Crunching the numbers following John John’s withdrawal at Ulus.
Does John John’s withdrawal from the upcoming Margarawatu Pro mean Mikey Wright has sealed a place on the CT for 2018? John John was due to face Wright in Round 3 and now gets a walk over to the three-man heats of Round 4. That means he automatically banks an extra 2035 points (13th nets 1665 ranking points while 9th scores 3700) without even getting his mullet wet.
Wright currently has already accumulated 13,115 points from his three and half events and the walk through over Florence now sees him cracking the 15,000 point barrier. If we look at the last few years cut off for the CT, the haul needed has been around the 22,000 point mark. Italo Ferreira came 22nd last year with 22,400 points, however the alternate (Miguel Pupo) came in at smidgen over 20,000 and has had plenty of opportunities on the CT this year. Back in 2016, it was again Pupo who snaffled the last spot with 22,150 points.
Currently Wright would need a maximum of 7000 points, and maybe as little as 5000, to secure his 2019 CT spot. At Ulus a win would do the trick, the ten grand worth of points getting him over the line. Sure, that’s a big ask, but we also have to assume that the WSL is going to give Wright more opportunities over the course of the year.
There’s been no official call on this and the WSL’s wildcard selection process remains a cryptic mix of box office appeal, recent QS form and tea leaf reading. However, having handed them out to Wright at every event so far except for Bells, there’s no reason why shouldn’t they continue. It’s a bit like when Dane Reynolds was doing the wildcard rounds except, unlike Dane, Wright thrives on competition and genuinely wants to be there.
If he was to get a start at the remaining six events after Ulus, and lost every heat,
he’d be guaranteed another 2100 points (five times the 420 points for a 25th, with the sixth being discarded in his overall points tally). That gets him up to 17,180 points without winning a single fucking heat for the rest of the year. Progressing through his Round 4 heat at Ulus would secure him an added 1045 points and a Quarterfinal victory another 1400 on top of that. With just two heat wins he’d be sitting, theoretically, 375 points short of the 20,000 point mark.
Now of course it’s just as likely that he could fail in his first heat at Ulus. However, if that does happen, it is improbable to suggest that he couldn’t nab three heat wins across Jeffreys Bay, Tahiti and the Surf Ranch, let alone in Europe and Pipe. So the answer to headline question is no, Mikey Wright hasn’t qualified for the 2019 courtesy of John John’s withdrawal. However, he’s moved a significant step closer. It might not happen at Ulus, but given the opportunities, it definitely will happen.