It’s that time of year again. Yes, the Holidays are great, but I’m talking about when we armchair quarterbacks get to start pontificating, giving our two cents worth about predictions and declarations for the new season.
In particular, let’s talk Supercross. It’s the first major motorcycle racing series to kick-off the new year, with its traditional first round at Anaheim Stadium, January 8, 2011.
Supercross 2011 is shaping up as one of the most anticipated seasons with all the top riders in good health and a number of 250 riders moving up to the 450 SX class. Lining up with the number one plate-earned in impressive fashion last season-will be 2010 Supercross Champion, Suzuki-mounted Ryan Dungey.
After an extended period off a bike due to injuries, James Stewart (L&M Racing Yamaha) is reported to be more focused and determined then ever, eager to silence the chorus of critics who have suggested he’s no longer in possession of the hunger that once drove him.
The Honda Supercross Team will field Trey Canard (2010 250cc MX Champion) and Josh Grant (who reportedly made Honda a "Deal they couldn’t refuse," to ensure he had a factory seat for 2011).
Ryan Villopoto, one of the most promising riders forced out of the SX championship early in 2010, returns aboard the familiar Kawasaki and is teamed (this is relatively breaking news) with late signing Jake Weimer.
Andrew Short made the switch to Austrian manufacturer KTM and will work under the tutelage of MX legend, Roger DeCoster. DeCoster has been given carte blanche with regard to development so keep an eye on that team.
KTM’s second 450 rider, Mike Alessi, will only compete in the outdoors, leaving Short as the sole SX rep for team orange.
Of course the big question is where, and perhaps if, Chad Reed will find a home. The rumor mill has been buzzing with all kinds of reports. The popular Australian has formed a private team with homeland sponsors and has been most closely linked with using Honda as their mount.
Other teams/riders which can’t be overlooked are Moto Concepts’ (Yamaha-mounted) Tommy Hahn and Kyle Chisholm, Stewart’s team mate on L & M, Kyle Regal, Muscle Milk’s Davi Millsaps and Justin Brayton, and Rockstar/Makita team mate to Dungey, Brett Metcalfe.
Rounding out the 450 circus are Star Yamaha-mounted Ryan Sipes and Kyle Cunningham, Valli Yamaha’s Ivan Tedesco and Austin Stroupe, and Suzuki-mounted-under the banner of BBMX-Jason Thomas and Michael Byrne.
We’re just a few weeks out from the first handlebar banging motos of 2011. There’s no telling at this juncture who might be standing atop the 2011 SX podium, but rest assured there are a dozen plus talented and proven motorcycle racers that are going to be vying for those three precious steps on the podium. Let the motorcycle racing begin.
2011 Supercross 450 Factory Teams / Riders:
- Rockstar/Makita Suzuki: Ryan Dungey / Brett Metcalfe
- Team Honda: Trey Canard / Josh Grant
- Monster Energy Kawasaki: Ryan Villopoto / Jake Weimer
- Moto Concepts Yamaha: Tommy Hahn / Kyle Chisholm
- L&M Racing: James Stewart / Kyle Regal
- Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGRMX: Davi Millsaps / Justin Brayton
- Red Bull KTM: Andrew Short
- Star Yamaha: Ryan Sipes / Kyle Cunningham
- Valli Yamaha: Ivan Tedesco / Austin Stroupe
- BBMX Suzuki: Jason Thomas / Michael Byrne