Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto has a chance to join an elite club in 2013. If he captures his third consecutive Monster Energy Supercross title he will join Bob Hannah (1977-79), Jeremy McGrath (1993-96, 1998-2000) and Ricky Carmichael (2001-2003) as the only riders in history to win three (or more) consecutive supercross titles in the premier class.
The Hurricane (Hannah) surged through the late ‘70s capturing three straight titles until a freak water skiing accident, in which he broke his leg and missed the 1980 season, allowed Mike Bell to capture the 1980 title.
Thirteen years after Hannah set the bench mark, the early nineties ushered in a flamboyant, southern California kid named Jeremy McGrath. McGrath, who’s flair for the dramatic was unrivaled, became a larger than life figure on his way to four consecutive titles from 1993-96. The long-time Honda rider made an unexpected switch to Suzuki in 1997 and was bested by his fierce rival Jeff Emig in a close-fought title fight. But then McGrath switched to Yamaha and reeled off three-straight again from 1998 through 2000.
Ricky Carmichael quickly took the torch from McGrath. The GOAT would rattle off three consecutive titles before a knee injury took him out of contention in 2004, allowing Chad Reed to capture his first premier class title.
McGrath celebrates his first of four straight titles in 1993.
Fran Kuhn photo
|Year||Rider||Points||Second Place||Second Place Points||Margin of Victory|
|1977||Bob Hannah||217||Jim Pomeroy||176||41|
|1978||Bob Hannah||241||Marty Tripes||196||45|
|1979||Bob Hannah||227||Jim Weinert||199||28|
|1993||Jeremy McGrath||358||Mike Kiedrowski||301||57|
|1994||Jeremy McGrath||335||Mike LaRocco||287||48|
|1995||Jeremy McGrath||320||Larry Ward||270||50|
|1996||Jeremy McGrath||372||Jeff Emig||240||132|
|1998||Jeremy McGrath||332||Ezra Lusk||271||61|
|1999||Jeremy McGrath||342||Ezra Lusk||273||69|
|2000||Jeremy McGrath||372||David Vuillemin||337||35|
|2001||Ricky Carmichael||392||Jeremy McGrath||328||64|
|2002||Ricky Carmichael||328||David Vuillemin||321||35|
|2003||Ricky Carmichael||367||Chad Reed||360||7|
|2011||Ryan Villopoto||338||Chad Reed||334||4|
|2012||Ryan Villopoto||323||Davi Millsaps||266||57|
During his four year reign of terror McGrath averaged a staggering margin of victory (points at seasons end) of 71.75. In his second three-peat performance, his average was 55 points, still a full two races. During Hannah’s three-year run he averaged a margin of victory of 38. RC, meanwhile, averaged about a 35-point margin. Through his two-straight titles, Villopoto has a margin of victory of just over 30. Of course the 2011 battle was close, and stands as the best ever in the minds of many. But his margin last year should have been bigger, as Ryan held a massive points lead and was even flirting with the largest victory margin ever, until a knee injury knocked him out of the last three races. He still won the title by 57 points.
Backing up an AMA Supercross title isn't easy. Numerous multi-time champions, including Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Chad Reed and James Stewart, have all walked through the hallowed halls, but none of them have taken back-to-back SX titles (credit is due to Jeff Stanton, who went back-to-back in '89 and '90). So whether Villopoto is able to join the elite company of Hannah, McGrath and Carmichael with three-straight, or even if he falls short, his back-to-back titles already have a place in the record books.