The 2024 Supercross Series kicks off January 6, in Anaheim, California. One of the most prestigious trophies in all of 2-wheel racing is up for grabs, with plenty of people with their eyes on the prize. There are tons of story lines heading into the season, and we here at Cult Moto plan to dive into each and everyone! Let us take a look into each rider and team and break them down 1 by 1, so you can put your money down on who will take the crown from reigning champion, Chase Sexton.
Red Bull KTM
We will start with the strongest team, Red Bull KTM. Yes, I believe that the strongest team going into the year should always be the team with the reigning champion on it. The Red Bull KTM team has been one of the successful teams over the past decade. Not having won a championship for 2 years, the KTM team has once again proved they want to win by hiring the #1, Chase Sexton for the 2024 season and beyond. Along side Sexton, Aaron Plessinger is back and ready for action as well.
Chase Sexton – Coming into the 2024 season as the reigning champion, Sexton should feel like he has the target on his back. After an impressive run in 2023, Chase (now the #1 in SX and #4 in MX) decided to switch his entire program up and move from the HRC Honda over to Red Bull KTM. With KTM’s history since the 2013 season, will this be the right choice for Sexton? We know both the rider and the team want to win, badly, but how long will it take for them to gel with each other and find themselves on the top step of the podium?
Aaron Plessinger – Back for another year on the “pumpkin”, AP definitely expect himself to be winning races. After coming extremely close to getting his inaugural win last year, Plessinger has proven he has the speed and ability to win. The question is, will he win? Time will tell.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha has an absolutely STACKED lineup, on paper. After going out with an injury in the hunt for the 3rd AMA Supercross Championship, both, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb have their sites set to go after it, just this time as teammates. With a history of going down to the wire against each other, Tomac and Webb will see themselves as teammates and might be able to help each other out throughout the year. The big question is, will the competitiveness of these two come to blows throughout the year being under the same awning week in and week out? The 3rd 450 rider is rookie Justin Cooper, a champion in the 250 SX class. Cooper raced a few rounds in 2023 on the 450 and was quite impressive actually.
Eli Tomac – Tomac had himself a nice lead heading into the penultimate round in 2023, and looked to cruise it in. Then a strange over jump cause him to rupture his Achilles Tendon and ultimately knocked him out of getting his 3rd Monster Energy Supercross Championship. The rumor around the paddock was that Eli was going to retire. Then the news broke that he would come back and compete again in 2024. Tomac is no stranger to winning, as now he sits 2nd on the all time Supercross wins list. Could this injury be what takes that little bit of edge away from the #3 or will we see a resurgence and see him holding the #1 up in May?
Cooper Webb – Webb also knocked himself out of his title run in 2023 after, knocking himself out with a few races left. Then towards the end of the MX season, Webb announced his departure from his old team and came back to the team he grew up with. Coop seems to be in a much better mental state with his new/old team. A determined Cooper Webb is a scary Cooper Webb, for the competition. But, Webb is now teammates with an old rival, Eli Tomac. Could this rivalry be good or bad for either rider? We know we cannot wait to see this battle inside a battle. Can both riders raise each others level and be above the competition? Or will this cause them to take their eyes off the ball.
Justin Cooper – Justin Cooper comes in highly underrated, in my opinion. JCoop was sneakily good in his few races in 2023, and with a full focus on 450 AMA Supercross, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Cooper on the podium a couple times throughout the year.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Monster Energy Kawasaki welcomes back the same roster as seen the past two seasons. Jason Anderson and Adam Cianciarulo are familiar with the KX 450, but not necessarily with the all new 2024 model. Having lots of success with the former model, can this new bike be what brings the riders back to the top step of the podium? Or will there be a few hiccups this year that knock them out of a championship?
Jason Anderson – Former 450 SX Champion, Jason Anderson, won a bunch of races once moving over the the green machine in 2022. But, 2023 was a bit lackluster for El Hombre, not scoring a single win on the year. Let’s hope the 2024 Kawi 450 is the answer to seeing Anderson back on form and chasing the championship once again.
Adam Cianciarulo – AC put in a consistent year in 2023, after having dealt with some nerve issues in his hand. Adam is still searching for that first win of his 450 career, and if the old AC is back, there should be no doubt that he has the ability to final get the monkey of his back and see the top step.
HRC Honda brings up the Lawrence brothers for their rookie Supercross campaign. I am sure that people will be upset with me that I don’t put this team at the top of the list as the “strongest” team, but hear me out for a second. This is a team of 450 SX rookies and I will always find it hard to put two rookies as the favorites over the reigning SX champions. Now I am not saying at all that Jett, and even Hunter can’t be crowned as the seasons champion, but, I do like to give respect to the former champions, and this is my article!
Jett Lawrence – Jett Lawrence obviously has shown he has the ability to win in the premier class. Coming off an absolutely impressive 2023 year, Mr. Donut, hasn’t changed much heading into this Supercross season. The thing is, and this goes for Hunter as well, the 450 SX Championship is much harder than the 250 SX Championship. Week in and week out, history has shown that the grind can wear on the rookies. Very few have shown they can handle the pressure and win the title on the first try, but that is not to say that its impossible. And from what we have seen, is that if anyone can do it, Jett could be the next.
Hunter Lawrence – “Hunta” Lawrence comes in under the radar a bit and in the shadows of younger brother, Jett. But, after quite an impressive run in the 250’s and the one showing on a 450 (see Paris SX), Hunter could be sneakily good and would be another one that wouldn’t be a shock to see on the podium, on any step.
