2023 Anaheim 1 Supercross Recap
Eli Tomac picked up where he left 2022 off and opened the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season with a win.
Wait, wait, wait. Hold on a sec. Make that the 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship. I think. Oh no. I am wrong. (Checking.) No, it is the SuperMotocross World Championship! I was right. Finally! Right about something. But Supercross remains the same. Huh? So, it is the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season. I'm so confused.
Regardless, Tomac won. In fact, Tomac won A1, that's Anaheim 1 for the first time in the 450 class. (He opened the 250SX West class season with a win in 2013 ultimately losing to Ken Roczen by two points for the championship). Usually, he starts the season slow or gets flustered about something before ripping off wins. Now he's opened the defense of his 2022 Supercross (not SuperMotocross World Championship) title with a win. But not only that...
Tomac crashed. He looked destined for an epically large win when he laid it all out on the tunnel jump. As in, he laid down his bike after leaning too far back on his seat. A passing rider just missed him as he regrouped which could have ended his season and Tomac resumed the race in fifth. After expending much of his energy earlier trying to get past Justin Barcia for the lead it looked like maybe Tomac was ready to settle. That's old Tomac.
New Tomac, who was ready to retire after his 2022 banner year in which he won both the Supercross and Outdoor titles (together) for the first time, mounted a charge, took advantage of others' crashes or mistakes and took back the lead for the win.
"I guess I just needed experience. This is my tenth round one, apparently it took ten times to finally figure out how to get to it right at round one," he said. "Overall, a wild race. Early battle with Justin (Barcia), then I got too far off the back of the seat of my bike and crashed on that tunnel. Luckily everything on my bike was straight."
Quietly, two-time Supercross Champion Cooper Webb rolled up in second after starting 10th. Webb had a rough 2022 trying to defend his 2021 title but he started last year in second before a string of finishes off the podium sunk his season. He looks different this year which might mean Tomac can bask in his first opening round win but not too long.
Elsewhere, Chase Sexton finished third but led a few laps before the charging Tomac retook the lead. Sexton went bar-to-bar with Tomac in Motocross coming up just short of the 2022 title. He too remains a force to reckon with. Malcolm Stewart also briefly led the race and looked good for his first 450 class win before losing the lead to Sexton, getting passed by Tomac and enduring a gnarly crash that popped him off the podium and a 16th place finish.
Dylan Ferrandis finished fourth and the social media darling Roczen battled up front for a while and settled on fifth to start the season.
2023 450 Class Supercross Season Standings
- Eli Tomac (26)
- Cooper Webb (23)
- Chase Sexton (21)
- Dylan Ferrandis (19)
- Ken Roczen (18)
In the 250SW West class, it seems Austin Forkner can't catch a break. Well, perhaps it's the other way around. The oft injured rider flew out the gate then flew off his bike before reaching the first turn and in less than five seconds Forkner's season, it appears, has come to an end. No word on his injuries but he not only looked in pain when attended to by medical personnel but quite exasperated at what has become a routine for him.
As such, last year's 250SX East Champion and 250 Outdoor Champion Jett Lawrence cruised to a win but in kind of a close second finished RJ Hampshire. Cameron McAdoo took third. With Forkner likely out, Hampshire and McAdoo have their plates full to keep Lawrence in check for the season. Mitchell Oldenburg and Max Vohland rounded out the Top 5, respectively.
2023 250SX West Class Supercross Season Standings
- Jett Lawrence (26)
- RJ Hampshire (23)
- Cameron McAdoo (21)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (19)
- Max Vohland (18)
Round 2 heads north to Oakland on Saturday at RingCentral Coliseum. Maybe. Some serious storms coming this week in an already weather battered area.