After two races into the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Factory Suzuki’s Ken Roczen has established a nine-point lead in the season standings over Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey as racing action returns to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California this Saturday night.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/KTM’s Jessy Nelson, who won the season opener in Anaheim, leads the way in the 250SX Class over Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Cooper Webb.
Some key insights to watch heading into this Saturday night’s race include:
Eli Tomac became the 58th different 450SX Class race winner. Only 10 times in Monster Energy Supercross history has a first time winner followed their first-ever win with a win.
KTM or Husqvarna have never won the second race in Anaheim, can Anderson or Dungey give these brands their first-ever win?
There have been five different riders to make the 450SX Class podium, #WhosNext? The winner of the opening race in Anaheim has gone on to win the second Anaheim seven times, can Roczen make it eight?
Chad Reed can tie Jeremy McGrath on the all-time start list with 172 this weekend. Roczen and Nelson have never held the points lead in their respective racing divisions; can they extend it this weekend?
While Roczen put his name in the #WhosNext hat, he was joined by GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, who scored the first win of his 450SX Class career, as the first two winners of the 2015 season.
Tomac, a former 250SX Class Champion, traded positions with early race leader Roczen before making a pass that would stick on Lap 8. Once in the driver’s seat, Tomac eventually won by a 6.4 second margin of victory. At the first race in Anaheim, Tomac finished 20th and with his win in Phoenix he moved up to sixth in the point standings, a 14-position advancement.
“That was one of the [most fun] races of my life and to come away with a win is a cherry on top,” exclaimed Tomac, who crashed twice in last weekend’s Main Event en route to a 20th-place finish. “To beat a guy like Ken [Roczen]; we respect each other and race each other hard. It’s just great. We definitely put our biggest effort into this [after last weekend’s misfortunes], and this is what he came out here to do.”
The most consistent rider of the season, Roczen finished comfortably in second place and has his sights set on his second win in Anaheim.
“I got off to a fast start but overall I didn’t feel the greatest on Saturday,” said Roczen. “I put it down the first 10 laps [or so], but then Eli got me. He rode better than me, but I’m very happy to have finished on the podium. We’ll do some work this week and come out next weekend looking to get a good start, ride smart and come away with another good result.”
Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Weston Peick rode the best race of his 450SX Class career, holding off Dungey for the number-three position until Lap 17. Peick is currently fifth in the season standings, just one point out of fourth place.
Webb, who finished seventh at the season opener, captured the first win of his young career in Phoenix. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne led the field after capturing the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award but GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart assumed the lead in the early stages before being passed by Webb on Lap 4.
“I got an awesome start and that helped a lot,” said Webb, who won in his 11th career start. “Phoenix was one of my favourite races last year, so to get it done here feels awesome. It feels good to [move into] second in points, but I’ll feel better to get that red plate [as the championship leader].”
Although Stewart fell short of earning his first 250SX Class win, second place was the best finish of his career, and he sits eighth in the points standings after finishing a disappointing 22nd at the season opener.
In what appears to be a breakout season for Nelson, he has finished 1-3 in the first two races of 2015 and has a six-point cushion in the championship standings.
“It was great getting my second [career] supercross podium and two [podiums] in a row to start the season,” said Nelson. “I felt great; I just had to battle there for six or seven laps. I’ll just need to work on some things this week. We have a six-point lead and still have the red plate [as the points leader], so all in all it’s a good night.”
Four-time AMSOIL Arenacross Champion Tyler Bowers sits third overall in season standings after a fourth-place finish in Phoenix.
During last year’s 450SX Class Main Event in Anaheim, Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed scored his first win of the season and his fourth-ever win in Anaheim. In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Cole Seely won his first race of the season, which gave him a surge of momentum that ultimately carried him to earning second place in the championship.
Reed and Jeremy McGrath are tied on the all-time 450SX Class win list with eight apiece. Ivan Tedesco holds the all-time 250SX Class win record with five.