2012 Monster Energy Supercross Season Living up to Hype as it Returns to Anaheim
Not Since 1976 Have There Been Four Different Winners Through Four Races
Entering the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season, the attention surrounded the four former champions who were set to wage war inside the most storied and popular stadiums in North America. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto – the reigning World Champion, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, and Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart had all reached the sport’s pinnacle over the past four seasons and were ready to provide the world with a sure-to-be-memorable 2012 championship. Now, after four races, each rider has taken his turn atop the podium and as the season makes its return to Anaheim’s Angel Stadium this weekend, the Supercross Class Championship is still wide open.
Stewart’s maiden victory of the 2012 season last weekend in Oakland also signified his first win as a member of the Joe Gibbs Racing team. The two-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion stayed on two wheels throughout the entire 20-lap main event for the first time this year, and was rewarded for it, passing Reed for the lead on Lap 9 and pulling away. While Stewart took the checkered flag, Reed secured the runner-up effort, fending off the challenges of Villopoto, who finished third. Dungey overcame a 10th-place start to finish off the podium for the first time in 2012, in fourth.
It was a special race for the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization, which enjoyed just its second Monster Energy Supercross win in four years, and also signified a historic moment in the 39-year history of the sport.
For the first time since 1976 – when the Monster Energy Supercross Championship consisted of just six races – there are four different winners through the first four races of the season. Even more impressive yet, each of these four riders have claimed at least one Monster Energy Supercross title, which has only been achieved one previous time since the inception of the championship, during the 1985 season. However, never before have four former champions won consecutive races, particularly to start a season.
Despite being just a month into the 2012 schedule, this is the most parity in the history of Monster Energy Supercross and as a result, the championship is exceptionally close heading back to Anaheim. Currently, just 12 points separate these four riders, with Dungey and Reed sharing possession of the red number plate atop the standings. Villopoto sits a mere two points back of the leaders, while Stewart’s victory helped bring him to within a dozen points of the lead duo. Additionally, each of the four title favorites has captured at least two podium results through the first four races.
In the fourth race of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac became the first rider in all of Monster Energy Supercross to become a repeat winner in 2012. The sophomore rider capitalized on a strong start, and the misfortune of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Martin Davalos, to maintain control of the red number plate as the championship leader, and extend his advantage in the standings to 15 points over Wilson.
Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin tied a career-best finish with his second runner-up effort in three weeks, while Monster Energy/BikeIt/Cosworth Yamaha’s Zach Osborne rounded out the podium. Osborne has now posted back-to-back third-place finishes, vaulting him to third in the championship. Wilson recovered from his Lap 2 misfortune to climb from 19th to 10th in the main event.
Last year during the second visit to Anaheim, Stewart put forth his most convincing effort of the 2011 season to capture his third win of that championship. In the Supercross Lites Class, Josh Hansen overcame a broken hand suffered in practice earlier in the day, to take his third win of the season for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.
The first race held in Anaheim was on December 4, 1976. Marty Smith won on a Honda. Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath share the all-time Supercross Class win record at Angel Stadium with eight wins apiece. In the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class, three riders have swept each event at Angel Stadium: Hansen, Villopoto, Ivan Tedesco and Ernesto Fonseca. Villopoto, Stewart, Kevin Windham and McGrath are the only riders in history to win in the Supercross Lites Class and Supercross Class at Anaheim.
CBS will broadcast the Supercross class race at 12:00pm EST on Sunday February 5, 2012