Eight New Supercross Rides for 2015
A brand new Monster Energy AMA Supercross season begins on January 3 at Anaheim 1, ripe with opportunity. Ryan Villopoto, who has won the championship the last four year has opted for a new challenge overseas in the MXGP series, and former champion James Stewart has been suspended by the FIM for the 2015 SX series after running afoul of anti-doping rules. Suddenly, the possibilities seem endless!
Switching up bikes, the eight riders below are taking on the 2015 SX series with new teams and high expectations.
Ken Roczen – Coming off a championship-winning MX season and a highly impressive 3rd place finish in his rookie 450 SX season last year on KTM, it would be easy to say don’t mess with a winning recipe. Yet, Roczen is trading orange for yellow, and will be riding for RCH/Soaring Eagle Suzuki for 2015. Roczen, who has said he is more comfortable on the aluminum-framed bike, grew up having raced MX2 on Suzuki, and will be the number one threat for the SX title this year, even on a satellite team rather than a factory bike.
Blake Baggett – Moving up from the 250 ranks where he was a champion, Baggett secured a two-year ride on Yoshimura Suzuki, initially expecting to be teammates with James Stewart. Instead, he will be the #1 rider while Stewart sits out his suspension. It will be interesting to see how quickly he adjusts to the 450, having just the Monster Cup in November under his belt.
Justin Barcia – Barcia moved up to the 450 class with high expectations in 2013, and finished an impressive 4th, then followed that up in his sophomore year with a 5th place finish. Everyone feels like he should have been more of a contender for the championship on his factory Honda. It will be interesting to see if the move from Honda to a Toyota JGRMX Yamaha, where Barcia will be the team’s #1 rider, will be a good fit. We hope Barcia is 100-percent recovered from the crash in Genova, Italy that left him with a collapsed lung in late November.
Dean Wilson – We’ve all been expecting just a little bit more from Wilson after his 250 National Championship in 2011, but injuries and inconsistency have kept the likeable Scotsman from reaching his full potential. Leaving Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki behind, Wilson steps up to the 450 class this season with a ride aboard a factory Red Bull KTM. Wilson grabbed the last step of the podium for Great Britain in Race 2 of the 2014 MX of Nations aboard a 450, so we know he can handle the big bike.
Davi Millsaps – Millsaps missed both the 2014 SX and MX series due to a foot injury that just would not heal. He is finally healthy and has signed with championship-winning team Monster Energy Kawasaki for 2015. Though he has only the 2014 Monster Cup under his belt to prep him for A1 — and he did come away with a win — his runner-up finishes in the 2012 and 2013 SX series show that he is a very serious contender. With Villopoto out of the mix, this may be the year Millsaps puts it all together and wins a 450 SX title on Villopoto’s bike.
Weston Peick – A popular privateer who managed to put together seven top 10 SX finishes in 2014, and then got picked up for the outdoor Nationals by RCH/Soaring Eagle Suzuki last summer, Peick has earned a factory Yamaha ride for the SX season with the Toyota/JGRMX team. With a wide fan base complementing the new factory support, we expect good things for Peick in 2015. If there’s a Cinderella story in supercross, Peick is wearing the glass boot.
Justin Brayton – After several years with the JGRMX team, Brayton is moving over to BTOSports.com to ride a KTM as a teammate of Andrew Short. Brayton missed the last few rounds of the 2014 SX season due to a knee injury in Houston, as well as much of the national season. Brayton did make it to the final in the Red Bull Straight Rhythm competition, losing only to James Stewart, so he got off to a strong start on the KTM beating Dean Wilson in the semi-final.
Josh Grant – Also leaving the JGRMX Yamaha fold after many years, Grant has joined Chad Reed’s TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki team for 2015. This should be a great fit for Grant who is finally healthy after several years of injuries, and comes off one of his best MX seasons. We expect Grant be besting his boss, a two-time former champion, at most rounds of the 2015 SX season.
2015 may be the most exciting year in Supercross history. With riders such as Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, Chad Reed, and Trey Canard returning on familiar rides, picking a champion this year is a difficult challenge. There are easily a dozen potential race winners on the gate each round, so consistency will likely be the path to the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship.
Action photography by Don Williams