Vital MX Awards: The Best of '17 5

Let's take a look back on notable items from the last year, and peek a little ahead, too...

Vital MX Awards: The Best of '17

Okay, so there aren't really any awards here, but we do have some ideas of what we'd hand out if we did have them. Ready to play along?

Ken Roczen was on fire at the start of '17. You can only wonder what kind of season he'd have had without the devastating crash at A2. Among his awards? Best Dressed (yeah, that suit at A1). Also, Biggest Crash...and he definitely scored the award for Oversharing on Social Media. If you saw any of the post-injury horror show photos of his arm, you know what we mean.

Unfortunately, he also scores the award for the Unintentionally Ironic Butt Patch.

Just by making it back to A1, he'll already take home the Comeback of the Year trophy.

How about some random number one bikes? These either never hit the track at all (like Kenny's outdoor bike that was on display at Hangtown), were on the track for a press day session (Zach Osborne at Ironman, and Justin Hill at Las Vegas), or were on the bike for a single race (Eli Tomac at the Monster Energy Cup).




Alpinestars at minimum deserves a Hearty Handshake and a Pat On The Back award for stepping up to sponsor the Mobile Medical rig.

Best Story award? That'd likely go to Dean Wilson after he made the most of a bad situation, and privateered his way to a factory Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna deal. Way to take charge of your career, Deano.


The start by Ryan Dungey at San Diego might be the Holeshot of the Year, though Marvin Musquin's third main event start at the Monster Energy Cup surely deserves and honorable mention.

Weird Start of the Year? That might go to Blake Baggett (also in San Diego).

We just dropped this one of Jimmy DeCotis grabbing a holeshot in here because we dig it.

Coolest Moments of the Year? That might go to the opening ceremonies at the San Diego round, when it's Military Appreciation night. Besides Cole Seely, several other riders had gifts service members.

The award for Scenes We Never Thought We'd See? That would be when MX Sports (Carrie Jo Coombs and Davey Coombs) and Youthstream (David Luongo) announced at Daytona that they'd be collaborating on some events here in the U.S.

Best Ride By A Foreign Visitor? That one definitely went to Jeffrey Herlings (above), who stomped the competition at the final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series. An honorable mention would go to Dean Ferris (below), who led a big part of moto one at the High Point


Another honorable mention goes to Tim Gajser, who looked fast at the Monster Energy Cup...before crashing out.

Our Favorite Custom Helmet Paint from '17? Eli Tomac had a couple of them. This eagle was was the one sporting the huge transport plane that his brother flies in the Air Force.

Justin Bogle's Beam Designs Vegas-inspired lid definitely gets an honorable mention.

But this French-themed helmet that Marvin Musquin wore at the Paris Supercross was our favorite.

We see some kick-ass bikes throughout the year, but Levi Sherwood's freestyle bike is only restrained by his creativity (which is substantial). He doesn't have the rules to deal with that the racers are saddled with, and if you start looking around, you'll find some very trick stuff on there to lighten his bike...including a whole lot of carbon fiber.

The Eye (and Ear) Candy Award goes to Malcolm Stewart's two-stroke. We're just sad to say that we never got to see him ride it.

Breakthrough 250 Rider this year? We'd give that to Jordon Smith.

Ryan Dungey scored a very big retirement gift with another Monster Energy Supercross 450 title. We probably should have seen the retirement coming after he missed most of the '16 outdoor season due to a broken neck. We now know that it took some coaxing to bring him back for one more season of SX, but we'll give him the Big Surprise and Glad You Made It Out Okay awards.

Some fans seemed to not dig the Vikings-inspired Fox gear that they did for the Minneapolis round, but we know the Minnesota fans dug it.

We've always thought that Ryan was a bit like an artist or musician who's appreciated more after he's gone. It'll be strange to go to A1 this year and not have him line up, but we sure enjoyed watching him do his thing for many years.


Mike Alessi is another rider who will be MIA come Anaheim. We recently saw that he and his wife are expecting a baby girl. Congrats, gang.

Trey Canard is another rider who announced his retirement. Best wishes on the next chapter, Trey.

We'll also miss the always smooth Christophe Pourcel, who also announced his retirement.

Henry Miller takes the High/Low In The Shortest Time award, after he holeshot the second 450 moto at Millville (above), and just as quickly tossed it away. It was a heartbreaker for the hometown hero.


Other big get-offs that we captured this year? Aaron Plessinger had a big one in Salt Lake City (while leading).

There was a lot going on in this one, with Dylan Ferrandis and Joey Savatgy,

Shane McElrath and Jimmy DeCotis had better days than during their heat race in Oakland.

Christian Craig (above and below) had a big crash in practice at Millville.


