Before the start of the motocross series, I took it upon myself to make some predictions. I watch the races throughout the season anyway, so I figured “why not?” 

Well, now it’s time to see how my predictions panned out over an analysis of each rider’s season. I’ll be giving my predictions a score of anywhere from 1-5 points based on their accuracy. The more points each prediction gets, the more accurate it was. The goal is to get as close to the maximum 65 points as possible.  

In case you’re wondering, this is the reason “why not”…. let’s get to it. 

Zach Osborne and Marvin Musquin on the Podium
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Titles and Top 5s

#3 Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Kawasaki 

Overall Finish: 3 

The Prediction: When it comes down to it, Tomac is in the best spot to win the title. Ken Roczen doesn’t have the endurance, Marvin Musquin hasn’t raced since last season, Adam Cianciarulo is a 450MX rookie, and so on. Tomac has the most experience and arguably the most speed, so the title isn’t going anywhere but to him. 

Points: 0 – Was there any prediction more far off than this one? 

Analysis: Okay, I was wrong. I can admit that, begrudgingly, though, of course. It’s tough to own up to the fact that I’m someone who jumps on the Tomac train, but he just makes it so easy. Tomac has the ability to push through the pack after a bad start, and whenever I see that, I just believe. But, much like UFOs in the posters that tell us to just believe, Tomac left me waiting and watching.  

There’s not much to it other than this: Tomac had a complete lack of energy, drive, and fire. He had an average finish of 5.05 across all the gate drops of the season, a huge decrease compared to his average of 2.46 last year. What’s more, Tomac won 11 motos and bagged eight other top-3 finishes across last year’s 24 motos. This year, he only took three wins and five other top-3 finishes across the 18 motos. Tomac was locking in the title a race early in 2019 whereas he was only beating 4th overall by seven points in 2020. If that doesn’t show lack of energy, drive, and fire, I don’t know what does.  

For anyone else, a 3rd overall would be a success. For Tomac, it’s almost a shortcoming. He earned three back-to-back MX championships, and 2020 should’ve been his fourth. On the flip side, after winning that much and finally taking his first SX title, can Tomac really be faulted for not having the motivation? I’m inclined to give him a break this time, but he better come out swinging with that signature speed in SX so that I don’t get let down again. 

Eli Tomac
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#9 Adam Cianciarulo – Monster Energy Kawasaki 

Overall Finish: 2 

The Prediction: Cianciarulo is either going to crash out or be battling for podiums every single round, it’s as simple as that. I wouldn’t be surprised either way, but I’m hoping for the latter. If Cianciarulo can keep it on two wheels this season, I don’t think anyone can keep him from finishing in the top 3 overall. 

Points: 5 – What can I say, I called it. It’s as simple as that.  

Analysis: Where Tomac left me waiting and watching, Cianciarulo delivered almost every race. Not only did he keep it on two wheels all season, he kept it on two in the top 5 for all but three motos. What’s more, he finished within 12 points of 1st place and was within reach of the title for quite a few races. The only thing better than that is actually taking the title.  

That said, this was an incredibly impressive showing for Cianciarulo’s 450MX rookie season. And not to say I called it, but I kind of called it. He didn’t miss a single race, he battled with a lot of the top riders, and he took 12 top-3 moto finishes that include four moto wins. There’s no doubt that Cianciarulo has earned a place in the 450 field and will be battling with the best of them for many series to come. 

Adam Cianciarulo
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#2 Cooper Webb – Red Bull KTM 

Overall Finish: 26 

The Prediction: His consistency and discipline will keep Webb in the top 5 overall for MX, but barring a crash that takes out Tomac, Roczen, and Cianciarulo, Webb won’t get close to the red plate this year. 

Points: 1 – I earned a point for saying that Webb wouldn’t get close to the red plate this year. He certainly wasn’t after his first, and subsequently only, race of the season.  

Analysis: So, I guess I was kind of right – Webb didn’t get close to the red plate this season and neither Tomac nor Cianciarulo crashed out. But that’s kind of cheating…Webb raced only two motos this season, going 5-8 for 7th overall. After going down hard in the second moto at Loretta Lynn’s I, Webb agitated his back injury from his insane crash at Arlington in February. He made the decision with the team right then to sit out the rest of the season to make sure he was SX-ready. It was tough not seeing Webb out there battling for position, but it will all be worth it if he’s able to take some races and give us more photo-finishes in Supercross. 

