Going for the W:  First-Time Winner

Going for the W First-Time Winner

March 14, 2012 3:40pm
It began with five.

Last year’s Monster Energy Supercross season provided the most action packed racing some of us have ever witnessed—stuffed with more drama and storylines than an episode of Jersey Shore. This year looked to be on par with 2011, as the main players entered the season intact, with the exception of Trey Canard, but even he was only expected to miss a couple rounds. Little did we know that Canard’s pre-season collarbone break would be the first in a long line of injuries.

Los Angeles would provide the first blow. Disaster struck when Canard was forced to double the first triple after collecting a tuff block cover, and was landed on by Ryan Morais who was already committed to the triple. As the two lay motionless on the track, no one was thinking of the championship hunt, all thoughts were on Canard and Morais’ health. Both suffered major injuries that night, but look to be well on their way to a full recovery.

Then there were four.

A torn ACL in Dallas would end Reed's season early.
Photo: Simon Cudby

Chad Reed began the season with his usual steady riding, but quickly seemed to hit another gear. He had his own team, his own program, and a year’s experience of running a team under his belt. He went blow for blow in San Diego with Ryan Villopoto, and Dallas began the same way. Then in an instant the championship run for Reed came to an end. Reed has been a model of consistency, so to see him limping off the track in Dallas was a cause for concern.  Days later it was revealed that Reed had a torn ACL, among other injuries, and that would end his 2012 season prematurely.

Then there were three.

The Ryan Dungey/KTM experiment began on a high note with Dungey serenading KTM with its first premier class win in history at Phoenix. But the exuberance was quickly smothered by bad starts and a case of the whoops in San Diego. Just when Dungey’s title hopes seemed slim, he made a statement in Atlanta, cutting RV’s points lead to 10 with a win. Rumors then began churning before St. Louis that Dungey had a hard crash at his practice track and was dealing with a collarbone injury. It didn’t show in the Show Me State, as Dungey made a late run at RV before settling for second. Then late last week KTM made it official, Dungey would miss Daytona—and more than likely 4-6 weeks—after undergoing surgery for a broken collarbone. Championship hopes vanished.

Dungey is expect to miss four to six weeks with a collarbone injury.
Photo: Simon Cudby

Then there were two.

A season that began with so much promise and depth has now witnessed the sports brightest stars dropping one after another. Barring a major catastrophe, the championship is Ryan Villopoto’s to lose. RV along with James Stewart will enter every remaining race this season as the odds on favorites to claim the top step of the throne. But while no one is happy to see the recent rush of bad news for some of the sport’s top stars, the injuries do create an opportunity for others. Breaking through for a first-time win against a healthy “Big Five” isn’t easy, but now that three of those riders are out, is it possible for someone else to rally?

The door has been opened a crack. Stewart’s inability to stay off the ground has been well documented and RV showed in Daytona that even he is not immune to trouble. Millsaps and Windham have claimed the glory of a supercross win in the past, so we will excuse them from this conversation. But there are other potential winners lurking, the likes of Justin Brayton, Brett Metcalfe, Jake Weimer, Josh Hansen, Mike Alessi, a healthy Andrew Short and perhaps newcomers like Cole Seely and Marvin Musquin.

Can Metty rise to the top and claim his first career win in 2012?
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

Let’s be realistic, it would probably take some help from the aforementioned James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto for anyone else to bring a win home. Weimer and Brayton have been solid at points, each with podiums to their credit, but have been wildly inconsistent. The same can be said for Metcalfe, Alessi and Hansen, with no one really wanting to claim the “best of the rest” title with any consistency. Short’s season has been marred with injury and newbies Cole Seely and Marvin Musquin lack experience. But with the sidelines now full of championship contenders and eight races remaining, there could be a golden opportunity for someone new to get their first W. It just takes a few mistakes, and this year, no one is immune.