The List: 450 Winners Without a 250 Title

The List 450 Winners Without a 250 Title

April 16, 2015 11:30am

Cole Seely’s underdog status has been talked about quite a bit lately, but most of his mediocre days came a long time ago. When we say Seely didn’t seem destined for greatness, we base that on where he was in 2009, when he was a border-line main event guy in the Lites class.

Since then, Seely has been anything but mediocre. He has five career wins against loaded Lites/250SX West Region fields, and went down to the wire for the championship with Jason Anderson last year. He also recorded a 450SX podium last year, all good enough for a spot on Team Honda HRC. These are legit credentials. 

Seely joined the ranks of 450SX winners last Saturday.
Seely joined the ranks of 450SX winners last Saturday. Photo: Cudby

Still, Seely never did get that 250SX West Championship, which means he’s now joined a surprisingly small group of riders that have won a 450SX Main Event without winning a small-bore title. Seriously, this group is really small. 

Since 2000, here’s The List of riders who have won 450SX main events without winning a Lites championship: 

  1. Cole Seely
  2. Andrew Short
  3. Josh Hill
  4. Josh Grant
  5. David Vuillemin
  6. Mike LaRocco 

That’s it! If you want to sprinkle in a little more, you can go back to the 1990s and note non-125 Champs who won 250 mains, like Jeff Emig, Larry Ward, Mike Craig, and Mike Kiedrowski. But the waters get a little muddy because 125SX only started in 1985, and didn’t really become the obvious path to the top for a few more seasons. Jeff Stanton, who won the 1989, 1990, and 1992 AMA Supercross Championships, never raced the 125 class, for example. 

Josh Grant got his first SX win in 2009 on the 450 JGR Yamaha. 
Josh Grant got his first SX win in 2009 on the 450 JGR Yamaha.  Photo: Cudby

We’ve also seen a few established GP stars come over and enter the premier class straight away, so they never had a chance to win a 125 crown. A few of them won races. We’re talking about riders like Jean-Michel Bayle, Greg Albertyn, and Sebastien Tortelli here (Vuillemin gets onto the above list because he spent legitimate time chasing a 125 West Supercross Championship).

But even if you want to remove those caveats, we can only go thirteen deep:

  1. Jeff Emig
  2. Larry Ward
  3. Mike Kiedrowski
  4. Mike Craig
  5. Jean-Michel Bayle
  6. Greg Albertyn
  7. Sebastien Tortelli 

That’s the entire list of premier class race winners without a 125/Lites/250SX title since 1990—excluding riders who started racing supercross before the 125 class began back in ‘85.

Just thirteen riders. Seely’s win is still a relative breakthrough!