Jetting to Win #8
Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence led all laps in the 250SX main event en route to his first Anaheim 1 Supercross win and his first win at Angel Stadium. Jettson’s win was his 8th career 250SX main event win, which came in his 24th career AMA Supercross main event start. The Australian becomes the first Honda-mounted rider to win the Anaheim 1 Supercross 250SX main event since Eli Tomac did so aboard a Honda CRF250R back in 2013. The last Honda 250SX A1 win came on January 5, 2013— 3,654 days prior!
Jett Lawrence, who won the 2022 250SX East Region opening round Minneapolis Supercross main event, follows in the footsteps of Christian Craig, who won the 2021 250SX East Region opener then won the following Anaheim 1 SX season opener in 2022 as well.
Stat of the week: No Longer Elusive to Eli
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac claimed the 450SX opener win—despite crashing away the lead in the early portions of the race. The Colorado native claimed his maiden 450SX Anaheim 1 SX win, which came in his 9th A1 450SX event.
2023 | January 7, 2023
Heat Race Finishing Position: 1st (first heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 1st
2022 | January 8, 2022
Heat Race Finishing Position: 3rd (first heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 6th
NOTE: 2021 Opener was in Houston, Texas. Tomac finished 13th
2020 | January 7, 2020
Heat Race Finishing Position: 4th (first heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 7th
2019 | January 5, 2019
Heat Race Finishing Position: 5th (second heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 3rd
2018 | January 6, 2018
Heat Race Finishing Position: 2nd (first heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 22nd
2017 | January 7, 2017
Heat Race Finishing Position: 1st (1st heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 5th
2016 | January 9, 2016
Heat Race Finishing Position: 1st (1st heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 4th
2015 | January 3, 2015
Heat Race Finishing Position: 1st (second heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: 20th
2014 | January 4, 2014
Heat Race Finishing Position: 19th (2nd Heat)
Main Event Finishing Position: DNQ
ET3 Goes to 4th
The win was Tomac’s 45th career 450SX main event win, which gives him sole possession of 4th on the all-time premier class wins list after he was tied with legend Chad Reed entering the 2023 season.
With his win at the opener, Tomac became the first defending champion to win the following season’s opening round main event since Ryan Villopoto did so in 2012. Every year from 2013 to 2022, the opener of the first round, did not go on to win the title. So, will Tomac claim the 2023 450SX title?
I believe Eli Tomac is the first defending champion to win the following season opener since Ryan Villopoto did so in 2012. That was also the last season the A1 450SX main event winner went on to win the title. #SXHistory#Supercross#SX2023#2023A1SX#DropTheGate#SupercrossLIVE— Mitch Kendra (@mitch_kendra) January 8, 2023
Other Random Stats
Justin Hill qualified for the main event and finished 15th in his first AMA race since the Salt Lake City 7 Supercross June 21, 2020. It was 930 days—or 2 years, 6 months, 17 days—between AMA gate drops for the younger Hill brother.
In the 450SX main event we saw a total of 4 different riders lead at least one full lap.
- The most different riders to lead at least one lap in a regular format since the 2022 Detroit Supercross (March 12, 2023) saw four different riders lead at least one full lap in a 450SX main event.
- The most different riders to lead at least one lap at a season opener since 2003 (that is as far as the lap data goes back to).
Occurrences of Different Riders Leading Lap(s) at the AMA Supercross Premier Class Opener
|# of Different Riders to Lead||Occurrences|
|4 Different Riders||1|
|3 Different Riders||3|
|2 Different Riders||10|
|Only 1 Rider||7|
The following riders earned career bests in their respective main events:
Colt Nichols | 6th
First ever 450SX main event
Grant Harlan | 17th
First ever 450SX main event
250SX West Region
Max Vohland | 5th
Derek Kelley | 10th
Hunter Cross | 19th
First ever 250SX main event
Post-Race Penalty Report
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) provided its post-race penalty report for the opener. There were only two incidents on the report, both coming during qualifying in the 250SX Class. Note, these penalties did not impact any of the main event results or points standings.
Ken Block Tributes
Malcolm Stewart and Levi Kitchen paid respect to action sports icon Ken Block (who passed away in a snowmobile accident last week at 55 years old) with special helmets.
