Bench Racing Ammo: Openers

Bench Racing Ammo: Openers

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At last year’s Rockstar Energy Drink National at Hangtown, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac won the very first race of his pro career, and Chad Reed, a Monster Energy Kawasaki rider at the time, shrugged off a terrible supercross season to dominate the first moto of the season and grab the 450 overall.

Considering the status of those riders coming into the race that was a bit of a surprise. But an even bigger shocker came over the next 11 rounds: neither Reed nor Tomac won another race all season! Was there a Hangtown curse?

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Tomac won at Hangtown last year, but that was his one and only win of the season.
Photo: Simon Cudby

In the big class, Reed’s case, this may not have been so strange. In the previous 30 seasons of 250 class (now the 450 class) racing, seven other riders had won the first round of the season only to never win another. Here’s a list of those riders

Riders to Win Opening round of 250/450 Class and Not Win Another Race:

2010 Chad Reed
2009 Ryan Villopoto
2001 Tim Ferry
1999 Sebastien Tortelli
1998 Mickael Pichon
1990 Rick Johnson
1989 Jean-Michel Bayle
1984 Bob Hannah

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Reed was victorious at Hangtown last year, but was unable to win another race that season.
Photo: Simon Cudby

Keep in mind that from 1985 through 1993, the 250 class ran a split season with the 500s, and the series usually only contained six rounds. Since 1994, the schedule has been doubled.

Meanwhile the 125 (now 250) class has always run the full schedule, and hence, the rider who wins the opener almost always comes back to win another. Only twice in the last 30 years has that happened.

Riders to Win Opening round of 125/250 Class and Not Win Another Race:

2010 Eli Tomac
2006 Mike Alessi
1985 George Holland

Did you catch that? Not once in those 30 seasons did the winners of both classes’ opener not win another race in the same year. In the entire 39 previous seasons of the tour, only in 1974 did the opening round winners in both classes not win more races (250 Winner, Billy Grossi and 125 Winner, Tim Hart). But the 1974 125 season only featured four rounds.

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Alessi won the opener in '06 but failed to capture another victory that season.
Photo: Simon Cudby

Bottom line: Reed is certainly hoping to deliver a second victory this year, perhaps as soon as this weekend. And Blake Baggett sure is, too. For their sake, hopefully last year was just a wild improbability, destined never to happen again.

 

 

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