Supercross kicks off for 2017: Ryan Dungey vs. The World

On the eve of the 2017 AMA Monster Energy Supercross Season, Connor Ferguson takes a look at Ryan Dungey's prospects for the forthcoming season, and if anyone can challenge him for the championship.

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Ryan Dungey #1 competes in the second heat of the 450SX during the Monster Energy Supercross at MetLife Stadium on April 30, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

With the turn of the new year, it means it is time again for racing season. While the Monster Jam weekly action gets started and the Rolex 24 is right around the corner, Saturday nights will be owned by AMA Supercross.

Supercross kicks off for 2017: Ryan Dungey vs. The World

Over the past seven AMA Supercross seasons, only one active rider has been able to walk home with the title: Ryan Dungey.

The Red Bull KTM rider will be the overwhelming favorite to take home another championship this season, but there are a few riders that could make it tough.

His team features two former 250 SX Champions, and title contenders, in Trey Canard and Marvin Musquin. Canard will surely be a contender on his KTM, that is, if he can stay healthy all season. Since moving to full time in the 450’s, he has missed 45% of his scheduled races. As for the young gun, Musquin proved he could be a force last season, earning five podiums on his way to rookie of the year honors. Although Musquin’s wrist injury plagued him late in the season, and he failed to finish in the top five in each of the final six races.

Last year’s winner in Anaheim also has connections with the KTM riders. Jason Anderson spent the offseason by riding with Musquin and Dungey. Anderson could play spoiler as he did at A1 last year.

Perhaps the most interesting up-and-coming rider in the class, Cooper Webb will enter into his first 450SX season in 2017. During Webb’s two 250SX West championships, he would battle through adversity, and finish on the top step of the podium.

Chad Reed has been chasing his third AMA SX championship for eight seasons now. Although he has contemplated retirement, he will still line up with Yamaha this season.

And we can’t forget about Eli Tomac. He finished in fourth place in the standings last season, and conquered Daytona, showing he has the endurance to compete at the top level.

Next we turn to the most sought-after free agent in the camp for 2017 – Ken Roczen. In 2015, Roczen opened everyone’s eyes at A1. He lands at Honda, as he will try to resurrect Honda, He will get some help on the other end from teammate Cole Seely. Seely finished third in the points two seasons ago, but was held back last year by an injury. If both stay healthy in 2017, Team Honda will be a serious contender.

Now, the clear favorite

However, all of these talents look up to Ryan Dungey. The Belle Plaine, Minnesota native has earned 31 podiums in a row, and it doesn’t look like he is slowing down. In the 17 events last season, he won nine – it’s hard to earn more points than a rider who wins 50% of the time and who’s worst finish is third.

Dungey will go for three championships in a row, which would put him in a club with Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, and Ryan Villopotto. It all starts Saturday at Anaheim.

But someone is missing

The Stewart Brothers: James and Malcolm, are both without a ride for the 2017 season. Both are too talented for that.

James Stewart is a two-time 450SX champion while his brother Malcolm is coming off of a 250SX West Championship. But, as of right now, neither will be racing in Saturday’s 450SX events.

The Riders take Anaheim

The riders head into Anaheim for the first race of the season on Saturday, and there’s no telling what will happen. Jason Anderson took home the win in upset form last season while Ken Roczen did the year before.

The track map for Anaheim can be seen here.

The event will be televised by Fox Sports 1 and will go live at 10:00 p.m. ET.
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