Updated 2:30pm! Last Saturday night, the Oakland round of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series showed that this season may be another one for the ages. James Stewart became the fourth rider in four rounds to win the premier Supercross Class, while Eli Tomac became the first repeat winner of the 250 Lites Class for 2012.
Stewart’s win was his first since April of 2011, and it did not come easily. Off the start, Chad Reed had an excellent jump, grabbed the holsehot and immediately opened a small gap over Andrew Short and Josh Hansen. Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, and Ryan Dungey all had mid pack starts, and spent the first few laps fighting their way through the field in order to battle for the lead. And battle they did.
The Anaheim 2 Supercross race track – Thursday afternoon
Once up to second and third, Stewart and Villopoto were within a bike length of each other as they closed in on the number 22 machine of Reed. As the race neared the midway point, the three riders were only seconds a part; a train of red, blue, and green machinery. At the same Dungey was struggling to find his way around Short, who seemed to have found his 2010 speed.
With Stewart protecting his inside lines from Villopoto, and simultaneously trying to find his way around Reed, a pass seemed unlikely as the trio had similar lap times. But Stewart picked up his pace, creating a gap between himself and Villopoto that was large enough to allow for an aggressive move on Reed. James eventually was able to force a move on Reed while heading down the start straight and would go on to open a sizable lead within a few laps. The top three would finish in that order, while Dungey was able to make his way around Short for fourth place.
While the first two rounds were runaway victories, the last two have forced the eventual winner to fight for the lead. 2012 is shaping up to be another great season of racing. As the series heads back to Anaheim for the second and last stop in Orange County for the year, Reed and Dungey are now tied for the lead (both will sport the red number plate this weekend). Villopoto is only two points behind the leaders, but Stewart finds himself 10 points back, due to his mediocre finishes at the first two rounds.
Now that the top four in points have all won races this year, can someone else step up to the plate, or will A2 have the first repeat winner of the season? Two sand sections and two whoop sections planned for Round Five could prove to add some variation into the results, but we will have to wait until Saturday night to find out. Once known as the Pink Race, for one reason or another, the series promoters and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research organization do not looked to have partnered for this year, so Anaheim II will be a standard event. But for the sake of support, wear some pink this weekend anyway if you will be attending.
In 250 West Lites racing, Eli Tomac took home another commanding win in Oakland. The GEICO/Honda rider was sporting the red number plate for the first time since his second professional race ever (the 2010 Freestone AMA National Motocross), and he wore it well. At the start of the main event Dean Wilson and Martin Davalos practically tied for the holeshot, but Davalos was faster to the second turn and took control of the lead. Tomac came out third, and went in pursuit of the lead duo with Cole Seely in fourth. Following the opening lap, Wilson seemed to be gaining on Davalos, but a mistake by the Pro Circuit rider caused a spectacular crash before the first triple. In the very next section Seely high-sided just before the second triple. The two crashes subsequently bumped Zach Osborne and Matt Moss up to third and fourth place.
Following a mistake by Davalos on the following lap that almost sent him to the ground, Tomac quickly inherited the win and never looked back. Further back, Marvin Musquin put together a very strong ride to come back from ninth place at the start to finish second, with Osborne taking home the final podium spot for the second week in a row.
Tomac now has a solid points lead heading into A2, but the battle is far from over. Osborne, who has shown excellent speed, will now be returning to Europe to prepare for the FIM World Motocross Championships. He will be leaving behind the third position in the point standings, and his absence could greatly affect the outcome of the championship. Tyla Rattray will also be missing the remainder of the indoor season following horrific crash in his heat at Oakland that resulted in a concussion and a broken vertebra. Before his crash, he was second in points and his absence will also change up the series. Look for Musquin and Seely to potentially move up to third and fourth in points following A2. Seely especially, will be looking to rebound back to his A1 performance, while Musquin is looking more and more ready to bring home his first win.
Monster Energy Supercross Notes & Quotes – Courtesy Feld Motorsports
- The first race was held on December 4, 1976, and Marty Smith won on a Honda?
- This race marks the 57th time the gate will drop for a Supercross Class race in Anaheim?
- From 2001 – 2010 Anaheim hosted three Supercross Class races, and in 2011 & 2012, the venue hosted two races?
- Anaheim holds the record for most Supercross Class races ever held??
- Supercross Class Wins by Brand in Anaheim?: Yamaha 20, ?Honda 19, ?Kawasaki 10, ?Suzuki 7
- First time winners in Anaheim?: 1979 Kent Howerton?, 1982 Donnie Hansen?, 1983 David Bailey, ?1984 Johnny O’Mara?, 1990 Damon Bradshaw, ?1993 Jeremy McGrath, ?2003 Chad Reed, ?2009 Josh Grant?
