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Anaheim Race Report, presented by Thor MX

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There was a feeling of relief in the air in the pits at Angels Stadium on Saturday night. No matter who the racer, how experienced he was, or how confident he was, to get the first one out of the way meant a lot to most of the riders on hand at the first round of the Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Championship. For many, it’s as if the racing is to start next weekend in Phoenix, but Anaheim was just about getting through it in one piece.

Some did this better than others...

Lites


  • Jake Weimer (12) leads his teammate Josh Hansen (100) early in the race before Hansen fell.
  • Ryan Morais (116) fought of Trey Canard (38) for as long as he could.
  • Canard ended up passing Morais and taking second. Morais was third.
  • Blake Wharton rode strong on his way to fourth.
  • Weimer took his second Anaheim I win in a row and owns the points lead going into Phoenix next Saturday night.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer has been carrying confidence since the Colorado National, culminating in three National wins last summer, a win at the Motocross of Nations, and then a move back into testing for supercross. In the off-season, he said the transition to supercross was so easy that it felt natural. From day one, he was comfortable on the supercross track, so he has been able to carry that momentum and build upon it throughout the off-season and into Anaheim I. But even he wasn’t supremely confident, as anything can happen at Anaheim I.

Fortunately for Weimer, what did happen was a big holeshot in the main event over teammate Josh Hansen, with Rockstar/Canidae Suzuki’s Ryan Morais in third, Frenchman Gautier Paulin in fourth, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard in fifth, his teammate Blake Wharton in sixth, FMF KTM’s Tommy Searle in seventh, KTM-mounted Sean Borkenhagen in eighth, Lucas Oils/TLD Honda’s Wil Han in ninth, and Motoconcepts Yamaha’s Jeff Alessi in 10th. Other notables, such as heat-race winner Broc Tickle and his teammate Max Anstie, started well outside the top 10, with Tickle in 13th at the end of the first lap, and Anstie in 16th.

Hansen went down on the second lap, handing the runner-up spot to Morais, who was immediately under pressure from Canard, who ended up having to make an aggressive move partially, it seemed, in desperation on lap nine, as Weimer continued to pull away. Canard did his best to reel Weimer in, but ultimately, for the second year in a row, Weimer was able to hold his own out front to win the season-opening Anaheim Supercross.

Canard held on for second, just in front of Morais, with Wharton fourth, Hahn knocking on his door, and then Tickle, who fought his way forward from well outside the top 10. And in his first-ever supercross, Searle held on for seventh over Hansen, who had some technical problems after his fall, Anstie and Alessi.

Lites Main:
1. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
2. Trey Canard (Hon)
3. Ryan Morais (Suz)
4. Blake Wharton (Hon)
5. Wil Hahn (Hon)
6. Broc Tickle (Yam)
7. Tommy Searle (KTM)
8. Josh Hansen (Kaw)
9. Max Anstie (Yam)
10. Jeff Alessi (Yam)

Lites West Points Standings (After 1 of 8 rounds):
1. Jake Weimer (25/1 win)
2. Trey Canard (22)
3. Ryan Morais (20)
4. Blake Wharton (18)
5. Wil Hahn (16)
6. Broc Tickle (15)
7. Tommy Searle (14)
8. Josh Hansen (13)
9. Max Anstie (12)
10. Jeff Alessi (11)

450

  • Ryan Dungey (5) led the first 17 laps of the main event, and looked to have it in the bag until late in the race.
  • On the last lap, Dungey (5) made moves to re-pass James Stewart (1), but Stewart smartly blocked him.
  • Stewart took the win and the points lead.
  • Kevin Windham came through some tough competitors to finish third.
  • Andrew Short (29) ran as high as third after passing Ryan Villopoto (2), but lost the spot to Windham (14).
  • Villopoto was fifth after getting a little beat up in a practice crash.
  • Chad Reed is interviewed in the tunnel on his way out of the stadium after having a wheel go bad on the first lap.
  • Jason Lawrence dropped out of the main event after four laps. Still, with less than two weeks on a bike - and a new one at that - before the season, he looked smooth.
With the fastest heat race of the night, San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart had the first gate pick for the main event. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s an advantage because he could pick whatever spot he wanted based on whatever criteria he wanted, but it was a disadvantage because everyone else could pick their spots based on where he started. One of these people was Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, who took the spot just inside of Stewart’s, even though Dungey knew the condition of the gate wasn’t ideal.

The end result, though, was a holeshot for Dungey, with Stewart hot on his heels. Next came Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham, JGR/Toyota/Muscle Milk Yamaha’s Justin Brayton, Dungey’s teammate Austin Stroupe, Short’s teammate Davi Millsaps, and J-Law Racing’s Grant Langston. Stewart’s teammate Hill started 11th, just in front of Tedesco, privateer Michael Byrne, and Villopoto’s teammate Chad Reed.

After the completion of the first lap, however, Reed slowed noticeably, expressly showed his frustration, and pulled into the mechanics area to have his damaged front wheel checked out. He was immediately out of the main event and was credited with 19th, only because Brayton’s teammate Josh Grant didn’t start the main, as he was still dealing with his head and a fresh injury to what looks like his shoulder from practice.

Out front, Dungey and Stewart slowly (at first) began to pull away from Villopoto, who soon fell into Short’s clutches, and then Windham’s.

At that point, the top five were essentially set, with the exception of the top two.

Dungey looked like he had the race in hand by about lap 13 of 20, but over the next few laps, Stewart ate away at his lead until he made a pass with three laps to go. However, Dungey wasn’t done yet, and Stewart had his hands full on the last lap, trying to hold Dungey off, partially by using the whole track so that Dungey wouldn’t have enough room to attempt a pass.

The crafty Stewart took Anaheim I, just ahead of Dungey, Windham, Short, Villopoto, Hill, Tedesco, Brayton and Millsaps, who was the last rider on the lead lap.

450 Main:
1. James Stewart (Yam)
2. Ryan Dungey (Suz)
3. Kevin Windham (Hon)
4. Andrew Short (Hon)
5. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
6. Josh Hill (Yam)
7. Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
8. Justin Brayton (Yam)
9. Davi Millsaps (Hon)
10. Grant Langston (Yam)

450cc Points Standings (After 1 of 17 rounds):
1. James Stewart (25/1 win)
2. Ryan Dungey (22)
3. Kevin Windham (20)
4. Andrew Short (18)
5. Ryan Villopoto (16)
6. Josh Hill (15)
7. Ivan Tedesco (14)
8. Justin Brayton (13)
9. Davi Millsaps (12)
10. Grant Langston (11)
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