Chad Reed got to check a big one off his list on Saturday when he wrapped up the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship with four motos remaining. Reed has been on a roll since Millville last month, winning four nationals in a row on his Rockstar/Makita Suzuki. Sure, it’s a depleted field, but that’s as much about Reed’s strength as others’ injuries; like his new ally Ricky Carmichael, Chad has been a rugged moto warrior pretty much ever since he landed on these shores in 2002. He’s kept his injuries to a minimum and is constantly in the mix. Like Carmichael himself said on the live NBC coverage, a bad day for Reed is maybe a second or a third. That’s how you win titles.
With this championship — one that seemed impossible as recently as May, when it still wasn’t known if he was going to race outdoors — Reed joins an elite group of riders who have won both the AMA Supercross title as well as a premier-class outdoor championship. Reed’s heavy rival James Stewart is the most recent, then comes Ricky Carmichael (who actually swept both SX and MX on five different occasions). Jeremy McGrath and Jeff Emig are on the list, and Jeff Stanton swept both three different times. Add in Jean-Michel Bayle, Ricky Johnson, Jeff Ward, David Bailey and Donnie Hansen in the eighties, along with Mark Barnett and Johnny O’Mara, even though their outdoor titles were in the 125cc class (although that was the single most competitive class in the early 1980s). And then there are the pioneers: Bob “Hurricane” Hannah, Jimmy Weinert, and Pierre Karsmakers.
Reed’s a champion both indoors and outdoors, and that’s a big deal in this sport. Lots of true legends were unable to do it, including Broc Glover (six total championships), Marty Smith (3), Doug Henry (3), Tony DiStefano (3), Kent Howerton (3), Gary Jones (3), Mike Kiedrowski (4), Mike LaRocco (2), Steve Lamson (2), Grant Langston (2), Micky Dymond (2), and many, many more. And Ryan Villopoto and Ivan Tedesco are still in the process of trying to make it happen.
Where does he go from here? If Reed’s plan works out the way it’s supposed to, he will have found that extra speed he needs to stick with Stewart toward the end of those main events when the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross tour gets underway on January 9 in Anaheim. But first he has to secure a ride. While the word on the street is that Suzuki will be back with at least two riders, there’s nothing in ink just yet.
So congratulations to Chad and also to Roger DeCoster, the team manager who somehow got the company to step up and support Reed’s late decision to go after the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.