Anaheim 2! We’re back! Angel Stadium! Again! And more familiar ground, because Chad Reed has showed us early in the season that he’s far from done. I know fans were wanting to see the Two-Two take his first win at Anaheim 2 after a strong second in San Diego. Well, he didn’t win, but Reed showed a lot of grit en route to a second straight podium. We’ll wait to get into the nitty-gritty and start from the top of Round 3 of the Monster Energy Supercross.
Anaheim 2 was a very good race and I think we can see that two Anaheim’s is a nice number. We don’t need three, but it feels like we need more than one, right? For some weird reason I thought the crowd was bigger at the second Anaheim (I don’t care what the official numbers are, those don’t mean anything, I’m telling you what I saw) and the track…well, don’t get me started on that beautiful thing. I might not stop….
Okay, I can’t help myself. The track was great. It was awesome and superb and everything a track can be. I’ve always thought that having two triples is redundant as it’s the easiest obstacle on the track for these guys but A2 had two triples and the track was still phenominal! I might have to rethink this whole stance. The track’s moisture level was great. It was cloudy most of the day and watered perfectly. It actually offered some traction, and ruts developed in the turns. The Feld Dig Dugs (those dudes with the helmets) did a tremendous job with the hoses, folks.
Oh, and the track had big whoops. Ginormous, early 2000s-type, Godzilla whoops that gave the riders fits all day long. And they didn’t roll them flat for the night show! As any reader knows, I love tracks that have stuff that only a few riders can do. Well, this one had a quad that only Eli Tomac cleared, and a triple-triple in one lane that only Reed did consistently. Some guys were wheel-tapping it, some guys were doing it here or there but Reed, he was jumping it a ton.
There was even a sand section!
Yes, we were missing an over/under, but everything else was there. Lap times were good too. This was an amazing track…did I mention that?
I nominate 2016 Anaheim 2 SX track as the best track ever made in the world. Thank you.
I feel bad for not going on and on about Ryan Dungey each week. He’s killing the field right now and last week I wrote about how perfect he was, which was extra tough with #22 all over him. This week was more of the same and maybe he was even better. It’s getting hard to find something to write about Dunge besides “he’s amazing.”
I spoke to his trainer Aldon Baker after the race and he mentioned that he thinks Ryan is better than ever because he’s had a full off-season with him. Last year Ryan was still living in Tallahassee before moving closer to Baker later in the season. He also got married and took some time off last off-season. And let’s not forget the bike was all new last year and according to Dungey, it took about halfway through the year before he felt comfortable with his settings.
While Roczen is working on his starts, Tomac working on his fitness and equipment after shoulder surgery and a bike switch, Anderson still figuring out this consistency thing and Reed building to a peak, Dungey is just being Dungey. He’s got almost a race lead on Roczen in points and eighteen on Tomac after just three races.
I was at the Motocross des Nations when I first noticed something funny on MXGP champion Romain Febvre’s Yamaha YZ450F. I saw a bead of weld material on top of his swingarm that was definitely not stock. Smash cut to Lille SX in France. I was hanging out with the JGR guys and Febvre’s bike was about ten feet away. I spoke with his mechanic about the mod and it turns out it was an older swingarm top simply welded onto the top of the stock 2015 YZ450F swingarm. The mechanic said it helped the feel of the chassis. Before I left, I took a photo of it and stored the info away.
When I got back I texted the photo to Reed and told him to check it out and maybe he should try it. He asked me a couple of questions about the frame as well and that was it. Smash cut to this weekend and Reed had the swingarm mod done to his bike! Seems he had it last week as well when he finished second. And guess what? The JGR Yamaha guys had it last weekend also! Everyone has welded swingarms now, bro! I’ve talked to some guys about it, they say it helps the bike in the whoops but didn’t affect it in the turns. In my time as a mechanic I know it doesn’t take much fiddling with the frame to make a difference for riders of Reed’s caliber.