Madd Start to the Season
The Madd Parts/Big Buildings Direct/Ronnie Prado Company Kawasaki team quietly managed to get two of its three team riders into the first 450SX main event of the year. Fredrik Noren claimed the LCQ win and John Short finished fourth, both qualifying for the big show. Team owner Bubba Pauli qualified 42nd, short of the night show, but he remains a consistent competitor each weekend. Pauli had made over 100 straight events in a row last year until a torn ACL ended his streak at the Daytona Supercross. However, the warrior has been at every AMA Supercross round since as he continues to work towards another long events streak.
Noren and Short making the big show were two of the three Kawasaki KX450 mounted riders in the main event, which comes as a huge relief to the team about two weeks after the transporter was totaled in an accident. No one was injured in the accident, which saw the team sprinter van forced to the side of the road to avoid a head-on collision with another car, but the squad had to search for another way to get everything from the Midwest out to California. Luckily, team manager Ryan Koontz’ cousin is the team manager for the Vance & Hines American Flat Track team and the two were able to work out a deal, get the title for a renegade transporter switched over, get it wrapped, and get it onto the road the Monday of the opening round. Not a very ideal situation to start off the new season, but the team hustled and got it done!
Moranz and His Vans
Privateer Kevin Moranz ran into a similar issue when his specially prepped van lost its transmission only 15 minutes into his 20-hour drive from Kansas to California before the opener. Moranz and his family towed the van back to their house and built out a second van to fit his two bikes, tools, gear, etc. before he hit the road 24 hours later. Just like the Madd Parts Kawasaki team, Moranz got it done at the opener, Moranz snuck into the 450SX main event with a second in the LCQ before finishing 20th. Check out his last-minute van build vlog below (his A1 recap is below in the vlog section as well).
Brothers Robbie and RJ Wageman
Weege Show post-race walk and talk
Daniel Blair’s Breakdown
James Stewart's A1 Rewind
Quotes From Around The Paddock
Dylan Ferrandis | 4th
“It was a good day. Honestly, it was the best opening round for me in the 450 class. I had a chance to be on the box tonight. I was third at some point in the main event, but a small mistake cost me the podium. In the end, I finished fourth and was right on the wheel of the third guy, so it’s a good result, and I’m really happy with that first race. Honestly, after two very bad seasons in supercross, it’s good to be back in the mix and back to fighting for podiums. I know what I’m capable of, and I think tonight, I didn’t race to my full potential. I know I have a small margin to improve, and I’m ready for next week. The new bike is just so much better for me in supercross. I think we proved it tonight with Eli. He won, and I finished fourth. It’s a good start to the season for us.”
Said Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager Jeremy Coker:
“It was a phenomenal day! It couldn’t have gone any better, especially for the debut of a new bike. Dylan and Eli were happy all day. They had a good practice, good qualifying, an awesome heat race with a 1-2 finish, and good starts all night. That was the key to this race and this weekend – to have good starts, lead some laps and be up front. The main event was awesome. Eli was off to a good start and led a lot of laps. Unfortunately, he went down, but he kept his head focused. He knew, and we knew that he could still win, and he kept the pressure on and pulled off a phenomenal win. Dylan also rode an amazing main event and has made a big turnaround from last season; it’s pretty awesome. We’ll just keep pushing forward.”
Ken Roczen | 5th
"Our weekend at Anaheim was a fun one, but a very gnarly one. We’ve had a lot of rain here lately on the west coast so the track for the first race was very unique, very difficult, and quite possibly one of the gnarliest supercross tracks that I’ve ever ridden. Overall, I’m stoked to get away with a top-five. We didn’t blow anything out of the water, and we didn’t do the absolute greatest, but at the same time we have something strong to build on and I'm super stoked about it. Most importantly, we didn’t crash all day and we got out of here healthy; we saw a lot of real bad crashes and we were able to keep it rubber side down and that was very important to us to keep building."