Red Bull Troy Lee Designs Gasgas
Justin Barcia got himself another run on the factory Red Bull Troy Lee Designs Gasgas. But, Barcia is not the only one on the 450, well at least not for the first few rounds. The Gasgas team will see the 2023 World Champion, Spaniard Jorge Prado alongside for the first 3 rounds. Besides adding Prado, the TLD team is one of the least changed teams in the paddock.
Justin Barcia – Bam Bam has seen himself on the top step of the podium since joining the TLD team, and with almost no change to him, or the bike, Barcia should feel ready to win right from the first gate drop. Justin seems to be happier than ever, and a happy Barcia can be fun to watch, although maybe not the most fun to race. No matter what, Bam Bam is usually good for at least one win on the year, so do not be surprised to see him holding the red plate after A1.
Jorge Prado – Although it’s just a short stint (unless maybe he is doing really well and is able to stay?) Jorge Prado is going to be on the gate. In my opinion, there should be zero expectations for him and we should all just be happy to see him on the gate for a bit. Jorge, just have some fun and learn what you can while you can. See ya next year!
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna brings the same team back for 2024. Malcolm Stewart and Christian Craig both went out early in 2023 and hope to turn 2024 around. The bike is staying relatively the same for this year, the riders on the same program, the only difference, its a new year.
Malcom Stewart– Malcolm Stewart didn’t race a whole lot in 2023, but man did he show some potential when he did. Mookie showed in Anaheim 1 that his goal was to win races. Unfortunately, he went out almost immediately after. Having a major knee injury, we haven’t seen Malcom on the track in almost a year. Showing he’s able to podium races, the big question is, how will the injury hold him back, or will it? Is 2024 the year we see Mookie get that first win?
Christian Craig – Christian Craig is back for round 2 on the Factory Husqvarna. Like his teammate, Craig departed the series prematurely in 2023. Can Craig get back up to speed in 2024?
HEP Suzuki, or Progressive Ecstar or Twisted Tea Suzuki, I don’t know what it actually is, but for now, I am just calling it HEP Suzuki and that’s all there is too it! Ken Roczen, Kyle Chisholm and Shane McElrath are all ready to kickstart your heart as a fan favorite team. The only real change is, Kenny starting with the same suspension he ended on.
Ken Roczen – Kickstart Kenny is on the same, proven race winning bike (yes, it is still hard to type that about a Suzuki). Last year we saw Ken show up to the first few rounds and did not look like the Kenny we are used to. Switching suspension companies multiple times in the first few races, I think everyone expected to see Ken “retire” from the series early, but then magic happened, and Kenny found something, someone, that he gelled with on the suspension side, and then the guy immediately won a heat race, and then eventually a main event. Roczen seems happier than ever, and we could see the old Kenny come back and be a title threat. Crazier things have happened, I think?
Kyle Chisholm – The Chiz is back and ready to Chiz! Fan favorite, Privateers worst nightmare, Fantasy Team Dream, Kyle Chisholm is back for his second year on his second stint on the HEP team and looks to just rack up more and more main events and points. At this point, I think Chiz will have raced everyone from Bob Hannah to Jett Lawrence now. Can he make another decade to race the kid that won the 85 class at Loretta Lynn’s? Only time will tell.
Shane McElrath – Shane McElrath is ready to put in a solid year on the Suzuki. Sorry Shane, not much to say here! But that’s also not a bad thing.
Phoenix Honda had a surprise signing in the offseason, Dylan Ferrandis. The Frenchman was left with out a seat during the round of musical chairs in the 2023 offseason. This is also Phoenix Honda’s first try at 450 Supercross. Lots of change for these guys, with some Honda support as well as seeing the return of Factory Connection to the paddock with a Honda team.
Dylan Ferrandis – Dylan Ferrandis was left with no factory ride at the end of the year. Usually that is not a good thing, but, in this instance, it might be a blessing in disguise. Dylan seemed very unhappy toward the end of his stay at Yamaha, and has openly said that he really wanted to be on a Honda. With the backing of Factory Connection, Phoenix Honda and what seems to be a bit of HRC Honda, Ferrandis seems happier than ever. No doubt, the Frenchman packs some speed and could be surprise at the end of the series.
One of the most fun stories of 2024 is the entry of the newly formed Factory Beta team. I personally don’t think that the team has set its sights on anything more than some top 5’s, but how can you not enjoy a brand new manufacture in the paddock? Colt Nichols and Benny Bloss are the lucky ones to bring this brand into its new home. Expectations shouldn’t be too high, but Bloss has shown speed before, and Nichols is a former 250 SX Champion, so there is some potential here.
Colt Nichols – Colt Nichols was on the rise and then a double arm injury cost him a full time 450 gig. Late in the 2023 preseason, Nichols found himself a spot on HRC Honda for a fill in for the Supercross season. With a few good results, and an injury, Nichols found himself yet again without a ride for 2024. But here comes Beta! A good pick up for both the team and Colt45. Nichols I think found himself a spot to finish off his career, and Beta found themselves a guy that has ridden a factory 450 and can help guide that program the way it needs to go.
Benny Bloss – Benny Bloss was an early signing by the Beta team. Bloss has shown he has speed behind him. Let’s see how these guys do this year!
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