Anyone making a living racing dirt bikes is living the dream. We know this. However some riders can consider themselves more fortune than others, because fame, results, and (most importantly) good rides can be fleeting. If, on this Thanksgiving morning, you’re looking for something to ponder beyond if you should have another dessert (of course!), consider this: which dirt bike racers should be extra happy with their lot in life right now?
We’ve arranged a few stories right here. If you’ve got others, let ‘em roll in the comments below. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Cooper Webb:Cooper Webb is the full-fledged, card-carrying, number-one plate holding champion of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship. That’s amazing compared to his situation a year ago. Yeah, he had his new Red Bull KTM deal in hand, but he’s told the story many times. When he first showed up at the Baker’s Factory he was off the pace and seriously worried he wasn’t going to be able to hang. It took some sit-downs between Webb and Aldon to make it all work, and even still, Cooper says it wasn’t until very late December that he finally felt the switch flip. Late December! Just in the nick of time, both for the 2019 season, and also for a career that had stalled after two so-so seasons in the 450 class. Incredibly, Cooper not only rejuvenated himself in general, but won the most prestigious championship in this business, in specific.
How can you not be thankful that it all worked out?
Justin Bogle: We’ve had Justin Bogle on this thankful List before, when he found a ride with JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing team after RCH Racing Suzuki folded. That was great, but what followed was some time in hell. Another rider swerved into him at Monster Energy Cup, resulting in a crash and concussion. He tried to come back too soon and rolled a triple at a race, then was landed on and broke his upper arm. He came back, early, again, and holeshot races but couldn’t finish motos. He was supposed to get a ride with the Phoenix Racing Honda team for 2019, but sponsorship deals there never came through, and Bogle was out of a ride.
Then his buddy Benny Bloss tore his ACL, and Forrest Butler picked Bogle up as a replacement with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS rider. Bogle came around and showed flashes of his old speed, although the dreaded EPV slowed him again outdoors. Plus, Bloss was back. Ultimately, Bogle got the slot again for 2020, and, if he can knock of the wooden dinner table today, will go through a healthy off-season for the first time in a while. If you have your health, you have everything. Bogle also has a factory-level bike. Big thanks.
Justin Hill: Even we at Racer X made big predictions about Hill’s rookie 450 supercross season, expecting him to at least show some incredible signs of brilliance on his JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450. Well, outside of a few random practice sessions here and there, it didn’t happen. The man who had spent his whole career saying “wait until I’m on a 450” then didn’t really do anything once he finally got on a 450.
Times are tight around the pro paddock and second chances aren’t so easy to come by. Hill has one now with SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda, a team which has shown the path to rejuvenation before (see: Malcolm Stewart and Justin Brayton). Hill gets a second chance that will likely be his last chance. Better than being out of the game already.
Justin Barcia: Why’s Barcia on here? Because his 2019 season didn’t go awesome. Well, he actually won the biggest race of the year, Anaheim 1, but because the rest of the races didn’t go well, that seems like a distant, distant memory. However, Barcia’s memory also includes stories of bad years leading to FOMOOAR (Fear Of Missing Out On A Ride). His Yamaha future wasn’t in jeopardy, he didn’t have to stress, and he has a chance to hit reset for 2020.
Justin Brayton: Dude is making good money to travel the world, with very little pressure, and now he gets a factory Honda deal? That’s living right!
Cameron Mcadoo: McAdoo rode the replacement rider train forever, including two stints in 2019 alone, in supercross with GEICO Honda and outdoors with Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM. Now he has a real full-time ride, with yet another team, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. It’s one thing when your deal is rock solid, another when it’s with a rock solid team.
Adam Cianciarulo: AC was certainly no overnight success as a pro—well, he was at first in supercross but then came years and years and years of struggles. Yet Kawasaki never wavered on him, and when he finally hit, they had a 450 deal waiting. It seemed like this day would always come, but, at times, it seemed like it would never come. It’s here, it’s real, and Adam can’t possibly not be thankful for it.
Main Image: Christophe Desmet