- Career: 2004-Present
- DOB: 02/15/1988
- Height: 6 ’1”
- Weight: 191 lbs.
- Birthplace: Orlando, FL, United States
- Residence: Huntersville, NC
- Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
- Team Manager: Jeremy Albrecht
- Mechanic: Alex Ewing
#18Davi MillsapsDavi Millsaps's Website
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Typically, when amateur standouts make their way into the pro ranks, they have to fight through a steep learning curve. For Davi, the transition wasn’t any easier, but the skills and experience he’d gained through his amateur success helped him to battle to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 125cc Eastern Regional Supercross Series. It’s interesting to note that 2004 was also the year that the RM-Z250 was introduced, but Millsaps opted to compete aboard an RM125 two-stroke that he had grown accustomed to. Whether it was a disadvantage or not, the sound of Millsaps’ highly tuned 125 was quickly becoming a rare sound to professional motocross. However, Davi would soon make the switch from his 125 to the more powerful 250fFfor the outdoor nationals. The summer of 2004 turned out to be a fairly successful outdoor season for him. He worked through inconsistencies early in the season to finish a strong eighth place in his first full outdoor season.
Davi’s learning year turned out better than most and he came into the 2005 season more prepared than ever. He also opted to continue riding the RM-Z250 that he’d switched to in the middle of the ’04 season. The thumper may have been exactly what he needed, because when the checkered flag flew on the first round of the East Region Supercross Series, he found himself standing at the top of the podium celebrating his first professional victory. In any pro sport, confidence is a huge part of the mental game, and that may have been the case with Davi. After that initial win at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, he earned himself three additional podium finishes, as well as another main-event win. By the end of the supercross season, he found himself only six points away from winning the championship, the momentum in his favor going into the great outdoors.
The national circuit was somewhat anti-climactic after Davi had been such a serious contender for the supercross championship. He suffered several bike malfunctions and poor finishes to eventually finish eighth in the series, the same position in which he ended the previous outdoor season. Davi knew he had the speed to win a championship, and so did American Honda.
With Honda’s long history of winning, and Davi’s previous results, the cards were set for him to put everything together to win a championship in only his third complete season as a pro. For the second consecutive year, he came out of the chute on fire, winning the opening round of the East Region Lites series over title rivals Josh Grant and Chris Gosselaar. He not only had the speed to win, but his newly refined consistency is what set him apart from the competition, and ultimately what won him the 2006 East Region Supercross Lites crown.
In a rare move that had the industry abuzz, Davi parked his championship-winning CRF250R and hopped on the big Honda 450 to compete against some of the best motocross racers in the world in the AMA/Toyota Motocross Nationals. Fortunately for Davi, his 190-pound frame fit the 450 perfectly, and the holeshots he continually pulled throughout the summer proved it. But he didn’t sprint for the first part of the moto and then fade, like some had predicted. He continually ran at the front of the pack for 30 plus two and ended the summer an impressive third overall.
The off-season is usually a time for riders and teams to take a well-deserved vacation, before going full force into pre-season testing and training. For Millsaps, the off-season quickly turned into a recovery season when he suffered a broken femur while practicing at the Millsaps Training Facility in October. When he made his return eight races into the 2007 supercross series, it took him a while to both regain his old prowess on the track and acclimate to 450 supercross. At the penultimate race of the season, he seemed to hit his stride in the premier class, finally getting back on a supercross podium with a solid second-place finish.
When the outdoor nationals fired up at the end of May, Davi’s performance became mysteriously inconsistent. He started suffering from extreme vertigo and his depth perception became seriously impaired. After gutting out the first part of the series and even winning the opening moto in the scorching heat of Lakewood, doctors found that he had a hole in his inner ear that would require surgery to repair. His season was done.
The 2008 supercross season would be a great place for Davi to come out swinging, after his lackluster year full of injuries and unscheduled time off. The series started a little slow for him, with another odd physical condition holding him back. The prognosis this time was that gas kept building up in his stomach while he was riding, causing him to experience some of the most painful gas cramps imaginable. Gas or no gas, though, he was able to pour it on midway through the season. With Stewart out, and Reed’s armor showing a few small chinks in it, the door was open for a whole group of riders to bring home a supercross win. When the gate dropped in Atlanta, Davi finally put everything together to put on a dominating performance and walk away with his first premier-class win in front of his hometown crowd. Again, after a great performance in Atlanta, Davi went on a streak that brought him another win in Detroit and multiple podiums and top-five finishes. He ended his first full 450 class supercross series an impressive fourth place behind his Honda teammate Andrew Short in third, Kevin Windham in second, and Reed in first.
The supercross season turned out far and above better than the previous, and it was time for Davi to head back to the outdoors, a place that he had already proved his mettle against the best in the world. Born and bred to win championships, Millsaps could be the fastest rider on the track on any given night. He’s on the search for consistency, and after five years on Hondas, has moved to Yamahas and Joe Gibbs Racing for a new lease on racing.
Davi’s rise to motocross super-stardom began when he was just three years old. He started racing in his birth-state of Florida before moving to Georgia with his mother, Colleen. Like many top pros and average Joes alike, he grew up racing the local amateur circuit for fun. It wasn’t long, though, until young Davi started to show an uncommon knack for racing and began to shine as an amateur stand-out. He raced most of the customary amateur nationals with his mother at his side, always pushing him to improve. He moved through the ranks, winning championship after championship aboard his Suzuki, eventually tallying nine amateur titles and the coveted AMA Horizon Award at the prestigious Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Championships. With his mother’s guidance playing a vital role in his success, Davi was set to make the transition from being a dominant amateur champion to a full-blown motocross celebrity.
Both at the track and away from it, Davi is quite the character. Always the fun loving kid from Georgia, you can strike up a conversation with him about anything: from his Hillary Duff music preference to using Gas X to resolve some ailing stomach problems or shaving his legs. If you happen to see him strolling through the pits with a fresh new set of “Daisy Dukes”, it’s not because the people over at No Fear dreamed them up for next season’s hottest fad. Davi likes to do a little betting with his team, often resulting in one or more people showcasing some rarely exposed skin in the aforementioned short shorts and generally creating a good laugh.
It’s sometimes hard to remind yourself that, although he may be one of the most elite motocross racers in the world and is currently engaged to former Miss Supercross Britney George, Davi is in fact only 20 years old. He’s come a long way from his beginnings in Florida, but hasn’t forgotten the happiness he’s always gotten from riding his dirt bike. Justin Fisk
Contributors: Alissa Gilligan , Bad Billy , Jared Bolton , Andrew Fredrickson