Since the 2020 (virtual) NFL draft kicked off on Thursday night, to massive ratings because the world is starved for sports, we here at Racer X thought it would be a fun exercise to put on our team manager hats and have a draft for the best possible team for success in the sport. The goal is to pick a team of riders that will find success over the next five years in both the 250 and 450 classes of supercross and motocross in the U.S. Those are the rules and every rider in the world is eligible. It’s that simple.
This task isn’t easy. You want to grab some riders that are young because you’re thinking five years out, but you also want guys that can win right now, and you want riders to have success in both classes.
I declared myself commissioner of the league and literally set draft order at random. We’re ready to go! We will run five rounds of this draft and we’ll post each one separately, and then of course wrap up the whole thing with the complete teams at the end. Let us know in the comments below who’s got the best team!
[P.S. THIS IS HYPOTHETICAL AND MEANT TO BE FUN. So just chill out everyone, okay?]
Steve Matthes: Well, yeah I’m going to win this thing. I have years of clean vision honed through the all-important eye test. I’m gonna get the perfect mix of young, old and FAST.
Jason Weigandt: Racer X Online editor—he’s sure to pick a quad guy or maybe a GNCC guy. And probably Brayton.
Jason Thomas: We told him that the riders he picks can’t be all Fly Racing guys.
Mitch Kendra: Full disclosure, I don’t know what he does at Racer X but he seems important. Seems like he posts most of the stuff on the site because I email a lot of things to him. He’s a kid, he’ll probably pick all amateurs.
Kellen Brauer: 100 percent that he picks Jeffrey Herlings and the guys that he plays video games with.
Chase Stallo: Longtime Racer X guy now a regular contributor. Would probably pick Marc Márquez or another Red Bull athlete on his team.
Draft order (Snake draft BTW) is
1st overall pick: Weege
Okay, here we go!
First pick: Jason Weigandt is on the clock
In a normal sports draft picking first is awesome, but the pressure here is immense. Not only do I have to choose between winning now and winning in five years, I also know whatever rider I don’t pick will immediately hate me and assume I also hate him. Hey, that’s how this industry works! But I’m on the clock. Here we go
With the first selection in the 2020 Racer X Draft, Jason Weigandt selects…Adam Cianciarulo!
Comment: AC is just getting started in the 450 class so I like his odds of still being there and running strong in five years. Today, Tomac and Roczen are better but I’m not sure they’re still racing in five years. This makes Cooper Webb the most tempting pick but he’s already won a lot, including that key 450SX title, so, again, does the fire still burn for him in five years, which would be six years after his first 450SX crown? Historically most riders aren’t rolling that strong for that long. I will take my chances with AC, who has already shown he can adapt to the 450, but likely has his best years still ahead of him. I’m buying low and waiting for the high of massive 450 wins!
Mitch is up next!
Second pick: Mitch Kendra
Being behind Weege with the second overall pick, I was 95 percent sure where he was going with his pick (I’ve heard a thing or two about him and his love for a guy named Smustin Smayton) so I knew I could pick anyone else. Weege was on the clock for well over 24 hours (and should be penalized, we’ll duke that out with commissioner Matthes later) but then he goes completely against what I thought he was going to do!
So after consulting with me, myself, and I, the pick is in. With the second overall pick in the 2020 Racer X Draft, Mitch Kendra selects….Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha, France!
Comment: Dylan’s got incredible raw speed and has shown that he can make his way to the front of the pack even with his less than ideal starts. Things really clicked for Ferrandis last year in supercross when he picked up his first main event win in Seattle. He was fast and we knew then there would be more wins to follow. Now in 2020, he’s even faster!
When supercross resumes, he could be a two-time 250SX West Region champion heading into the premier class looking to turn a lot of heads. Oh, and maybe you’ve noticed he’s fast and tough outdoors, too?
Dylan is slightly older than some of his competitors in the 250 class (he’ll turn 26 in May) but he gives me the best chance to win both now and in the near future. It might take a year to adjust to the big bike and brutal 17-round supercross schedule, but I’m confident Dylan will become a factor in the title hunt for both supercross and the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Some media members have him noted as currently the best 250 rider on the planet and he’s someone I would rather have on my team, rather than having to go against him.
Kellen Brauer is now on the clock…
Third pick: Kellen Brauer
Interestingly enough, I thought for sure my pick would have been off the board already as I was going to pick this man had I selected first. Though, I can't decide whether I'm more in shock that he's still available or that Weege didn't pick Justin Brayton first! Either way, I suppose I'll be the first person to select a rider who we know at least has a deal locked up moving forward.
With the third selection in the 2020 Racer X Draft, Kellen Brauer selects...Chase Sexton!
Comment: What more can you ask for? He already has a championship on his resume and looks astoundingly better in his title defense. For only 20-years-old, his maturity and race craft appear to be years beyond the normal trend for a rider at this stage of his career. Not only is he really, really fast, but he's smooth as butter as well. He's one of the few 250 class talents currently that doesn't look like he needs to ride the bike on the limit to go very fast. That type of demeanor can translate fabulously to a 450 where he will need to finesse the machine more to get the best result out of it. Oh yeah, and he's already signed, sealed, and delivered to ride for Factory Honda HRC when he moves up. And his training partners are Ken Roczen and Adam Cianciarulo. And he's only 20-years-old. Did I mention that already? Well yeah, he's ONLY 20! Team Kellen has the future on lock.
Jason Thomas is now on the clock...
Fourth pick: Jason Thomas
This is a tough spot but I am going with perhaps the most obvious choice: Cooper Webb. I believe the best pick on the board was AC9 but with Weege grabbing him first, I believe I have the second best overall pick. Both Sexton and Ferrandis look ready to take the next step but I am content with taking the defending supercross champion. Did I mention that he is also a Lucas Oil Pro Motocross champ?
Webb is a great rider. My biggest fear is that he won't make it five more years before retiring (he is 24 years old now). With Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey both retiring at 27, I am going to need to rack up wins and titles in the next few years. If Webb does stick around for a while, a la Reed, Brayton, Osborne, etc., my pick could age like a fine wine.
Steve Matthes is now on the clock... Actually, I will just pick Tim Ferry for him and we can move on.
Fifth Pick: Steve Matthes
Man, grabbing Tim Ferry would be awesome. I have a plan for the later rounds that might involve him BTW. You guys are all overthinking this, I’ll take Eli Tomac from the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Eli’s got time left on his contract right now and hasn’t made any noises about hanging it up after that. He’s 27, he’ll be winning this year and probably next year. Perhaps he will re-sign for another one or two years and I think he’ll still have wins in him then also. Especially outdoors where it does seem to come a bit easier for him. I’ll worry about the last two years of winning with some of my other picks but for right now, my guy will beat all your guys like a drum for a couple of years. So, yeah. Boom.
Chaser, you’re up!
Watch at the 21:50 mark below:
Sixth pick: Chase Stallo
With the sixth selection in the 2020 Racer X Draft, Chase Stallo selects...Ken Roczen!
Justification: Red Bull, bro. Plus, five years of a strong, healthy, Kenny and MY team will be racking up titles. This guy isn’t done, notice how his 2020 has already been better than 2018 and 2019. He’s getting his health under control, just in time for me to whip on the rest of you guys. You’re all so dumb for leaving Kenny hanging until the last pick of the first round!
Speaking of, with the snake draft, I get the first pick of round two. Time to sign more talent.
We’ll be back with round two soon!