2014 AMA Supercross – Angel Stadium, Anaheim I, PreviewMuch focus will garner around one record-breaking rider throughout the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship – Ryan Villopoto.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki KX-F 450 pilot has won the past three SX titles, and will be chasing a fourth in 2014. If the Californian earns a fourth straight title, he will tie the record with Jeremy McGrath, a legend who has won more Supercross races than anyone else – 72.Villopoto currently has 34 450SX wins, with an average finish of 3.6. Though McGrath’s win in the top class once seemed unbreakable, Villopoto is moving forward quickly.Also, if he earns four titles, he will join the ranks of McGrath and Ricky Carmichael, the only other riders to win more than three SX titles.Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki) says: “I’m not here to break records. My goals are to win and be as successful as I can while I’m on top of my game. If I were to break (McGrath’s) record, that would be a great accomplishment, but it is not a goal of mine.”This year’s championship will once again have 17 rounds, with the season opener this Saturday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Feld Motor Sports says. In 39 seasons, the eventual champion has finished inside the top five at the season opener 34 times. Last season, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Villopoto staged the sport’s third-greatest comeback when he started the season in 16th place before rebounding to win his third consecutive championship.But there will once again be many challengers, including three past 450SX Champions – Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, and TwoTwo Motorsports Chad Reed. Also in the way will be two rookies – GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, a 250SX title winner, and Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, also a 250SX title winner.Dungey has been Dungey’s biggest rival throughout the past three years. He took the title in 2010, his rookie year; he became only the second rider in history to do so.In 2013, he had an average finish of 3.3, and two wins. All together, he had won 13 main events since joining the 450SX class in 2010. Dungey has not finished a season outside of the top three in the standings in four years of 450SX Class action.Stewart, who has 45 main-class victories, has endured some injury issues over the past few years, slowing his progress. During the first five seasons of his career, which includes two SX titles, he had an average of 9.5 wins a year. But during the past four season, he has only won nine races.But still, Stewart is a crowd favorite, and the RM-Z 450 rider proved he still has speed when he won two of three main events and the overall trophy at the 2013 Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas.As for Reed, he is fourth on the all-time win list with 41, but didn’t win one race in 2013. Rider and owner of TwoTwo Motorsports, Reed has changed manufacturers, moving from Honda to Kawasaki, in hopes of a fresh start as he enters his 12th season of 450SX Class competition. He holds the record for the most podium finishes in history with 121 in 162 starts.Entering his sophomore year, Justin Barcia will be looking to improve on his 2013 record of two race wins. The Honda rider joined Sebastien Tortelli and Damon Bradshaw as the only riders to win a Main Event within the first two races of their 450SX Class careers.Everyone will have to watch the two rookies, also, including Tomac, who finished on the podium at the Monster Energy Cup, and Roczen, who finished second at a 450SX Class entry in 2012 (Seattle). During the off-season Roczen implemented a major change to his training program by moving to Florida to prepare for his 2014 season alongside Villopoto and his trainer Aldon Baker.Ryan Villopoto says: “We’re friends, and I could say if I don’t win he’d be the guy that I’d want to see win. It’s his first year moving up to the (450SX Class) so obviously it’s going to be a learning year for him and it’s a lot more racing than he’s used to.”Feld Motor Sports says Two riders who will not line up on the gate this Saturday night are Davi Millsaps and Trey Canard. Millsaps, last season’s 450SX Class runner up, suffered a knee injury while training aboard his Rockstar Energy Racing KTM, while Canard broke his arm in preparations for the upcoming season with Team Honda Muscle Milk. Both riders will be out of action indefinitely, but are expected to return early in the season.Angel Stadium has played host to 60 450SX Class and 52 Western Regional 250SX Class races. Monster Energy Supercross has sold out Angel Stadium 27 times since the 1999 season when it began hosting multiple races in the championship, Feld Motor Sports says.The first race held in Anaheim was on December 4, 1976, and Mart Smith won on a Honda. This weekend will mark the 61st time the gate will drop for a 450SX Class race in Anaheim and the 24th time the city has played host to the season opener. James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath are tied on the all-time 450SX Class win list at Anaheim with 8 victories. Ivan Tedesco holds the 250SX Class all-time win record in Anaheim with 5 victories. Angel Stadium is the only stop on the tour that will host three races – January 4, January 18 and February 1, Feld Motor Sports says.2014 Anaheim AMA Supercross on TV:Fox Sports 1 will broadcast Anaheim I AMA Supercross live at 10 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 4. For the complete Supercross television broadcast schedule, click here.Past Supercross Winners in Anaheim450SX Class
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!