When Ryan Dungey took the Toronto victory, he became the fifth different winner of the season. When Chad Reed took over the points lead in Toronto by finishing second, he became the third different points leader of the season.
Reed's lone win came in San Diego. Will it be enough?
Photo: Garth Milan
Five winners and three points leaders—when was the last time a series was this good?
The five winners mark doesn’t go back that far. In 2008, Chad Reed, James Stewart, Kevin Windham, Davi Millsaps and Josh Hill all took victories. But you could say that Reed led the points all year. Reed won round one, then Stewart took round two to tie the series. Stewart then dropped from the tour with a torn ACL, and Reed held the lead all the way to Las Vegas.
We had three points leaders back in 2006, a year remembered for the epic struggle between Ricky Carmichael, Stewart and Reed. Stewart took round one to lead the points, Carmichael snatched it away, and then Reed took the lead when both crashed out in St. Louis. But those three were the only winners that season.
The 1998 season was a wild one, with Jeremy McGrath returning to form on a Yamaha after a rough 1997 season on a Suzuki. That season boasted a phenomenal six winners—McGrath, Sebastian Tortelli, Ezra Lusk, Kevin Windham, Larry Ward and John Dowd—and three different riders did share the points lead. Tortelli led after his round one win, then McGrath and Jeff Emig were tied after round two, and McGrath held on for the rest of the season. But that means 1998 only generated three points leaders via a tie atop the standings at one point.
If you want to find the last season to generate five winners and three solo points leaders, you will have to go back to 1997. Greg Albertyn won the opener in a shocker, then Doug Henry and Emig held the points lead at different points during the season. That year also produced an unbelievable seven different winners in Albertyn, Henry, Emig, McGrath, Damon Huffman, Windham and Lusk.
Dungey's lone win came last weekend in Toronto. Will it be enough?
Photo: Matt Pavelek
So you have to go back 14 years to find a season packing this type of parity in victory lane and atop the season standings. But even then, the top five riders ended the year separated by a whopping 87 points.
There’s only one season that could probably stand up to the 2011 season for all-around parity. In 1985, an all-time-high of eight winners graced the top spot, with Johnny O’Mara, David Bailey, Mark Barnett, Bob Hannah, Ricky Johson, Jeff Ward Broc Glover and Ron Lechien winning races, and the final standings shows just 22 points separating the top five riders. And the champion, Ward, won the crown despite winning just one race.
It could happen again.