Suzuki’s Roger DeCoster has stated that Travis Pastrana will contest the first five rounds of the AMA 250 Supercross series. All of these rounds occur in the western United States, before the start of the East Coast 125 Supercross Series. If Pastrana does well, there is a chance that he will remain in the 250 championship series following round five. If not, he will go to the East Coast 125 Series.
Pastrana is a great talent, and MD has recognized him as much as any publication. We can’t help wondering, however, whether 250 supercross is the right venue for the 17 year old phenom. Pastrana had a tendency to crash early in last year’s 125 East Coast Supercross series, and he is known to “hold it wide” on a supercross track. Pastrana is a big kid (well over six feet) and appears to be pretty strong, as well, but is he really ready for a 250 at 17?
We have all witnessed Ricky Carmichael’s struggles to adapt to the 250 on a supercross track. Although he quickly adapted outdoors, moving to the bigger bike on a supercross track is clearly more difficult, and requires more experience.
It will certainly be interesting to watch Pastrana ride the 250 series, because he doesn’t like second place, and he will not be intimidated by the older, more experienced riders. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him succeed, because he clearly has the talent and the speed (at least, on a 125), but we wouldn’t be surprised to see him crash heavily more than once trying to run with the older, faster 250 class.
Traditionally, manufacturers have brought their young stars along more slowly. Granted, Pastrana is special, and his talents immense. Maybe he is ready . . . and maybe he isn’t.