2018 AMA Supercross Season Preview

Brent Jaswinski
by Brent Jaswinski
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The 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship is upon us. In two days, the gates will drop in Anaheim and racers aboard 250cc and 450cc bikes will compete bar-to-bar in an effort to edge each other out for a place on the top step of the podium. With no shortage of drama last year in both the Supercross and Outdoor National series, racing in 2018 should be as competitive as ever across both classes.

There have been a number of format changes made for this coming year that include a revised points system, the addition of three Triple Crown Monster Energy Cup-style events, two 250SX East/West Showdowns, four Supercross Amateur racing events and the elimination of semi races in qualifying for the Main Event. All these changes have the intended effect of making the racing that much more competitive while adding excitement to the fan experience. For a full explanation (with video) on all the differences we will see this year, check out the write-up just below. The following is a preview of what we can expect this year when the gate drops this Saturday, January 6th, at Anaheim 1.

2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Format Changes

450cc Team Rosters

HRC Honda

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo Scott Rousseau
Photo: Scott Rousseau

No.14 – Cole Seely

No.94 – Ken Roczen

Possibly the biggest story coming into the 2018 season is the return of Ken Roczen. Last year, Roczen crashed in the third round at Anaheim 2 and completely destroyed his arm after switching teams to HRC Honda and going 1-1 in the first two rounds. He dislocated his wrist and elbow, and compound fractured his radius, which have taken 11 surgeries to repair. Roczen has been somewhat quiet about his recovery and return to training, but reports show tremendous progress and impressive speed. We look forward to seeing him back on the gate.

Seely is a reliable racer and consistent top-6 finisher – he podiumed twice and finished no worse than sixth place in the first 11 rounds of the 2017 Supercross season. Cole finished the season in seventh overall in the point standings despite missing three races due to injury.

Red Bull KTM

2018 ama supercross season preview, Roger De Coster Marvin Musquin and Broc Tickle Photo KTM Simon Cudby
Roger De Coster, Marvin Musquin and Broc Tickle. Photo: KTM / Simon Cudby

No.20 – Broc Tickle

No.25 – Marvin Musquin

The #25 of Marvin Musquin will no doubt be one to watch out for this year. His technical riding style and consistent podium finishes landed him third overall in the 2017 Supercross season final standings even after sustaining mid-season injuries, then second overall in the Outdoor Nationals this summer, and he completely dominated in all the off-season races he’s entered. Marvin swept the Monster Energy Cup, taking home the million-dollar prize, and then also won Red Bull Straight Rhythm and Geneva SX. Without question, Musquin has stepped up to fill Ryan Dungey’s shoes, who retired after winning the 2017 Supercross Championship.

Filling the vacancy on the Red Bull KTM roster Dungey left, and fresh off his contract with RCH, which shut its doors at the end of last year’s Outdoor season, is former 250SX champion Broc Tickle. Tickle is new to the KTM 450 SX-F, but with such a proven machine and great team around him, he ought to be a solid top-10 contender this year.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo Husqvarna
Photo: Husqvarna

No.15 – Dean Wilson

No.21 – Jason Anderson

After contesting the first four rounds of the 2017 Supercross season as a privateer aboard a Yamaha YZ450F, Dean Wilson was signed by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna to join Anderson in piloting a Husky FC 450 backed with full factory support. Wilson finished the 2017 Supercross season in eighth overall, went on to finish an even more impressive fourth overall in the Outdoors, and has been showing signs of getting faster ever since. Outspoken and always a fan favorite, Dean should be a frequent top 5 and even podium contender this year.

Anderson has crazy fast speed and an unmistakable riding style, however, injuries and consistency issues have somewhat hindered his success. Anderson ended the 2017 Supercross season fourth overall, putting himself on the podium all four final rounds of the season and taking the win at the last race in Las Vegas. The Outdoor season started off well until an injury ended his run; he managed to finish in tenth overall. The off-season has been looking up though, with a pair of runner-up finishes behind Musquin at Monster Energy Cup and Geneva SX. The #21 rider should see plenty of podium finishes this year and be a top contender to take the whole thing.