Colt Nichols |6th
“It was a little chaotic throughout the day, but things came around. I started out making it through the heat race unscathed. I went into the main and got a really good start and kind of fumbled the first little straightaway and went from first to like sixth. [laughs] I didn’t quite have the intensity the first maybe 10 minutes, and the front group got away a little bit–I was riding in no-man’s land. Overall though, I’m really happy. We got through it, which is all I really wanted to do, and I’ve got something to build on now. I’m excited for next weekend.”
Said Honda HRC team manager Lars Lindstrom:
“That was a really good Anaheim 1 for the team, with two guys on the podium, and I’m really proud of Colt Nichols for finishing sixth in his first 450 race. Jett had struggled a little bit during the day with being consistent, but in the main event he just executed and rode a super-clean race–the cleanest he had ridden all day, hitting all the rhythms incredibly clean for a fantastic win. The track was extremely rough and rutted, and Chase probably needed to adapt to the track a little bit better, but to come away from Anaheim 1 with a podium is a success in my book. I’m really stoked on the team and ready to get to the ‘normal’ races now–glad to get A1 out of the way.”
Jason Anderson | 7th
"The track was really demanding tonight with all of the sharp edges and quickly changing ruts which caught a lot of riders out during the day. From the morning practices through the end of the 450SX Main Event, you had to be precise with where you put your tires on every section of the track. I had a few mistakes that cost me from getting into the podium battle at the end of the night but, overall, I feel like we’re in a great place with the KX450SR to be competitive for wins again in 2023.”
Aaron Plessinger | 8th
“For the first round of the season and my first race back since February, my day went pretty well. I qualified in 10th, and while I didn’t get a good start in my Heat race, I made it work and came back to fourth. In the Main Event I was in a good position, but had a little spill. If I hadn’t done that, I feel like I would have ended up in the top five or just outside of it, so we’ll clean some stuff up this week and be back ready for Oakland.”
Adam Cianciarulo | 9th
“First and foremost, it was great to be back at the races doing what I love with my team today. We are aiming to build some momentum and continue improving throughout the season so, to start inside the top-10 after nearly a year away from racing is a positive. It was a really challenging track today for everyone but, we managed it all well as a team and came away with a solid result at the end. I’m looking forward to doing it again next week in Oakland.”
Justin Barcia | 11th
"A1 is a wrap. The day started off pretty well. I felt good in the first practice but I struggled a little bit in the next two, just with feeling comfortable with the track, because it was very tricky with a lot of square edges and things like that. I made a big change before the heat race and unfortunately went in the wrong direction. So I went back to my base setting for the main event. Pretty much ripped the holeshot, led a few laps, made a huge mistake, and had a crash. I worked my way back up to like seventh and had another crash. So it was a difficult main event. We'll take a few positives from the day. We had a good start, and we had speed, we just need to keep it on two wheels and keep it simple and we'll be good. But the speed is there, the fitness is there, and the bike's there, so I'm happy with that and definitely put this result behind us and move forward."
Marvin Musquin | 12th
“I’m very disappointed with my end result and I know I can do a lot better. Track conditions were very tough and I wasn’t able to put it all together tonight. I had a bad start and got pinched badly in the first turn, and from that point on I struggled to find a rhythm. I could’ve got a good result as a lot of riders crashed, but I wasn’t able to make it happen. I got into a better rhythm in the middle part of the race, but then I dropped it. It was a really tough night and this isn’t what I want, so we’ll keep working and do better next weekend.”
Christian Craig | 13th
"A1's done and it was a rough day for me. I started off good in practice and then had a pretty big crash in the whoops and from there on out it was a struggle. I rode tight and not like myself. I’m pretty frustrated with the night, but we're healthy, we're moving on, and only up from here. I've just got to work on starting up front and putting myself in a good position to battle more next week."
Malcolm Stewart | 16th
Note: Stewart was marked as 22nd but his transponder fell off in his crash, so his result was officially updated to 16th.
