Traditionally, the AMA Supercross Lites class of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, is a stage for the young stars of the sport to showcase their talent in hopes of ultimately receiving a factory ride in the AMA Supercross class.
Many former champions of this division like Ryan Dungey, James Stewart, Chad Reed, Ricky Carmichael, and Jeremy McGrath have all gone on to capture coveted AMA Supercross class titles and for 2011, the AMA Supercross Lites lineup is more talented than ever.
Despite the graduation of AMA Supercross Lites class champions from the last three years – Christophe Pourcel, Jake Weimer, and Trey Canard – Monster Energy Supercross will welcome the return of several highly-talented competitors in addition to introducing a potent lineup of newcomers, four of which boasting impressive international credentials.
In fact, a pair of new names will go into the history books as Western and Eastern Regional title holders once the season comes to an end on 7 May in Las Vegas.
Leading the way as title favorites for the upcoming season are Lites class veterans Broc Tickle and Wil Hahn.
Each rider is making the move to one of the powerhouse programs in the division with Tickle joining the legendary Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team and Hahn becoming the newest member of GEICO Honda.
Additionally, fellow front-runners and former race winners Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia, Josh Hansen and Blake Wharton along with sophomore sensation Dean Wilson will be sure to throw their names in the mix.
Adding to the incredible depth of the Lites class is the debut of four international stars. While South African Tyla Rattray has competed stateside since the 2009 season, the former world champion will race in Monster Energy Supercross for the first time in 2011 for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.
Joining him is fellow South African Gareth Swanepoel, who becomes a full-time member of the DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha team, as well as a pair of highly-touted up and comers racing out of the new Red Bull KTM stable in reigning two-time world champion Marvin Musquin, of France, and 16-year-old phenom Ken Roczen, of Germany.
With the implementation of an all-out AMA Supercross Lites class shootout at the season finale in Las Vegas, both the Western and Eastern Regional Championships will come down to the wire on the final night of competition with nine races apiece throughout the winter and spring.
Moreover, the world’s best AMA Supercross Lites rider will be determined in a head-to-head showdown between the top riders from each class to close out the evening.
The 2011 AMA Supercross Lites class will be unlike ever before, kicking off on 8 January at Anaheim Angels Stadium in California.