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motocrossactionmag.com

TEN THINGS ABOUT THE CLOSEST SUPERCROSS SEASONS

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_4136356Ken Roczen (94) won the 2013 AMA 250 West title by 2 points over 2012 250 West Champion Eli Tomac (1).

(1) 1985. Mike Healy was the wild card in the 1985 AMA 125 West series. Mike missed the first race in San Diego, won by Todd Campbell, then got two wins in a row. He probably would have won the series, but he missed several races later in the series. The title chase came down to Todd Campbell versus Bobby Moore, as they tied in points. Campbell took the crown based on having won the first-ever 125 Supercross race in San Diego. Todd Campbell only raced two other 125 Supercross races in his short AMA Pro career.

(2) 1987. Keith Turpin was the 1986 125 East Coast Champion ahead of Ron Tichenor. Turpin won four events in ’86. But, in 1987, Turpin and Tichenor traded wins and podiums. Keith and Ron both won three races apiece, and Turpin had seven podiums to Tichneor’s five. But, Turpin didn’t score points in Dallas and lost the title to Ron Tichenor by one point.

(3) 1989. This year was bittersweet for the 125 East Coast series. It was sweet for Damon Bradshaw, as it was his first and only Supercross title, and bitter for Mike Kiedrowski, as it was the closest he’d ever come to winning a Supercross title. Mike was short just 1 point but needed two total points more to beat out Damon, as Bradshaw had six wins to Mike’s two. Mike podiumed nine out of the 10 races, with his worst finish being a fifth. Damon controlled the series with his wins, but a 14th in Irving almost cost him the series.

(4) 1992. Damon Bradshaw was the fastest man on the track in the Premier class in 1992. He had a five-race win streak at the beginning of the series and would go on to win nine of 16 races that series. So, how did he end up losing the 1992 Supercross crown to Team Honda’s Jeff Stanton? First, he crashed in Indy and finished 19th. Then, at the final race in the L.A. Coliseum, where he only had to finish in the top three to take the title, he choked. In the end, Stanton won the final race and the title by three points over a frustrated Bradshaw.

(5) 2000. Shae Bentley started out the 2000 AMA 125 West series with a fifth and a 22nd-place finish and fell way behind early point-leader David Pingree; however, Bentley then reeled off four straight podium finishes (including two wins), while Pingree’s 15th at the penultimate round in Minneapolis ended up costing him the title by two points. It was Bentley’s first and only highlight year.

(6) 2005. In 2005, Josh Hanson switched brands and coasts. He went from Yamaha to KTM and moved from the 125 West to the 125 East. In a surprise move, KTM teammate Grant Langston returned to the 125 class after a rough first year in the premier Supercross class in 2004. Grant would win three races to Hanson’s two. Both riders only finished off the podium twice, but at series end they were deadlocked at 143 points apiece. It came down to who won the most races—and Langston took the title.

(7) 2006. The 2006 season was a battle between James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael. Stewart had eight wins and Carmichael had six wins, but Ricky was more consistent. Unfortunately, they both threw their races away in St. Louis that year, as Ricky placed 20th and James placed 17th. If James would have passed two more riders that race, finishing 15th, he would have tied Ricky with points and won the championship. Instead, Ricky won by a mere two points.

(8) 2008. Remember Jason Lawrence? In the 2008 250 West Championship, Lawrence played mind games with Ryan Dungey. Ryan came out swinging with 1-2-1 finishes in the first three rounds, but Lawrence won three races in a row and finished off the season with two second-place finishes to beat out Dungey by three points. Then, Lawrence self-imploded into obscurity.

(9) 2013. In 2013, Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac battled for the 250 West crown. The pressure got to both of them during the series. Kenny failed to make the main event in Salt Lake City, and Tomac didn’t finish the race in Oakland. Ken won the title by two points over Tomac.

(10) 2016. Cooper Webb was defending his 250 West title in 2016. He won the first three races, but at round four in Oakland, Webb finished 21st, while rival Joey Savatgy won the race and took over the points lead. Webb rebounded with two seconds, two wins and a mediocre 11th at the final round; it was just enough to beat Savatgy by one point.

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