Monster Energy Kawasaki, Red Bull KTM, TwoTwo Motorsports, Yoshimura Suzuki and JGR MX all have 2 things in common; riders who will contend for the Supercross Championship with bikes built by veteran mechanics. There’s no question these veteran SX/MX mechanics are the unsung heroes in racing, maintaining factory race machines and keeping them in sync with rider specifications.
Defending Supercross champion Ryan Villopoto will once again be a favorite for the title with veteran mechanic Mike Williamson in the pits. Villopoto returned to action at the Monster Energy Cup in November after knee surgery kept him on the sidelines during the 2012 Outdoor Nationals. Veteran Mike Williamson was named Motocross Action Magazine’s Mechanic of the Year in 2011 when he and Villopoto captured both Supercross and Outdoor National titles.
Red Bull KTM rider Ryan Dungey and his mechanic Carlos Rivera are determined to pick up where they left off at the end of 2012. Dungey captured the Lucas Oil AMA 450 Outdoor National Championship last summer and Carlos received Mechanic of the Year honors from Motocross Action Magazine. Carlos and KTM did an outstanding job last season, taking a brand new bike with little development and testing to a 2ndplace Supercross finish last year in Phoenix. Ryan and Carlos were in contention for the title until a broken collarbone caused Ryan to miss some races in the middle of the season. Being the second Supercross season for Ryan, Carlos and KTM should bode well for continued success in 2013.
Yoshimura Suzuki will roll into Anaheim with James Stewart aboard a factory Suzuki RMZ 450, prepared by veteran mechanic Lee McCollum. Stewart switched to the team for the Outdoor Nationals and promptly won the first two races before injuring himself in the third round. Considered to be one of the best teams in SX, Suzuki has a great chance at the title with a healthy James Stewart.
Another team sidelined with injury while in the title hunt last year is TwoTwo Motorsports led by rider and owner Chad Reed. Chad Reed was sidelined for months following his brutal crash in Dallas last season. Retirement talk has only motivated Reed as an owner/rider and expect nothing less from the #22 in 2013. Reed’s factory Honda will again be prepared by Lars Lindstrom and one of the most successful mechanics in SX history, Mike Gosselaar. And if you’re not familiar with Mike Gosselaar, just go ask the GOAT how Mike is with a wrench.
JGR MX is now the Yamaha Factory team for SX and MX with riders Justin Brayton and Josh Grant. Managed by veteran factory Kawasaki mechanic, Jeremy “J-Bone” Albrecht. Albrecht accompanied Emig to four titles and seven titles with James Stewart as a tuner. With eight AMA Mechanic of the Year awards, JGR MX has a renowned championship veteran in the pits.