Cooper Webb
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#25 Marvin Musquin – Red Bull KTM 

Overall Finish: 4 

The Prediction: It’s just been too long since Musquin raced to put in him the top 3. He’s still a tough competitor, however, so that will keep him in the bottom of the top 5. 

Points: 5 – This one was spot on. 4th place is at the bottom of the top 5, and Musquin finished around that position pretty much all season long.  

Analysis: Musquin is a rider who did just as expected. He took 4th overall for the season, and his average overall finish was actually 4.00 even. That said, he never placed out of the top 10 overall and took three overall podiums over the course of the season. That’s not bad considering the injury he’s coming back from and the fact that he missed an entire supercross season.  

All things considered, Musquin put in some good fights this season. He rode consistently enough to be in the top 5 nearly every race, but, like I’ve said, it wasn’t good enough to take the title or even be in the running for it. Of course, Musquin’s coming off on an injury and off course, he’s a talented rider, but, if you ask me, he’ll be in this same spot for the rest of his racing career. 

Marvin Musquin
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

On the Podium and in the Mix 

#1 Zach Osborne – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna 

Overall Finish: 1 

The Prediction: Osborne is only getting better and better. He’s a strong rider who’s proven to be more reliable and capable than most. With the ever-widening field of competition in the 450MX class, however, he’ll probably finish just out of the top 5 overall this year. 

Points: 1 – I did say he was reliable and capable, right? I also said he’d finish just out of the top-5 overall, though, so it’s safe to say I barely earned a point on this one.  

Analysis: I should’ve been more confident in Osborne, I mean look at this season! Tomac who?  

In all seriousness, though, Osborne had an exceptional season. He kicked it all off with a win at Loretta Lynn’s I and followed that up with eight other top-3 moto finishes and five other wins. Osborne’s top competition, Cianciarulo, almost gave him a run for his money, but their finishes switched off just enough that Osborne never had to relinquish the red plate.  

Osborne and Cianciarulo’s Overall Finishes Compared

Osborne1151310136
Cianciarulo1223511423

Those finishes paint a pretty clear picture of Osborne’s speed and skill, but these stats really drive the point home for me: In 17 of the 18 motos this season, Osborne finished higher or the same as where he started. In five of the six motos where he started in 1st, he finished in 1st. That sixth moto? He finished in 3rd.  

That’s a major indicator of consistency, maturity, and refined racecraft, and all signs point to Osborne being tough competition in the series to come.

Zach Osborne
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#21 Jason Anderson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna 

Overall Finish: 19 

The Prediction: Despite Anderson’s inconsistencies in the last SX and MX seasons, the 2018 450SX champ managed to take 4th overall in both. It’s as if he has just enough speed to stay relevant, but not to be included in the title chase. That seeming lack of drive combined with how close Osborne was to catching him last year has me thinking that a finish out of the top 5 will be likely for Anderson this MX season. 

Points: 1 – While I do believe Anderson would’ve finished out of the top 5 this season, I can’t get points for something that didn’t happen. I earned one point, however, for that 9th place finish at Loretta Lynn’s II.  

Analysis: There’s not much to say about Anderson because there’s not much that happened for him this season. After going 2-9 at the Loretta Lynn’s races and taking 36th in Moto 1 of Ironman, he was done. It was later reported that he re-aggravated his arm injury from 2019 and needed to get the hardware removed. He didn’t return, and now it’s hard to know what’s next for him. After a series of overall finishes that can really only be categorized as “lackluster” for a past Supercross champion, it’s hard to know if he’s going to rise up to the challenge in the next series, or fade into the back of the top 5 and 10 like he has been as of late. 

Jason Anderson
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#4 Blake Baggett – Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS 

Overall Finish: 8 

The Prediction: Skill and speed can only get you so far. Baggett has what it takes to be a podium contender and even serious title competition, but he lacks the consistency to be at the top of every race. I have no doubt that El Chupacabra will strike a few times this year, and that is what will keep Baggett well into the top 10 overall by the end of the season. 

Points: 5 – El Chupacabra struck, and Baggett finished in the top 10 overall.  

