Before the season started, I made some predictions on the final standings of the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. Well, let’s see how clear my crystal ball was:
#1 Pick: James Stewart. Final Standing: 20th Place. He won one of the first three races on his Yamaha YZ450F before leaving with a series-ending injury. I wasn’t even close on that one, but I did say, "If Stewart stays healthy…."
#2 Pick: Chad Reed. Final Standing: 17th Place. Two poor placings in the opening pair of rounds, then an injury that forced him to miss 10 rounds destroyed his season on the Kawasaki KX450F.
#3 Pick: Ryan Villopoto. Final Standing: 4th Place. Villopoto rebounded from his previous injury and he racked up seven wins (the most by any rider in the series), before crashing his KX450F and out breaking his leg, forcing him to miss the final three races.
#4 Pick: Andrew Short. Final Standing: 12th Place. Like the three riders I picked ahead of him, Short had his season ruined by injury. Short had to sit out seven races in the middle of the season, putting him out of the running for even a top 10 final position. He did take two podiums on his Honda CRF450R in the final four races.
#5 Pick: Ryan Dungey. Final Standing: 1st Place. Well, if you remove riders with serious injuries from my list (something that can’t be predicted), then my #1 non-injured pick did indeed finish as Supercross Champion on his Suzuki RM-Z450. I’ll consider that to be an accurate prediction on my part! Cut me some slack here, okay?
#6 Pick: Josh Grant. Final Standing: 46th Place. The injury bug strikes again. Grant crashed out at the opener, Anaheim I, on his YZ450F and that was it for his season.
#7 Pick: Josh Hill. Final Standing: 6th Place. Not bad, but not as good as would have been expected with injuries to Stewart, Reed, Villopoto, Short and Grant. Hill, to be fair, rode injured much of the year. After a string of four second-place finishes in rounds three through sixth, injuries slowed him down and he never made the podium again, often finishing out of the top 10 on his YZ450F.
#8 Pick: Davi Millsaps. Final Standing: 3rd Place. Considering five of the riders I picked to finish ahead of him had abbreviated series, I’ll consider this pick to be right on. Millsaps’ 3rd place should be enough to keep him on a factory Honda CRF450R in 2011, but we’ll see.
#9 Pick: Kevin Windham. Final Standing: 2nd Place. Okay, I’ll say I blew this one. I didn’t expect Windham to finish the season with five podiums–two of them outright wins. Great job, Windham!
#10 Pick: Ivan Tedesco. Final Standing: 9th Place. This one might look like I got it right, but Tedesco could have done much better had he not been injured in St. Louis (on the same jump that took out Villopoto), causing him to miss the final three rounds. Had he been able to ride those rounds, he almost certainly would have moved up to at least 7th Place.
Top 10 finishing SX riders I didn’t pick for the Top 10:
5th Place. Justin Brayton. He only made the podium once–in Seattle–so Brayton earned that Top 5 spot through consistency. He scored 12 points or better at all but one round.
7th Place. Nicholas Wey. With either Reed or Villopoto out after the third round, Wey became a de facto factory Kawasaki rider. Like Brayton, he was consistent, but he was consistent at a lower level.
8th Place: Tommy Hahn. Never a podium rider, he rode about as well as Brayton, but two zero-point events–Anaheim III and Atlanta–cost him in the final standings. To make up for that a bit, he stood on the Seattle podium.
10th Place: Kyle Chisholm. Best known for his cheap-shot takeout (as a lapper, no less) of Chad Reed near the end of 2009, Chisholm had a slow start (no score at Anaheim I), but gained momentum toward the end of the year.