For the third time in 2022, we roll back into Orange County, California, for round six of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. After two years away from Anaheim, it’s been a great return. We have seen great racing and full stadiums. Two thousand twenty-two feels normal in that sense. Kudos to Feld Entertainment for fighting through miles of red tape, restrictions, and dark days to get us back to where we sit today.
Dirty Little Secrets
The track for this final Anaheim round is a real doozy. It has big rhythms, a sand section, a long whoops section, and a jump-over-the-start finish line jump. The track builders are sending us east with a bang.
The start has been moved a bit clockwise and cuts diagonally towards home plate of the baseball diamond. It rolls into a flat, left-hand corner, followed by another flat chute. I like these as it gives riders plenty of room and time to avoid trouble. A right-hand corner sends riders into a small double and immediately into the only whoops section on this layout. Anaheim has given tough whoops at both of the prior rounds so expect that trend to continue. Getting a good drive and fully committing to the entry of these whoops will be key.
A left-hand bowl berm ends the rhythm section and leads into a critical rhythm section. Best guess is that riders will attempt to triple out of the turn, triple again, triple onto the next tabletop, step off and single to the inside of the next corner. That will be a big combo to put together but likely is the end result.
Hugging the inside of the next 90-degree left will allow riders to double into the sand. The track map says that riders would double through these (possibly triple from the outside) but the sand typically ends up being more of a mess than a calculable rhythm.
Riders then fire across the start straight (sideways) and past the mechanics’ area. A small double sets up for a quick right-left with a short straight in between. It’s a curious section that feels like it’s missing an obstacle or three.
A left-hand bowl berm sets up for a 3-2 section, allowing for riders to double to the inside of the next left hand 90-degree corner. Riders will utilize that momentum and float through the inside of said corner and into the next short double. Ideally that would be one fluid motion without too much input on the brakes or throttle. The landing of that double immediately transitions into a standard supercross triple and righ- hand bowl berm.
The next section has two options. Most riders will opt for a 3-3-1 but some of the 250 riders might be forced to settle for a 2-3-2. The upside to the 3-3-1 is how much more speed riders will carry out of the corner and through the first set of jumps. Watch for the elite 250 riders to make this a passing opportunity on the far left section of the track (setting up for the inside of the next corner).
The next rhythm section is interesting. There are a few different ways to tackle it. The obvious choice for exiting the bowl berm is to triple onto the tabletop and step off. That would lead to a big triple-single into the next corner. The trouble here is that stepping off a flat tabletop is not the most ideal setup for an upcoming triple. The rear wheel often clips that step-off landing and compresses the forks, upsetting the balance of the motorcycle. It’s doable but not ideal.
Another possibility would be to double out of the corner, then try to go quad-triple. It will be difficult because riders will be going slow over that double and then need to really goose it if they want to quad. The factory 450 riders could pull this off, but I fear doubling out of the corner might be too slow.
The final option would be to jump completely over the tabletop to the downside, then triple-double. I really like this option but getting over that tabletop is not going to be easy. If you can get a great drive from the corner and seat bounce hard enough, it could be possible. In any case, watch for how this section develops.
The next 90-degree left leads to the finish line jump and it could be a big one, spanning the first corner. Three small jumps lead back into lap two and while tripling these seems obvious, I could see riders doubling and using the last single to turn/brake for the inside line.
Eli Tomac is en fuego. He has two wins in a row and looks to be back on 2020 SLC form. He is a problem for everyone else.
Jason Anderson is mistake prone, but his riding is unmistakably great. When things go right, this is the best he’s ever ridden.
Chase Sexton is taking steps towards being the rider he will eventually become. He still has the random crash that is holding back the big picture development, but the upside is really high. That quad he did in Glendale was madness.
Malcolm Stewart had his best race of the young series last weekend. His starts were good, his speed was good, and his result was good.
Hunter Lawrence got his first win of the year. He was steady and smart while everyone around him was dealing with chaos. I still say he will need to decisively win races to take this title, but a win is a win.
Christian Craig is the fastest rider in this field but if he keeps hitting the deck (regardless of who’s fault it is), life is going to be difficult. His speed is simply nuts, though. He holds an eight-point lead going into A3.
Michael Mosiman’s ninth overall in Glendale dug a points hole that he will be desperately trying to fill as we head towards a long break.
Cooper Webb was playing the consistency game well, staying right near the red plate up until Anaheim 2. With Tomac on an absolute tear, though, the time is now to make a move.
Ken Roczen just doesn’t look like he has the fire we are used to seeing. I still can’t quite define what’s missing, but I know it is indeed missing.
The starting gates are replaced by an official simply yelling “Ready, Set, Go!”. Chaos ensues.
NBC’s Dateline launches a probe into what exactly is going on with the Ryan Breece fine/no fine saga.
Jason Anderson sets a record for the total time spent in between lanes of a supercross track in a season.
Vince Friese and co. leave moto to join a high-end consulting firm in the legal defense sector. Executors of the deal contend that they had never seen such talent for consistent deniability and simply had to add he and his team to their arsenal.