The Vault: Round 3

The Vault: Round 3

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“Let’s hope your stat is correct,” said Chad Reed in the pits after last year’s Los Angeles Supercross.

Reed had just captured the win in round three of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, and we had just posted a statistical analysis pointing out that round three winners go on to win the SX title about 75 percent of the time. First round winners? Less than half.

Unfortunately for Reed, a crash and injury ended his chance of delivering last year. But we’re busting out the "Round Three Theory" again here in the Vault. Here are the round-three winners of the past 20 seasons of supercross, with some analysis thrown in. And by the way, in those last 20 seasons, the winner of round three has won 15 titles. The winner of round one has won only nine titles. Think about it.

Let’s dig into the Racer X Vault—which houses the results of every single AMA Supercross and Motocross race, ever—to find out more about round three.

1993:

Round Three Winner: Jeremy McGrath

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

Round three of ’93 marked McGrath’s first-ever career win. He’s now the all-time main event king. Pretty significant, eh? Surely no one expected the rookie to romp from here on out, but he won nine more races this year (to break the single-season win mark) and the championship. His success for the next few seasons—1994—1996—was similar. He won early and won often.

As for this Anaheim race, Young MC (remember that guy? Busta’ Move? Anyone?) passed defending SX Champion Jeff Stanton for the lead and checked out. It was as changing-of-the-guard as it gets.

Results from Anaheim 1993

 

1994:

Round Three Winner: Jeremy McGrath

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

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After winning round three in '96, Jeremy McGrath went on to claim the title.
Racer X Archives photo

1995:

Round Three Winner: Jeremy McGrath

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

 

1996:

Round Three Winner: Jeremy McGrath

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

 

1997:

Round Three Winner: Jeff Emig

Supercross Champion: Jeff Emig

McGrath’s 1997 will forever be known as “The year he rode the Suzuki” and look, his round-three win streak ends at the hands of Jeff Emig. And who won the title that year? Yup, Emig. ‘Fro, by the way, admits to being a slow starter at the beginning of the season, because he doesn’t like cold weather. If he wins in January, you know he’s going to have a good year.

Results from Phoenix 1997

 

1998:

Round Three Winner: Ezra Lusk

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

Whoa! The streak is broken and a round-three winner does not go on to win the title. But if you saw this race you would have thought Lusk would win the title. He ran down McGrath and then passed him for the lead late in a rare straight-up defeat for The King. Unfortunately, Lusk crashed a few too many times during this season, but he sure was fast!

Results from Phoenix 1998

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Jeff Emig won round three in 1997.

1999:

Round Three Winner: Jeremy McGrath

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

 

2000:

Round Three Winner: David Vuillemin

Supercross Champion: Jeremy McGrath

The Frenchman takes his first-ever win in U.S. 250 SX, proving he will be a formidable threat over the next few years. As a rookie to full-time 250SX, DV was really strong this year, but the veteran McGrath still had a little more.

Results from San Diego 2000

 

2001:

Round Three Winner: Jeremy McGrath

Supercross Champion: Ricky Carmichael

Maybe it’s fitting that this win ended up being McGrath’s last, as it happened in the same building as his first, and nearly eight years to the day. In this race, young buck Ricky Carmichael was all over MC, but the champ held on for a thrilling victory.

Results from Anaheim 2 2001

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RC did NOT win round three in 2002, but he did go on to win the title that year.
Racer X Archives photo

2002:

Round Three Winner: Mike LaRocco

Supercross Champion: Ricky Carmichael

Cycle News said it best with their cover headline after the race: “One for the Aged.” Indeed LaRocco was getting old, but he outdueled Vuillemin in a great race, and his first win since 1995. Eventual champion Carmichael was struggling at the beginning of the season after taking a huge digger at the Anaheim opener.

Results from Anaheim 2 2002

 

2003:

Round Three Winner: Ricky Carmichael

Supercross Champion: Ricky Carmichael

Oh, Reedy! Rookie Reed won Anaheim 1 and finished a close second to Lusk at round two. Carmichael appears to be on the ropes, but Reed crashes back to sixth in this one, while Carmichael wins and takes the points lead. He wouldn’t give it back. By the way, Sebastien Tortelli finished third in this one, and it was one of his best all-around rides ever in supercross.

Results from Anaheim 2 2003

 

2004:

Round Three Winner: Chad Reed

Supercross Champion: Chad Reed

I’m telling you, round three often provides the best races. In this one, Reed, Vuillemin and Kevin Windham went at it hard nearly the whole way. Reed’s win is a portent to a title. Round three, baby!

Results from Anaheim 2 2004

 

2005:

Round Three Winner: Ricky Carmichael

Supercross Champion: Ricky Carmichael

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Chad Reed won round three and the title in 2008.
Simon Cudby photo

2006:

Round Three Winner: Ricky Carmichael

Supercross Champion: Ricky Carmichael

Highly underrated race. James Stewart is on his game this year with his new Kawi 450, and he hands it to Carmichael and company at the December World SXGP races in Canada, then wins Anaheim 1. RC says he’s working on finding the speed to match James, and he finds it here, pressing his young challenger the whole way, until Stewart washes out and goes down. Carmichael would leave with the points lead.

Results from Anaheim 2 2006

 

2007:

Round Three Winner: James Stewart

Supercross Champion: James Stewart

 

2008:

Round Three Winner: Chad Reed

Supercross Champion: Chad Reed

 

2009:

Round Three Winner: James Stewart

Supercross Champion: James Stewart

Great race here, Stewart is still struggling to adjust to his new Yamaha (remember there was a time when the 2009 Yamaha seemed old, and the 2010 was revolutionary and awesome?) while Reed is loving his Suzuki. But, Reed can’t get a start on his yellow bike, either. He nearly runs Stew down at the end, but James hangs on. Swing this result the other direction and Reed wins the ’09 SX title. Every race counts!

Results from Anaheim 2 2009

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After a win at round three in 2012, Chad Reed suffered an injury later in the season, which lead to Ryan Villopoto winning the title.
Simon Cudby photo

2010:

Round Three Winner: Ryan Dungey

Supercross Champion: Ryan Dungey

 

2011:

Round Three Winner: Ryan Villopoto

Supercross Champion: Ryan Villopoto

Maybe as good a ten laps of SX racing as you’ll ever see. Stewart and Dungey are battling early in this one, but Villopoto comes flying through the pack, seemingly from nowhere, to catch the leaders. He shows Stewart a wheel a few times until Stewart washes the front. RV wins round three and later takes the title. Fifteen out of the last twenty years, that’s been the case.

Results from Los Angeles 2011


2012:

Round Three Winner: Chad Reed

Supercross Champion: Ryan Villopoto

Oh, Reedy!

Results from Los Angeles 2012

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