ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 4) - For the 18th straight year, GEICO Honda's Kevin Windham is ready to start another Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, much to the delight of his legion of faithful fans -- 50,000 of which will fill out Angel Stadium this Saturday for the first of 17 rounds of action.
"Here we are at Year 18, another time to enter the battlefield and prove yourself," Windham said. "It's exciting and more challenging than ever. I'm still trying to keep this thing going. It's a thrill to still be riding and a real honor to be a part of the Supercross series.
"This is our first opportunity to be on the same track on the same night with all our rivals and a perfect way to see where we are at."
Windham said his many years in the sport have taught him it does no good to look too far back, as the race ahead always is the most important one.
"You are only as good as your last race or your last year," he said. "I think things are great with the GEICO Honda team. I look forward to going out there and trying to do my best. I still want to be a threat to win races...to win this race this weekend.
"I've got to try and keep these young kids at bay. It's getting close to where I'm racing against guys who are literally half my age, but we're not quite there yet."
After one of its most exciting seasons in history, Windham said he is expecting nothing less out of the AMA Supercross series in 2012.
"The level of talent out there is kind of scary," Windham said. "I want to go out there and get my wins, but there are a solid five to seven guys who have a real shot to win every week. That's unprecedented in Supercross history to have that many guys who are legit threats to win every week."
GEICO Honda team manager Mike LaRocco, who had a 19-year riding career himself, said what Windham has lost with age, he's gained in savvy.
"It's hard when you have been around as long as he has to push that envelope every week," LaRocco said. "There are going to be some tracks that will come easier to him than others, and he will need to take advantage of those opportunities when they come along.
"He's got the ability. We all know that. I just hope he gets the ball rolling here at Anaheim so he can use the confidence of a big start to get through the rest of the season."
Windham said he's also looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of the fans he's gotten to know so well during the last 18 years.
"Now that I'm carrying around the 'old guy' card, a lot of people said they have that connection to me for the simple reason that I have been around so long and am still a threat to go out and win races," Windham said. "The crowd and how loud they can be helps us all bring a little extra energy. That's certainly the case for me. I love 'em all."
Practice at Angel Stadium of Anaheim gets under way at 12:30 p.m. PST on Saturday with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to start at 7 p.m. SPEED TV will broadcast the season opener live starting a 10 p.m. EST.