All is good in the world before Anaheim 1. Before Monster Energy Supercross begins, everyone is a contender, everyone believes, and everyone has hope. While the year won't work out as planned for everyone, it's certainly going to be fun to watch the stories unfold—stories like the battle for the 450SX title, and smaller ones like young kids trying to build a career. It's all on the table starting this Saturday, and the only way to make sense of all is to start listing all the reasons we'll be watching. You should, too.
1. Pro Circuit Searches for Gold
The powerful Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad failed to win a SX race last year and hasn’t won a 250SX Regional title since 2011 with Broc Tickle.
2. Tomac Goes Green
Last year’s 450SX runner-up is switching brands and coming off double shoulder surgery. Can he lead Monster Energy Kawasaki to the title?
3. James Stewart is BACK!!!!
Love him or hate him, supercross is more exciting with Bubba on the line. He’s searching for his first title since 2009.
4. Ryan Dungey Looks to Repeat
Dungey has never won back-to-back titles in his career. He won a career-high eight times in 2015. Will we see a similar performance?
5. Davi Millsaps to BTO
Millsaps is joining his third team in as many years after being let go from Monster Energy Kawasaki at the tail end of supercross last year. Can he revive his career on a KTM?
6. Marvin Musquin moves to 450 Class
Off-season wrist surgery slowed his progress, but the 2015 250SX East Region Champion certainly has the skills.
7. Chad Reed Begins Anew
Where???? How do we still not know???? [Ed. Note: Hold on, we DO know what Reed is doing. The rest of the stuff still holds.] If Reed wins five times this year, he will pass old-rival Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time wins list. With six wins, he would join Jeremy McGrath and James Stewart as the only three riders with 50. With 14 starts, he’ll become only the third rider to make 200 main events. There’s a lot on the line for Reed this year.
8. Arnaud Tonus Tries Again
Illness relegated the former MXGP rider to just three rounds last year. The bright side for the Swiss native—he finished top ten in all three, and his technique showed promise.
9. Honda Fights for First Again
Ricky Carmichael’s 2003 season marked Honda’s last premier class championship. Since then, five other brands have landed the crown. Can Canard or Seely deliver?
10. Stewart Tries to Join Plus 30 Club
Mike LaRocco, Chad Reed, John Dowd and Kevin Windham are the only riders to win past the age of 30. James Stewart looks to join the club this season.
11. Cooper Webb Begins Defense
Webb returns to the West Region where he won six of eight races last year. Does anyone not consider him the title favorite?
12. Rookies Learn the Ropes
Mark Worth (Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki), Hayden Mellross (51Fifty Energy Drink Yamaha), Chase Marquier (Crossland Racing Honda), Mitchell Harrison (Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha) and Darian Sanayei (Bud Racing Kawasaki) begin their professional journeys in the West Region. Can any make an immediate impact?
13. Justin Bogle’s New Journey with a Familiar Team
With few seats open at the 450SX table, the 2014 250SX East Champion had few big-bike options. Then GEICO Honda revitalized its 450 program and signed Bogle to a one-year deal. After this year, they’re back to 250 only. The pressure is on Bogle to secure a new 450 ride for 2017.
14. King Kenny?
Ken Roczen, the two-time winner at Anaheim 1, is searching for his first 450SX title. Winner of two of the first three races a season ago, don’t expect a slow start for the German.
15. Wil Hahn Returns from Injury
Aren’t we all just hoping to have a healthy Wil Hahn out there in 2016?
16. Toronto Is Back!
Steve Matthes is foaming at the mouth waiting to return to the Mother Land.
17. Supercross Returns to the Mass
It’s been since 1990 that supercross has visited Foxborough. It’s coming back to a hungry Northeastern fan base.
18. Justin Hill Moves to TLD
No, he didn’t get fired from Red Bull KTM. TLD is the new factory team for the Austrian brand. Hill struggled with injuries last year, but could be a title favorite in the East Region.
19. Day Races
If you went to New York, err, East Rutherford last year, then you know how FREAKING sweet day races are. We’ve got two this year—St. Louis and Foxborough.
