Bench Racing Ammo:  The Elusive Three-Peat

Bench Racing Ammo: The Elusive Three-Peat

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Winning three-straight supercross championships is very, very tough, so tough that only three riders have ever have even done it. But a look at the record book shows winning three-straight season openers is even tougher. Jeremy McGrath is the only rider in history to actually accomplish the feat, doing in from 1994-1996. But that could all change this Saturday, as Ryan Villopoto could join McGrath in that (very) exclusive club with three-straight opening wins.

But that’s not the only interesting stat we can pull from the list of opening round winners below.

Year
Rider
Brand
1974
Pierre Karsmakers
Yamaha
1975
Jim Ellis
Can-Am
1976
Tony DiStefano
Suzuki
1977
Bob Hannah
Yamaha
1978
Jim Ellis
Honda
1979
Jim Weinert
Kawasaki
1980
Mike Bell
Yamaha
1981
Kent Howerton
Suzuki
1982
Donnie Hansen
Honda
1983
David Bailey
Honda
1984
Johhny O'Mara
Honda
1985
Johnny O'Mara
Honda
1986
David Bailey
Honda
1987
Jeff Ward
Kawasaki
1988
Jeff Ward
Kawasaki
1989
Rick Johnson
Honda
1990
Damon Bradshaw
Yamaha
1991
Jeff Stanton
Honda
1992
Mike LaRocco
Kawasaki
1993
Mike LaRocco
Kawasaki
1994
Jeremy McGrath
Honda
1995
Jeremy McGrath
Honda
1996
Jeremy McGrath
Honda
1997
Greg Albertyn
Suzuki
1998
Sebastien Tortelli
Kawasaki
1999
Ezra Lusk
Honda
2000
Jeremy McGrath
Yamaha
2001
Jeremy McGrath
Yamaha
2002
David Vuillemin
Yamaha
2003
Chad Reed
Yamaha
2004
Chad Reed
Yamaha
2005
Kevin Windham
Honda
2006
James Stewart
Kawasaki
2007
James Stewart
Kawasaki
2008
Chad Reed
Yamaha
2009
Josh Grant
Yamaha
2010
James Stewart
Yamaha
2011
Ryan Villopoto
Kawasaki
2012
Ryan Villopoto
Kawasaki

With five wins at the opener, Jeremy McGrath has won the first round more times than anyone else.

Interestingly enough, McGrath started his run of three-straight season-openers in 1994. Heading into that race, Mike LaRocco had won the previous two season openers (1992 and 1993). In that 1994 race, LaRocco finished a close second to McGrath.

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RV looks to join McGrath as the only riders to win three-straight season openers.
Simon Cudby photo

A surprising and conspicuous absence on this list is Ricky Carmichael, who was never able to take home a win at the season opener.

Honda is the first manufacturer to win three straight, as Johnny O’Mara won the opener in 1984 to follow up Donnie Hansen and David Bailey. O’Mara would win again the following year, followed by Bailey in 1986 to give Honda five consecutive years of opening round victories.

The only other manufacturer to win five opening races in a row is Yamaha. They did it in 2000 through 2004 with McGrath, David Vuillemin and Chad Reed.

If Ryan Villopoto wins this Saturday night, he’ll hand Kawasaki their first opening round three-peat as well.

Take a look at the list above. What other interesting notes and stats do you see? (And don't steal “How often does the opening round winner go on to take the title?” You know we're going to be crunching the data on that next week!)

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