By Chris Riesenberg
Former AX'er, a marketing madman, race promoter, Race Tech's man of the people & Fantasy dirt bike guru. Still turning laps to this day.
Picking your MXD360 fantasy team is like going shopping at the local supermarket for the week’s groceries. As a proud father of four, with a dog, a chick, and ridiculously expensive hobbies like off-road moped ramping while maintaining a moto-industry job that pays as much as the local janitor’s assistant…well let’s just say I know a thing or two about ballin’ on a budget. Here’s how I’m approaching this week’s MXD360 Supermarket Sweep.
Before you even head to the store, it’s important to know your week’s schedule or any special circumstances. For Thunder Valley or any outdoor national, you must take the following into account to be successful.
While the weather looks like high 70’s and dry for this weekend, remember last weekend was the biggest fitness test the riders have experienced all year. Remember last year when Sexton won the opening moto and then was cooked for the rest of the season, never able to fully recover? I’ll be stalking social media trying to find out who will be wasted after Florida and who looks to have recovered best.
One of the biggest stories in 2020’s outdoors in my opinion at Red Bud and Millville has been the lack of the deep, muddy, long ruts that we’ve seen often in the past. The tracks have definitely not been ripped as deep making them faster and starts more important. Lakewood has boasted some of the gnarliest, long, rutted sweeping corners and straights; but I’ll be watching to see what this year’s version is shaping up like in the past. Regardless, Thunder Valley will be the most “dirt based” track we will see on the schedule all year.
Located just outside of the Mile-High City of Denver, the elevation always plays a factor at Lakewood. Even those who don’t suffer from altitude sickness may be feeling deflated; and if the riders aren’t, their bikes definitely will be. Look for the horsepower monsters in blue to have an advantage here. Also, factor in Tomac living at altitude and guys like Osborne and Jeremy Martin who have trained at the #3’s ranch to know how to prepare their bikes and bodies for the elevation. One more curve-ball, most these teams spent an extended period of time in Utah at elevation and they might be more prepared than normal. The privateers not from that area? Well, they will likely be even more down on power and resources than normal.
The items you can’t go without – the guys who will give you maximum points on the weekend, but shop carefully, you still need budget left to fill your cart.
#24 – RJ Hampshire - $701,357
The new and improved RJ Hampshire of 2020 is a threat for the podium every time he’s on the track. After taking a big dip in the standings at his hometown race in Florida, he’s a must pick at Colorado to capitalize on everyone who had him and missed last week. Factor in the fact that he was fastest qualifier at this race a year ago, and you know he can gel with the Lakewood track.
#6 – Jeremy Martin - $950,226
While the high price-tag is a bit scary, there are enough bargains for this weekend to fill your team strongly around team leader Jeremy Martin. History shows that Thunder Valley may actually be J Mart’s best track on the circuit and he’s in a do-or-die situation in this title fight. Jeremy is back to being the underdog where he seems to perform best, so I’ll take his grit combined with his previous record of never finishing outside the top 4 in a moto in the class at Lakewood to captain my squad for the week.
The Bargain Bin
Here is where you can make or break your trip to the store, but if you think you grabbed the last box of discount Scooby Snacks for Little Johnny and get home only to find out you picked up dog treats; you’ll be sick to your stomach for the week. Just because they are cheap, doesn’t mean they are a good buy.
#17 – Joey Savatgy - $475,113
History shows that Savatgy can rip at Thunder Valley with two wins in the 250 class. Given his low cost and upward swing as he gets more comfortable on the Suzuki; I’ll be taking a gamble on the JGR Suzuki pilot to find the top 5 for the first time in 2020 in Colorado.
#103 – Max Anstie - $426,093
Now that it appears Anstie is healthy, he’s proven he’s a top 10 contender each time out. From dead last to 13th in moto 1 in Florida and a strong 4th in moto 2; while Lakewood isn’t a sand track, he’s a lock for my MXD360 team.
#41 – Ty Masterpool - $420,168
While everyone in the 250 class will be looking for horsepower, Ty Masterpool will likely wheelie away from everyone up the start straight at about 120 lbs aboard his Star Racing Yamaha rocketship. His silky smooth style in the ruts will keep him near the sharp end of the field netting massive points for fantasy managers across the league… of course that is if he lines up as he recovers from the hurt leg at Red Bud. If he’s racing, he’ll be on my team this weekend.
#35 – Hunter Lawrence - $284,421
There isn’t a better buy on MXD360 for this week than Hunter Lawrence. Barring a major disaster (which he’s found a lot of this year), H-Law will be scoring big points with a bonus in both motos.
Leave these items on the shelf – the risk is too high they will spoil in your fridge.
#26 – Alex Martin - $723,981
While Lakewood was a great track for Alex Martin in the past, that was on a Star Yamaha. Last year on the RMZ250 he finished 9-12 on the day. When horsepower is king, I can’t bet on the Suzuki 250. I’ll be staying away from Alex Martin in Colorado.
Have a spot left in the cart, but lacking money for one of the main ingredients? Make your team happy by squeezing some juice out of one of these fruitful picks.
#42 – Ben Lamay - $67,873
Lamay hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire this summer aboard his privateer KTM, and the 36-34 results from Florida certainly aren’t indicative of a guy you want to squeeze onto your team. But what many don’t know is prior to outdoors Lamay permanently re-located to Colorado. Hometown races are a massive advantage to privateers as they don’t have to deal with the extra stress of travel and logistics, often have a real mechanic, and in this case he’s already used to the elevation. I predict Thunder Valley will be Lamay’s best race of the season and he’ll be getting a serious look to join my squad and tack on a couple handfuls of points at a low price tag.