"The day started out pretty slow. I didn't really ride that well in practice and the track was pretty tough, but I got to a point where I was like, 'You know what? I just need to turn this dayaround,' because I felt like I work too hard to get to this point. I got a decent start in the main event, and just did the best I could. I started riding, clicking off laps, making some good passes, and smart choices. I was leading the main for a while, which was amazing. I don't think I've done that in my whole entire career. Just having all that pressure and dealing with it, if anything brings confidence to me because I know where I belong. I'm very proud of myself. Unfortunately, we did have a crash with three laps to go. It was a big crash for sure. I'm glad that I'm healthy and walked away from it, so we live to fight another day and I'm more proud of myself because of how my day was going and me turning it around and going like that, and doing what I'm supposed to do just brings more confidence for me. I'm looking forward to Oakland."
Shane McElrath | DNQ
"Honestly, for me, I just mentally didn't show up ready to race. It took me too long throughout the day to get to that point. I'm a little banged up but it'll be all good. We'll just keep moving forward and I'm going to be fully prepared next weekend."
Kyle Chisholm | DNQ
"I've been under the weather for the last couple of weeks and then something hit me hard the last few days. I'm not able to keep any food or water in me. I tried to get out there in the heat race and see what I could do. This was my first race with the new team, and they did great and gave me a great bike. With how bad I'm feeling, I'm pretty happy with where we're at, and excited to I know we'll be able to keep improving."
Said HEP Motorsports team manager Larry Brooks:
"I thought the night went well. Roczen put in a good performance. I thought the bike worked well and was not too far off; testing at the track is never the same as at the races. All your weak points show at that first race of the year, but fifth place is a good starting point. As far as the other guys, Chiz was sick, so he was really just out of it all day. Shane crashed so we really didn’t get a chance to see him race and as for Dilan, he’s a young rider making rookie mistakes. He'll catch on, it’s only a matter of time."
250SX West Region
Max Vohland | 5th
“A1 was a good start to the championship for me. I started off the day with two good qualifying sessions, then I had a strong in my Heat, racing to a third-place finish. In the Main Event I got off to a good start and battled most of the race in fourth, and ended up fifth for the night. I’m really happy as my goal was a top-five result and I was able to achieve that. I’m looking forward to carrying this momentum into Oakland next weekend.”
Levi Kitchen | 7th
“It was a tough day. The track was like nothing I’d ever ridden, so it was all new to me. I went into the night, qualifying sixth, which wasn’t too bad. I ended up fourth in my heat race, and I was feeling pretty good, much better than I did in the main. I got a really bad start and worked my way up to seventh, but I plan to do better next weekend. I’m happy to be healthy, though. The track was pretty tough. We’ll just move on from this one.”
Stilez Robertson | 9th
“Today was not really what we were looking for, for sure. It started off with a little crash in free practice and I ended up qualifying ninth. In the heat race, I ended up sixth after tipping over, which didn’t give me an ideal starting position for the main. I got a bad start there and ended up ninth, which, as I said, is not what we are looking for. The conditions were tough tonight, but everyone had to ride it. It wasn’t just me, so no excuses. We’ve got work to do, and we’re going to go back to The Farm and put in the work this week.”
Said Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 team manager Jensen Hendler:
“It wasn’t the start to the season we were looking for, but we know what we need to work on. The track was really rough tonight, and both Levi and Stilez were struggling with it, but we’ll continue to work this week and come back stronger in Oakland.”
Derek Drake | 12th
"It was nice to get A1 behind us. There is a lot of improvement to be made and I'm confident we can reach it. All in all, it was a good night, and we are ready to fight next weekend."
Robbie Wageman | 15th
"It was a rough start to the main event, but we made our way through the pack. I'm happy to make it out of the first round safe. Onwards and upwards from here. My Suzuki was working great all day and I can't wait for next weekend!"
Dilan Schwartz | DNQ
"The track shaped up pretty well for the night show. I felt comfortable but we're just dealing with some little things that held us back. But we're going to get it sorted and come out swinging next weekend."
Ty Masterpool | DNQ
"I am battling Type A flu so I just did the best I could with the cards I was dealt.”
Said BarX Suzuki team manager Buddy Antunez:
"We were on point as a team and our Suzuki’s were ready to go for round one. Derek did a great job of dialing in his Suzuki and himself all day. His riding ability did not match his result on the evening. Robbie was happy with his riding coming out of qualifying, but from the gate drop of heat two he never got going. He’s capable of so much more, and Ty had a couple of crashes that held him back from making the main."