Against the Odds, Justin Barcia Three-Peats Supercross Opener
Amid all the changes during these turbulent times, one startling sports aberration emerged – again – last Saturday night inside Houston’s NRG Stadium. Justin Barcia, on a motorcycle model that didn’t exist one year prior, on a team that’s never fielded a rider, and in a state that hadn’t hosted a Supercross season opener since 1988, won the first race of the season for the third straight year. More surprising to those outside the world of 70-foot triple jumps and steep-bermed bowl turns, these three wins mark Justin Barcia’s only three Supercross wins in the past 85 race starts and eight seasons.
Barcia’s win marked the first time since the series inception in 1974 that a motorcycle brand had debuted with a win. And the victory last Saturday night was no fluke, Barcia led every lap of both his heat race and the championship-points-paying Main Event. He led all 37 of the 37 Laps he rode. He flat dominated the stat sheets in Houston.
Motorsports fans can draw three conclusions: One, the racer can cope with opening round jitters better than his competitors; two, the racer accepts a higher risk threshold to gain an early season points advantage; or three, Justin Barcia is getting along with his new dirt bike and 2021 will be his best year to add a 450SX Class title to his 250SX Class championships.
The question for sports fans is this: will Justin Barcia repeat the pattern and fail to repeat his season win? Or has the 28-year-old racer, far from young on professional Supercross starting gates, been backed into a must-win season and will continue to pull out the stops for the next rounds?
Round two on Monster Energy Supercross’s accelerated 2021 schedule, takes place tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 19, back at the same venue but on a modified Supercross track. Feld Entertainment, the series promoter, has managed to adapt to keep fans entertained and, more significantly, keep the racer, team, and support jobs open and the motorcycle industry healthy – no small feat in a series that has traditionally crisscrossed the map each year.
Tickets are available in a limited capacity, pod seating structure. The series is now carried live on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, as well as on NBCSN.