Max Markolf had a biggie at the Atlanta AX round.

If we were handing out a Tough 450 Rookie Season award, it'd definitely go to Cooper Webb. He looked fairly beat down by the end of the outdoor season. Here's hoping he has a better '18 on the new generation of the YZ.

The That's Just Plain Funny Award goes to Mitch Payton and one of his sons.

Winner of the Completely Odd award goes to Tony Archer, who managed to grab up all this extension cord when he went off the track in Indy.

Best Use of Velcro? That went to Blake Baggett and Nate Alexander, who put this grip/glove interface together after Blake Baggett tore a ligament in his thumb during the outdoor season.

Most Improved 450? We'd opt for Blake Baggett, who showed seriously improved Supercross skills in '17, but he also went on a tear in the least before he got injured at RedBud.

The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS team was hitting high water marks throughout '17, which meant Forrest Butler was getting his share of champagne showers. We'll guess he didn't mind.

The Persistence Award goes to Eli Tomac, who overcame a bad start to his Supercross season, and clawed his way back into contention, occasionally with spectacular rides. He was on fire for a substantial part of the season; but a brake problem at Dallas, and an ill-timed crash in Met Life Stadium were a couple of the things between him from the title.

The pits were not great, but the visit to the amazing new stadium in Minneapolis was pretty cool. We'll have some new venues in '18 as well, with the new Atlanta Stadium, and a return to Tampa.

The MX National track roster remains the same for '18, with just minor differences in the schedule. Here's an overhead peek at Thunder Valley.

We dig seeing Chad Reed make nac-nacs still look fresh. Seeing him on a Husky this year? That'll be...different.

Our Most Improved 250 Rider would have to be Mitchell Harrison (above), though if he'd stayed healthy, it might have been Mitchell Oldenburg (below).


Best/Worst Idea award? That'd have to be sand pits following a wall jump. Great for fans and photographers. Not so great for riders who had to dodge big blasts of sand coming back at them.

Shane McElrath learned a ton last season about running up front and winning races. We'll bet if he has the opportunity, he'll show that he's better prepared to handle the stress of leading a 250 SX series.

Biggest Surpise? Justin Cooper scoring a podium in his first 250 National at Unadilla. Yeah, the mud was a bit of an equalizer, but he was also on fire that day.

Justin Bogle turned things around in a big way in '17, winning a moto at Thunder Valley, and the overall at Budds Creek. He'll still be Suzuki-mounted in '18, but on Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing, after RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing closed up shop.

Best One-Off Race Result goes to Jeremy Martin's podium result at the Daytona Supercross. It'll be interesting to see how he does in the first three rounds of the '18 SX season on the big bike.

Best New Rivalry? We'd ask for the envelope, please, but you've already seen the photo. Zach Osborne took advantage of Joey Savatgy here in Indy, and again at the final round of the SX season in Las Vegas. The latter one happened on the last lap, and snatched a championship away. It'll be interesting to watch and see if these two are on the same coast in '18.

Best Trophies? The viking helmets at Millville were pretty sweet...

Christian Craig had starts down pat on the 450 Honda last summer, and scored more than a few holeshots.

Most Unusual Photo Angle has to go to the St. Louis SX. Shooting from the rafters is interesting, but not for the faint of heart.

Most Improved Pit Setup? That easily went to Seattle, which was indoors, rather than previous years when it was outdoors.

There were lots of first-time champs in '17, starting with Justin Hill in 250 West...

Zach Osborne in 250 East.

Zach Osborne in 250 Outdoors...

Eli Tomac in 450 Outdoors...

And finally, Marvin Musquin, scoring the Monster Million at the Monster Energy Cup. He was the first rider to grab it since Ryan Villopoto, at the inaugural event.

Best Night of Supercross was easily Las Vegas. Lots of drama, lead changes on the final lap of both mains, and big surprises made it quite the night.

Martin Davalos showed that he's not just a 250 specialist, as he got a last-minute move to the 450 class for the summer, and put together some really solid rides. This start at Thunder Valley (above) was a highlight. The season-ending crash at Budds Creek (below) wasn't.


The Keeping The Two-Stroke Hopes Alive award goes to Gared Steinke.

The No More Coffee For You award belongs to Chase Sexton for this overenthusiastic run at the gate at Budds Creek.

What are we looking forward to more of in '18? Scrubs for sure.

Whips? We love 'em.

All-around good style? Always.

Commitment? Charging full speed ahead? Oh yeah.

More scrubs (like Barcia above), and style like Austin Forkner (below)? Oh yeah.


We're also interested to see what happens with the progression of electric bikes.

What were your highlights in '17, and what you looking forward to in '18? Let us know in the comments below.

Photos: GuyB

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