20. Every race live on TV
Sweet baby Jesus, you can’t get much better.
21. Roczen on new Suspension
Riders are fickle creatures. The switch to KYB worked for Kenny at the Monster Energy Cup—will it have the same affect during the regular season?
22. Anderson Armed and Dangerous
I mean, did you see his freaking starts at the Monster Energy Cup? Look out for El Hombre and his revamped Husqvarna. Word on the street is he was giving Dungey all he could handle at Baker's Factory this off-season.
23. Podiums for Stew
He needs a lot of them—twelve to be exact—but he does have the chance to pass RC for third on the all-time 450SX list.
24. Joey Savatgy Looking for Number 1
Looking for a sleeper to challenge Webb in the West Region? This may be your guy. He had four podiums a year ago and seems primed for a breakout year.
25. Jeremy Martin: Make Every Main and Win Title
For a two-time 250MX Champion, Martin has had his share of troubles in supercross. He was good last year—four podiums and a win—but failed to qualify for a main event… AGAIN. He has Johnny O’Mara in his corner, which should help, and is a favorite on the East Coast.
26. Darryn Durham Returns to Roots
Doesn’t it seem that Double D just works best out of a van, doing it on his own? Well, we will find out, as Durham has put together his own program for 2016 after time with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and TLD KTM.
27. Wilson Back in Orange Again
You can scratch off his 2015 rookie season—just three rounds completed. Wilson has a lot to show this year to keep his ride. Can he get back in contention in year two with KTM?
28. Baggett is Building
He was anyways. Baggett was the surprise of the 450 Class last year. Unfortunately he will miss some time due to injury. How much will it impede his progress?
29. Seely Looks to Skirt History
Only four riders in history—Reed, Stewart, Villopoto and Tomac—have won races as rookies and then improved their win total the next year. A much larger number have struggled in year two. Seely won once last year—will he break the mold?
30. Canard Looks to Close
Remember, he was second in points (a ways back from Dungey, but still solid) last year and had two wins before leaving with an injury at Detroit. But he has only completed the full supercross swing once in his career. Is this year finally his year?
31. Plessinger Returns, Armed with ROY Awards
Double rookie of the year (SX and MX) recipient Aaron Plessinger enters 2016 with heightened expectations. He’ll race the 250SX East Region.
32. Jimmy D Gets Second Chance
The Rippa is back with GEICO Honda. He filled in for Wil Hahn in 2011, but was injured immediately. He’s much more prepared this time.
33. Alex Martin Joins Little Bro
Following a career year in 2015, Alex Martin joins little brother Jeremy on Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha.
34. Is Year two the key for Jordon Smith?
Smith struggled with crashes in year one, but certainly showed flashes of speed. Can he harness it to improve upon his one top ten finish a season ago?
35. 450SX is STACKED!
Yeah, we say it every year, but, c’mon, there are nine former 450SX winners in the Anaheim 1 field, and 18 factory riders.
36. Last Chance for Osborne?
Zach Osborne may be forced to move up to 450s in 2017. Can he capture that elusive first SX race win and a title?
37. Last Chance for Davalos?
Anything that can happen has happened to the Ecuadorian. Can he bounce back again?
38. Peick’s Peak?
No one really knows what it is… A win? Consistent podiums? Top three finish in standings? All could be possible.
39. Will we see Filthy Phil?
Phil Nicoletti saw action in ten rounds last year due to injuries to Peick and Barcia. Will we have to wait till outdoors to see Filthy?
40. En fuego: Justin Barcia’s Ready for Year Two
If momentum can carry over between seasons, then Barcia certainly has it after a strong close to 2015. After going without a podium finish for the first time in his 450SX career in 2015, Barcia is hungry for a win in his second season with the JGR Yamaha crew.
41. Suzuki is back in the 250 Class
TWO TEAMS. SIX RIDERS. Good to see some yellow back out there.
42. Consistency IS Key for Tickle
Did you know Broc Tickle has finished outside the top ten just three times in the last two years? Now you do.
