While celebrating the Chinese New Year the other day, it got me thinking as to who else would also much prefer to be about to begin the 2013 Monster Energy SX Championship, rather than be six rounds deep. The chance to wipe the slate clean and have another bash at Anaheim 1, a mulligan, if you will...
Coming into the year, RV was favourite for the championship, having won last year and beaten everyone in the field numerous times, most people thought the #1 plated Kawasaki would do it all over again. Instead, he struggled at A1 and despite back-to-back wins, he sits 27pts behind Millsaps in the championship and is really struggling with consistency. So far his podium percentage is a shockingly low 50% and he seems to be crashing more than he's ever done in his career. No doubt he's still in with a shout, but no-one is as confident that he can still put together a solid string of performances as they once were.
Zero podiums in 2013 so far. I don't think (m)any people predicted that. But the good news is that he's been involved in all the races so far despite an ACL injury which could've easily seen him sitting on the sidelines. There is no doubt that the injury is holding him back, but signs of improvement are now coming through and just like RV, he's certainly capable of reeling off some victories in the coming rounds. However, he would certainly prefer to be lining up at A1 again, fit and healthy, than heading east to Dallas for round seven.
I don't have the stats to hand, but I'd warrant that this maybe approaching Pro Circuit's longest winless streak ever. Two podiums from Davalos have slightly eased the pain, but Mitch can't be happy with his return on investments in 2013 so far. Things weren't off to the greatest start when his three strongest contenders (Baggett, Durham and Wilson) were all forced into the east coast championship but even so, 6th and 11th in the championship are well below expectations for this title-winning team.
Scheduled to hang up his motorcycle boots in 2014, KDub made an early retirement decision after Phoenix which has left plenty of fans disappointed that (other than the pre-race transfers) they won't get to see the #14 ride again. A reboot of A1 might see Windham come in with a different mindset and see him race the complete 17 round schedule. And that is no bad thing.
After a breakout year last year, things haven't quite gone to plan in 2013 for the Motoconcepts rider, with the low-light being his helmet malfunction at Phoenix. Sitting 18th in the championship, over 100pts off the pace, it's safe to say that Jake would love to have Anaheim 1 coming up on the horizon.
Things started off promisingly for Malcolm with a 5th at A1, but unfortunately he's gone back to his old ways and is struggling to finish the majority of his races. No one doubts his speed but for some reason he just can't consistently stay off the ground and has left him way off the championship front-runners. Whether another shot at A1 and the 2013 would do Malcolm any good, but he probably couldn't do any worse.
Of course being able to take a mulligan often relies on who you're actually playing with, and some guys just aren't as forgiving as others. While some other riders also probably wouldn't mind having Anahiem 1 again, there are a few guys who definitely wouldn't allow mulligans, do-overs or any chance that their 2013 so far would be wiped from the records.
The undisputed king of 2013 so far. I don't think anyone called his sudden transformation from top five, to race-winner and it's certainly provided an amazing storyline for every fan. For some reason there still seems to be a question-mark about whether he can keep up this level of performance, but any doubts will surely be removed after his second victory of the year at San Diego
Plenty of amateurs come up through the ranks and turn pro without a lot of hype. Savatgy, while being one of the top amateurs, didn't really have much of a fanfare before A1 but that soon changed as he set about holeshotting as many races as possible. Now sitting in 8th place, battling with a lot more experienced riders, he's put himself in the shop window after his current team JDR announced they are closing up at the end of the SX season.
The young German was being outpaced early on the season as Eli Tomac dominated the first three rounds of the year. However, Ken stuck in there with three 2nd's, waiting for his moment to strike should Eli slip-up. Sure enough, a 24pt swing at Oakland means Roczen just has to cruise it home in second place for the remainder of the championship. Of course that is easier said than done, but if he can manage it, he'll add a West Coast 250 Championship crown to his World title.