It’s press day before round two of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team manager Bobby Hewitt has to answer questions. The previous week, when the industry finally gathered in the pits of Anaheim—the racing equivalent of high-school hallways on the first day of class—rumors had started spreading about his star rider, Jason Anderson, breaking ranks from the regular Aldon Baker training program, avoiding laps with Marvin Musquin (who’d just topped him in the opener) and spending less time in Florida and more in California. Anderson talked about balance in his life, longevity, and doing what’s best for him. He also mentioned wanting to win the championship, but hadn’t we learned that hard work is the only way to get that? And that it requires time in Florida, under the guidance of Baker, riding laps with the other fast guys? Was Anderson going off the reservation?
Then came another vote for complacency: a few days after Anaheim, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna announced a four-year contract extension with Anderson—security almost unheard of in this sport. Long-term deals lead to questions about short-term commitment, and after all, Anderson once told us the moment he retires, he’s selling his training bicycle. Hewitt, standing next to Robert Jonas, the vice president of off-road motorsports for the KTM Group, didn’t flinch.
“I know I’m biased, but Jason, I feel, has as good of a chance of winning championships over these next four years as any other rider in this sport,” Hewitt said. “Jason will do the work—sometimes he will do too much and we need to pull him back. This week, with press day, he didn’t get to do as much riding at the test track. That break is going to be good for him, you’ll see.”