- Chad Reed will be racing for his seventh win in Anaheim?
- James Stewart will be racing for his 10th win in Anaheim
- Ryan Villopoto could sweep Anaheim with a win this weekend
- Last weekend’s victory by James Stewart was his 43rd Supercross Class win
- Stewart also earned his 88th career Supercross / Motocross class win – he is one win behind Jeremy McGrath for second on the all-time AMA win list
- Stewart now has a Supercross Class win in eight seasons
- Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and KTM have all won a Supercross race this season
- For the first time in Supercross Class history, the top four finishers are all Supercross Class champions
- Currently, the top four riders in the points standings are past Supercross Class champions
- Supercross Class Laps Lead: Chad Reed 24, Ryan Villopoto 20, Ryan Dungey 20, James Stewart 11, Jake Weimer 5
- Supercross 250 Lites Class Laps Led: Eli Tomac 28, Dean Wilson 15, Cole Seely 12, Tyla Rattray 3, Martin Davalos 2
Ryan Dungey: “My goal was to be on the podium last weekend and I fell just short of that by finishing fourth in Oakland. I got a bad start and was somewhere around 17th place on the opening lap so I had to work hard to get back to fourth by the races end. I definitely need to make sure I get a better start this weekend at Anaheim 2. I can’t afford to be giving Villopoto, Reed and Stewart head starts like last weekend because we’re all fairly similar when it comes to race pace so I need to put myself in a better position to battle for the win verse battling my way through the pack. It’s nice to be ahead in the points early in the season and my goal is to keep putting KTM and the new 450 on the podium going forward.”
Chad Reed: “The starts are so important. Hopefully we can keep building on these last couple weeks, keep getting the starts and accumulating those points.”
Ryan Villopoto: “It was tough at Oakland. The track was pretty rutted and got worse with every lap. The dirt was really soft underneath and it caused the ruts to mushroom out. I was on the outside of the track most of the race looking for a place to pass. I kept reeling them in, moving out of the main line to pass, then having to fall back in line behind them around tight sections of track. If I had got a better start that would have fixed the problem so I put in a lot of time this week working on starts.”
James Stewart: “Coming off a win, it’s always a good feeling you know; it’s like you go into the new week a little more eager for what comes next. In Oakland, things were working good for us and we showed everybody that we are here to win. Yeah the start to season was tough, but we never lost sight of that. And we won’t. But, the Oakland race is in the past now and we’ve got to keep working to stay headed towards our best. It’s pretty exciting actually.”
Jake Weimer: “Last weekend was a bit of a struggle. The track layout was good, but the dirt was really rough and inconsistent. It got pretty rutted by the main event so I was having a difficult time connecting the track. You know it just wasn’t the best race for me, but I was happy to leave the event healthy and am ready to get to Anaheim.”
Kevin Windham: “The night was good, it was a nice rebound for me after Dodger Stadium. I spent most of the week focusing on trying to come out and get my job done after last weekend. I saw the whole thing with Trey and it was really difficult for me. It felt like I had a good heat and great times during the day and I am pleased with my finish but I am really looking to get GEICO Honda on the podium.”
Broc Tickle: “I really felt like I was struggling last weekend. I crashed early in practice and just couldn’t get comfortable on the track. The heat race went good and I felt good about the start, but in the main I got a bad start and just had a tough time. I’ve been working hard to improve and hopefully I can come back at Anaheim 2 and prove myself.”
Eli Tomac: “After the front two guys made some pretty big mistakes, I wanted to make sure I stayed consistent once out front. I didn’t do anything crazy and was able to ride a solid race. I’m excited, the red (number plate) backgrounds look good on a Honda.”
Dean Wilson: “I was pretty disappointed last weekend. I got a good start in the main and I thought I had the holeshot, but someone slipped past me on the inside. Early in the race I made a push to get around the leader, but made a mistake and went down. It just sucks because I lost points when I should have taken over the lead. I’ve been working hard this week and I’m going to get after it in Anaheim.”
Tyla Rattray: “I’m really bummed out about my injury. But I’m very thankful that it didn’t end up worse. I just want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
Marvin Musquin: “I was happy to be on the podium again last weekend. I am having a lot of fun racing Supercross and I think I am doing a good job for KTM especially as this is my first time racing in the US Supercross Lites series. I’m looking forward to racing at Angel Stadium again this weekend as we already raced there this year and it will be good to go to a stadium that I am already familiar with. That’s one of the toughest parts about racing for the first time in a new series and getting to know the tracks.”
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Ryan Villopoto riding the Anaheim 2 track for press on Thursday