Notebook: Anaheim 2

Notebook: Anaheim 2

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  • After last week’s soft Oakland soil got beat down, rutted and chopped up, the return to Anaheim was supposed to bring harder soil. It did, kind of, but parts of the track were still soft enough to pose some challenges. “The track will get better every time out there,” explained J-Star/JDR KTM team manager Nathan Ramsey, the 1999 125 West SX Champ. “You got soft soil at the bottoms of the jumps, so it’s making things cup out and making the transition kind of abrupt. But it’s going to keep working in and getting better.” Indeed the track got faster throughout the day, with early lap times just breaking the one-minute mark, but times dropped into the 55s by the end of qualifying.


  • A little track maintenance did contribute to the faster times. The whoop section was super-gnarly at first and the Lites riders were struggling, so the track crew cut down the first two whoops to give the riders a better run. The 450s then hit the whoops at warp speed, and James Stewart nearly looped out at the end of the section! By the end of practice, the whoops were super beat up, so the track crew worked them over, leaving clean, but smaller, whoops for the races.

A late crash would cost Sipes a spot in the top ten.
Photo: Simon Cudby

  • After a first-lap crash in Los Angeles ruined his chance for a good result, Honda’s Andrew Short delivered a solid fifth-place finish last weekend at Oakland, which he then followed with….a first-lap crash in Anaheim, that sent him to the mechanic’s area on the first lap for repairs. Shorty fought back to finish 14th, and showed impressive speed when the leaders went by to lap him. You just never know in this series—one week is great and the next one is sub-par, and usually only because of the start.


  • Justin Sipes, Ryan Sipes’ younger (but bigger) brother got a shot with the Insurance team in place of the injured Chris Blose. “Pooh” responded by making his first-ever SX class main event, and took 17th in the main.


  • Ryan Sipes was fast as usual in practice, topping one Lites session and setting the second-fastest lap in another. He was running sixth in the main event when he crashed twice in one lap and lost a few spots. He finished 11th.


  • The Sipes boys weren’t the only brothers pulling double main event duty. Mike Alessi and Jeff Alessi qualified for the SX Class main on their MotoConcepts bikes—Jeff ‘s first main of the year.

Jeff Alessi joined his brother, Mike, in the main for the first time this year at A2.
Photo: Simon Cudby

  • Nico Izzi had a breakthrough race of sorts. He landed the fastest qualifying spot in the Lites class with his strong time in the second Lites qualifying session. In the main, he finally got a decent start and got to hang with the leaders a bit before finishing fifth.


  • It was a busy night over at the J-Star/JDR KTM rig, as Ryan Marmont noticed a mechanical problem in his heat race, prompting his mechanic Richard Matchett to swap an engine before the main event. Matchett won the MMI Top Tech Award for his efforts.


  • Marmont is now heading back to Australia, but his (fellow Australian) teammate Matt Moss looks like he could be here to stay. He followed his fifth-place finish in last weeks’ Lites race with a last-to-seventh charge after stalling early in the main. You probably don’t even remember Matt Moss’ previous U.S. chance as Ryan Dungey’s Rockstar Suzuki teammate in 2010. He’s probably okay with that.


  • Rockstar Suzuki’s Jason Anderson had a sore leg after his collision with Marvin Musquin last week in Oakland. Anderson also had a crash in the main event in the same spot where Cole Seely went down, and finished a disappointing 20th.


  • And Martin Davalos had more struggles for the team, with a crash in the main knocking him as far back at 16th before fighting back to tenth. On the bright side, the team served up some great food at lunch and we were all over that.

Hansen had his worst finish of the season after a first lap crash.
Photo: Simon Cudby

  • Rough night for Dodge Motorsports Hart & Huntington’s Josh Hansen, who crashed on the first lap and damaged his front brake in the process. The front brake was locked on, and that was it for Hansen’s night.


  • Josh Hill was on hand hanging with his H&H team. Hill said his broken leg is healing well, and he expects to get back on a bike a week from today (next Monday), with hopes of racing by Atlanta or St. Louis.

  • Michael Leib, returning from a lost year in the GPs, finished sixth in Lites, a career high finish. That’s one better than his solid seventh in Los Angeles.

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