43. Will we See RJ Hampshire?
It’s still unknown at this time as he recovers from a head injury at Red Bull Straight Rhythm.
44. Last Run for Short
Unfortunately for Shorty he sustained a shoulder injury and will miss the start of what he said will be his final year.
45. Justin Brayton Seeks Redemption
Year one with BTOSports.com KTM was a wash for Brayton. He found a ton of success this off-season in Europe. Will it translate in the States?
46. Mitch Oldenburg Goes Factory
The speed was impressive last year, but Mitch hasn’t been able to stay off the ground in supercross. His first season with factory equipment, via TLD KTM, is a big one.
47. Is Shane McElrath a Contender?
Last year’s West Region runner-up will be moving to the East Region due to a wrist injury. No reason McElrath shouldn’t be considered for a title after his breakout 2015 season.
48. Christophe Pourcel Finally Makes Debut
We’ve been waiting since 2010 to see this guy on a 450 in supercross. Has he waited too long, or is this just right?
49. Matt Bisceglia Looks for Success Away from GEICO
After two up and down seasons at GEICO Honda, Bisceglia hopes to restart his career in 250SX East Region with MAD Racing/Yoshimura/Dirt Candy Suzuki.
50. Is this finally the year for Adam Cianciarulo?
Health is the only concern.
51. Tyler Bowers looks for win
He made waves in his return to supercross last year. Can he close the deal in year two?
52. Year two turnaround for Chris Alldredge?
It was a rough rookie season for the friendly Oregonian. He has to find a rhythm in year two.
53. Jake Weimer returns from injury
Jake missed most of last season after a sustaining multiple injuries at Detroit. He’s back with Team Tedder hoping to rejoin the mix.
54. Friese Moves Up
He’s found success moonlighting in the 450 class before. Will it transfer over to a full season?
55. Move over Suzuki, Alessi Returns to Honda
New digs for the veteran and his MotoConcepts team.
56. Those Skins!!!
At least you’ll be able to pick out Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins from all those other Yamaha teams.
57. Chizz Finds Landing Spot
After a few years of #TeamChizz, Kyle Chisholm has landed a ride with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC riding Hondas for the first time in his career.
58. Where’s Josh Grant?
Not on the pre-entry list so far. Will we see the 2009 Anaheim winner this weekend?
59. T. Hahn Back in 450 Class
After coming out of retirement last year in the 250 Class, the elder Hahn is moving back to the 450 with CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha.
60. Cycle Trader Looks for Repeat Success
The team that almost landed Chad Reed (seriously) had a banner year with Alex Martin and crew last year. A pair of sophomores—Luke Renzland and Colt Nichols—will try to keep the momentum going in the 250s.
61. Supercross Moves to Glendale
The traditional Phoenix stop makes a move to an even higher-tech stadium in Glendale. Have you seen this track map? Good choice, Feld.
62. Two San Diego rounds for first time
Anaheim 3 is out, San Diego 2 is in. Will the new downtown stop welcome two big crowds?
63. Top Jimmy Back to 250s
Albertson is moving back down for his new Suzuki team. We’ll see what he’s learned from the big boys.
64. Crossland Returns
After much speculation of will-they/won’t-they, Crossland will form a two-rider West Region team consisting of Kyle Peters and Chase Marqiuer.
65. Mookie Searches for Title
Can he join his older brother? He’s certainly a favorite following a three podium, one win 2015 season.
66. Straight out of Retirement: Craig back with GEICO
And apparently on the gas, too. If you’re looking for a sleeper out West, this may be the guy.
67. Privateer Heroes
With 18 factory 450s slated for the gate on Saturday, what privateers will make the main event cut?
68. Small Teams Looking for Success
Is this the year a small team—pick one, there are a lot—finds the winner’s circle?
69. A-Rod Hoping for Restart
After two years under the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha tent, Anthony Rodriguez moves to Traders Racing Kawasaki.
70. Anaheim 1 is here!
RACING IS FINALLY BACK!!!!