The world of American motocross descends on Anaheim in early January every year to kick off the AMA season, a nine-month and two-series run through the stadiums and motocross tracks of the U.S. First comes Supercross, MX’s little brother that plops technical tracks under the lights of football and baseball stadiums. It’s motocross, but it’s not. It’s extremely unforgiving to mistakes, and the preciseness required to not only ride, but race on a pro-level Supercross track is utterly mind-boggling. Not to mention, it’s 18 rounds of that level of racing that awaits the best riders in the world. Who are those "best riders in the world," you ask? Allow us to break down that answer.
As a multi-time Supercross-title holder, and the reigning champion in the 450 Supercross class, Ryan Dungey is looking to add more to the record books in 2017. While he has been called a "consistent rider" throughout his career, as of the past few years it isn’t just consistency that has earned him titles. Dungey has been incredibly dominant in the 450 class these past two years of Supercross, and is back again to show that he is the fastest man on the planet.
In 2016, Ken Roczen was the only rider to challenge Dungey on a consistent basis for Supercross wins. However, small mistakes would leave him out of reach for the championship. Toward the end of 2016, Roczen seemed to turn up the speed majorly. Since the Supercross season ended last year, he's dominated nearly every race he entered, including winning two of three main events in his first race aboard his new Honda in Las Vegas at the MEC. Though he does not wield the No. 1 plate, Roczen is a pretty heavy favorite coming into Anaheim.
Marvin Musquin barely missed out on his first 450 Supercross win during the Atlanta round of the 2016 Supercross season. After leading 19 laps, a last lap mistake would allow Dungey around. But his offseason success at one-off races including dominant victories at Red Bull Straight Rhythm and the Bercy-Lille Supercross in France cannot be overlooked. Musquin is a shoe-in for a first-time winner in 450 Supercross in 2017.
Eli Tomac scored multiple podiums in 2016, used his honed outdoor riding skills to conquer the elusive Daytona Supercross, and most recently took the MEC win in Vegas after Roczen’s harrowing second main event kept him from the title. It was starts that haunted Tomac last year, but if he can consistently start up front in 2017 there is no doubt that his skill set will carry him to the top of the pack.
Jason Anderson came out swinging in 2016, won the first round at Anaheim, and solidified his place in Supercross history. His speed has been increasing heavily since his 250 Supercross West Championship in 2014. If this rate of progression continues into 2017, look for big things out of "El Hombre."
Cole Seely has won in the 450 Supercross class, and is back to do so again in the 2017 season. While Seely has bubbled outside the podium as of recently, he is no stranger to the front of the pack and will be out front leading just when you least expect it.
With two straight 250 West Supercross championships under his belt, Cooper Webb is entering the 450 class in 2017 with all eyes pointed to him. 2017 will most definitely be a learning experience for the rookie. However, we’ve seen Webb’s pure determination to win outweigh all odds in the past and he’s the real deal.
It’s no secret that Trey Canard has been plagued by injuries and unfortunate events over his career. However, Canard is still riddled with natural talent, and most definitely a race win contender. He has signed to the Red Bull KTM team for the 2017 season. This change of pace could be a very positive move for the number 41 ride.
You can never count Chad Reed out. Plain and simple. Every year that this legend of Supercross returns to the gate for battle, he shocks the world and puts the No. 22 in contention for a race win. So, don’t be surprised if 2017 treats him quite the same.
Multiple injuries left Blake Baggett with a rough start to the 2016 season. However, he was able to score his first career podium in the 450 class at Daytona later in the year. Moving into 2017 Baggett will be looking to capitalize on this and progress into more consistent podium finishes.