole Thompson has a commanding 33-point lead over the rest of the MX2 riders. With the exception of the Regina round, Cole wasn’t the fastest MX2 rider. At times, Cole appeared to be playing the waiting game and didn’t want to push too hard too soon. Well, whatever his strategy was, it worked as one by one his competition suffered mishap after mishap. Finally, at Round 4, Cole put it all together and dominated both MX2 motos. With the series now heading to tracks at which he has historically done very well, we look for Cole to continue his strong riding during the remaining twelve motos. Although there may be a little adversity still to come for Cole, we think that when the series comes to its conclusion at Round 10, Cole Thompson will once again be your MX2 Champion.

Even though the points standings don’t show it, Shawn Maffenbeier was the fastest MX2 rider in the western rounds. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that speed in the east and reel in Thompson for this 2017 title?

2. Shawn Maffenbeier – MX101 FXR Racing Yamaha

With the first four rounds now a part of Canadian moto history, one has to feel sorry for Shawn Maffenbeier. During the first eight motos of the 2017 series, Shawn pretty much did everything he could to win and to be the points leader. Unfortunately for him, a DNF in Prince George because of a rock hitting his water pump, and a strange crash in Regina, which left him with a lonely 16th place moto finish, Shawn is definitely in a hole entering the eastern rounds. The good news for him and for his team is that from now on they only have one goal and that is to win races. There is no strategy, no playing it safe, or no overthinking involved, all they have to focus on is winning and trying to get back into this points race. However, we think that when all is said and done, Shawn will do everything he can to win this title but he will come up just a few points shy of his first ever CMRC Pro MX2 Championship. With such a massive challenge ahead for one of Canada’s favourite riders, watching Shawn for the final six rounds is sure going to be fun!

Before the MX2 series began, very few people knew who Josh Osby was. Well, after leading a few motos and battling for podiums spots in the west, everyone now knows who is he. Osby should be good on the eastern tracks so look for him to continue his successful 2017 season in Canada.

3. Josh Osby – GP Bikes Redemption Racing Team

So far in 2017, Josh Osby has been one of the biggest surprises of the MX2 series. During the first four rounds out west, Osby got great starts and always seemed to put himself in a position to do well. His performances have been great considering that he has never raced on any of these Canadian tracks before. Now that the MX2 series is moving east to the extreme conditions that come with some of these rounds, Osby will have to continue to get good starts and ride strong. Heading into Round 5, Osby is sitting in second in the overall points standings. We find this remarkable considering this is the first time he has raced in the Canadian series. As new riders find out, the east is much more difficult on a rider’s body as well as on their equipment. Osby will have to be that much better if he wants to remain in the top five in this 2017 MX2 series.

After a very difficult start to the MX2 series, Dylan Wright must begin to win races if he has any hope of taking home this championship.

4. Dylan Wright – Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing

Prior to the opening round, Dylan Wright was one of the favourites to win this Championship. But, after tough rounds in Kamloops and Prince George, Dylan quickly found himself well back in the points chase. Whether it was a case of bad luck or simply trying too hard, Dylan suffered over ten crashes in the first six motos. This is certainly not the way to win a championship and no one knows that better than Dylan Wright. However, after such a disastrous start, Dylan turned things around in Regina and finally found his way onto the podium. Now, with a dozen motos remaining in the MX2 series, Dylan will have to pull out all of the stops and start winning races. Can he do it? Of course he can but he will need to ride with the perfect combination of aggression and smarts. If Dylan can win a moto or two at the first rounds in the east, look out because he may just get on a roll and be able to make this MX2 series even more interesting. For now, though, I feel he so far back in points and will finish up in 4th overall.

We’re not sure how healthy Jacob Hayes is coming into Gopher Dunes, but if he’s on the starting line then we know he will give it everything he has to win!

5. Jacob Hayes – Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki

After having to sit out the entire series last year with an injury suffered in Moto 1 in Kamloops, Jacob Hayes has been riding very well in 2017. He has had the lead a few times and his speed has been very good. Like Dylan Wright, Hayes has at times been guilty of trying too hard and because of this has spent a little time on the ground. At Round 4 in Regina, Hayes had a bad crash and originally thought he broke his lower leg. But, after sitting out the second moto, Hayes felt better and instantly set his sights on the eastern rounds. With him calling hot and humid North Carolina home during the week, Hayes will relish the conditions in the next six rounds, so look for him to be even better than he was out west. The issue, though, is that with his second moto DNS in Regina, he has now put himself well behind in the MX2 points standings. Hopefully Hayes is healthy for the east. If he is good to go then look for him to be part of this five rider battle right until Round 10 in Barrie.

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