Filling in for Davi Millsaps, Benny Bloss is going
to ride for BTOSports.com-KTM-WPS at
Foxborough and perhaps beyond -- but what should we expect his results to be? On paper, we can look at how his amateur 450 results
and 250 Supercross results translate to the 450 Supercross class, and from a scouting
perspective we can estimate the effects of getting a factory ride and being on a bike that better fits his 6'5" frame, all while taking into
account that he's just 19.
Short Track: What to expect from Benny Bloss on the 450
The 250 to 450 translation for Supercross results is fairly straightforward. Historically, going from 250 up into the 450 class causes a drop in standings of about 8% (i.e., if there were 100 riders in each class, and Bloss was 30th overall in 250SX (30th percentile), he would be expected to finish in the 38th percentile (38th overall) in the 450SX class). Right now Bloss is 14th out of 34 in the 250s, which is the 41st percentile. With the 8% penalty, he'd project in the 49th percentile for the 450s, which would be 21st out of 44 riders. That would put him right on the fringe of making the main event.
Working in his favor is that in his one motocross outdoor event in the 450 class, he finished 15th out of 40, which puts him in the 37th percentile. That would translate to 16th place, if you considered MX basically equal to SX (it's not…as we all know, different riders perform better in MX, others better in SX).
He'll be with a factory team at Foxborough, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. It's great to have all the support, including (I'd assume) a more fully-tuned bike with top-notch components, but he'll also be on a different make of bike and a different size than he's used to. Even if the larger frame matches his height better, it's still a major change to adjust to on short notice.
The good news there is that he's ridden plenty on the 450 as an amateur. In 2014 he went all the way to Loretta's in the 450 B Limited class, placing 2nd; in 2015 he did the same in the 450 A class, finishing 3rd (1st in Open Pro Sport class). In terms of 450s, Bloss had the best amateur season in 2015. I can't find any other examples of taking a top amateur and plunking him down into the 450 class, but if you know of them, let me know and we can add that to the info.
If Bloss can land somewhere between 16th and 21st in his 450 race(s), I think that would be a pretty good result for a first timer in the 450SX class. Not making the main event is certainly in play, based on the numbers I see, but I don't think you can judge too harshly in a loaded field like this, especially given the short notice of transitioning to the upper class on a new bike. Either way we get another test case for riders competing in multiple classes in the same season, which is pretty rare.