Anaheim 2 450SX Commentary

We’re only three races into the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, but things are already heating up. It looks like aggressive riding is going to be kept on a very short leash this year, as we’ve seen stern warnings and, now, a black flag, handed out at the first two rounds. Let’s see who had a up or down week at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

UPSIDE

Ken Roczen – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki. Taking momentum early in the season, Roczen throws down a decisive win at A2, extending his lead over second place Ryan Dungey to 12 points. Into the lead by the second lap, the Suzuki RM-Z450 rider was never seriously challenged, though he was always aware of Dungey behind him. With three Anaheim wins in five starts in the 450SX class, you’ve got to like Roczen’s percentages when the series returns to Angel Stadium for A3 on January 31st.

Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM. Dungey seems to be following his usual form, starting off a little slow in the season and picking up his pace — he was 4th at A1, 3rd in Phoenix, and 2nd at A2. Looks like he’s on track to get a win in Oakland, if he can get his 450 SX-F Factory Edition KTM off the gate just a bit faster. Race fans would like to see the points tighten up before Roczen starts to pull a Villopoto on the rest of the field.

Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda. Tomac didn’t quite have the jump off the gate he needed to make sure that Roczen and Dungey didn’t get away, so he had to battle through some early lap chaos. By the fifth lap he’d maneuvered his CRF450R into 3rd, but it was too late to catch the front-runners and he had to settle for third place podium points, slipping farther behind Roczen. It’s a long series, of course, but Tomac needs to get his starts dialed in.

Justin Barcia – AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha. Barcia had a tough time in his Heat, coming together with Trey Canard and then having to qualify out of the Semi. Having the fastest qualifying time earlier in the evening seemed to suggest Barcia was comfortable on the slick track, and despite a lackluster 8th place start in the Main, he rode his YZ450F to a season best 4th place finish. While not a podium finish, it checks the Upside column this week and puts him tied for fifth in the standings with Canard.

Broc Tickle – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki. Rebounding from a broken back suffered while practicing for last year’s Toronto SX, Tickle turns in his best performance of the year with a 5th place finish. Tickle got off the gate well and had his RM-Z450 in 7th by the end of the first lap. He followed Barcia throughout the 20-lap race, inheriting a couple of spots as riders went down, and finished his race with a comfortable gap over Cole Seely. “It was an awesome main event. It gives me goose bumps getting off the bike after a finish like that. I really appreciate everyone who stuck with me after the injury last year.”

Cole Seely – Team Honda. After having podiumed as a fill-in 450 rider at Daytona last year, it’s been surprising to see Seely’s official 450 rookie season start off so slowly. Nerves seemed to have been an issue for Seely in the stacked 450 class, but he found his stride at A2 and took his CRF450R to a 6th place finish — a nice improvement from his 14th place finishes at both A1 and Phoenix.

Cade Clason – Gurrnaid Energy Honda. Clason qualified for his first Main this year, and he did it in style by making it happen in his Semi. In doing so, he beat Nick Wey, Josh Hill, and Justin Brayton. Those three points in the Main probably look pretty sweet to Clason right now.

Some Lucky Dungey Fan. After the awards ceremony, a very vocal fan in the left field bleachers got Ryan Dungey’s attention. He graciously went over, had his photo taken with her, and gave her a pair of gloves. Dungey is a class act, but we already knew that.

DOWNSIDE

Chad Reed – Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports. Wow. In an uncharacteristically stupid move, Reed deliberately bumped Trey Canard right off the track after a mistake by Canard took both riders down one turn earlier. Reed had been riding well and was looking competitive at A2, but the cheap shot got him black-flagged by the AMA, losing valuable points and probably more than a few fans. Lame.

Andrew Short – BTOSports.com KTM. Short has been pulling great starts this season and was right in the mix from the start of the Main, but made a mistake in the first lap, crashing hard and barely avoided being run over by Jason Anderson. With a 5th and 7th to his credit, it’s a shame to leave A2 with just one point, but the 32-year old rider was thankful to be uninjured, tweeting “Ouch! Feel blessed to only be sore this morning. Last nights crash hurt but racing sure has been fun.”

Jake Weimer – Team Tedder/Monster Energy Racing Kawasaki. Going down before three laps of the Main had been completed, Weimer found himself in the discouraging position of having to work his way from last place back into the race. He was one lap down by the halfway mark, and eventually fell again toward the very end of the race, leaving A2 with just 4 points. Surprisingly, he is still ahead of a few factory-backed riders in points, but this was not a night to remember.

Josh Hill – Valli Motorsports Yamaha. This is the second weekend in a row that Hill didn’t qualify for the Main, leaving him in a dismal points hole. A crash in his Semi left the Yoncallla, Ore. rider lining up for the LCQ, where last week he let Tickle snatch the last transfer spot right at the finish line when he didn’t realize how close the Suzuki rider was. This week, it was bad luck as riders fell in front of him on the first turn, and Hill’s night was over.

Weston Peick – AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha. After one lap of practice early in the day, Peick hit the face of a jump and re-broke the foot he had had surgery on just four days earlier. Hugely disappointing for Peick whose first season as a factory-backed rider was starting out so promisingly.

Photography by Don Williams

2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Results – Round 3 – Anaheim
1. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
2. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
3. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
4. Justin Barcia – Yamaha YZ450F
5. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z450
6. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
7. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC450
8. Dean Wilson – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
9. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
10. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
11. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
12. Brett Metcalfe – Suzuki RM-Z450
13. Kyle Chisholm – Kawasaki KX450F
14. Nick Wey – Kawasaki KX450F
15. Ben Lamay – Yamaha YZ450F
16. Jimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
17. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
18. Cade Clason – Honda CRF450R
19. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RMZ-450
20. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
21. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
22. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F

2015 Monster Energy AMA Standings After 3 Rounds
1. Ken Roczen – 72 points
2. Ryan Dungey – 60 points
3. Jason Anderson – 51 points
4. Eli Tomac – 46 points
5. Trey Canard – 43 points
6. Justin Barcia – 43 points
7. Broc Tickle – 38 points
8. Weston Peick – 32 points
9. Andrew Short – 31 points
10. Davi Millsaps – 30 points
11. Cole Seely – 29 points
12. Blake Baggett – 28 points
13. Jake Weimer – 26 points
14. Dean Wilson – 23 points
15. Chad Reed – 22 points