The veterans are making it happen in the AMA Nationals right now. In both classes it’s youth versus experience. In the 250s Dean Wilson is the closest competitor to Tyla Rattray. Rattray is a former world champ and has spent almost 10 years in the professional ranks while this is Wilson’s second season. And the other close competitors – at least for individual moto wins – are also teenagers in Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac. Rattray is 25 while the other four I mentioned aren’t even 20.
Yet Rattray is the guy leading the points. He has won two of the Nationals overall and holds a relatively slim lead over Wilson in the championship chase.
It seems that, right now, veteran experience is beating out youthful exuberance and that’s not that common in this sport – especially in the 250 class.
And it’s happening in the 450 class too with 29-year-old Chad Reed putting a whooping on the two Ryans – Villopoto and Dungey – in that championship at the one-third point in the title chase. Reed has won three out of the four nationals and all four of the second motos. It’s not because he’s just flat-out in better shape, he’s just riding smarter.
Round one at Hangtown is a perfect example as in the second moto Reed put on a riding clinic to pass Dungey and pull away, using not brute force to get over all of the jumps but instead very creative line choices that got him away from many of the bumps altogether. In other words, he found lines that allowed him to go faster than Dungey with less energy expended and the result was a win.
The Ryans are both in excellent physical shape and they both should have the confidence and the equipment necessary to compete with Chad Reed but it’s Reed doing the bulk of the winning right now regardless.
Reed has the one thing that the Ryans can’t train for or buy – experience.