Analysis: We always say Baggett is going to do well because A, we’re partial, and B (most importantly), we know he has it in him. Sometimes, it just doesn’t come together for Baggett, and we just stay the course for the next season. This year, however, we saw it. El Chupacabra DID strike, and it was in the form of two overall podiums and five top-5 moto finishes, including a moto win. That’s pretty good for a veteran rider like Baggett, especially considering he was battling a Ganglion Cyst in the final rounds of the series. That’s why he missed the last moto of Thunder Valley and entire race at Pala, and it’s almost certainly why he lost 7th place overall to Justin Barcia by just two points.  

When it comes down to it, Baggett is tough as nails, and this season served as a good reminder of that. The two podium finishes were another good reminder that Baggett still has a lot of fight left in him and will continue to be serious competition in the future. 

Blake Baggett
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#23 Chase Sexton – HRC Honda 

Overall Finish: 

The Prediction: Sexton is a wildcard, but I think anyone who has won back-to-back 250SX championships, is backed by a team like HRC Honda, and is trained by James Stewart can easily bag a top-10 overall finish. 

Points: 3 – I need to be a little harsher on this one because the prediction is vague. Yes, Sexton made it in the top-10 overall, but he made it to the top 5, and I should’ve been brave enough to predict that from the start.  

Analysis: If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you now that I’m a huge Sexton fan. I think that Sexton is determined, disciplined, and driven, and training with James Stewart only further demonstrates those characteristics. In my opinion, Sexton has a very real shot at taking titles in the near future, and his 450MX rookie season is proof of that. His overall finishes for the season, 8-13-6-2-10-4-5-4-1, paint a clear picture: it took him a few races to learn the 450 field, but after his 13th-place finish, he never finished out of the top 10, and after his 10th-place finish, he never finished out of the top 5.  The finishes show speed and consistency, especially in the last race where he went 3-1 for his first moto win and first overall win in one day. It was a great way to end the season and an even better way to set the tone for the races to come. If seeing Sexton and Jett Lawrence taking the podium as a united Honda front at Pala didn’t get you excited for what’s next, there’s got to be something wrong with you. 

Chase Sexton
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#51 Justin Barcia – Monster Energy Factory Yamaha 

Overall Finish: 7 

The Prediction: When it comes down to it, I think Barcia will be fighting to stay in the top 10 this season rather than fighting to break into the top 5. The addition of 450MX rookies Cianciarulo and Sexton is likely going to have a significant impact on Barcia’s finishes. 

Points: 5 – Barcia was at the bottom of the top 10 more often than he was at the front, and he got passed more than he did the passing.  

Analysis: After this season, I’d like to apply the same comment I made about Anderson – you know, the one where I said he stays just relevant enough without actually being serious competition – to Barica. To me, Barcia pretty much just flies under the radar. His finishes for the season were 5-7-4-3-8-3-10-12-DNS – just good enough to be involved in some key battles up front without ever taking an overall win. He had some intermittent showcases of speed – he took a 1st, 2nd, and 4th place in some of the motos – but it’s worth noting that he didn’t get better as the season progressed. Meaning, after he took 1st in Moto 1 at Loretta Lynn’s II, he didn’t take another 1st all season. He took two 2nd place moto finishes, but after those, he didn’t do better than 4th in a moto.  

Does that progression show that Barcia loses speed with each race of the series? I think so, and the stats don’t lie. Barcia is getting slower overall. His overall finish in 2020 is the same as his overall finish in 2019, and both of those finishes are lower than his finishes in 2018, 2016, and 2015. As predicted, Barcia did okay overall this year, but the addition of newer, faster riders to the 450 class knocked him down a few positions. My guess is that will be the case for him for the rest of his career. 

Justin Barcia
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Top 10 and Beyond 

#15 Dean Wilson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna 

Overall Finish: 15 

The Prediction: When it comes to Dean Wilson, I would consider myself a cautious optimist. He hasn’t raced an entire SX and MX season back-to-back since 2017, and I think that staying healthy will be his biggest challenge. That challenge, coupled with the speed and skill of some of the other 450MX riders, is likely going to push Wilson just out of the top 10 overall this year. 

Points: 4 – 15th isn’t exactly just outside of the top 10, but Wilson didn’t exactly race a full season, either.  

Analysis: The 15 finished in 15th. Whatever symbolism you think that holds can probably be dismissed on account of Wilson’s knee surgery, but it’s fun to mention nonetheless. Before he pulled out of the series to remedy the injury he sustained during practice, Wilson was in 10th overall. Given his season-best finish of 8th – overall and in a moto – Wilson likely would’ve stayed around 10th overall, or maybe even a little lower, had he been there the whole season.  

