Since we like to watch the emergence of four-stroke motocross bikes as the dominant format (versus the two-strokes we have all been riding, and racing, for decades) it is interesting to note the performances of Stefan Everts and Kevin Windham this year.
Everts continues on a roll in Europe — defeating, once again, the 250cc two-stroke of Mickael Pichon (Suzuki) aboard his 450cc Yamaha four-stroke this past weekend in Sweden. Although still a few points behind Pichon in the championship series, Everts has emerged as the dominant rider in the MotoGP class, which combines 250cc two-strokes with 450cc four-strokes.
Here in the U.S., the only riders to seriously challenge Ricky Carmichael and his Honda CR250R (a two-stroke) have been Kevin Windham (on a Honda 450cc four-stroke) and Tim Ferry (on a 450cc Yamaha four-stroke).
Basically, if you remove Ricky Carmichael from the picture (the most dominant motocrosser in the world), four-strokes are dominating outdoor motocross in the premier classes in both the United States and Europe, at the moment. This is occurring even though the four-stroke 450cc machines are very early in their development cycle when compared with the 250cc two strokes (yes, we remember that Yamaha’s Doug Henry won an Outdoor title here in the U.S. on a four-stroke several years ago, but most of the top riders have stuck with two-strokes). As the 450cc four-strokes get lighter and better (which, they will), the 250cc two-strokes will become more rare.
The 125cc class will see a similar transformation, although it will lag for a year or two. Everts has also shown that a 250cc Yamaha four-stroke can win at the World championship level in the 125cc class outdoors.