Wednesday, May 7

Believe the Hep

This just in: Broc Hepler is going to a 450 for the summer. I think it's a brilliant move since Yamaha's two big 450 hitters, Reed and Langston, aren't going to be representing for a championship this year. (Reed as we know is SX only "not that there's anything wrong with that," and Langston wadded himself yet again last week at Glen Helen and should be out for a month or two).

Yamaha had a interesting stat going their way: With Langston's 07 MX crown on a YZ450F, and Reed's '08 SX crown on a YZ450F, the bike won back-to-back titles with two different riders. The last time a big bike won with two different riders would have been Jeff Stanton's 1992 250 MX crown followed by Jeremy McGrath's 1993 250SX title, both on CR250s. So Yamaha has a good thing going, but now with only Josh Hill left to represent, they may not continue the streak. With Hep on board, at least they have doubled their chances.

Honestly, I wouldn't pick Hepler or Hill for the title, but I do think they'll both be up front and could get a win before it's all over. I think Hepler will be a MUCH better 450 rider than 250F guy, just like Hill. Hepler is a finesse guy, he doesn't squirt it and work it and whip it around radio control car style like Ryan Villopoto does. Plus, he's strong, and way back in his amateur days he always looked better on his RM250 than his RM125. In addition, his bad starts won't be such a liability in a class that usually only packs 10-12 factory riders. In the Lites class, you've got 30 riders with good support, which means a bad start results in a 20th place on lap one, instead of a 10th on a 450.

This could be the move that revives Hepler's can't miss status. When he crashed away the '05 Lites MX title that should have been his, and then missed the first half of '06 with an injury, he surrendered next big thing status to Villopoto. Now he has a chance to find his old level again. One thing is for sure. Hepler will not be intimidated by anyone on the starting line. Heck, his problem is usually having too much confidence, instead of the opposite.

Of course, all of this conjecture pivots on "If James Stewart comes back healthy." That's the asterisk next to everyone this summer. In fact, I say we coin this phrase IJSCBH. It's the measuring stick for everyone this year.


Anonymous said...

Who'd of thought GL would have won last years title??...Hepler might be a revaltion on the big bore.

Daniel said...

I'm really bummed about the fact that Langston isn't going to make the first few rounds. When it became apparent after the 2006 season that RC wasn't joking about going part time in 2007, I decided I need to pick an active rider to really get behind and root for. I'm proud to say that I picked Langston then BEFORE he shaped up last year to win the title. I chose him based on his coolness. I mean they call him Cool G. How cool is that! His DMXS interviews are spot on, plus he isn't a beater arounder of the bush. Ask him a question and he'll give you an answer. It might even shock you with his honesty, and that too is cool. So knowing he can't defend his title stinks. After all, he is my new favorite rider.

Jason Weigandt said...

Bummed on missing GL, too. He's a great guy and easy to root for. He did a great job with us helping announce the Lites Shootout on the webcast on Saturday. Just a nice guy all around and someone who doesn't deserve the kind of bad luck he always seems to have.

8pac said...

Ya dude, GL did an awesome job on the webcast. Very interesting and good at noticing the nuances.