Jason Anderson won the opening round to the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season.
Just making sure.
Because holy dirt bikes a lot went on to overshadow his first career 450 class win. And he did it to start the season!
So what's going to happen for Round 2 on Saturday in San Diego at Petco Park? Well, probably nothing as nearly as headline grabbing as all the unfolding stories from Anaheim but what a way to start the season. Let's first look at the track map for what's now known as San Diego 1:
Anderson's win at Anaheim 1 hardly comes as a shock considering he took second at A1 last year in his rookie season and now he's training alongside defending Champion Ryan Dungey and breakfast of Champions, I mean, trainer of Champions Aldon Baker. His offseason speed, showed mercilessly at the Monster Cup in October, got Anderson a new truck and though he didn't grab the holeshot on Saturday like he did three times at Monster Cup, he hardly needed it.
Anderson methodically worked his way from seventh-place to take first and win rather handily over a field of at least 10 other riders who entered the season with strong potential to win and compete for the Championship. Another couple of laps and the outcome might have been different. Might.
Jason Anderson and Trey Canard battle at Anaheim 1
Dungey started fourth got dumped by Trey Canard a few laps in and fought his way back from seventh to finish second. Canard looked poised to not only win but at least reach the podium however he crashed midway through and finished seventh. The good news, he wasn't injured, showed awesome speed and enters Round 2 with some positive history as he won at San Diego last year.
Who was injured unfortunately was James Stewart in his first race back since 2014. He was knocked out cold in the second most talked about crash (Canard vs. Dungey was third; we'll get to the headliner in a bit) after Dungey more or less T-boned Stewart in a turn that brought out the red flags and forced a complete restart of the race.
James Stewart's return to Supercross didn't go as planned
Take your side but it looked pretty clear once Dungey's rear wheel went up just prior to impact that he tried to avoid the collision as best he could. At first glance it didn't look bad enough to knock Stewart unconscious but closer replays showed a brutal head slam. Stewart has a history of concussions and still no report on his availability for Round 2.
It's all about perspective for Cole Seely. Had he started out of the Top 10 and worked his way to third the storyline would be much different than taking the holeshot, leading for much of the race and then losing the front spot to Anderson and then second to Dungey. Still, like Anderson it's only his second year in the 450 class and a podium spot is hardly a bad night. Interesting, two second year guys sandwiched the veteran Dungey on the box. It could be Honda's night on Saturday with Canard and Seely in the mix with first round jitters out of the way.
Eli Tomac started third and lost just a spot. Considering his history at A1 and two surgically repaired shoulders he's got a lot of momentum coming into San Diego. He's fine! Ken Roczen missed out on three straight opening night wins but at least he didn't miss out on the Main. His crash in the Heat race had all the ingredients for missing some rounds to calling it a season but he survived unscathed and then started 17th working his way up to fifth. Bike and back troubles seem so 2015 for him now.
Chad Reed tries to hold off Ryan Dungey at A1
Veteran Chad Reed rules San Diego with six wins, the most of any rider. He placed sixth last week and looked strong and focused. It must be nice to not have to run your own team and race. Some riders have all the luck. Oh, wait, never mind. San Diego was Reed's third best finish last year tied with the Detroit round landing in fourth-place.
By now everyone knows we won't see Weston Peick lined up at the gates. Vince Friese gets to but reaching the Main is another story. His run-in with Peick followed by the back of his head serving as a punching bag for Peick perhaps left him a bit rattled. He failed to qualify.
If you're following the story, Peick's support far out numbers those for Friese. In fact, the debate centered mostly around whether Peick was in the right to take his frustration out on Friese. The two have a history, Friese has a history, and it reached a boiling point in Anaheim. Peick's suspension for Saturday turns the gas off the stove so Anaheim 2 should be a good indicator of just how much simmer remains.
The season just started and it's anyone's race. If all remain healthy don't bet on anyone because right now, half of the 450 class riders who made the Main in Anaheim can win in San Diego.
Cooper Webb keeps winning and winning
The 250 class is a completely different story and even more so now that Jessy Nelson's status is in doubt after a practice crash this week. Nelson served as a primary competitor last year to eventual Champion Cooper Webb through six rounds and he finished second to Webb last week. Nelson is proof that the best riders get hurt anytime on the track but if Webb can remain injury free, he'll coast to the 2016 crown. With Nelson out, the undefeated season talk has begun. Webb won San Diego last year.
Zach Osborne is the next closest competitor. He took third last week and third for the season last year without winning a round. But he finished nearly 20 seconds behind Webb and more than 10 seconds behind Nelson. He'll need much better lap times if he's to put any pressure on Webb.
Practice and qualifying for Round 2 of the 2016 Supercross season starts at 12 p.m. Saturday at Petco Park in San Diego. The Main event starts at 7 p.m. Buy tickets online or at the box office.
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)