Welcome to the Race Day Feed from the first day of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season. Here you’ll find blow-by-blow reports on the action as it happened on opening day. From breaking news to practice reports to race reports from the mains, it's all here. Check it all out, or find the information you're looking for in each labeled section.
Timed Qualifying – Session One
Not much to report from the first timed 250SX practice session of the year. There was no dominant rider who threw down right away and held the fastest time all session, and riders all took turns holding the fastest times. As the session wound down it looked like it would be Malcolm Stewart who would end up on top, but Tyler Bowers, who was fastest early on, would end up fastest late in the session. He ended up having his fastest lap invalidated after failing sound though, handing the fastest time back over to Stewart. In Bowers' case, they reverted to his second-best time.
In the 450 Class there was unfortunately more going on. Wil Hahn prompted a red flag on the first lap when he went over the bars hard in a rhythm section, and it was quite some time before he was taken out of the stadium on the Asterisk Medical Mule. He was taken to the local hospital with what is suspected to be a broken arm and will almost certainly not be racing tonight. When practice resumed Ken Roczen was fast right away, only to see Trey Canard top the list. Eli Tomac would become the first rider to drop under the 56-second mark late in the session with a 55.823, but Ken Roczen smashed through his final lap and ended up on top with a 55.620.
Timed Qualifying – Session Two
The track has turned out to be pretty simple here, no riders are really busting out any special combinations in the rhythm lanes. It looks like this one could come down to corner speed, line choice and finding traction on Anaheim's slick dirt.
Jessy Nelson was fast right away in the 250s and for a while, he was the only guy breaking his own times. Cooper Webb was able to take the lead eventually, but Malcolm Stewart quickly bested that time by dipping into the 55-second range with a 55.868. Not to be outdone, Webb threw in a fast lap (55.728) at the very end to take top honors. Josh Hansen didn’t come out for this session and it appeared as if he was having bike problems in the tunnel when his group went out. We’ll update you on this situation when we learn more.
In 450 action Ken Roczen was fast right away, laying down a 54.927 almost immediately. Eli Tomac was fast too, and you could tell he was really pushing in a few places but he wasn’t able to quite match Roczen’s pace until very late in the qualifier with a 54.586. Roczen had one last lap left to get it back, but he pushed the front a little coming out of a left-hander and wasn’t able to get it done. Trey Canard was pretty much the only other rider to stick his nose into the Roczen/Tomac lap tap fray at the top, moving into second at one point, but he ended up third.
250 Heat 1
Josh Hansen jumped out to the early lead in this one after missing the second practice due to bike problems. He led most of the race, but Justin Hill stalked him and made the pass with a lap left. Zach Bell had a good heat race also, coming on strong late in the race to take third from around seventh place. Hill, Hansen, Bell, Alex Martin, Shane McElrath, Austin Politelli, Zach Freeberg, Michael Leib and Scott Champion advance.
250 Heat 2
Wildest heat race of the year, by far. Matt Bisceglia took the holeshot but crashed all by himself while leading. Chris Alldredge also went down early and had to restart in dead last. Tyler Bowers inherited the lead when Bisceglia went down, but Zach Osborne put a move on him for the lead. The two exchanged several block passes before Bowers banged Osborne hard enough to send him off the track and into an oncoming lane. Fortunately there wasn’t anyone coming. Then Jessy Nelson put a move on Cooper Webb for second that left Webb in the dirt. Shortly after that, Durham went down in a rhythm section! Bowers, Nelson, Webb, Nico Izzi, Aaron Plessinger, Tommy Hahn, Cole Martinez, and Trevor Reis advance.
Zach Osborne forced his way into a holeshot and didn’t look back. Darryn Durham ran second with Malcolm Stewart in tow. The battle for the final spot was between Jean Ramos and Ryan Breece, with Ramos getting by. Ramos looked good for the transfer spot but he and Breece got together and they both went down. Johnny Jelderda inherited the spot. Osborne, Stewart, Durham, and were set to advance, but the results show Breece advancing instead of Jelderda.
250 Main Event
So far some pretty wild action had come from the 250SX ranks, and the 250 main held true to the trend. Except for Jessy Nelson that is, who took the holeshot and never looked back, going wire to wire to win his first supercross race. There was plenty of mayhem behind him, however. Early in the race Malcolm Stewart, Cooper Webb, and Austin Politelli all got together and went down, resulting in a DNF for Stewart and Politelli going a lap down. Shortly after, Matt Bisceglia went down in a corner and lost a ton of spots. Later Darryn Durham and Cole Martinez rubbed in a rhythm section and both crashed hard and were knocked out of the race. Durham’s crash looked especially violent—he got separated from the bike and slammed into the face of a jump.
Elsewhere Josh Hansen was running in the top three early but started fading. Late in the race had a mishap and went off the track, although he was able to salvage ninth. Osborne had a great night to finish in a lonely second after hurting his thumb in his heat race. Tyler Bowers worked his way to third, Justin Hill took fourth and Aaron Plessinger rounded out the top five, nearly catching Hill for fourth on the final lap.
