Monday, January 9, 2017

The Others...Anaheim One.

It had been 245 days since the gate dropped on a Monster Energy Supercross event. We've endured maybe one of the craziest yet quietest off seasons of all time, but on January 7th the wait was over and Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California would play host to round one of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship and 250 West Championship.

The word of the week was rain. Riders and track crew had their eyes glued to the radar all week. As race day came, the skies parted and the tarps were pulled off the track to provide the fans with the ultimate race conditions.

Packed house in Anaheim | Photo: Rich Eggett

A1 is always interesting. A rider can practice as much as they want and look better than ever at the test tracks but when round one comes around the nerves are always a little high. The top 40 times make the night show in each class. The 250 class saw 57 riders, while the 450 class had 56. Geico Honda Rider, Jeremy Martin topped the 250 times. In the 450 class, the top seven riders all turned 1.02 lap times but it'd be RedBull KTM's Marvin Musquin who'd be fastest by fractions.

New this season is timed races and I personally am a fan. Heats are five minutes plus one lap. Semi qualifiers are four minutes plus one lap. Last Chance Qualifiers are three minutes plus one lap. Main events are fifteen plus one lap for the 250's and twenty minutes plus one lap for the 450 class. Martin Davalos and Shane Mcelrath would claim the 250 heat races. The 450 heats were won by Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen. Jake Wiemer and Broc Tickle would top the semi qualifiers. 

The Last Chance Qualifiers are normally the best shot for a privateer to make the main. It's top four or go home. Jimmy Decotis, Chase Marquier, Jon Ames and Zac Commans would take the last spots in the 250 Main. The 450 class saw some big names on the chopping block. When the flag flew it'd be Josh Grant, Nick Schmidt, Jimmy Albertson and Trey Canard heading to the main event. 

Both main events were honestly runaways. One I expected, the other not so much. Ken Roczen is on his game. The Honda HRC rider grabbed the holeshot and began checking out. Twenty laps later Roczen would have over a 16 second lead on RedBull KTM teammates Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin who'd finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. Troy Lee Designs/ RedBull KTM rider Shane Mcelrath was impressive all night. When the gate dropped on the 250 main, he'd grab the holeshot and go on to lead every lap in route to the win. Star Yamaha rider Aaron Plessinger finished 2nd while Husqvarna's Martin Davalos took the final step on the podium.

Rookie Mistakes. I'll keep this short and sweet. I expected more out of Austin Forkner and Cooper Webb. Forkner looked like his speed was there and just had rookie luck. Webb on the other hand qualified 13th, was 10th in his heat, 3rd in the semi, then in the main he'd start mid pack and stay there, finishing 10th. Can either of these guys turn it around and be championship contenders? 

After qualifying 27th, Florida native Justin Starling would go on to take 7th in his heat race and transfer directly to the main event. Starling has some supercross experience, but this season marks his first time on the west coast. "All I can say is it's totally different than the east." He'd go on to finish 16th overall on his Slaton/JMR KTM. Starling sounds confident on improving in the coming weeks and his speed is definitely there. If he gets everything clicking, Starling is a name to watch.

Justin Starling heads out for qualifying | Photo: Jeffrey Roberto

And now...The Others.

250
  1. 76 Scott Champion
  2. 58 Chris Alldredge
  3. 87 Chris Howell
  4. 262 Connor Pearson
  5. 338 Ryan Surratt
  6. 512 Andrew Silverstein
  7. 60 Tristan Charboneau
  8. 383 Casey Brennan
  9. 321 Bradley Lionnet
  10. 448 Broc Shoemaker
  11. 388 Brandan Leith
  12. 149 Tallon Lafountaine
  13. 240 Bryce Stewart
  14. 141 Robbie Wageman
  15. 797 Kappel Robin
  16. 59 Noah McConahy
  17. 100 Josh Hansen
  18. 154 Brandon Schafer

450
  1. 377 Christophe Pourcel
  2. 40 Fredrik Noren
  3. 85 Tommy Hahn
  4. 447 Deven Raper
  5. 291 Kyle White
  6. 374 Cody Gilmore
  7. 722 Adam Enticknap
  8. 251 Kyle Gills
  9. 151 Dakota Tedder
  10. 606 Ronnie Stewart
  11. 792 Bracken Hall
  12. 509 Alex Nagy
  13. 314 Alex Ray
  14. 96 Van Martin
  15. 981 Austin Politelli
  16. 723 Tyler Enticknap
  17. 918 Michael Akaydin
  18. 801 Jeff Alessi

Next up the series heads to San Diego for Round Two. With first round jitters out the window, could we see more privateers in the main events? 


-Kyle Pesci


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