But who could expect a full season for Wilson? 2020 marks the third year in a row that he has missed some of, if not all of, a motocross season. In my opinion, that makes 15th overall pretty good for him and certainly within the scope of my prediction. 

Dean Wilson
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#17 Joey Savatgy – JGR Suzuki 

Overall Finish: 11  

The Prediction: Despite those nice things I just said about Joey Savatgy, I don’t think he’ll finish in the top 10 this season. He could surprise me (and I wouldn’t even be that mad), but it’s been a long time since he’s raced. By the time he’s learned the changed dynamics of the 450MX class, he’ll have too few points to break into the top 10. 

Points: 5 – Savatgy was just outside of the top 10 once again. He wasn’t even close to overtaking 10th overall, either.  

Analysis: This was another easy one to call, and, frankly, another boring season to analyze. Joey Savatgy did exactly as I expected and exactly as he did last year, too. 11th overall is not bad, but it’s nothing to write home about, either – it just is what it is. There is something to say about Savatgy taking 11th overall despite missing the last moto of Thunder Valley and all of Pala on account of a twisted ankle/foot, but by the end of the series, he was still 23 points behind Tickle. So, there really isn’t much to actually say.  

When it comes down to it, Savatgy wasn’t a top contender, wasn’t really involved in any of the top battles, and didn’t place higher than 7th all season. 

Joey Savatgy
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#19 Justin Bogle – Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS 

Overall Finish: 13 

The Prediction: There’s no denying that Justin Bogle has the speed to be a top-10 competitor and the occasional top-5 competitor. That said, he’s got some stiff competition coming into this year’s MX season. That, coupled with his time off of the bike, is likely going to see him finishing just out of the top 10 overall. 

Points: 5 – This prediction was spot on with Bogle finishing in 13th overall.  

Analysis: Even with me getting this on the nose, Bogle can be a tough pill to swallow. I knew going into this season that Bogle was likely going to place out of the top 10 overall, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t hope, at least a little, that he’d prove me wrong. Bogle has placed in the top 10 before – he took 6th overall in MX in 2017 and took a few 4th-place finishes in SX races – but it’s been sporadic and infrequent. Take his last three finishes of this motocross season for example: 9-7-8. That shows that he has what it takes, he’s just not getting there often enough.  

One reason could be his starts. When Bogle finished behind where he started this season, it wasn’t by more than a few positions. That says something about his consistency. But what does that say about his starts when his average moto finish of 2020 was 16.16?  

It’s clear that Bogle has what it takes to be a top-10 rider outdoors, but, after this season, it’s also clear that he has some work to do to get and stay there. 

Justin Bogle
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

#20 Broc Tickle – Monster Energy Factory Yamaha 

Overall Finish: 10 

The Prediction: Tickle has all the potential and tools he needs to succeed, but he’s got a long way to go to reestablish himself as a serious competitor and finish in the top 10 overall. Being sought out by a team like Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing is a good start, though. 

Points: 0 – I guess Tickle didn’t have a long way to go to finish in the top 10 overall, he just needed this season! 

Analysis: This one surprised me. Broc Tickle took 10th place overall after missing the last two MX seasons? That’s pretty impressive. The expectations were low for Tickle, and he still far exceeded them. His best moto finish of the season was 2nd place…granted his worst was 39th. Even then, he only took two finishes in the 30s, and all but three of his other moto finishes were in the top 10. On top of that, he still took 10th overall after missing the national at WW Ranch after crashing at Spring Creek. Put all of that together and you’ve got a rider that’s showing serious potential. Tickle already has the experience and know-how – if he can follow up this MX finish with a strong SX showing, he could find himself back on a team. At the very least, he’ll certainly be the go-to fill-in rider for the factory riders that inevitably get injured. Either way, I’d say things are looking up for Tickle, and this MX season was a great way to set the tone for Supercross. 

Broc Tickle
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

The Final Tally 

After all the points were counted, I ended up earning 37/65, a 62%.  

My goal last year was to “dig deeper” and get 100%. As it turns out, I scored one point lower this year than last! 

Do I blame Cooper Webb and Jason Anderson for crashing out? Do I resent Tomac for failing to take the title? The answer is I’m not sure, but ask me again next year if I’m still scoring in the 60s.  

450MX Start at Millville
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo