OMG it’s here! Round one of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series has happened and it was back at Anaheim, which is always cool. This is the traditional start of the series too. The pits were packed, the stands were packed and although we’re still in this pandemic, it was good to see some normalcy return to the series, that’s for sure.
For an opening round, I thought the track was pretty tough. The rhythms were all pretty basic, but the two sets of whoops were a tough test for the riders. Also, the dirt was softer than usual, but the whoops were hard packed so that threw some riders and teams off with setup stuff. I kept waiting for someone to bust out one of the huge quads but doing it didn’t really benefit you on the track so no one pulled it out. Stew would have, of course.
Let’s take a look at the results shall we?
1st | #28 Christian Craig | Temecula, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Perfection for Christian, just like last year’s opener. He looked perfect just about all day (clipping a Tuff Block in the main not withstanding), was hella-fast everywhere, and looked to be in complete command. I think he’ll be smarter this year also about the title fight which will help him. I think he’s the favorite going forward from here with his teammate Colt Nichols going out with an injury. I asked him about battling with Vince Friese early in the main after the race and he told me, “I actually gave him a talk before. In practice he almost T-boned me. After that, I’m like, ‘Hey, please. You’re going to take us both down.’ Before the main I’m like, ‘Hey, if I’m behind you, please just don’t do anything dumb.’ And he’s like, ‘Dude, I got you. I got you. So I passed him no problem. I’m like, ‘Let’s go, Vince.’ Maybe I should give him a little bonus. ‘Thank you, Vince.’ There you go riders, just make deals with Vince!
2nd | #47 | Seth Hammaker | Temecula, CA | Kawasaki KX250
I was actually shocked to read that out of ten career SX races, Seth’s made the podium in four of them. Who knew? We all saw him grab that win, of course, but I didn’t really remember any other SX races that stood out. He’s like Justin Cooper so far in that he’s got a really impressive resume building early on. After the main he needed some moments to compose himself from casing the crap out of the jump before the finish.
3rd | #96 | Hunter Lawrence | Wesley Chapel, FL | Honda CRF250R
Great work by Hunter to gut out a podium from way back. He grabbed the last spot on the box last lap and one more lap would’ve had second. He was that good! Like Craig, he’s got so much experience racing that he’s generally not prone to making dumb mistakes, so one would think he’ll be CC’s main competitor each week going forward from here.
4th | #35 | Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Yamaha YZ250F
I bet Garrett was mega-pissed to lose a podium on the last lap when Hunter got him. He rode well, he was good in the whoops (not shocked by the way), and made a couple of runs at Hammaker but couldn’t get it done. A third would’ve been SO awesome for him and his team but nope, the factory guy snatched it away, just like that.
5th | #62 | Vince Friese | Menifee, CA | Honda CRF250R
Vince is back in the 250’s but his starts stayed with him! He pulled the holeshot in the heat and almost did it in the main. He still led three laps, looked pretty good in his return to the class and all in all, a top five is a solid start for Friese. I think he’s capable of a podium or two as well.
6th | #29 | Michael Mosiman | Minneaola, FL | GasGas MC 250F
Mosiman is “Sexton-lite” in the 250 class in that he’s very fast (qualified fastest!) and looks great but he can’t quite hold it together. He made another mistake early in the main (can’t turn down early in the race, bro) that left him on the ground early and in last. He fought hard to get to sixth but yeah, again, what could have been for Michael.
7th | #30 Jo Shimoda | Menifee, CA | Kawasaki KX250
Like Mosiman, if Jo wants to win this title he can’t make mistakes like he did at A1 when he hit the gate. I get it, it flinched, but it’s a short series, you can’t count on a veteran like Craig to make mistakes like that. He fell down, also, while trying to come through the pack.A seventh isn’t good for Jo, I’m sure he’s not stoked on the comeback ride.
8th | #69 Robbie Wageman | Newhall, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Last year at the opener in Orlando, Wageman came out and grabbed a ninth in an impressive ride and also made me look like a genius for talking him up on the PulpMX Fantasy podcast. That’s the good part, just like this A1 ride where he looked very good all day long. The bad part is, that Orlando finish last year was his best one of the year and Robbie’s got to make sure this doesn’t follow the same program. If he can be top ten every week, that’s huge. He’s got the skills to do it.
