After matching a career-best second place finish in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, standings last year, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham, of Centerville, Miss., is back for his 17th year of professional racing.
At 30 years old, Windham says age doesn’t matter in a sport dominated by youth.
“At this point, no matter my age or the competition, it’s all about staying with what works,” said Windham. “The seasons are always long and all we can do is be patient and see how the year unfolds.”
While much of the attention is focused on the three AMA Supercross champions – James Stewart, Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey – competing for this year’s title, Windham, who has 18 AMA Supercross class victories and sits ninth on the all-time win list, hopes to fly under the radar and challenge for some wins.
“There needs to be a lot of attention on those guys, but I also think there’s going to be some people this year that creep up from the shadows,” he added. “It’s going to be an exciting season and it’s my job to be one of the guys making things exciting.”
This year’s competition goes beyond the veterans in the AMA Supercross class as three AMA Supercross Lites champions graduate into the premier class – Trey Canard, Christophe Pourcel and Jake Weimer. Dungey became only the second rookie to win the AMA Supercross title and, en route, paved the way for the next generation of racers to run up front.
“You never know what to expect from the younger guys coming up,” said Windham. “Historically they go fast but they have a tendency to crash. Dungey definitely broke that mold.”
In 1996, Windham, who also has 12 career AMA Supercross Lites class wins, claimed the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class championship and has finished runner-up in the AMA Supercross class championship on three occasions. The oldest competitor in the series has won an AMA Supercross class race in eight different seasons and three different decades. He’s been there and done that, and experience will be critical over the course of 17 races.
“My experience has exposed me to almost every situation there is in racing,” he adds. “However, there’s always things that can easily catch you if you have your guard down during a 17-race championship. I feel I’m really strong closing out the series but I need to find real consistency during this 2011 season. I’m training hard now to be ready for that challenge.”