San Diego might be the greatest city in America. Its weather is arguably the most livable year round, its Pacific coastline is scenic to say the least, and on January 22, it hosts Monster Energy AMA Supercross. The move to Petco Park a handful of years ago has not been without controversy but I personally love it. The downtown location creates a parking headache for local race fans when you compare it to the former Qualcomm Stadium’s ease of access. Still, the proximity to the Gas Lamp District and the downtown atmosphere is a significant upgrade. Further, the stadium itself is far superior to the antiquated former host. This is a race I look forward to each year and should be near the top of everyone’s “must see” races.
Dirty Little Secrets
The track is typical of the baseball diamond variety. The rhythm sections are a bit shorter, the layouts a bit tighter. While it’s difficult to directly attribute results to the baseball diamond layouts, I do think that starts are more critical. Riders will tell you that longer rhythm lanes create more passing because you have a longer section to draw up next to a rider and set up a pass before the next corner. Speaking of starts, San Diego’s start is another short one. It bends into a 180 left and immediately into a rhythm section. These rhythm sections after the start can be tricky as riders are bunched together. Mishaps will be likely on Saturday as miscalculations and mistakes are heavily penalized when riders are in such tight formation. As for how riders will attack this first section, there isn’t a clear approach on paper. It’s safe to assume riders will attempt to wheel tap or generally blitz through the first few jumps as quickly as possible. They will then either triple or step on-step off into the next right-hand corner.
Riders will likely go 3-2 through the next short chute and into a 90-degree, right-hand corner. Going 3-2 allows riders to double to the inside (450s especially) and sweep through the inside for the next standard supercross triple. The 250SX Class may have to utilize the outside but the further outside they must go, the more time they will sacrifice.
Landing from the triple, there is an opportunity to go 4-3 into the next turn. I think many will opt for the simpler on-off, but they will also be forced to slow down more than those wanting to quad. Another option would be to go 2-1 into the corner which would allow riders to stay inside for the next corner.
The next rhythm section should be fairly constant for everyone, choosing to go 2-3-2 into the upcoming bowl berm. The finish line is up next and into another left-hand bowl berm, this time firing riders back across the start straight-away. The next few straightaways criss-cross the start area and will likely offer few opportunities for passing. After passing the mechanics’ area, a few small whoops lead into a 90-degree corner before the only real whoops section on the San Diego layout. Look for these to be difficult as the San Diego event often offers up a challenging set. It could also present one of the only obvious passing opportunities on this track. However, also keep in mind this is the first track this year without two sets of whoops. Anaheim 1 and Oakland were tough.
A flat 180-degree corner puts riders back into lap two and that original rhythm section just after the first corner.
Jason Anderson made good on the potential he showed at Anaheim. He took command of the Oakland main event early on and never looked to be under serious duress.
Christian Craig is two-for-two in the 250 class and takes his 8-point lead into his hometown race of San Diego. It’s way too early for talk of a sweep…but could he sweep this series?
Hunter Lawrence has been quietly very good. His starts have been the biggest challenge thus far but for a rider being thrust into a series on minimal notice, he has looked very prepared.
Seth Hammaker deserves credit for rising above most people’s expectations. It would be hard to find predictions that had him on the podium at both of the first two rounds.
Aaron Plessinger bounced back from a so-so opener to score a runner up finish in Oakland. For those wondering if he would adapt to a new program, new team, and new motorcycle, I think we have our answer.
Ken Roczen had two big crashes on Saturday and found himself in 13th when the checkered flag flew Saturday night.
Jo Shimoda has had more crashes in 2022 than I can remember him having in the entire 2021 season.
In what could be the most shocking development of the weekend, several SX regulars had items stolen from their vehicles while visiting the picturesque greater Oakland metro.
Many in the SX universe were missing from Oakland as the Omicron COVID-19 variant makes its way through our sport. I would venture a guess as to more positive cases on the horizon.
My sister signs a six-figure deal with Levi’s. (Unrelated note: I do not have a sister.)
Adam Enticknap’s diss track “Greasy Breecy” lands at #2 on the Billboard Hip-Hop Charts.
Honda Japan brass sends a formal memo requesting that athletes do not bounce their factory equipment off teammates’ cranial areas.
Vince Friese continues his worldwide goodwill campaign.