By admin | January 3, 2013
By Richard Allen
Without question, the four biggest stars in Monster Energy AMA Supercross racing are Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart and Chad Reed. But in 2013, those four riders may have some company at the top of the leader board. Justin Barcia has moved up to the 450cc Supercross bikes after turning in a dominating performance in Supercross Lites Eastern RegionalÂ class last season.
In 2012, Barcia captured the Supercross Lites East division while winning six main events in that class along the way. During one stretch of the 2012 season, the Cairo, Georgia rider reeled off four consecutive wins.
But Barcia’s crowning achievement of last season came after he had moved up to the Supercross 450cc class. The 20-year-old showed right away that he would be a force to reckon with on the bigger, more powerful bikes when he captured the over victory in the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas in October. He scored one win and two 2nd place finishes in the three legs of the event.
Barcia collected a cool $100,000 for that victory.
This will be the young rider’s first go of it on a 450cc in the stadium based Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. The first race for the series will take place in Anaheim, California at Angel Stadium on January 5th. He’ll ride the Muscle Milk Honda effort in 2013.
Nicknamed “Bam Bam” for an aggressive riding style, Barcia has been known throughout his career for taking no prisoners on his way to the victory podium. On Thursday in a pre-season press conference he was asked about his hard charging techniques and how his fellow riders on the 450s would view his handlebar banging style. “I just want to go out there and have fun,” he explained. “Aggressive is one thing, dirty is another.”
It will be interesting to see how things play out when the gate drops in Anaheim. Barcia appears to have the talent to compete head-to-head with the top riders in the sport. But that said, the competition level will be greatly increased over the Lites class and even over the Monster Energy Cup, where a number of riders were out due to injury. And, the number of laps and events will increase for this rider in 2013 after riding on the Lites where races are shorter and the schedule is reduced. Can he handle the increased physical and mental demands? Further, if Barcia lives up to his “Bam Bam” nickname, will the other riders bang back?
Justin Barcia has experienced a great deal of success at still a relatively young age, even for this sport. He will almost certainly succeed in Supercross as well. It’s just a matter of how long and steep the learning curve will be.
Also check out “Ryan Dungey and KTM Look to Build on 2012 American Success“
Go to BleacherReport.com to read â€œNASCAR and Other Forms of Motorsports Could Learn From Supercrossâ€ & â€œSupercross: Ryan Villopoto Looks to Continue Dominance in 2013â€œ
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