Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 | Winners and Losers
It was another wild Saturday at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, with all 22 former Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champions watching four active champs (and a likely future one from Germany) go at it under the lights. Let’s see who won and who lost at A2.
Anaheim 2 Winners
Chad Reed. Discount Tire Racing Kawasaki. Reed was a winner at A1, a loser in Phoenix, but bounces back in a huge way at A2. Not only did he chase down James Stewart, with whom he’s had epic battles with in years gone by, but he did so convincingly. Reed pulled away strongly with three laps to go, and was unchallenged at the checkers. He also chased down a fast (and young) Ken Roczen, who was in front of him for three-quarters of the race. Riding aggressively, this was the Chad Reed that refuses to be counted out again and again. Win.
James Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. With a 2nd place start, Stewart rode fast, smooth, and smart. He wasn’t close enough to race leader Ryan Dungey to challenge for the lead, but took over the top spot when Dungey went down on Lap 6. Although he was eventually caught, and rather easily passed by Reed with 3 laps to go, JS7 took 2nd place points and improved his overall standing to 6th.
Ken Roczen. Red Bull KTM. Roczen bounces back from a relatively poor result in Phoenix by getting back on the podium and regaining the points lead. The 450-class rookie is not intimidated by Villopoto. Roczen passed RV for 3rd early on, and then kept the reigning champ behind him for another seven laps before he was overtaken. No mistakes made, Roczen finished the race in third.
Justin Brayton. JGRMX/Toyota Yamaha.
Looking in the same fine form he had last week when he took 2nd in Phoenix, Brayton won a sizzling heat race, besting Villopoto, and had the number one gate pick on the night. With an 8th place start in the main, Brayton rode to a 4th place finish, leaving him just five points out of the lead in the standings (albeit with four riders ahead of him). Brayton is riding with conviction and consistency. Three rounds in, he’s a contender for the title. Win.
Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. Okay, Mr. Consistency didn’t finish on the podium this week, and he squandered his decisive lead by making a mistake and going down after comfortably leading six laps and winning the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award. However, I liked the aggression we saw from Dungey at A2. Often criticized for taking too long to make a pass and not riding with enough passion, this was an inspired ride from Dungey. He even tried a hard last turn move on Villopoto to steal 5th place, which left both riders in the dirt. Loved the effort, hated the result. Win.
Weston Peick. Motosport.com Suzuki. His 7th at A2 was his first Top 10 finish of the year. This meant he beat factory riders such as Honda’s Justin Barcia and Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer. That’s outstanding for a privateer. Big Win, and congratulations.
The Fans. We were treated to an in-person appearance of all 22 Supercross title winners dating back to 1974—imagine how hard that was to pull off. They were there to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Monster Energy Supercross (when was the last time you saw Jean-Michel Bayle?). Video clips from past races, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael did a lap together, and between race interviews with some of the champs (including the first champion, Holland’s Pierre Karsmakers), kept the nostalgia running high. An epic main event had the fans on their feet, screaming as Dungey went down, then Villopoto, and finally watching Reed and Stewart battling for the lead in the closing laps. Plus, three winners in three races. Total win.
Anaheim 2 Losers
Ryan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. What was he thinking? Just last week he was back on top of the box, had retaken the red plate, and looked like the unstoppable force that has dominated Supercross for the past three years. But there’s a chink in his armor and that bodes well for his rivals. Pushing too hard to pass Stewart for the lead, Villopoto once again showed a lack of patience and went down. In the final turn, Villopoto bobbled, giving an opening to Dungey, and they both went down (though lost no positions). Yes, he’s only one point out of the series lead, but still, this week was a loss, including a loss of the series lead.
Justin Barcia. Team Muscle Milk Honda. After two fifth place finishes, Barcia is moving the wrong way in the box score and the series is starting to get away from him. With a mid-pack start, Barcia never made it higher than 7th place, fell on Lap 14, and finished a dismal 11th. He is now 18 points behind 450-class rookie Roczen, who is leading the series. Lose.
Davi Millsaps. Eli Tomac. Trey Canard. They still haven’t scored a point three rounds in. Their seasons are lost.
Photography by Don Williams