Bench Racing  Ammo: Quick Wins

Bench Racing Ammo: Quick Wins

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Ken Roczen certainly didn’t waste any time notching his first 450SX win of the 2014 season of Monster Energy Supercross. In a star-studded field, the Red Bull KTM rider did what nobody, probably not even himself, expected by taking the checkers in the first race of the year. But it wasn’t his first race in the 450SX Class. Roczen raced the premier class twice in 2011, once in 2012 and once in 2013, making Saturday night’s win his fifth start. In terms of efficiency, how does that compare to some of the riders who have gotten 450SX wins early in their careers? Let’s have a look.

Davi Millsaps – Won his sixteenth supercross in 2008 in the Georgia Dome.

Jean-Michel Bayle – Won his fourteenth supercross in 1990 in Dallas, Texas. Or is that Irving?

Trey Canard – Canard, who raced six premier mains in 2010, added to the excitement of what was already an incredibly tight year when he won his twelfth premier main event in 2011 in Houston.

Josh Hill – Won his eleventh supercross. The win took place in Minneapolis. Hill has yet to notch his second victory.

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It took 16 races before Davi Millsaps captured his first win in Atlanta.
Simon Cudby photo

Larry Ward – Won his eleventh premier race after moonlighting in several off-coast rounds in 1989. His first win came in Seattle in 1990.

Ryan Villopoto – Won his eleventh 450SX race. Like Larry Ward, RV’s first win came in Seattle, albeit in a different stadium.

Ron Lechien – Won his tenth supercross in Orlando in 1983. Extra credit to the Dogger, though, because they didn’t have 125SX back in those days. This was literally his tenth supercross race of any kind!

Kevin Windham – Windham made history when he won his ninth-ever premier supercross race in 1997 in Charlotte. Windham was still a 125cc rider in the West Region, so he became the first support-class rider to win a premier class race.

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K-Dub celebrates his first win in style.
Steve Bruhn photo

Mark Barnett – The Bomber raced eight races before taking the W on his ninth attempt. The win took place in 1979 in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Jeremy McGrath – The King raced six races in 1992 when he was still a full-time 125 rider on Mitch Payton’s Team Peak Honda. The following year, his first full rookie season, he won round three, making him victorious in his ninth race.

David Vuillemin – In 2000, in San Diego, the Cobra won in his eighth career race.

Ryan Dungey – After challenging James Stewart for the win at the opener in 2010, Dungey would go on to win in Phoenix the following weekend. It was his fifth 450SX race, as Dungey rode a few races on a 450 in 2008.

Chad Reed – Reed did four off-coast premier races in 2002 before focusing on bringing home the Eastern Regional 125SX Championship, an endeavor in which he was successful. He graduated to the premier class full-time the following year and won the opening round, putting his tally at five races.

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Who is Josh Hill calling after his first win? His parents? The President?
Andrew Fredrickson photo

James Stewart – Won the third race of his premier career in Dallas in 2005—you can call it four if you count the 2005 Phoenix Supercross, were James crashed out in practice. Dallas was his third main event.

Sebastien Tortelli – Won his second supercross ever, which was the 1998 series opener in Los Angeles. It’s impressive no matter how you look at it, although it’s important to remember that at that time Tortelli already had an entire season of premier 250cc GP experience to his credit.

Damon Bradshaw – In 1989 The Beast rode a single race, San Diego, in the premier class, where he finished third. Third while racing the 250 class at 16-years-old in his first supercross main event ever. He had plans to enter more races, but a back injury put those plans on hold. In 1990, Bradshaw won the opener in Anaheim, his second-ever premier main event.

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RV got his first win in his home state of Washington.
Simon Cudby photo

Josh Grant – Few can forget Grant’s emotional upset in 2009 at the opener in Anaheim, but did you know he’d actually raced one 450SX race the previous year in Seattle (where he finished sixth) as a member of the GEICO Honda squad? That means Grant’s first, and so far only, win came in his second premier main event.

Justin Barcia – At Phoenix last year, Bam Bam won his second 450SX main event, tying him with Grant. However, since Barcia’s win came just seven days after his first premier class race, it can be argued that he wins the tie-breaker. Or you can just say they’re forever tied—we won’t argue. To give you perspective on how quick this is, consider that 2014 full-time rookies like Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn have already raced more than twice on big bikes, as both moonlighted on the opposite coasts of their 250SX exploits.

So where does Roczen rank? Tied with Reed and Dungey with a win in his fifth try—not the quickest road to victory ever, but darned impressive company.

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