So, should I take credit for Reed’s two second place finishes since this swingarm mod showed up? I mean, there’s NO DOUBT Reed’s ridden great the last two weeks with the mod. I’m also SURE Yamaha knew about it and maybe they’re the ones who suggested it to Reed. But maybe, just maybe, Reed said something to those guys after our text back in November? Should I also get the credit for Peick and Nicoletti’s results? Oh, the mind wanders on what I could do with a percentage of the winnings from these guys who have used the swingarm mod off Romain Febvre’s bike.
We know the story about how Christian Craig quit racing. (If not, you can listen to Craig on the Pulpmx Show from a long time ago when he was a working man and we flew him, along with his wife Paige, to Vegas for the show.) Throughout the show you can hear how he hadn’t let racing go, so I wasn’t surprised to see him fill-in for Justin Bogle last year. His wife is the daughter of a GEICO Honda team co-owner, so he was able to get the fill-in ride last year, but his own hard work and skill kept the ride for 2016 and beyond.
A few missed years of supercross doesn’t seemed to matter, because Christian has been fast at the two opening rounds. He’s always been fast and looks to be blessed with a lot of the same natural talent his dad Mike had as well. (Yes, I saw his dad Mike race a ton, and yes typing that makes me feel old as shit.) At Anaheim, Craig won his heat over Cooper Webb (the Godzilla of the 250SX West Region) and then led laps and diced with Webb in the main event.
Webb eventually got Craig (Zach Osborne would also get Christian) and won his third race in a row rather easily. But for those few laps, it was fully and completely on. Craig’s check-up and re-pass of Webb after the finish should be captured and put in the Smithsonian under “beautiful motocross passes”. Both guys kept it clean, both guys were great and after seeing this beautiful track and this multi-lap battle for the lead, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
(On this note, I still believe that if a rookie pro racer is having a hard time on and off the track, there should be some sort of program where a team sends them to work the graveyard shift at a 7-11 for a week in Corona. That will give them a taste of a real job. You want to scare a rider straight and make them realize that they have an awesome job if they just work at it a bit? Get a real job and then you’ll quickly realize that being a pro motocrosser is not a “real” job at all.)
So, like I said, Webb won again and he’s great. I think he’s going to win them all. All three races his starts have sucked and he’s been able to slowly and methodically work through the pack to win. A lot of times young riders, all hopped up on money, their entourage, Stance socks and ego, start to panic when they’re not up front. Panic leads to mistakes and mistakes lead to lost races. Webb’s been very assured of himself and takes what comes to him, when it comes to him. After that, he can rely on his talent, bike and gumption to take him to the win. It’s been impressive. I thought that Webb might decide to punt this Craig character off the track, but he was great about the whole thing and kept his eye on the prize.
We did see Webb get frustrated early in the day, though. In qualifying, he couldn’t get to the top of the board partly due to him not being fast enough and partly because guys kept getting in his way when he was laying down a fast lap. One time I saw Chris Alldredge slow him a bit and Webb slowed after the lap to tell Chris that he was number 1 with his middle finger. I get it, he’s pissed, but I watched the whole thing and Chris went high in the berm probably thinking Cooper was going to take the line that most others took. He didn’t know Webb was taking that same line and tripling in, or at least he didn’t think about. I don’t care about the flick off but I thought it was a little harsh and I’m 100000 percent sure that Webb has gotten in the way of someone doing a fast lap at some point in his life. It happens to everyone so maybe we should all calm down a bit.
Let’s take a look at the results shall we?
1 1 Cooper Webb Newport, NC Yamaha YZ250F- Webb’s got this thing where he goes out last for practice. It’s a common “fast guy” thing and I’ve seen it before. But Webb’s starts haven’t been good. Is the go-out-last mentality seeping into his starts when it counts? Probably not, but it’s not the dumbest theory ever. Wait, maybe it is…
2 16 Zach Osborne LAKE ELSINORE, CA Husqvarna FC250- I told Osborne after the race that he could win. But Zach being Zach, he told me that he was listening to one of my shows and I predicted Cooper Webb would take all eight slices of the win pie this year. I need to stop talking so much.
