When Davi Millsaps shocked the world of Supercross by winning the season opener in Anaheim, California, speculation immediately started on how long he’d be able to retain the points lead. While some had faith Millsaps’ staying power, the general consensus was that it wouldn’t be long before he succumbed to the power of superstars like Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard, and the rest of the heavy hitters of Supercross. Well, we’re six races into the season and Millsaps has not only held onto his lead – he’s significantly increased it. Let’s take a moment to examine Millsaps’ strong points so far in an effort to better understand how he got here.
This one’s a no-brainer. While simple consistency won’t guarantee a points lead, the likelihood of a non-consistent rider being on top in the points column is virtually non-existent. Fortunately for Millsaps, he’s been the absolute model of consistency this season. Good starts, great speed and the smarts to know when to back off have all come together for Millsaps, resulting in a season-worst finish of fourth place at Anaheim 2. Other than that, Millsaps has been on the podium at every single round, which is remarkable, especially when you consider that he’s racing against four past champions (Villopoto, Dungey, Chad Reed and James Stewart), as well as guys like Trey Canard and Justin Barcia. Consistently finishing in the top three in a class containing that much talent is extremely difficult, but so far, Millsaps has made it look easy, while his main competition have all experienced multiple off-nights.
Like we mentioned above, consistently posting strong results is key, but when you’re racing against the strongest and deepest field in the history of Supercross, you’ve got to have the confidence to know that you can go out and throw down the occasional race win. After all, if a rider didn’t believe in himself, why would he put in the work during the week and risk it all on race day? When the wins do come, like they did for Millsaps at the opener and San Diego, they bolster a rider’s confidence. For Millsaps, the result is a pair of race wins and a nineteen-point lead over Dungey.
If you ask Millsaps what he thinks of the red background color of his number plates, which signifies that he’s the points leader, he’ll quickly dismiss its significance, say that it’s just a colour, and that there’s a whole lot of races left in the season. With just over a third of the races in the books, Millsaps is right, and just because he’s the points leader now doesn’t mean he can start relaxing. To lose focus would prove disastrous for his championship hopes, but so far Millsaps has remained very level-headed and is quick to point out that there multiple riders who can win on any given Saturday.