9th | #98 Dominique Thury | Schneeberg, GER | Yamaha YZ250F
Thury’s got some good skills indoors and looked pretty good—he was top ten for basically the whole race. I think for Club MX, having two riders in the top ten is a good start to the series.
10th | #43 Carson Mumford | Simi Valley, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Mumfy had a rough SX season last year and so to run up front for a lot of the main event is an improvement over last year. BUT, and there’s always a but, he faded back to tenth with nothing happening to him. He’s got to, in my opinion, beat dudes like Thury, Wageman, etc. to be that next guy in line for a factory spot.
11th | #66 | Chris Blose | Phoenix, AZ | GasGas MC 250F
Zombie is back! He had a good crash in practice in the whoops and I texted him to see if he’s ok and got back “Zombies never die.” Whew!
12th | #49 | Nate Thrasher | Livingston, TN | Yamaha YZ250F
Thrasher hit the gate in the main event, which is not ideal, then fought back from that and another crash to get this 12th. Thrasher won two races at the ATL speedway last year but his non-speedway/normal SX track results weren’t great. This continues that trend ICYWW.
13th | #64 Mitchell Harrison | Leesburg, FL | GasGas MC 250F
Didn’t notice Harrison much out there to be honest so not sure what went on but in my mind, he’s a top ten dude indoors all day long. I’m sure he’ll get there.
14th | #161 Cole Thompson | Brigden, ON | Yamaha YZ250F
Thompson’s been a KTM factory guy in Canada for the last few years but they cut him loose and he decided to privateer it in the USA on a Yamaha.
15th | #40 Dilan Schwartz | Alpine, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Early in his career, Schwartz hasn’t quite stood out indoors like he has outdoors but there is potential here for sure. The dude can ride but A1 was just okay for him. A couple of bad laps halfway through the main event cost him. The good news is he made the main, the bad news is he got the last spot in.
16th | #58 Ryan Surratt | Corona, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Surratt had a great 450MX series last summer and got himself back on the radar of some B teams. He and Wageman, his teammate, seemed to be riding together a lot out there throughout the day. I bet Ryan wishes he was around Wageman in the main!
17th | #101 Dylan Walsh | Southam, GB | Kawasaki KX250
Walsh is from New Zealand and when I asked some Aussies here about him, ‘Isn’t he from down there?’ they acted like I was crazy. Apparently with Aussies, you can’t reference NZ as being anywhere near Australia.
18th | #67 Logan Karnow | Amherst, OH | Kawasaki KX250
Karnow didn’t have the main event he wanted, battled the typical A1 arm pump/nerves and he told me he would be better going forward from here.
19th | #79 Hunter Schlosser | El Paso, TX | Yamaha YZ250F
Good job for privateer hero Schlosser out there. He looked better than I remember him in SX last year.
20th | #432 Kaeden Amerine | Great Bend, KS | KTM 250 SX-F
Amerine didn’t look great in practice or in the heat but he made it count in the LCQ to get into the main event.
21st | #74 Derek Kelley | Riverside, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Kelly looked great all day in practice and in the heat as well. He’s on a new team and bike for 2022 and he’s gotten a lot better in SX from a few years ago. Unfortunately he had a rough main event with a few crashes and at one point ended up in the Matthes Memorial Nets. PulpMX Fantasy players probably not too happy with Derek, TBH.
22nd | #216 | Devin Harriman | Longview, WA | KTM 250 SX-F
AX specialist Harriman puts it in the main event, I know he’s ridden SX for a bit now but to me, Harriman is an AX specialist so there.
1st | #94 | Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL Honda | CRF450R
Well, well, look at what we have here! Roczen rode great and won this race rather easily after he fought off Sexton’s advances. Double-digit second-leads for the 94 allowed him to do his thing with no pressure. Roczen’s been frustrated with getting sick and being off the bike so this was probably a surprise to him and his team, but as I told Kenny, champions like him generally rise to the occasion when the lights come on. Also, maybe him coming in not feeling as ready as usual might help him near the end of the series when things start getting tough for him. Maybe being laid out and not riding before the season will actually be a benefit? Not sure but man was he good at A1!
2nd | #1 | Cooper Webb | Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Webb looked good all day, not great. But this is what he does—when the track goes to crap and we’re in a longer race, he starts to shine. There’s no way I would’ve had him getting second but yeah, here he is. Working with Michael Byrne now, lots of eyes on Cooper and his program. We’ll know more as this series goes on but for now, Webb looks like the old Webb and that’s trouble for the other riders.