450 Heat 1
Another wild heat race, this time courtesy of Andrew Short and Ken Roczen. Mike Alessi took the holeshot but Short took the lead immediately. Then Alessi developed some sort of bike problem and dropped way back. Roczen worked his way past Barcia for second and took off after Short. Roczen was able to close the gap, but he just wasn’t able to get by, although not for lack of trying. For several laps he was all over Short, but Short must have picked up a DC sponsorship because he refused to lose. He hung on for the win by a hair. Short, Roczen, Ryan Dungey, and Jason Anderson.
450 Heat 2
Justin Brayton took the holeshot but Davi Millsaps quickly moved by. Eli Tomac and Trey Canard weren’t far behind and within a few laps had closed on Millsaps. Tomac made a clean block pass on Millsaps, and a turn later Canard used a ridiculously fast line through the sand to pass Millsaps. That was pretty much it for the action, and Tomac, Canard, Millsaps, and Chad Reed advance.
450 Semi 1
The holeshot went to Brett Metcalfe with Blake Baggett, Cole Seely and Jake Weimer right behind. Then Seely went down and restarted in dead last. Baggett caught Metcalfe and was trying to make the pass like crazy. He finally got it done in a rhythm section but Metcalfe cut back inside in the next turn and went around the outside of Baggett in the sand section to take the win. Metcalfe, Baggett, Mike Alessi, Weston Peick and Jake Weimer advance.
450 Semi 2
Another Justin Brayton Holeshot in this one, but Justin Barcia quickly took the lead and checked out. From that point it was an uneventful race. Barcia, Brayton, Broc Tickle, Josh Hill, and Josh Grant advance, with Dean Wilson heading to the LCQ.
If you’d predicted that both Dean Wilson and Cole Seely would have ended up in the LCQ tonight, a lot of people would have laughed at you. But that’s exactly what happened. Fortunately they both came out okay. Wilson took the holeshot, and after briefly giving up the lead to Kyle Partridge, retook the lead and went on to win, followed closely by Seely. Partridge took third, with Tevin Tapia securing the final transfer spot of the night.
450 Main Event
If you were hoping for a close race for the win all the way down to the wire, this race would have been a disappointment for you. On the other hand, if you are a fan of races where one guy checks out and is never challenged the entire time, this race would have left you smiling and high fiving. In his first race aboard the RCH Suzuki, Ken Roczen took the lead away from Andrew Short on the first lap and simply disappeared. Behind him Jason Anderson rode to a lonely second, although had he started with Roczen he may have had a shot at making a move—he didn’t let Roczen’s gap get any bigger and even spun a few faster laps. Behind Anderson a battle raged for third between Andrew Short, Trey Canard and Ryan Dungey. Canard was able to inch away while Dungey and Short went at it for almost the entire race. Dungey was finally able to make a pass stick with just a few laps remaining.
Unfortunately, there were plenty of crashes that affected a few of the preseason title favorites. Eli Tomac went down twice all by himself and Davi Millsaps went down while running in the top five. Millsaps would later crash again when he and Seely went down together in the sand. Seely ended up fourteenth while Millsaps and Tomac took nineteenth and twentieth. Check back later tonight for a more extensive report of tonight’s action.
As is always the case at the first round of the year, there’s an electricity in the air here. Everyone’s slate is clean and everyone is eager to get off to a good start. The vibe is somewhat intensified this time around too, as Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart won’t be lining up tonight. Villopoto is racing overseas this year and Stewart is serving out his suspension for testing positive for a banned substance (more on that here) last year at the Seattle Supercross. The lack of two of the sport’s biggest stars has left things truly wide open, although there’s certainly no lack of talent that will make up tonight’s racing. Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Justin Barcia, Trey Canard, Davi Millsaps, and plenty more will be joined tonight by top-shelf rookies Cole Seely, Jason Anderson, Blake Baggett, and Dean Wilson in the first race of the year. And the best part? Nobody has any idea who might draw first blood.
The 250SX Class should be interesting too, and although we don’t know who will emerge as a dominant title favorite yet, we just might by the end of the night. One particularly interesting storyline is Josh Hansen, whose 2011 Western Regional 250SX title run was derailed by a broken hand. You might wonder how he’s eligible to race the 250SX Class—he finished inside the top twenty in the 450SX Class just a few years ago. Well, Hansen never pointed out of the 250SX Class (he voluntarily advanced) and the rules state that “Riders finishing inside the top 20 of the 450SX class points in 2013 or 2014 will not be eligible to ride the 250SX class.” The last time Hansen finished inside the top twenty was in 2012, when he finished 18th overall, so there you have it.
The track here at A1 is traditionally fairly easy and this year is no different. The main challenge riders are likely to face tonight will be finding good places to pass. As Fredrik Noren said yesterday when the riders took to the track for press day, there’s going to be some banging! One exception to the relatively low level of difficulty is the whoop section. There’s a dragon’s back into a double leading into a set of ten whoops, and they are big! We talked to Ricky Carmichael earlier and he said the deep whoops won't be so bad because the majority of the whoops are close together, so it's easy to get on top. Elsewhere there’s a pair of two long rhythm sections, a few short lanes, a long sand section with a right-hander, and a few big bowl turns that could make for some serious block passes. Overall, the track is relatively simple.