When racers start winning early in their careers, it’s often interpreted as a sign of future greatness. With that in mind, we dove deep into the Racer X Vault and assembled a sampling of some of our sport’s biggest names who have won both supercross races and Nationals, and how many races it took them to notch their first ever win in each discipline. We were surprised at some of our findings, and if you take a close look at the list, we guarantee you will be too.
Keep in mind that before 1985, there was no 125 Class in supercross, so riders in the Ricky Johnson/Jeff Ward/David Bailey era and prior were chasing their first supercross win in the premier class. We’ve included the Dave Coombs East/West Shootout in our tally, as well as races in which 125/250F riders have temporarily jumped up into the premier class. If we missed anyone, be sure to let us know in the comments section at the bottom!
|Rider||Races until first SX win||Races until first MX win||Combined|
Obviously, it takes a special talent to win so quickly in the pro ranks. But there are other factors in the list above. First, several riders near the top of the list came over from Europe with professional experience on the Grand Prix circuit. Christophe Pourcel, Ben Townley and Grant Langston, for example, had already won world championships before they’d even tried an outdoor MX National here in the U.S., so they came in ready.
James Stewart ranks #1 on the list.
Simon Cudby photo
Second, as we mentioned earlier, some riders dove right into the premier class of supercross to cut their teeth. That includes not only riders like Johnson, Ward and Bailey, who didn’t have a 125SX to compete in, but also Chad Reed, who raced a few West rounds in the 250 class before winning the very first 125 East race he ever entered. Finally, the relative professionalism of the amateur ranks has impacted the results, as fast learners like Eli Tomac, Trey Canard and Austin Stroupe jumped straight into top pro teams. Back in the day, even the fastest amateurs turned pro as privateers, and it often took years before they had the equipment and guidance needed to win races.
While doing our research for the list above, we uncovered some racers who have won in one category and not the other. It’s amazing how quickly some of these guys were able to score a SX win without winning a National, and vice versa.
What other trends jump out at you while surveying the stats?