Features 6 May 2014

Top 10: Storylines of 2014 American Supercross

The season that was in this year's Monster Energy Supercross series.

In no particular order, MotoOnline.com.au looks back at the Top 10 storylines from a drama-stuffed Monster Energy Supercross season that kept everyone guessing until the final chequered flag.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Villopoto goes four straight
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto joined a league of extraordinary gentlemen when he claimed the 2014 championship. He joined the King, Jeremy McGrath, as only the second rider to ever win four back-to-back championships. He might have his fair share of critics but no-one can deny the fact that Villopoto is one of the all-time greats, especially when he continues to dominate a class that gets stronger and stronger every year.

Stewart’s ridiculous ride at Toronto
If anyone doubted that Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart still possessed the raw speed and style that saw him claim the 2009 title, they were put back in their box at the Toronto round of the 2014 championship. In what he later described as his “best race ever”, Stewart came from 14th to win the main event, hitting lines and rhythms that no-one else had even dreamt of. It was a standout year for Stewart, who moved into second on the all-time wins list, after notching up 50 career wins a week later at St Louis.

Pro Circuit’s East Coast nightmare
Pro Circuit Kawasaki boss Mitch Payton must’ve been tearing his hair out. The team’s East Coast 250SX campaign got off to a clanging start as hotshot rookie Adam Cianciarulo swapping race wins with teammate Martin Davalos over the first five rounds, before crashing hard and dislocating his shoulder at Toronto. Two rounds later, before the new East Rutherford round, both Blake Baggett (rock to the eye) and Davalos (broken ankle) were eliminated from the title hunt. What was promising to be a championship podium sweep for Pro Circuit turned into nothing short of a disaster as GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle clinched the East Coast title.

Jason Anderson’s late charges
2014 West Coast 250SX champion, Rockstar Energy KTM’s Jason Anderson proved to be party-spoiler extraordinaire early in the series, when he stuck last-lap passes on TLD Honda’s Cole Seely an inconceivable three times to take the checkers. Although Anderson’s third win was stripped off of him for jumping under yellow-flag conditions, his late moto charges became a huge talking point all season. Ultimately, Seely will be ruing those two lost opportunities at the opening rounds, with Anderson winning the West Coast title by just five points. If only…

Ken Rocz Anaheim 1
Usually it takes a 450cc debutant a year to find his feet after leaping up from the 250cc class, but 2013 West Coast Supercross champ Ken Roczen blindsided everyone by winning the opening round of the 2014 championship at Anaheim. Roczen was one of four riders – including Villopoto, Stewart, Reed – to stand on top of the box at least twice this year. If he can improve next year as much as he did between 2013 and 2014, people better watch out.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Reedy’s ‘race of the year’
Coming off a disastrous 2013, Chad Reed appeared reinvigorated and hungry for the 2014 championship, and his Anaheim 2 victory – his first supercross win since 2012 – was widely tipped as the race of the year. On a slippery track, Reedy came from sixth position to run down leaders Ken Roczen and James Stewart to claim a popular win with the fans and industry. Reed’s title bid was shortlived, though, as he crashed hard at San Diego and was forced out of the season with a shoulder injury.

Barcia fails to fire
After posting two round wins in 2013, many tipped Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Barcia to be a constant thorn in the side of Ryan Villopoto this year. However, Bam Bam rarely fired a shot throughout the championship. He scored four podiums including two runner-ups at Toronto and Houston, but for the most part, 2014 was a far quieter season than the stylish rider and his fans would have hoped for.

Ferris torpedos his US campaign
Dean Ferris’s call-up to the Red Bull KTM team was like winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. The Australian was given strict instructions to simply survive the West Coast 250 Supercross Championship, with the intention of coming into the AMA Motocross Championship with all guns blazing. Ferris obeyed Roger DeCoster’s orders, but during the West Coast’s mid-season break, Deano had a big crash at his Kyogle home while training for the upcoming outdoor season and fractured his wrist. It’s a huge blow for Ferris and it’s likely he’ll miss the vast majority – if not all – of the MX season as a result. Fingers crossed he gets a second chance for 2015.

Mike Alessi T-bones Broc Tickle
Man, Mike Alessi’s T-bone of RCH Suzuki’s Broc Tickle got everyone fired up. After Tickle cleanly passing Alessi at the Atlanta round, the hot-headed Alessi blatantly fired his bike into the side of Tickle in the next turn, sending them both flying into the cheap seats. Alessi’s brain-fart has racked up almost half a million Youtube views and even got RCH team owner Carey Hart’s famous wife, P!nk involved, when she tweeted to her 22 million followers “I guess if I was as slow as Alessi I’d have to take people out too”. The AMA fined Alessi $4000 and put him on probation for the rest of the season; a penalty widely viewed as far too light given the family’s history of controversy.

New York, New York
It seems ridiculous that the USA’s largest city, New York, hasn’t hosted a supercross race since 1991. So, when AMA Supercross promoters Feld announced they were bringing supercross back to the greater New York area in East Rutherford, NJ (30 minutes from downtown NYC), there was understandably a lot of hype around it. And the event didn’t disappoint: the Metlife Stadium was packed to the brim with race fans, who witnessed some of cracker racing as Ryan Villopoto claimed his fourth straight title. Expect Metlife Stadium to remain on the calendar for years to come.