Last season's path to the championship was by no means easy for Tomac, and this year he's poised to receive even more pressure from his rivals. Last year's championship runner-up Marvin Musquin and his Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing effort are more determined than ever to claim the title that slipped from their grasp one year ago, while RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM's Blake Baggett is surely going to build off the breakout season he enjoyed last summer.
Fresh off capturing the first national title of his career just a couple weeks ago, the coveted AMA Supercross Championship, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Jason Anderson is perhaps bringing more momentum than any other rider into Hangtown. While Anderson is still in search of his first Pro Motocross victory, his confidence has never been higher.
Rounding out a star-studded list of serious contenders is two-time 450 Class Champion Ken Roczen. The past two years have been hard on the young German, to say the least, but there isn't a rider fans are more looking forward to making his return to the Nationals than the Team Honda HRC rider.
The battle for the 250 Class championship appears destined to be a convergence of veteran experience and youthful excitement. Reigning champion Zach Osborne has continued his winning ways thus far in the 2018 season for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, and he'll line up on the gate on Saturday to defend his title as one of the most favored riders in recent memory.
While his time at the top of the division is still in its infancy, Osborne's wealth of experience in the division is unrivaled, and it's why many believe the path to the 250 Class title will run through him. Complementing Osborne's veteran status in the division is GEICO Honda's Jeremy Martin, the only other former champion in the class. Martin's back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 didn't come by accident and after a full year aboard the Honda he looks ready to get back to the level that made him a champion.
In addition to Osborne and Martin, perennial title contenders like Alex Martin (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM) and Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) are sure to be a factor in the battle for victory week in and week out.