It’s interesting that every 450SX Heat in this year’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship series so far this year has been won by a different rider, suggesting that the class is wide open. Or, maybe it just underscores the depth of the 2015 class and that if you don’t get a good start in a six-lap sprint, it’s anybody’s race.
When it comes to the Main, even though A3 brought us our fourth different winner in five rounds, the actual race itself was a bit ho hum. But despite the lack of drama, the momentum has clearly shifted and once that starts to slip away it is hard to regain. Let’s see who moved up, down, or maintained their mojo after five of 17 stops.
Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM: “It kinda jabs you when you have the red plate but got no win. That was my goal tonight,” said Dungey from the top step of the podium at A3. Mission accomplished.
Dungey wrested the lead from Ken Roczen last week, and extended that lead to 11 points this week. Suddenly, his consistent, if not explosive, style is in vogue. The only rider who has maintained or improved his result each week, Dungey had his 450 SX-F Factory Edition into the lead by the end of the opening and was never challenged.
Cole Seely – Team Honda: Clearly going in the right direction in the past two weeks with a 6th, and then 5th place result, Seely got off the gate quickly and put himself into 2nd place behind Dungey on the Lap 2. He rode his CRF450R for another solid 18 laps, holding off pressure from teammate Eli Tomac, and then Roczen, before taking a career-best 2nd place finish. “I tried to look forward the whole time,” Seely said, “which was really hard because these guys were putting the pressure on most of the race.”
Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda: Collecting his third podium of the season, Tomac made a last lap pass on Roczen to grab the final step of the podium, and those third place points move him into a tie with Trey Canard for third.
“I couldn’t believe it when Trey went down in the sand section, and then after that Ken and I battled for a long time,” Tomac said. “There were areas when I’d catch right up to him and then there must have been a spot or two where he was quicker. [Roczen] was hard to pass, for sure, but I was determined to get those extra points on him.”
Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki: It’s taken 450SX rookie Baggett a few races to find his feet and hit the top ten, but he’s been inching his way up the points board since A2. Now working with two-time Supercross champion Rick Johnson seems to be paying off, as Baggett rode well on the technical and slippery track, and got off the gate fast enough to earn his first SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award.
“The start was definitely tricky tonight,” Baggett admitted. “It dropped down right away, so I had to hit my first shift really quick and drive through the bottom at the start and then go late on the brakes into the first turn.” Baggett held the lead for a lap before being passed by Dungey, but took his RM-Z450 to a season-best 7th place finish.
Ken Roczen – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki: This makes two consecutive races off the podium, and now Roczen is 11 points behind Dungey instead of 4. No reason to panic, of course, but the race-long battle with Tomac finally resulted in a mistake by Roczen on Lap 19, allowing Tomac to steal the last step of the podium. Tweeted Roczen after the race: “not thrilled about tonight but it is what it is. looking forward for next weekend”
Trey Canard – Team Honda: No one likes to follow up a win with an off-podium result, but that’s what happened to Canard at A3. Halfway through the race it looked like he was going to get around teammate Seely, but Canard went down in the sand instead, and that let Roczen and Tomac by.
“Fifth place isn’t bad, but it’s always disappointing when you’re in a good position and don’t capitalize on it.” Frustrating, for sure, as his 5th place result means Tomac has caught up and they are now tied in points.
Josh Grant – Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki: So far Grant’s season has been just dreadful with results counted on one hand, though mostly not of his own making. At A3 they continued, as Grant’s KX450F’s transmission went out. The season-best result – a whole three points – is nothing to celebrate about.
Andrew Short – BTOSports.com KTM: Sliding out of the Top Ten in the standings, Short had to qualify out of the LCQ – which he won – and did not get his usual good start in the Main. Short worked his 450 SX-F Factory Edition through the field to finish in 12th, but in so doing, both Chad Reed and Baggett have overtaken him in points. “I was on the gas, but it was a tough out there,” said Short. “It’s time to hit the reset button, regroup and come back strong at San Diego.”
Jason Anderson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna: Overachieving at A1 with a 2nd place finish creates expectations that are hard to live up to. Anderson’s results since then – the bottom half of the Top Ten – have been right about where we expected to see the 450SX rookie, but it’s probably been a bit of a letdown for him. Still, he’s the top rookie in points, and 5th in the series.
“Not an amazing performance,” Anderson said. “But I’m alive, happy and looking forward to taco Tuesday!” Okay, so he’s not let down after all.
2015 Anaheim 3 Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
3. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
4. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
5. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
6. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
7. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
8. Justin Barcia – Yamaha YZ450F
9. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC450
10. Josh Hill – Yamaha YZ450F
11. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
12. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
13. Vince Friese – Honda CRF450R
14. Kyle Chisholm – Kawasaki KX450F
15. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
16. Jimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
17. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
18. Brett Metcalfe – Suzuki RM-Z450
19. Ben Lamay – Yamaha YZ450F
20. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
21. Nicholas Schmidt – Suzuki RM-Z450
22. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX Season Standings after 5 rounds:
1. Ryan Dungey, 107 points
2. Ken Roczen, 96
3. Eli Tomac, 84
4. Trey Canard, 84
5. Jason Anderson, 74
6. Justin Barcia, 71
7. Cole Seely, 67
8. Chad Reed, 57
9. Davi Millsaps, 54
10. Blake Baggett, 54