Monster Energy Kawasaki

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo Feld Entertainment
Photo: Feld Entertainment

No.3 – Eli Tomac

No.33 – Josh Grant

Tomac won nine rounds and had three second-place finishes in the last 14 races of the 2017 Supercross season, only to fall five points shy to Dungey, who took the championship title. Eli was out for redemption in the Outdoor Nationals and won the 450cc National Championship Title, edging out Musquin and Baggett. Tomac will certainly be gunning for the Supercross title this year.

One of the older guys on the gate, Grant is a veteran of the sport, but he still has the speed to compete with all the younger guys.

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM

2018 ama supercross season preview, Team owner Forrest Butler Benny Bloss Blake Baggett Dakota Alix 250SX and Anthony Rodriguez 250SX Photo Rocky Mountain ATV MC KTM
Team owner Forrest Butler, Benny Bloss, Blake Baggett, Dakota Alix (250SX) and Anthony Rodriguez (250SX). Photo: Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM

No.4 – Blake Baggett

No.60 – Benny Bloss

Blake Baggett had a slow start to the 2017 Supercross season but had several top-5 finishes during the second half, ultimately finishing sixth in the overall standings. The Outdoors were a different story – Baggett was on fire and leading the championship points race until he injured his thumb at RedBud. He still managed to finish the season third overall. Blake will undoubtedly turn heads in 2018 and be a top podium contender in Supercross.

At 6-foot-5 and 190 lbs, Benny Bloss is just plain too big to race 250s, so for 2018 he’s moving up to the premier class. Bloss has often been a fill-in rider for teams in the past, but he’s talented nonetheless and should be exciting to watch him mix it up with the big dawgz in his rookie season.

AutoTrader / Yoshimura / Suzuki Factory Racing (JGRMX)

2018 ama supercross season preview, Weston Peick Photo JGRMX
Weston Peick. Photo: JGRMX

No.19 – Justin Bogle

No.34 – Weston Peick

Justin Bogle had an up and down season last year, or rather, down then up. The 2017 Supercross season didn’t go as planned due to injuries, and Bogle finished in 18th overall. Justin saw more success in the Outdoors winning a couple motos and finishing in a very respectful sixth place overall in the final point standings. Like Tickle, Bogle was on the RCH Suzuki team that closed its doors this August, but the transition to the new JGR Factory Suzuki team should be pretty seamless.

The Bulldog, Weston Peick, suffered a fate last year similar to Bogle’s. He only raced the first three rounds of the 2017 Supercross season, finishing 8-7-5 before a broken wrist sidelined him for the remainder of the rounds. The Outdoors were a different story for Weston, as he was able to slice and dice and forcefully move riders out of the way in textbook Peick fashion to finish inside the top 10 in eighth place overall. With plenty of experience aboard the RM-Z450, both Bogle and Peick should be consistent top-10 finishers this year.

Monster Energy / Knich / Factory Yamaha Racing

2018 ama supercross season preview, Cooper Webb Davi Millsaps and Justin Barcia Photo Yamaha
Cooper Webb, Davi Millsaps and Justin Barcia. Photo: Yamaha

No.2 – Cooper Webb

No.18 – Davi Millsaps

No.51 – Justin Barcia

Cooper Webb absolutely dominated the 250cc class in 2015 and 2016, winning the 250 East Supercross championships both years and the Outdoor title in 2016. Webb’s jump up to the premier class hasn’t been as spectacular, though. Now entering his sophomore year in the 450cc class, Cooper is healthy and showing speed. He’ll be a top-10 contender for sure, and possibly even a podium challenger as well.

Bam Bam’s 450 career has been less than stellar, as he’s been jumping from brand to brand and never really looking as comfortable as he did on a Honda. Barcia wasn’t re-signed by JGR for the 2018 season, so he put together a privateer off-season effort on a Honda CRF450R before Factory Yamaha picked him up to fill in the first six rounds for Millsaps, who’s recovering from a fractured elbow and severe concussion. Love him or hate him, we hope to see Barcia ride to the potential we know he has this year.

Smartop / MotoConcepts Honda

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo Feld Entertainment
Photo: Feld Entertainment

No.10 – Justin Brayton

No.12 – Jake Weimer

No.55 – Vince Friese

Justin Brayton is back for his second year with the team and is fresh off a second straight Australian Supercross title. He’s always been a solid rider who’s mostly managed to fly under the radar and stay out of the bullshit.

