Monster Energy Supercross – Anaheim 3 2014 | Winners and Losers
It was a nailbiter at A3, the fifth round of the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series, as the top three riders kept each other honest for all 20 laps. While there were no passes between Chad Reed, Ken Roczen, and Ryan Villopoto for most of the race, they were still extremely close, providing plenty of drama. Let’s look at the Winners and Losers in the wake of Anaheim III.
Chad Reed. Discount Tire Racing Kawasaki. Making it two Anaheims in a row (and tying McGrath, Carmichael, Stewart for most Anaheim wins at eight), Reed chopped five points off Villopoto’s lead and is now just two points back. With more podiums than any other rider so far this season, Reed is gathering momentum on his KX450F as the series moves down to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, a favored track where he has six prior wins. Win.
Ken Roczen. Red Bull KTM. Roczen looked great all night at A3, and doggedly chased Reed for 17 laps, after having gotten around Villopoto on lap 3. He closed the gap on Reed several times and looked like he had the speed and momentum late in the race to pass the veteran for the win. Tenacious riding all 20 laps, just seven points off series leader Villopoto. Win.
Ryan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. Smart riding from Villopoto on a track where conditions do not suit his riding style. Instead of pushing it and going down on his KX450F, he kept himself on the box and walks away still holding the red plate. Win.
Justin Barcia. Muscle Milk Honda. Barcia is having a tough season. Expectations were high for Barcia to be battling for a podium every week on his CRF450R, yet he’s been out of the top five in half of the first four races. Although Barcia ran mostly unchallenged in 6th place much of the race, he eventually benefited from Stewart and Dungey’s mistakes, and finished a best-of-the-season fourth on Saturday. Win.
Eli Tomac. GEICO Honda. Tomac’s return to racing looked promising when he transferred directly from his Heat to the Main, and with qualifying times less than a second behind fastest qualifier, Villopoto, it was clear that Tomac was recovered and ready to contend with the top riders on his CRF450F. Disappointingly, a mid-race flat tire ended Tomac’s night after only eight laps. Even with the mechanical DNF, it’s a Win.
Weston Peick. MotorSports.com. We’re not used to seeing #40 running up so close to the front, though the privateer has been battling bike issues instead of fellow riders for several races this season. He passed KTM’s Andrew Short and Yamaha-mounted Justin Brayton, to crack the top five, and was impressive. Win.
Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. Dungey was right in the mix on Saturday, riding aggressively and pressuring Stewart for half the race before finally getting around him to run in 4th. A lap later, Dungey got out of shape at the end of the first set of whoops, high sided and slammed into the berm. He was unable to continue due to a broken bike and had to retire for the night. This is the third race in a row off the box for Mr. Consistency, and the series is starting to get away from him. Loss.
James Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. This is no way to follow up two second-place finishes in a row. Stewart’s season started out poorly with costly crashes in the first two races. He’s been moving forward since then, gathering 44 points in the last two races, trying to claw his way back into contention. Unfortunately, Stewart squandered his Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot, immediately getting passed by Reed, Roczen, and (gasp!) Alessi. After some sorting out, Stewart spent the next 11 laps in fourth place, being hounded by Dungey. Eventually, the newly aggressive Dungey put a hard pass on Stewart that left him picking up his RM-Z450 in 9th position, finishing the night with 7th place points. Loss.
Jimmy Albertson. MotorSport.com/Crossland Racing. Protip: The blue flag means you’re about to be lapped. Move out of the way! Didn’t Albertson hear the roar of the crowd as Reed and Roczen were closing in on the last few turns of the final lap? He didn’t yield to Reed or for Roczen as they tried to get by him with the race on the line. We don’t need 13th place finishers getting in the way, and possibly effecting, the outcome. Loss.
Photography by Don Williams