3 38 Christian Craig Corona, CA Honda CRF 250- As I stated above, Craig rode great but I find something humorous about a 250SX rider holding his baby on the podium. Like, it might be time to move up from what’s considered the support class WHEN YOU HAVE A CHILD. Zach’s a dad now, too. It’s just funny to me because I come from a time when dudes were in the class one or two years and then out. But John Dowd once won a 125SX title at like 30 so….
4 37 Joey Savatgy Thomasville, GA Kawasaki KX 250F- I had a few people tell me Craig was fastest 250 dude through the whoops but to me it was Joe Dog by a nose. Or they were tied. Either way that info probably didn’t help Savatgy when he cartwheeled in the Godzilla whoops early in the main. Nice charge once he got up.
5 58 James Decotis Peabody, MA Honda CRF 250- JIMMMYYYYY DDDDDD battled some arm pump in the main. Probably NOTHING to do with the huge whoops.
6 39 Jordon Smith Belmont, NC Honda CRF 250
7 45 Kyle Cunningham Willow Park, TX Suzuki RM-Z250- I thought Kyle looked good right from the first practice. He’s a good technical rider (although he made a few mistakes) so I’m sure the track agreed with him. Kyle’s never been afraid to jump anything and this was a good result.
8 69 Colt Nichols Muskogee, OK Yamaha YZ250F- Sixth in the points after three rounds! Who had Colt being that high in the 250SX West Region? Ok, Mr. and Mrs. Nichols, hands down.
9 42 Mitchell Oldenburg Alvord, TX KTM 250 SX-F- Last year on the ARMA Yamaha team Mitchell was very fast but crashed a lot. This year on TLD KTM Mitchell is very fast but crashes a lot. In Anaheim he deserves full props for coming from last to a ninth, but he’s got to smooth out or he’s going to end up getting hurt.
10 40 Kyle Peters Greensboro, NC Honda CRF 250- Ho hum, another top ten for Peters. He’s been racing pro for, I think, four years, and I’ve spoken to him once. Outside of that one time, I don’t think I’ve ever even seen him at the track. All he does is rack up quiet, effective, solid finishes.
11 68 Cole Martinez Rimrock, AZ Yamaha YZ250F- A very nice job by Canada’s own Cole Martinez (I’ll take it) to start the year and he’s definitely the guy who’s highest in the results each week that fans might be like “Huh?”
12 35 Chris Alldredge Powell Butte, OR Kawasaki KX 250F- Chris was in the top ten with three laps to go when he crashed (I think). I really think that Chris, in his last year of his Pro Circuit deal, needs to step it up and start getting into the top five.
13 85 Michael Leib Wildomar, CA Yamaha YZ250F- Leib was so down and out in the LCQ before riding his ass off and passing two guys with a lap to go (one dude might have bobbled, but still) to jam his way into the main. And once there, this is an okay result.
14 492 Luke Clout Cairo, GA Suzuki RM-Z250- Clout showed up from Australia and I heard nothing but good things about him from people that were Down Under this winter. He showed up as a fill-in on the MAD Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki team and was by far the fastest dude in unseeded practice. Good news is I’ll bet he’ll never ride that practice again and be a main event guy from here on out. Impressive showing.
15 76 Scott Champion Wildomar, CA Yamaha YZ250F
16 212 Chase Marquier Newcastle, OK Honda CRF 250
17 72 Hayden Mellross Australia Yamaha YZ250F- I spoke with Mellross before the main event and he told me that he’s always been a terrible qualifying rider. Which explains his twenty-fifth in qualifying at A2. This is great information to have and sneak him into a fantasy pick, but unfortunately for me and my team, Hayden’s main only went slightly better.
18 222 Chris Howell Spokane Valley, WA Husqvarna FC250- Chris is the only true privateer (no team at all—work with me here, because the definition of “privateer” is super weird now) to make all three mains and that’s pretty damn good. Howell was good in 2014, terrible in 2015 and is good again!
19 26 Alex Martin Millville, MN Yamaha YZ250F- I used to write that Alex wasn’t very good in the whoops due to his smaller stature and Alex took issue with that fact and told me he’d gotten a lot better in them. He’s right, he’s improved a lot. But the Godzilla whoops this weekend were not kind to him.
