Did you know that motocross is the most popular form of amateur motorcycle racing in the United States? With motocross riders ranging in age from four years old to over 50, this exciting sport one that’s fun for the whole family.
Whether you’re already an avid fan or you’re just starting to explore the sport, you’ll enjoy learning a bit more about the top motocross riders in history. Here are ten motocross legends who deserve some major recognition for their impressive accomplishments.
1. Ricky Carmichael
Since his induction into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Ricky Carmichael is considered by many to be the number one motocross racer of all time. In his 11 years of riding, he dominated the sport with an impressive 150 professional competition wins.
Not only was he the only motocross rider to have an undefeated season, but he did it three times – in 2002, 2004, and 2005. He was also named the AMA Pro Racing Athlete of the Year five times, receiving this recognition in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
After Carmichael retired from motocross racing, he moved on to stock car racing.
2. Jeremy McGrath
Inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2003, Jeremy McGrath was one of the most notable motocross racers of the 1990s. He’s also known as a pioneer of freestyle motocross, perfecting tricks like the Nac Nac and the high jump.
He was so popular among fans that he was featured in several commercials and was invited on several TV shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
3. Ryan Villopoto
With 10 championship titles and 4 consecutive supercross titles to his name, Ryan Villopoto is another extremely popular racer.
While motocross is held on an outdoor course, Supercross races are held in an indoor stadium. The tracks are tighter, making these races a bit more challenging, and, some say, more exciting. If you enjoy motocross and are looking for additional thrills, consider picking up some Supercross tickets for a whole new experience!
In 2015, Villopoto retired from his motocross career at age 26 following a spinal injury.
4. Bob Hannah
Bob “Hurricane” Hannah didn’t start his racing career until he was 18 years old. By 1999, he had been inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He’s earned his spot on this list thanks to his versatility.
Hannah is one of only two competitors to win championships across the board – receiving titles in motocross, 125cc, 250cc, and Supercross.
5. James Stewart, Jr.
Having the honor of being the youngest AMA motocross champion, James “Bubba” Stewart, Jr. has also been called the “Michael Jordon of Supercross.” He’s known to be incredibly talented and has racked up quite a reputation for himself since winning in the first championship in 2002 until he announced his retirement in May of 2019.
6. Roger DeCoster
Roger “The Man” DeCoster was the manager for the first United States motocross team to win “Motocross des Nations” back in 19891. He went on to be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
DeCoster was known for studying other riders and using their tricks and posture to create his own unique style on the track.
7. Ryan Dungey
The claim to fame for Ryan Dungey came in his very first racing season. In 2010, he claimed a double-victory when he won both the National Motocross and premier Supercross title. In 2012 he helped the KMA team win the ASM Motorcross for the first time and also succeeded in his own races despite the fact that he had broken his collarbone.
8. Ricky Johnson
Ricky Johnson was inducted into the hall of fame in 1999. He won plenty of championships on his own, but is perhaps more well-known for participating in four team wins at the U.S. Motocross de Nations.
In 1991, he also held the record for the most all-time AMA supercross wins. That record was later broken by Jeremy McGrath.
9. Chad Reed
Best known as “a champion of the people,” Chad Reed has accumulated a huge fan base that cheers loudly for him whether he places first or not. He’s a team racer who has consistently moved up in his career despite several setbacks.
An extremely durable racer, Reed announced in 2019 that he planned to return to the track after recovering from an accident that left him with eight broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a broken scapula. You can expect to see much more from this racer in the coming years.
10. Travis Pastrana
Famed racer Travis Pastrana started making a name for himself when he was just 14 years old by winning the 1988 World Freestyle Championship. Over the course of his career, he accumulated 11 gold medals in the X Games and 5 gold medals in the Gravity Games.
He was named Motocross Rider of the Year during the 2001 ESPN Action Sports & Music Awards and was the first person in the world to successfully perform a double backflip on a motorbike. This feat occurred during the 2006 X Games.
The Hottest Motocross Riders of All Time
There you have it, a round-up of the hottest motocross racers of all time! Next time you’re with your friends, you can impress them with your newfound knowledge about the exciting world of motocross!
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