While there was no Monster Energy Cup for the second year in a row, one of Supercross’ top offseason events is back, Paris Supercross. The longstanding event, dating back to 1984 is one of the top events in the sport. Providing the rare chance to see U.S riders run Supercross outside of North America. This year may be one of the most interesting fields to date. You have a slew of legends making one-off appearances, MXGP stars, and Monster Energy Supercross riders in what is in a sense an early dress rehearsal for Anaheim 1.
Winning this offseason affair is also a nice one to have strapped to your resume, as a number of all-time greats have done so. Names like James Stewart, Jeremy McGrath, Jean-Michel Bayle, Jeff Ward, and Johnny O’Mara. Not to mention a number of current riders like Eli Tomac, Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, Justin Barcia, and Justin Brayton. Although usually a two-night affair, Paris Supercross will be a one-night show this year. Who will take home this year’s King of Paris crown?
Right out of the gate, the name that stands out immediately is reigning MX2 World Champion Maxime Renaux. If you kept up with MXGP, you know that he is a great outdoors, but this appears to be his Supercross debut. Concern should be minimal at best as if there is one European country that has Supercross figured out, it’s France. Renaux may outright be the most interesting rider to watch in the entire event. Additionally, some congratulations are in order for the Frenchman. On Wednesday, it was announced Renaux will be moving up to the MXGP class in 2022 with Monster Energy Yamaha.
Next up on the 250 side of things is Kyle Peters. He performed well in 250 West Supercross earlier this year, but he went undefeated in Kicker Arenacross en route to a title beforehand. A drop down in competition for sure, but a massively impressive feat for the Phoenix Honda rider. Look for Peters to be the favorite here. Vince Friese is another top name to watch for here. Although a 450 rider for nearly a decade, his 2021 plans are why he is on a 250. He is going to be running one of the 250 Championships in 2022, then run a 450 on the opposite coast. Paris Supercross should be a good test for the veteran.
No. 222 Antonio Cairoli– Red Bull KTM MXGP
Don’t do a double-take, this is actually happening. Cairoli has a real claim to being the greatest European Motocross rider to ever live. Nine total World Titles, an all-time record 70 premier class Grand Prix wins, and at long last a Motocross Des Nations win in his final attempt. Cairoli has done some Supercross in the past, but nothing like this. Even at 36 years old, he was highly competitive in the GPs before an injury sidelined him for a few rounds. The 222 lining up against a number of Supercross title contenders should be an absolute delight. However, he is not the only MXGP star lining up on a 450.
No. 3 Romain Febvre– Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP
Febvre rolling up to Paris Supercross as MXGP World Champion would have been a sight to behold. Alas, he lost a winner take all finale in Italy a few weeks ago to Jeffery Herlings. Febvre however will undoubtedly be a crowd favorite here alongside Musquin. Although he is a true Supercross newcomer, Febvre should mostly be fine. There is video of him running an SX track in France and seemed to be doing ok. Bringing up how Febvre runs in the whoops would have been worth mentioning, however, there is not slated to be any in the latest floor plan. Also, take a drink every time you ask yourself if Febvre is Tomac.
No. 22 Chad Reed– Mountain Motorsports KTM
Always nice to see Reedy, as this will be his first official race since the final Salt Lake City Supercross round in 2020. Since retiring from full-time racing, Reed has since become a co-owner of a track in North Carolina, Moto40 MX Park. Safe to say the 2007 Paris Supercross winner hasn’t had to look hard to find a place to practice. Hard to gauge how the former two-time Supercross Champion will fare on Saturday, having not raced professionally in over a year and a half. With that in mind, hopefully, he can do good enough to maybe consider an Anaheim 1 appearance. He never got to say goodbye with the last seven rounds of Supercross in 2020 having no fans in attendance.
No. 25 Marvin Musquin- Red Bull KTM AMA
Legend says the buildup for Supercross does not truly begin until reports of riders “flying at the test track” come out of the woodwork. If Jason Weigandt’s sources are to be believed, Musquin is the first rider said to be “flying at the test track” (Spoiler: Everyone, is flying at the test track). The big change for Musquin however, is that he is now training under the tutelage of David Vuillemin. Musquin is one of many riders apart of the mass exodus from the Baker Factory, including Zach Osborne before he officially retired on Tuesday. Now with Vuillemin as his man, Musquin looks to win his third Paris Supercross. Which would put him one back of his new trainer for the all-time lead.
No. 10 Justin Brayton- MotoConcepts Honda
Supercross away from North America has been tremendous to Brayton over the years. He won Paris Supercross back in 2009, but most of his damage has been done down under. Brayton won four consecutive Australian Supercross Championships from 2016 to 2019. Elsewhere, he has won Geneva Supercross in Switzerland a whopping six times. Entering his second stint with Mike Genova’s Honda squad, Brayton will certainly be a name to watch.
No. 264 Ryan Sipes– Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing
The General, Captain America, the fighting pride of Flaherty, Kentucky. All can be used to describe Sipes, a rider who is above average in just about every discipline of Motocross imaginable. Now Sipes will be taking his first crack at Paris Supercross. Worth noting that this will be his first start on a 450 since 2020 Daytona Supercross. Sipes has almost exclusively run 250s in his Supercross career, which dates back to 2005.
No. 14 Cole Seely– GasGas
Seely is another rider coming out of retirement for this event. The former Honda HRC mainstay since retiring back in 2019, has since bounced around riding other bikes in his free time. Now a GasGas MC 450F is his weapon of choice. Seely only ever won one Supercross Main Event in his career, Houston 2015, but was an excellent Supercross rider in his career. Nice to see the Newbury Park, California native giving it a go in Paris this week. Also, if he breaks out the Troy Lee Designs Evil Kenevil kit, he has the best kit by default.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
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