2017 Anaheim I Supercross Preview
The highly anticipated 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will commence this Saturday evening at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Every year race fans speculate how deep the field is compared to the season before, and this year is no different–there appears to be more potential race winners and podium contenders than any time in recent SX history.
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey will begin the 2017 Supercross season seeking a third-consecutive Monster Energy AMA Supercross title. With nine wins last season and several podium finishes, Dungey’s consistency has been his main ingredients to success. But Dungey’s number-one plate will put a proverbial target on his back–many others are looking to dethrone him.
One of those riders is Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen. Fresh off his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in the 450 class last summer, Roczen now looks to add a Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship to his trophy room.
The German SX rider changed teams during the off season with a move to the Team Honda HRC effort. Anaheim I will be Roczen’s second race on the all-new 2017 Honda CRF450R. The first being at the Monster Energy Cup last October where he won two out of the three main events and looked right at home on his new machine. After finishing up in the runner-up spot in 2016 Supercross, Roczen will look to improve his standings by one and deliver Honda its first premier-class championship since 2003.
Another rider looking to put his name in the Supercross history books is Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac. After undergoing double shoulder surgery prior to the 2016 season, the Colorado native was able to grab a win at the famed Daytona racetrack and log several podium finishes.
Tomac’s consistency throughout the series put him in fourth place overall at the end of the 2016 season. With two healthy shoulders and a year on his factory Kawasaki KX450F, Tomac will look to increase the amount of wins and podiums to put Kawasaki back where they left off with the retired Ryan Villopoto in 2014.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson came out swinging in last year’s Anaheim I racing with a convincing win. In doing so, he put himself and his Husqvarna FC450 machine in the record books as he became the eighth rider in history to earn his first career 450SX class win at 2017 Anaheim I Supercross season opener. He also gave Husqvarna its first 450SX class victory.
Anderson is not afraid to scrape plastic with his fellow racers when trying to make a pass and may have to do so in order to win his second consecutive Anaheim One main event this Saturday.
Trey Canard comes into the 2017 with a major change to his program. After a decade of riding for Honda, Canard jumped to the Red Bull KTM factory team joining Dungey and Marvin Musquin. The Oklahoma native has had bad luck in the form of injuries in the past seasons, which have hindered his overall performance in the past. Canard will look to keep it on two wheels and stay healthy throughout the entire series.
Monster Energy/Chapparal/Yamaha Factory Racing will field both a veteran and a rookie 450 class racer with Chad Reed and Cooper Webb, respectively. After finishing fifth place overall in the championship last year, Reed showed he still has the speed to hang with the best, despite being one of the oldest riders in the field.
Reed has won the Anaheim Supercross opener three times, which is more than any other rider with the exception of James Stewart, and will look to make if four this Saturday. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Reed’s teammate, Cooper Webb. Webb is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated rookies in recent memory as he is a two-time 250 Western Regional Supercross Champion. Webb’s aggressive style makes him one to keep a close eye on in his debut race on his Yamaha YZ450F.
The first of a few notable riders who are not racing, injured, or are in unique situations are James Stewart and Malcolm Stewart. After being suspended from racing in 2015 and suffering from injuries in 2016, James Stewart has not announced any plans of him racing this season.Likewise, his brother Malcolm, who won the 250 East Regional Championship last year, is not confirmed to race either.
Additionally, AutoTrader/JGR/Suzuki’s Justin Barcia will not be racing this weekend after a preseason crash left him with a fractured wrist less than a week prior to Anaheim One. Taking his place will be Jake Weimer. Lastly, Dean Wilson, who has struggled with multiple knee injuries in the past two years, will be racing as a privateer on a Yamaha YZ450F.
With veterans, past and present champions, and plenty of aspiring racers hungry for wins, the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season is shaping up to be one for the record books. The preseason hype has built this year’s Anaheim One race up to monumental heights. Everyone including the fans, team personnel, and racers are eager to get the show on the road and see who will come away with the first win of the season.