Photo: Hoppenworld

Adam Cianciarulo has been on the express train to motocross and supercross stardom since he was winning Loretta Lynn titles on 65’s. I’m not sure what set him apart from all the other amateur shredders so quickly, but it’s a huge reason why we see him forgoing his year of riding the big bikes on the amateur circuit and jumping straight into the deep end.

There have always been amateur standouts, but I cannot think of one that has garnered the public attention of Cianciarulo. The kid has been getting interviewed and featured on all the big print publications and websites for years. With this kind of attention comes pressure for some, but with Cianciarulo, the attention seems to have just harvested more and more confidence. The kid never seems to let the pressure eat at him, and even when he had his off year at Loretta’s back in 2010—where he DNF’ed half his motos and had no moto wins—he seemed to shrug it off and continue to get better. They say champions are made not by how they react in good times but in how they handle the bad, and Cianciarulo has always persevered through both.

Photo: Kawasaki Racing
Photo: Kawasaki Racing

What do I think about him moving up so soon? First, I think the only person that knows when he’s ready is Adam. With most kids, I would say it’s too early. In motocross, we all know confidence is key, and a year of getting beat could ruin that confidence for most. In Adam’s case, though, he has shown the ability to take a beating, learn from it and come out swinging for the fences later. Adam made the jump early to the Super-Mini class, and while he could have dominated the 12-13 division, he took his lumps and was a better man for it. So do I think he’s moving up too early? No.

Will he be taking his lumps in 2013 or winning right away? That’s the tough question. With a class stacked with former national and world champions, it is hard to see him lighting the world on fire right out of the gate. The class is as stacked as it’s ever been, and none of the other riders are real pumped about seeing a rookie garner all the attention. There is also the deepest rookie class in decades, featuring Adam’s amateur rival Cooper Webb who many think will outshine Adam in 2013. If I was to guess, I would put Cianciarulo somewhere just outside the top five to start the year and, if he can stay healthy, fighting near the front later. But will I be surprised if he does worse or does quite a bit better—even if he wins? No, I won’t. That is what makes the opening round of every series and rookie debuts so exciting: the unknown. We’ll just have to wait until Hangtown to find out.


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.