Upside/Downside- Anaheim 2 250SX Commentary
As frequently happens in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, the 250SX class is the wild west and while it’s not exactly anybody’s game anymore, there are five riders within 11 points of each other, all capable of winning on any given Saturday. There have been six different riders on the podium in 3 rounds. Let’s look at who’s up and who’s down this week.
Cooper Webb – Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha. Wow. That was an impressive bit of riding from a terrible 16th place at the first turn, to whittling off a second a lap in the five final laps to get within striking distance of Tyler Bowers. Just corners from the checkers, Webb executed the perfect block pass on his YZ250F to steal the race from Bowers and the red plate from Jessy Nelson. With two consecutive wins and overflowing confidence, it would be hard to get good odds on Webb at the moment.
Tyler Bowers – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki. For all the heat Bowers got after his aggressive move on Zach Osborne at A1, he did not dish it back over Webb’s overtaking maneuver in after-race interviews. “I think the pass was good,” Bowers said. “I expected it going into the turn, and I would have done the same thing, except I wouldn’t have been as nice (laughs).” Bowers admitted to making a lot of mistakes once he got into the lead: “I just rode like, horrible. I rode like a little girl. And then I relaxed a bit and once I relaxed that’s when Cooper started catching me and then I couldn’t get away.” Bowers leaves A2 tied in points with Nelson, both only four back from Webb. Expect this fight to go all the way to Las Vegas.
Justin Hill – Red Bull KTM. Bouncing to the Upside this week, even though he still wasn’t 100-percent, Hill took his first podium of the season with a 3rd place finish. From a 5th place start, Hill quickly moved his 250 SX-F toward the front, riding aggressively and taking 2nd place before Webb came charging up. Fans were treated to a mini-battle that Hill lost. “I’m excited to bounce back and have this podium to build on,” Hill said. “I definitely wanted to win that race, absolutely, you always want to win. I have a hunger for that win, and I’m pretty bummed I couldn’t come away with it.”
Josh Hansen – MotoSport.com/Team 100 Kawasaski. Best result of the season so far, Hansen kept his KX250F upright this weekend and rode to a 7th place finish. “I didn’t crash in the Main event or anything this week, that’s a building point,” Hansen said. “I feel like we can only go up from here.” It’s worth noting that Hansen did not get spanked for bumping McElrath into the mechanics area, seemingly in retaliation for McElrath’s move on Hansen at A1.
Jackson Richardson – XPR Motorsports/Renegade Honda. Richardson beat out bigger name riders McElrath and Osborne to the holeshot in his Heat, but fell before the first lap was over. He quickly remounted his CRF250F and moved from 15th up to the last qualifying position, transferring directly to the Main. Richardson’s eventual 11th place finish was a huge improvement on A1, where the Queensland native did not qualify for the Main; it bested his Phoenix result by seven positions. “Better result this weekend with an 11th but still pushing for more,” Richardson said.
Chris Alldredge – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Alldredge has been having a tough start to his rookie year–DNQ at A1, a 15th in Phoenix–but rode strongly at A2 before coming up short on a triple and crashing out while in 5th place. So while he doesn’t have more than one point to show for the night, Alldredge’s 3rd place start and definitive pass on Osborne to take over 2nd position early in the race, indicates that the Powell Butte, Ore. rider has the speed to be a contender, if he can eliminate the mistakes.
Malcolm Stewart – GEICO Honda. A 5th place finish is no disgrace, but after stepping on the podium last week Stewart probably thought he was going to be a contender. He dialed back his riding for A2 and qualified out of his Heat instead of the LCQ, and rode a solid Main. His all or nothing approach (similar to brother, James Stewart) has its downside, so if Stewart can master this more controlled style, his results will level out. “I rode smarter tonight, even when I got frustrated,” Stewart said. “The only problem is that I lost a little bit of that intensity in my riding again. Clearly I need to work on finding a better balance.”
Zach Osborne – Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna. Osborne is hanging on tenaciously, determined to tough it out till the break for the 250SX East rounds where his broken thumb will have time to heal. With the fastest qualifying time, #1 gate pick, and a second consecutive SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award, Osborne led a couple of laps before slowly losing positions to the front runners. Considering he hasn’t been able to practice during the week, Osborne is holding up amazing well, and still 4th in the standings with a 7th place at A2.
Jessy Nelson – Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs KTM. After two consecutive podiums and on his way to possibly collecting a third with his 4.5-second lead over the field, Nelson clipped the edge of the over/under bridge when landing, lost control and tumbled into the Tuff Blocks. While he might have eventually been chased down by Webb and Bowers anyway, as happened in his Heat earlier in the evening, an unforced error that drops you out of the Top 5, and out of the points lead, is a complete bummer.
Shane McElrath – Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs KTM. Not making the most of his 2nd place gate pick, Mcelrath gets his 250 SX-F off the start in 9th and had to work his way through a busy field. He plowed into the mechanics area on lap 4 thanks to a deliberate bump from Hansen, leaving the Canton, NC rider in 15th. He managed to work his way from deep in the field back to a 10th place result, but his 6-8-10 finishes in three rounds shows that he is moving in the wrong direction.
Matt Bisceglia – GEICO Honda. A1’s bad luck (13th place finish) seems to have turned to worse at A2, as a practice crash left Bisceglia shaken and unable to ride the night’s event. Already way behind in points, the DNS leaves the Weatherford, Texas rider 14th in the standings. “It’s a tough deal,” Bisceglia said. “I really wanted to be out there riding with those guys, trying to make up some ground on them.”
Aaron Plessinger – Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha. It’s disappointing to see Plessinger drop out of the Top 10 this week, after two impressive 5th place finishes. We’ll see if he bounces back in Oakland.
Photography By Don Williams
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX Results – Round 3 – Anaheim 2
1. Cooper Webb – Yamaha YZ250F
2. Tyler Bowers – Kawasaki KX250F
3. Justin Hill – KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition
4. Zach Osborne – Husqvarna FC 250
5. Malcolm Stewart – Honda CRF250R
6. Jessy Nelson – KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition
7. Josh Hansen – Kawasaki KX250F
8. Alex Martin – Yamaha YZ250F
9. Tommy Hahn – Honda CRF250R
10. Shane McElrath – KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition
11. Jackson Richardson – Honda CRF250R
12. Zack Freeberg – Yamaha YZ250F
13. Aaron Plessinger – Yamaha YZ250F
14. Austin Politelli – Yamaha YZ250F
15. Landen Powell – KTM 250 SX-F
16. Michael Leib – Honda CRF250R
17. Cole Martinez – Yamaha YZ250F
18. Scott Champion – Yamaha YZ250F
19. Zach Bell – Husqvarna FC 250
20. Johnny Jelderda – Honda CRF250R
21. Ryan Breece – Yamaha YZ250F
22. Chris Alldredge – Kawasaki KX250F
2015 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX Points Standings (after 3 of 17 rounds)
1. Cooper Webb, Yamaha – 64 points
2. Jessy Nelson, KTM – 60
3. Tyler Bowers, Kawasaki – 60
4. Zach Osborne, Husqvarna – 54
5. Justin Hill, KTM – 53
6. Aaron Plessinger, Yamaha – 40
7. Malcolm Stewart, Honda – 39
8. Shane McElrath, KTM – 39
9. Josh Hansen, Kawasaki – 34
10. Tommy Hahn, Honda – 30
11. Alex Martin, Yamaha – 27
12. Michael Leib, Honda – 25
13. Zach Bell, Husqvarna – 24
14. Matt Bisceglia, Honda – 18
15. Scott Champion, Yamaha – 17