Jake Weimer spent most of 2017 as a fill-in rider for JGR and then suffered a practice crash in the off-season However, he’s healthy now and looking forward to riding a Honda.

One of the more controversial riders of the sport, Vince Friese, is back with the Smartop / MotoConcepts team for 2018. Friese is known for good starts and good ol’ fashioned bar-banging but often fades and loses positions as the race goes on.

Nut Up / LVN100 Suzuki

2018 ama supercross season preview, Matt Bisceglia and Josh Hansen Photo Nut Up Industries
Matt Bisceglia and Josh Hansen. Photo: Nut Up Industries

No.58 – Matt Bisceglia

No.72 – Josh Hansen

Another new team for 2018, Bisceglia and Hansen will jump up to the premier 450cc class for the 2018 Supercross season.

CycleTrader / Rock River Yamaha

2018 ama supercross season preview, Teammates Bradley Taft 250SX Alex Ray and Brandon Hartranft 250SX Photo CycleTrader Rock River Yamaha
Teammates Bradley Taft (250SX), Alex Ray and Brandon Hartranft (250SX). Photo: CycleTrader / Rock River Yamaha

No.91 – Alex Ray

Team Tedder / Monster Energy / Lucas Oil KTM

No.90 – Dakota Tedder

H.E.P Motorsports Suzuki

No.39 – Kyle Cunningham

No.48 – Henry Miller

No.181 – Dustin Pipes

H.E.P is a new team for 2018 with support from Suzuki.


2018 ama supercross season preview

No.22 – Chad Reed

No.7 – James Stewart

No.27 – Malcolm Stewart

Chad Reed will be putting together his own race effort this year with help from Husqvarna. If he can stay healthy, Reed can surpass Mike LaRocco’s record for most main events in the 450cc class, and should he win a round, Chad would become the oldest racer ever to win a Supercross race. Additionally, a win aboard his new Husky would make him the only racer to ever win a Supercross main event on all the Big Four Japanese brands as well as a European. Let’s go, Chad!

Mookie doesn’t have a deal for 2018 but is putting together a privateer effort racing a Kawasaki KX450F. And James? No official word yet, but it would be cool to see him out there again for old-time’s sake.

250cc Team Rosters


2018 ama supercross season preview, The 2018 GEICO Honda team includes Jeremy Martin Cameron McAdoo RJ Hampshire Chase Sexton and Christian Craig Photo Scott Rousseau
The 2018 GEICO Honda team includes Jeremy Martin, Cameron McAdoo, RJ Hampshire, Chase Sexton and Christian Craig. Photo: Scott Rousseau

No.6 – Jeremy Martin

No.32 – Christian Craig

No.36 – RJ Hampshire

No.40 – Chase Sexton

No.66 – Cameron McAdoo

Coming off a successful second-place overall finish in last summer’s 250cc Outdoor series, Jeremy Martin will actually race the first three rounds aboard a CRF450R for HRC Honda before returning to race 250s for GEICO in the East Region. Martin will be joined by RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo in the East, while Christian Craig and Chase Sexton will compete on CRF250Rs in the West.

Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki

2018 ama supercross season preview, Adam Cianciarulo Photo Feld Entertainment
Adam Cianciarulo. Photo: Feld Entertainment

No.17 – Joey Savatgy

No.29 – Martin Davalos

No.35 – Austin Forkner

No.92 – Adam Cianciarulo

Always a top 250cc team, Pro Circuit is back with familiar faces. Savatgy lost out on the 250SX East title in dramatic fashion last year to Zach Osborne, so he will undoubtedly be back for redemption. AC92, The Wonderboy, is healthy and fresh off a second- and third-place finish in last year’s 2017 Supercross 250SX East and 250 Outdoor series, respectively. Plagued with injuries over the last couple years, Adam Cianciarulo will be one to watch this season and a major title contender for sure.

Forkner is recovering from an off-season wrist injury and will start his sophomore Supercross season in the East, while veteran Davalos is back on Team Green to compete in the West.