20 792 Bracken Hall Rock Springs, WY Honda CRF 250
21 733 Steven Mages Escondido, CA KTM 250 SX-F
22 43 Fredrik Noren Menifee, CA Honda CRF 250- Saw Fast Freddie on track walk and he told me he pulled his butt muscle and hadn’t ridden all week. Freddie being Freddie, he was still smiling as he told me this.
1 1 Ryan Dungey Clermont, FL KTM 450 SX-F
2 22 Chad Reed Dade City, FL Yamaha YZ450F- For the first time in a long time I didn’t really like Reed’s Shift set-up at Anaheim 2.
3 94 Ken Roczen Clermont, FL Suzuki RM-Z450- First podium for Roczen, but he (along with Tomac) had to overcome a bad start to get this result. Roczen’s always been a great starter but he can’t seem to get off the gate at all this year (his heats have been okay for the most part). When do we start getting worried about this? I think Roczen’s going to win one of these really soon. I know…breaking news, right?
4 3 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO Kawasaki KX 450F- Tomac’s quad in the rhythm lane didn’t look really any faster because he had to slow up a bit at the beginning to nail it, but he told me it was at least the same as the other rhythm, was really easy for him to do and it also was better to come into the sand with momentum. Tomac had a terrible second practice (not sure what was going on) and when I went back to the Kawasaki pit, both the fork and shock were off the bike. Predictably, Eli was great in the third practice.
5 21 Jason Anderson Rio Rancho, NM Husqvarna FC450 - Jason’s trainer Aldon Baker told me that he had a bit of an issue with his goggles (probably fogging) and had to take it a bit easy out there. Coming from around fourteenth or so to fifth is what Jason Anderson calls “taking it easy” I suppose. Nice ride.
6 14 Cole Seely Sherman Oaks, CA Honda CRF 450- Cole Slaw had a quiet night. He tipped over early in the main and salvaged a sixth. Third in points with two podiums is a nice start.
7 18 David Millsaps Murrieta, CA KTM 450 SX-F- Nice ride by #18. He got the holeshot, led a couple of laps and although he was shuffled back quickly, you’ve got to walk before you run.
8 10 Justin Brayton Mint Hill, NC KTM 450 SX-F- Brayton’s a different guy this year, much better than last year, and he was aggressive at the Big A. Trey Canard and Weston Peick weren’t happy with him, but in my eyes (I only saw the Canard pass but talked to people who saw the second one) it’s supercross racing and he had the inside line. I spoke with Brayton after the race and he was sorry if people were mad at him but he thought he was in the clear and admitted that he needs to be aggressive out there.
9 25 Marvin Musquin Corona, CA KTM 450 SX-F- Marvin had a tough time with the right hand first turn as he seemed to go too hard into the corner in two of his three starts. He came all the way back from dead last to this spot, which is nice to see. Two good races in a row for the Frenchman.
10 12 Jacob Weimer Wildomar, CA Kawasaki KX 450F- Weimer said he battled with Godzilla whoops all night long. He was right up there in the beginning of the night thanks to my hot tips about starting gate selection.
11 54 William Hahn Menifee, CA Kawasaki KX 450F- Wilbur has ridden the heat, semi, LCQ and main in all three races. I’m sure he’s not happy about that but you know what? I bet it’s actually helping him. There’s nothing you can do during the week that replicates racing and Hahn’s missed a lot of racing over the years. So in a way this is good for him. Like Daniel-son waxing the old man’s can and sanding the deck, it’s all going to help him.
12 377 Christophe Pourcel San Antonio, FL Husqvarna FC450- Pourcel looked like he had zero inclination to actually try and race out there. He was the last factory dude in the results that didn’t crash and the mystery continues. He was second in timed qualifying though, which is great but he’s got no desire to mix it up. Lay down four fast laps out of seventeen in qualifying sessions, try hard for six in the heat and bingo, bango, call it a night.
13 800 Mike Alessi Hilliard, FL Honda CRF 450- Mike’s never been very good in the whoops but this week he was real bad. Yes, they were Godzilla whoops but I can’t believe a dude of Mike’s caliber thought that entering them that slow was going to work out.
