All that offseason chatter about Jason Anderson's speed? Apparently true.
Now in his second year in the 450 class, Anderson methodically moved his way through the pack claiming the lead with seven laps remaining to capture his first victory on the big bikes and the first for bike manufacturer Husqvarna taking Round 1 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross series by more than four seconds.
Riders endured a Red Flag restart after defending Champion Ryan Dungey collided with James Stewart on a Lap 2 turn knocking Stewart off his bike and rendering him unconscious on a berm. As Stewart was attended to, the Red Flags came out and the riders headed back to the start which negated Justin Barcia's ownership to the holeshot.
After the restart, it was Cole Seely, also in his second year in the 450 class, grabbing the holeshot and the Honda rider looked on his way to the win holding on to the lead for as long as he could fighting off Barcia, who just missed out on the holeshot for the restart, through Lap 8. Trey Canard passed Barcia who then fell out of the Top 3 getting passed by Anderson. The surging Anderson went up the inside on Lap 9 to pass Canard before eventually taking the lead from Seely.
Jason Anderson leads Cole Seely on his way to a Round 1 win
"I honestly just felt good out there, it was high intensity," he said. "To pull off a victory and to be winning this 450 Main event is unreal. I'm just stoked right now."
Stewart, returning to action for the first time since his 16 month suspension imposed last year, did not line up for the restart and is questionable for Round 2 at San Diego.
The first half of the race looked to be a Canard and Seely show, both teammates on the Honda HRC team, until Canard ran into trouble and fell from second place to seventh. Meanwhile, Dungey fell out of the Top 5 on Lap 4 after Canard pushed him to the side. Dungey also hit the dirt in his Heat race losing out on qualifying until he won his Semi race.
Eli Tomac and Ryan Dungey
Despite the unusually rough night for the two-time Champion, Dungey emerged from the shadows moving into the number three position around the same time Anderson took the lead. Dungey finished second landing on the podium for the 17th straight time. Last year, Dungey finished fourth at A1, the only round he didn't reach the podium for 2015.
Ken Roczen, looking for his third straight season opening victory, endured a gnarly crash in his Heat race getting tossed off the bike on the first turn and hitting the ground pretty hard. He rebounded to take third in his Semi race and finished fifth in the Main behind Eli Tomac who won his Heat race and showed the racing world his repaired shoulders from his crash in Motocross are ready to go. He posted the fastest lap time during the Main.
Other notables include the 33 year old Chad Reed taking sixth place and Davi Millsaps finishing eighth. Marvin Musquin, the 2015 250SX East Champion, finished 14th in his debut in the 450SX class.
Ken Roczen picks up the pieces after his Heat race crash
Weston Peick took a page from the Cincinnati Bengals as both rider and football team let their emotions sink their Championship chances on the same night. In the lopsided brawl seen around the racing world by now, (oh heck we'll just show it here!) Peick turned the track into an octagon as he rained blows to the back of Vince Friese's helmeted head after Friese took Peick out in their Semi race.
Earlier Friese dumped Peick in their Heat race. Peick finished his beat down by pushing a retreating Friese into the tough blocks and telling him he's #1 with his finger. Friese got back on his bike and ultimately failed to make the Main. Peick was disqualified and can look forward to a hefty fine and possibly suspension. This isn't the first time the riders have squabbled as Peick went after Friese at the Washougal National in 2012.
The 250SX West class proved a bit tamer as defending Champion Cooper Webb picked right up where he left off winning for the fifth straight time dating back to last year. Webb was quite busy racing during the offseason which showed as he worked his way to the front taking the lead from last year's winner Jesse Nelson with five laps remaining.
"I just put my head down," said Webb who started fourth. "It's all about finishing strong."
Cooper Webb celebrates Round 1 victory
Nelson, who grabbed the holeshot, held on for second-place and Zach Osborne rounded out the podium. Joey Savatgy ran in the Top 3 until he and Christian Craig came together on Lap 4 which dropped Savatgy out of the Top 10. Savatgy worked his way back to finish eighth and Craig took 17th.
Round 2 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season heads south for the first of two dates in San Diego at Petco Park. Practice and qualifying begins at 12:30 p.m. with opening ceremonies starting at 6:30 and racing at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Buy tickets online or at the box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 1 Results
Anaheim 1 Supercross 450SX Class Results
- Jason Anderson
- Ryan Dungey
- Cole Seely
- Eli Tomac
- Ken Roczen
- Chad Reed
- Trey Canard
- Davi Millsaps
- Dean Wilson
- Justin Brayton
Anaheim 1 Supercross 250SX Class Results
- Cooper Webb
- Jessy Nelson
- Zach Osborne
- Jimmy DeCotis
- Jordon Smith
- Alex Martin
- Colt Nichols
- Joey Savatgy
- Mitchell Oldenburg
- Kyle Peters
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Jason Anderson (25)
- Ryan Dungey (22)
- Cole Seely (20)
- Eli Tomac (18)
- Ken Roczen (16)
- Chad Reed (15)
- Trey Canard (14)
- Davi Millsaps (13)
- Dean Wilson (12)
- Justin Brayton (11)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (25)
- Jessy Nelson (22)
- Zach Osborne (20)
- Jimmy DeCotis (18)
- Jordon Smith (16)
- Alex Martin (15)
- Colt Nichols (14)
- Joey Savatgy (13)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (12)
- Kyle Peters (11)