With only a handful of days remaining in the year, we decided to geek out over statistics on our site. In the coming days, we will relive the most discussed moments of 2011; from the "Perfect Storm" that was seemingly each and every professional US title chase to the most viewed videos on TWMX. We begin with this, the top twenty most searched riders on our site during these past twelve months. We knew that names such as Reed, Stewart, Barcia, and Villopoto would appear, but we were genuinely surprised when a few guys showed up the list. Read on and make your assumption as to whom we may mean.
20. Todd Potter
Todd Potter's role as antagonist on "Bubba's World" cast an undeserved view on the freestyle rider, one that is still very much alive. Potter's prowess on a bike, namely his ability to whip a dirt bike, aids in his versatility at both natural and manmade terrain, and the repertoire of tricks in the Metal Mulisha backed rider makes him a contender for a medal at any contest he enters.
19. Jeremy Stenberg
The highest ranking rider of the freestyle scene, Jeremy Stenberg appears on our list twice, in the fifth position as "Twitch" and in nineteenth as "Jeremy Stenberg." His departure from the Metal Mulisha and Rockstar Energy Drink allows Stenberg to go back to his natural terrain roots, where he plans to spend the majority of 2012, filming videos that are influenced by skate and snowboarding.
18. Travis Pastrana
Travis Pastrana may very well be one this list permanently. He transcends demographics with the help of his now cancelled MTV "Nitro Circus" series, but it is his natural ability aboard a motorcycle that got him there. Many speculate what may have been if he had taken the advice of his elders many years ago and avoided freestyle motocross all together, a move which cost him numerous professional racing opportunities. But we counter that argument with this: where would our sport as a whole be if the lanky kid from Maryland listened?
17. Kevin Windham
It is insane to think that a few years ago many wondered in we would ever see Kevin Windham again, even more so now, as Windham continues his tenure as a professional racer. It is a given that he will do a nose-wheelie down the starting straightaway during the Supercross opening ceremonies, but it is his spotlighted transfers that many wait for. He has said in the past that he would like to make 2014 his final year, but it is a debated statement each time the new year rolls around.
16. Ashley Fiolek
Ashley Fiolek may be the best thing for our sport. Her story of overcoming adversity and disability has propelled her to the national spotlight, and for a while it was impossible to channel surf without seeing her Red Bull commercial. In 2011, Fiolek reclaimed the WMX National Championship after a long, intense summer with nemesis Jessica Patterson, which became another notch in her belt and a gigantic leap forward for Women’s Motocross.
15. Nick Wey
If you haven't read the thoughts of the pride of Dewitt, Michigan, in his monthly column of our magazine, "NYK," you are missing out. Wey has chiseled a solid fan base with many years of dedication to the sport, his style, and his down to Earth demeanor. Ears perk up every time he gets a hold of the microphone, and for good reason, too. Wey is a much needed splash of color in the sometimes-bland paddock.
14. Josh Hill
After snapping his femur while attempting a back flip, footage which can be seen in the second installment of our Kickstart video series, Josh Hill spent the first year of his contract with the Hart and Huntington crew as an ambassador for the team in-between surgeries and therapy sessions to cure the compartment syndrome that attacked his left leg. Hill bears no resemblance to the gaunt figure on a motorized cart that appeared on our site in the Fall of 2010, and will be on the line for Anaheim One on January 7th.
13. Josh Grant
Josh Grant spent the majority of the year on the mend after injuring his knee at the second round of the Supercross season, and came back to the tour during the summer before injuring the opposite knee. The time did not go to waste according to Grant, as he watched his first-born son, Wyatt, grow during the down time. He has signed with the newly formed Mike Kranyak/Jeff Ward racing venture and hopes to end the streak of luck and injury that has plagued him the past two years.
12. Ryan Villopoto
Just coming back from the gut wrenching injury that cost him his 2010 season would have been enough to merit Ryan Villopoto accolades. Every time the X-ray played across a Jumbotron during the opening ceremonies, everyone in attendance was reminded of the anguish that he went through. None of that seemed to bother Villopoto, as he crushed the competition everywhere he went in 2011. After winning both AMA titles, he traveled to France to help bring the MXoN Chamberlin Cup to the United States for the seventh consecutive time, and postponed his honeymoon to sweep the inaugural Monster Energy Cup. He appears on this list in the twelfth position.
