Besides Chad Reed, there have been 21 other premier class champions in the 45-year history of Monster Energy Supercross. Reed has raced against seven of them.
Yet not only has the Australian rider gone up against a third of the former champions of Supercross, but he’s also beat each of them on track. Here’s how it happened:
1. Jeremy McGrath (2002)
2002 was Jeremy McGrath’s last season in Monster Energy Supercross, and he ended it with a respectable third in the points. However, McGrath’s season did not get off to a great start as he finished 13th at Anaheim 1. Worse than that, the 2002 champion Ricky Carmichael placed 20th at the season-opener. Chad Reed, however, placed sixth, giving him the bragging rights to say that he beat McGrath and Carmichael in his first ever race. Reed only raced the first three rounds of the 2002 250SX championship (the premier class at the time) before the series headed to Indianapolis and he started competing in the 125SX East series, but he finished in the top 10 in all three starts.
2. Ricky Carmichael (2002-2007)
As mentioned above, Reed technically beat Carmichael in his first premier class race, but one year later he got to do it again properly with his first career win at Anaheim 1 with Carmichael finishing behind in second. Carmichael would have the last laugh in 2003 as he took the title by 7 points over Reed, despite Reed finishing the season with six straight wins. An injury in 2004 for Carmichael meant he was out of the picture and Reed was able to pick off nine wins and the championship. Carmichael would come back to win the championship in 2005 and 2006 with Reed second and third in the final standings each year respectively. Carmichael would only make the start seven times in 2007 but, by then, there was a new challenger for Reed to deal with.
3. James Stewart (2005-2016)
Ricky Carmichael won the championship ahead of Chad Reed in 2005. However, at the end of that year it was neither Carmichael nor Reed bringing home most of the trophies, as a new rider named James Stewart had came along late in the season and won three out of the last five races. In 2006, it was a who's who of Supercross at the top of the standings as Carmichael won the championship with Stewart in second and Reed in third. Then, in 2007, Stewart finally got his title with Reed in second. Stewart was unable to compete in most of the races in 2008, and Reed claimed his second title. 2009 started with a bang when Stewart missed a shift while battling with Reed. Reed went straight into the back of him and both riders went down. One race later, Stewart beat Reed to the line by a mere half second in Phoenix. Later on in the season, a fierce battle between the two at Jacksonville saw them in a heated discussion after the race. In the end, a mere four points separated Stewart and Reed in the final standings, with Stewart winning the gold. The rivalry between then took a bit of a break in 2010 with both riders out for most of the season, but it came back again in 2011 as the two came together while racing for the win at Atlanta.
4. Ryan Dungey (2008-2017)
During the James Stewart years, a new star was emerging in the form of Ryan Dungey. Dungey scored a second-place finish in just his third race in 2008, then he took a break, and then he came back to dominate the sport in 2010. Reed would beat Dungey in the points in 2011 though, placing second in the final standings while Dungey could only manage third. Dungey beat Reed in the points every year thereafter, but Reed proved that he could take the fight to Dungey all the way up until Dungey’s final season in 2017. At Phoenix in 2017, Reed got his latest podium to date with a second-place finish behind Eli Tomac. Dungey was behind him in third.
5. Ryan Villopoto (2009-2014)
Ryan Villopoto made waves in Monster Energy Supercross by winning four straight titles from 2011-2014. His debut season was 2009, the season in which Stewart and Reed had some of their most epic battles up front. Villopoto won two races in his rookie season, but he only managed sixth in points, meaning that Reed has beat Villopoto in the points standings. However, in 2011 it was Villopoto’s turn and he beat Reed to the title by just four points, with Ryan Dungey third ahead of James Stewart in fourth.
6. Jason Anderson (2015-present)
Chad Reed had already seen a lot of riders come and go by the time 2015 came around. Villopoto was no longer racing in Monster Energy Supercross and James Stewart was on the tail-end of his career, and yet Reed still picked off a win at Atlanta in 2015 and placed fourth in the final standings. One rider he beat was rookie Jason Anderson, who finished second in his debut at Anaheim 1 and finished seventh in the final standings. Anderson would go on to win the title in 2018.
7. Cooper Webb (2017-present)
Cooper Webb placed 13th in the points in his rookie season while Chad Reed placed ninth. Webb would beat Reed in the points in 2018 and, in 2019, Webb would beat everyone. However, just the fact that Reed is still able to compete with the best of the best after 17 years of competition against the likes of McGrath, Carmichael, Stewart, Dungey, Villopoto, Anderson, Webb and others is worthy of applause. And, who knows, maybe the Australian still has a couple more tricks up his sleeve.