Monster Energy / Yamalube / Star Racing Yamaha

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo RAS Photo
Photo: RAS Photo

No.23 – Aaron Plessinger

No.24 – Dylan Ferrandis

No.31 – Colt Nichols

No.52 – Mitchell Oldenburg

No.62 – Justin Cooper

Yamaha’s 250cc factory-support team was at the top of the field this summer with the three returning riders, Plessinger, Ferrandis and Nichols, finishing fourth, sixth and seventh overall outdoors, respectively. The team hopes to carry that momentum to the 2018 Supercross season. Mitchell Oldenburg makes the jump from the Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull KTM team, and 2018 will be Justin Cooper’s rookie season. We should expect a lot of blue bikes at the front of the pack this year.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo Scott Rousseau
Photo: Scott Rousseau

No.1E – Zach Osborne

No.30 – Mitchell Harrison

No.64 – Michael Mosiman

The defending 250SX East and 250 Outdoor champion, Zach Osborne, looks to carry his momentum into 2018 before graduating to the premier class this summer. Osborne will be joined by a now healthy Mosiman in the East, while former Star Racing Yamaha rider, Harrison, will do battle in the West.

Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull KTM

2018 ama supercross season preview, Team Manager Tyler Keefe Jordon Smith Shane McElrath Alex Martin and Sean Cantrell Photo KTM Simon Cudby
Team Manager Tyler Keefe, Jordon Smith, Shane McElrath, Alex Martin and Sean Cantrell. Photo: KTM / Simon Cudby

No.26 – Alex Martin

No.28 – Shane McElrath

No.43 – Sean Cantrell

No.45 – Jordon Smith

Every single rider on the Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull KTM team is a major threat and contender for race wins, if not a Supercross championship this year. Smith was laps away from winning the East last year before crashing at the final race in Las Vegas, and McElrath gave Justin Hill a serious run for his money in the West before ultimately finishing on the second step. Just like his brother Jeremy, Alex Martin has always been fast and a proven race winner, indoors and out. Cantrell will make his Supercross rookie debut in Arlington, TX, in the East Region.

AutoTrader / Yoshimura / Suzuki Factory Racing (JGRMX)

2018 ama supercross season preview, Justin Hill s new Autotrader Yoshimura Suzuki RM Z250 Photo JGRMX
Justin Hill’s new Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki RM-Z250. Photo: JGRMX

No.1W – Justin Hill

No.47 – Jimmy Decotis

No.54 – Phil Nicoletti

No.76 – Kyle Peters

Defending 250SX West champion, Justin Hill, will defend his title with a new bike and team for 2018. Hill moves to JGR from Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawi after signing a two-year deal with the new Suzuki Factory team, which will see him graduating to 450s this time next year. Decotis and Peters are also new to the team after leaving GEICO Honda and Star Racing Yamaha and will race in the East. They’re both strong top-5 riders if they can stay healthy and off the ground. A now healthy Filthy Phil will join Hill in the West.

51Fifty Energy / Yamaha

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo 51FIFTY Energy Drink Yamaha
Photo: 51FIFTY Energy Drink Yamaha

No.11 – Kyle Chisholm

No.63 – Hayden Mellross

Chisholm is moving back down to the 250 class after racing for Smartop / MotoConcepts Honda last year. Unfortunately, he’s sustained multiple injuries aboard a 450, however the veteran should be capable of producing top-10 finishes this year on his YZ250F

CycleTrader / Rock River Yamaha

2018 ama supercross season preview, Photo CycleTrader Rock River Yamaha
Photo: CycleTrader / Rock River Yamaha

No.53 – Bradley Taft

No.114 – Brandon Hartranft

Taft is racing again after suffering a serious head injury during his rookie season last year but is now healthy and showing good speed.

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM

2018 ama supercross season preview, Dakota Alix and Anthony Rodriguez Photo Rocky Mountain ATV MC KTM
Dakota Alix and Anthony Rodriguez. Photo: Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM

No.42 – Dakota Alix

No.56 – Anthony Rodriguez

Traders Racing

No.38 – Luke Renzland

No.131 – Jayce Pennington

IB Corp Racing

No.67 – Justin Hoeft

No.137 – Martin Castelo

No.170 – Michael Leib

Rockwell Racing

No.80 – AJ Catanzaro

No.217 – Ryan Breece

No.321 – Bradley Lionnet

JMC Motorsports

No.74 – Jon Ames

No.81 – Chase Marquier

No.122 – Chris Howell

No.130 – Austin Root

AJE Motorsports

No.59 – Cole Martinez

No.68 – Justin Starling

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