11. Adam Cianciarulo
While he is still yet to compete in the professional ranks, let alone race a full size motorcycle for the first time, Adam Cianciarulo's domination of the amateur mini bike league has netted him a fair share of attention. When word spread that he had inked a deal with Mitch Payton's Pro Circuit outfit, one that includes his eventual pro debut, his status officially reached "Next Big Thing."
10. Ryan Dungey
As the defending champion of both American titles when 2011 began, all eyes were on Ryan Dungey. Though mechanical issues, which ultimately cost him the opportunity to hold on to both number on plates, pockmarked his year Dungey soldiered on and fought until the final flag. His emotions during the forty-five minutes that were the second 450 moto at Southwick ran the entire spectrum, from panic and despair to determination and triumph.
9. Trey Canard
With one of the most impressive rookie performances of recent history, Trey Canard made everyone add another name to their list of championship contenders. By winning two Supercross main events, Canard was able to finish in the top five in the final point standings, even though he was forced to sit out the final rounds with a broken femur. Before the injury, there was a solid chance that he may have been crowned champion, and many have him on the short list for 2012, if his broken collarbone heals in time for round one.
8. Jason Lawrence
He did not line up for a professional race this past year, but Jason Lawrence's notoriety and the inquires into his personal life pushed the former Lites Supercross champion in to the top ten of most searched riders. Love him or hate him, "J-Law" generates page clicks.
7. Josh Hansen
Our April cover star is rider with divided fan base, due to his celebrity status away from the track and his Supercross career plan. Hansen was a title favorite on the West Coast and won three main events before a broken hand killed his momentum. He will make the jump to the 450 class for 2012, but will remain a stadium racer on the Hart and Huntington squad.
6. Ken Roczen
The German import made waves in the United States with his young and lighthearted demeanor that is coupled with undeniable speed. After riding select US rounds, including his win at the Supercross finale in Las Vegas, Roczen went on to win the MX 2 World Championship and held off the fastest riders in the world, including Ryan Dungey, at the Motocross of Nations, while on the small bore 250.
Stenberg makes the list twice, as we previously mentioned. Even after breaking his lower leg at the X Games during the summer, Stenberg held on to his place in the spotlight by organizing the R.A.D amateur freestyle contest and award show.
4. Justin Barica
The reception that Supercross Lites East Coast title winner Justin Barcia receives falls one of two ways: love for his aggressive riding style, or hatred for his determination to get to the front of the pack, even if it leaves a pile of riders and bikes in his wake. After joining the Factory Honda effort in the summer when the team was without a single person to pilot the 450, Barcia gave the premier class of preview of what is to come when he joins their ranks full time.
3. Chad Reed
After being called a "fat prick" during his Supercross only years, Reed has won even the most fickle over with his passion to fund his own racing effort when he was left without a ride during the 2010 off season. His heart stopping crash at Millville is burned in to the memory banks of fans the world over, and his admirable charge through the pack after is one of the most compelling moments our sport has ever seen.
2. Dean Wilson
The newly crowned Lites National champion is a fan favorite due to his age, his openness on social media, his likeable personality, and his appearances in the Monster Energy "Dirt Shark" videos. After he battled tooth and nail with his foe, Justin Barcia, during the Supercross season, he received massive amounts of guidance from veteran Chad Reed during his summer stay in Florida, which may be what gave him an edge as he traded race wins with his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates all summer long.
1. James Stewart
"The fastest man on the planet" earned the honor of being the most searched rider of 2011 on our site. With a slew of race wins during the Supercross season, his arrest in the Spring, the "will he/will he not race outdoors" saga, and the announcement of his decision to partner with Joe Gibbs Racing for 2012 and beyond surely aided in the amount of times his name was entered in to our search bar, but we like to think that his two stroke video was the main factor.