3rd | #51 | Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | GasGas MC 450F
His A1 streak is over but he still got on the box in a good ride and at one point he was second and a Ken-Roczen-mistake away from unbelievably making it four in a row! I think his move on Anderson was fine—everyone calm down, this is SX after all. I talked to someone at TLD and they were telling me that Justin’s been unbelievable to work with this off-season. He’s happy, he’s in a good place, and all is well in BAM LAND.
4th | #25 Marvin Musquin | Corona, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
Marv was aggressive at Anaheim 1. He took Cade Clason down, he took Malcolm Stewart down, and all in all, it was a bit of a shock to see. He has the crown of “off season flying at the test track” and it was good to see him look better at A1 than at most other races last year. Working with DV, living in SoCal all the time, SX-only contract- maybe Marv is gonna turn into Bam Bam?
5th | #23 Chase Sexton | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R
Stop me if you heard this before….Sexton looked great, he was hella-fast, and could’ve won the main. But he made multiple mistakes and couldn’t get it done. To get two crashes and still get a top five is impressive though. It’s a bit weird to me—he was behind Kenny, his teammate, in the main event and he knows Roczen’s been sick and not on the bike so he had to know if he rides behind the 94, he can probably out-last him. Then again his first error wasn’t because he was trying to force it so yeah, there’s that.
6th | #3 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Yamaha YZ450F
Eli looked great in practice and was as fast on the Yamaha as he was on the Kawasaki. The opening round has never been his strong suit and that kind of continued with a bad start and his inability to rip through the field. Still, he didn’t lose his mind like some other guys and just methodically moved through the pack when others made mistakes and ended up with an okay finish. So yeah, Eli’s A1 was just okay, but if you’re wondering if he had any issues adapting to BLU CRU, don’t.
7th | #27 | Malcolm Stewart | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 450
Mookie was the fastest rider in both qualifying sessions. He looked great, he looks incredibly fit, and he’s ready to go. Here’s the thing also in the positive department, he wasn’t the fastest dude in qualifying because of his whoops speed. He was third fastest in that segment (with the tougher set of whoops) in the main event which is good but wasn’t amazing, and he wasn’t the fastest through there in his qualifying practice either. So yeah, Mookie was fast everywhere! He was also very fast to drop his bike after the main event and get into Marv’s face about the move that took him down. Angry Mookie! Fit Mookie! MOOKIE FEVER!!!!
8th | #17 Joey Savatgy |Clermont, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Good job for Joey to get this spot, stacked field and all. He seemed to just follow Eli through the pack and let others make mistakes and he’ll take the top ten. Savatgy’s team doesn’t have KTM factory support this year, they are relying on aftermarket companies to do their motors and suspension and that’s an interesting development. One would logically think there’s no way the bike is as good and it’ll be interesting to watch.
9th | #7 | Aaron Plessinger | Leesburg, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Not a great debut for AP on the KTM. He was definitely off in qualifying practice, he crashed a few times, and all in all, he has to be surprised and happy he was top ten after the flag flew. Odd to see him off like this. He doesn’t seem to me to be the type of dude who would get nervous or whatever. He’ll take the top ten and move on.
10th | #21 | Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Kawasaki KX450
Anderson probably should’ve been on the box at the end of the night, he looked pretty good. He made the cardinal sin any rider can make when you pass Justin Barcia. After the pass you gotta get the hell out of there ASAP! He left the door open in maybe the only corner on the track where it was possible to make a move and Barcia put him down with an aggressive pass. Still, he went from tenth or whatever and probably should’ve been third, which is the stuff you can hang your hat on. He did lose three spots very late in the race when he looked, to me, tired, but a lot happened before that so I’m not gonna freak out.
11th | #9 | Adam Cianciarulo | New Smyrna Beach, FL | Kawasaki KX450
Adam was stoked with his finish last night. He’s got that shoulder injury holding him back and hasn’t been riding. He was not stoked with me tweeting that he got tired in the heat race but technically, his shoulder got tired so I was right. He still wasn’t having it. Anyway, AC looked to be in prime position to maybe get a top six because as the dudes were catching him they were hitting land mines and dropping back. He might’ve been able to use his start to really get a great finish. It was close, but. wasn’t to be for AC9. As I said, he’ll take his 11th and hopefully get better and better from here. Maybe in a month or so we might see 100 percent Adam. For now, he’s got to grit this thing out.