14 28 Weston Peick Menifee, CA Yamaha YZ450F- Peick, in his first race of the year, was eighth with two turns to go before he collided with Brayton and went down. This did not make Weston happy at all. In fact, he was downright pissed and didn’t seem like he wanted to talk after the race. Of course Weston also has to watch himself out there as far as any frontier justice is concerned after the whole “Anaheim 1” thing.
15 47 Thomas Hahn Decatur, TX Yamaha YZ450F
16 55 Vince Friese Cape Girardeau, MO Honda CRF 450
17 79 Nicholas Schmidt Lake Elsinore, CA Suzuki RM-Z450
18 778 Lawson Bopping Australia Yamaha YZ450F- Bopping is back in the main and he also looked to be struggling in the Godzilla whoops. Got to love factory suspension and factory suspension dudes, right? Why Lawson doesn’t have “MMMMM-Bop” on the back of his pants is a mystery to me.
19 151 Dakota Tedder Surfside, CA Kawasaki KX 250F- Congrats to Tedder on making his first 450SX main event. He’s a good rider and although he has all the support a rider could possibly want, it’s a smart move for guys like him to move to 450SX. Way less of a bike needed, way more purse money in there and less chaos and upheaval in your life.
20 801 Jeff Alessi Victorville, CA Suzuki RM-Z450- Jeff hasn’t raced in a long time so making main in his third race back in this latest comeback is awesome. I’d like to see him have a bit more laps in him though. It seems like once he’s in the main, there’s not a lot of effort there.
21 34 Phillip Nicoletti Bethel, NY Yamaha YZ450F- “Deathcross” (what Filthy calls supercross) bit Phil hard. He charged into the whoops one lap and ended up slamming himself to the concrete. Phil being Phil, he eventually walked it off. I texted him after the race to make sure he was okay and he replied, “I don’t know why I changed my line. I followed Wilbur to the left when I was hitting them fine on the right. Thought it would’ve been better but clearly I was wrong like usual.”
22 41 Trey Canard Edmond, OK Honda CRF 450- Tough start to Canard’s SX season, but none tougher than A2. A crash in practice, heat race and main event left him with one point on the night. He’ll win a race or two before this is all over with but right now, he’s got to be frustrated.
Some news and notes:
- I met Dakar winner Toby Price during track walk. The Aussie was with the Kiwi (and former 500 World Champion) Shayne King and when you add my four Manitoba titles into the conversation, there were a lot of prestigious wins. Anyways, nice guy and he was telling me some crazy stories from the race. It’s a pretty nutso race and I think you have to have a screw loose or something to want to race it.
- Thanks to Wil Hahn for helping me fix the Kawasaki coffee maker that I broke yet again. I swear to god I don’t do anything different but something always happens when I go in there to get a cup.
- There’s so much flo-yellow out there on the track. It’s everywhere. The gear companies must’ve all got a deal from the companies that make that color. Everywhere you look out there it looks like a highlighter convention.
- Kawasaki big boss Bruce Stjernstrom was in the truck and I was trying to broker a deal to get Nick Wey back on the track. I started with asking for 100K and parts from the green guys for “our” effort but by the end I was down to 75K. Bruce laughed a lot but never actually said the word “no”. So you’re telling me there’s a chance…
- I knew Nicoletti wasn’t enjoying himself out there very much but I dipped into the truck to go say hi. I asked a guy on the team how he was doing and the answer was “Phil’s at all time “Filthy” level of depression” so I knew better than to go try and find him.
- Sat next to the great Andrew Short for both the main events (he’s out with an injury) and Shorty made an “Observation” about how most riders are now running their start hooks lower than ever before which is something he’s done for a while and as we all know, it’s worked pretty good for him. How low are they going? It’s now taking two guys to pull the forks down with a lot of guys! Crazy if you ask me and again, I’d be perfectly happy if they banned the starting devices and it took more skill to get a great start. I mean, once everyone has one, we’re just back to being even, so why not just take them back off?
Thanks for reading, good time for both of us, right? Email me at email@example.com and we can chat about A2, Oakland or anything else really.