250 Words: The Best Candidate?

250 Words The Best Candidate?

June 3, 2014 9:30am

There was a time when Jason Anderson could do no wrong.

That time is over.

“I’ve had a lot going on,” explained the Rockstar Energy KTM rider, and new 250SX West Region Champion, at Hangtown. “I got my wisdom teeth out. I broke my tailbone. Hurt my lung before Vegas. And then this last week I got strep and a viral infection. I wanted to work on my starts, but I didn’t touch a weight or a dirt bike since last weekend. And before that I’d only barely rode before Glen Helen, that week before it. I feel like once I start just riding [during the week again] I’ll be good.”

Remember, Anderson was the man who engineered three improbable last-lap comebacks in Monster Energy Supercross. He kept finding himself in the right place at the right time—all the way down to Dean Wilson’s mysterious engine bog on the last lap in Oakland, cueing another one of those incredible final passes. Even when he hurt himself before the Vegas finale and got a bad start, resulting in a season’s-worst sixth, his primary title rival, Cole Seely, also gated poorly and could only come back to fourth. They say luck is opportunity meeting preparation—Anderson must have prepared pretty well for supercross.

Anderson is currently sixth in the 250 Class point standings, but he's been much faster than that. 
Anderson is currently sixth in the 250 Class point standings, but he's been much faster than that.  Photo: Simon Cudby

No such luck thus far in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Anderson has had one good start, and he wasted that with a first-lap crash in Hangtown’s first moto. He had a sure overall podium finish at Glen Helen until his engine let go and caused a DNF. He’s had these assorted injuries and ailments to deal with. But he’s also been very fast.

“I’m always going towards the front. I rarely get passed,” he said. “But, starting in 12th it’s kind of hard to get passed, at the level that I’m at. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I should be up there with those top two guys.”

The top two are the fleeing Yamalube Star Racing Yamahas of Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb. Now that Christophe Pourcel has risen to third in the standings on his own Valli Yamaha YZ250F, the world waits for someone to break the blue streak. Primary candidates like Wilson and Blake Baggett have had their own struggles. Marvin Musquin is trying to come back from shoulder and knee problems. Seely scored zero points on the weekend. Zach Osborne is out. The other new supercross champion, Justin Bogle, looked determined to tangle with the YZFs this weekend, but he still ended up behind the Star duo in the first moto, and on the ground in moto two.

Until that crash, Bogle might have been shaping up as “Closest to the Yamahas” since he was first in line behind them in both Hangtown motos. Could Anderson be the answer? He certainly looks the part, with his wide-open hang-off-the-back form really gelling with his KTM. If Pourcel is the kind of rider that looks slower than he actually is, Anderson is the opposite, as every lap, heck, every inch, looks to be run in full attack. And his laundry list of illnesses and ailments means we haven’t seen his best yet. Because of that, he’s confident he can make strides and get to the leaders.

Anderson has one moto podium through four motos. 
Anderson has one moto podium through four motos.  Photo: Simon Cudby

“For sure,” he says. “Hopefully within the next few rounds [I can] start winning. That’s what I want to do. I just need to get some starts and start feeling better physically. I think we’ll get there.”

He’s got a long way to go. Martin’s leads have been massive, his speed is so far unrivaled, and Anderson sits a whopping 51-points down after just two races. It might already be too far to climb, but then again, Anderson knows nothing is over until the very final lap of racing.