12th | #15 Dean Wilson | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 450
Didn’t notice Dean out there much but a 12th is fine and is a good start to the year. Dean turned 30 years old the other week and it kind of shook me to my core. It feels like five years ago that I was at Dean’s first ever pro race in Kamloops, BC, where he waxed the field before he started his USA race “thing”. And now he’s 30. FML.
13th | #10 Justin Brayton | Charlotte, NC | Honda CRF450R
Rough last month for JB in that he had a big crash due to a bike malfunction mid-December. He only got back on the bike this week and then had another crash at the Honda test track! He’s too old to be taking hits like that, he might turn to dust. Brayton’s not at 100 percent yet but he’ll get there. For now he’ll take what he can get based on where he starts. He started well in his heat and finished in second. And remember, we have a Triple Crown coming up!
14th | #34 Max Anstie | Murrieta, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
Anstie made the jump from HEP Suzuki to Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS and looked to me about the same as last year. It’s just one race so plenty of time to go but I think most would think he stepped up with the team/bike right?
15th | #54 Mitchell Oldenburg | Aledo, TX | Honda CRF450R
The main event finish is whatever for Mitchell, he’s racing 250SX east and that's his main focus. Still, here’s how you know it was a good night for him—in a stacked opening round whether it was qualifying or the heat race, he just looked like he belonged out there. That’s a good thing for Freckle and the team.
16th | #14 Dylan Ferrandis | Tallahassee, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
Rough start for a guy a lot of us are banking on being a top guy. Dylan got a bad start, got hit, and stalled it and then had a rear brake issue in the main event as well. Obviously he’ll be better going forward but this has got to suck for Dylan, DV, and everyone on the team.
17th | #41 Brandon Hartranft | Brick, NJ | Suzuki RM-Z450
I didn’t have Hartranft as the only HEP guy in the main event that’s for sure, not with Justin Bogle on the team.Good for Hartranft. Just like last year—and he did it near the end during outdoors—his goal should be to be in 10-15th place every weekend.
18th | #12 Shane McElrath | Oakland, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
The good: Shane’s starts were on point. The bad: he looked like he got kind of tired as he slipped back into the back. He did clank his face off the bars at one point in the main which I’m sure didn’t help. Getting up there into the mix with good starts is a good thing when you're still new to this class. Sure you drop back cause you’re not ready but you keep doing that and you keep getting a little faster.
19th | #78 Cade Clason | Chesterfield, SC | Honda CRF450R
The off-season buzz about Cade was high. He’s been out at Club MX grinding away and when I went out there for a couple of days, he looked pretty good also. At A1 he rode himself into qualifying spots in both the heat and the LCQ. He was helped to the LCQ by Musquin parking him in the last turn. One would hope Marv didn’t know he was in 8th when he did that. I was giving Cade a lot of shit for taking down Alex Martin in the LCQ (because I had Troll in fantasy of course) but in all seriousness, he rode very well on the new team.
20th | #61 Fredrik Noren | Indian Trail, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Fast Freddie got the gift of the night when he rode around two dudes laying on the ground to get the last spot into the main event in the heat. You gotta put yourself in good position and Freddie did just that! I like Freddie, he’s a good dude and I hope he does well.
21st | #95 Justin Starling | Deland, FL | GasGas MC 450F
Starling was good, he took off with the LCQ win, rode well, and all that. Here’s the thing though, Keefer was on the Pulpmx Show Monday night and talked about how he can’t unsee Justin’s blue boots with his black/orange/yellow FXR setup and I checked it out. He’s right, not sure what Justin was doing here—this ruins his whole night. We don’t do the LIT KIT anymore but safe to say he wouldn’t be in the top 100 of any LIT KIT from this race.
22nd | #200 Ryan Breece | Athol, ID | Yamaha YZ450F
Maybe the surprise of the night was Breece? He’s been on HEP, he’s been on Rock River Yamaha, so it’s not like he’s not made SX mains before but he missed all of last season with an injury and he’s a total privateer this year. The #200 also looks weird out there as a number, but anyway, good job to Breece and he was stoked to make the main.
That’s all I got from Anaheim 1, stoked to have the series back and to be typing these things out for you again! We’re on to Oakland everyone, let’s get this thing cooking. Email email@example.com if you want to chat about this or anything else.