A brutal Round 16 for Jason Anderson who was widely expected to win the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship on Saturday in Salt Lake City only to have the title fight pushed to the final round for the second year in a row.
Anderson entered the penultimate round of the season with a 34 point lead over Marvin Musquin and a fourth-place finish would clinch the 450 class title no matter what. Only one round all season did he finish below fourth-place. Ultimately, Musquin won forcing the necessary fourth-place finish and little did he know after leading 23 laps but Anderson fell on the first turn and in doing so the spokes on his front wheel met their match with Eli Tomac's footpeg.
Off to the pits where Anderson could only watch as the mechanics changed his front wheel and he was left two laps behind the others by the time he got going. His anxiety quite palpable as he nervously danced using body language to help push the process along. The result? Seventeenth place and a date with Musquin on Saturday at the season finale in Las Vegas with what now feels like a shaky 14 point lead. If Musquin wins and the two tie in points, Musquin raises the trophy.
No fireworks between Msuquin or Tomac as many (hoped?) expected after Musquin dumped Tomac on the last lap for victory the week prior in Foxborough. Tomac got caught up in the pack to start but worked his way to third then fell trying to pass Blake Baggett for second with about five minutes left. Tomac again came back, finally got around Baggett but could not catch Musquin who cemented at least second-place for the season with the win. Baggett held on for third, his first podium since Round 7 which ties him for fourth-place with Justin Brayton.
In the 250SX West class, Aaron Plessinger also had a chance to win his first Championship but Shane McElrath, Adam Cianciarulo and Joey Savatgy, all still in the hunt, kept him off the podium for a deciding final round on Saturday. McElrath had his best ride since his season opening win at Anaheim 1 with Cianciarulo taking second for his fourth-straight podium and Savatgy in third. McElrath heads into Vegas in fourth-place 24 points behind Plessinger, Savatgy is 22 points back, and second-place Cianciarulo needs 14 points to win the Championship as a tie-breaker would go to Plessinger.
Check out the best photos from Round 16 in Salt Lake City starting with (at top) Musquin giving his signature heel click after winning:
Come on, come on. Hurry up!
Josh Hill, who retired three years ago, got the 450 LCQ win in his second race back as a fill-in for Cooper Webb
It's going to be OK little buddy
A little respect from Honda to their injured riders: Cole Seely (14) and Ken Roczen (94)
Eli Tomac tried saving it but fell nonetheless and still finished second
Adam Cianciarulo wheelies through the sand
Marvin Musquin working on a yoga pose
The veterans Chad Reed (L) and Justin Brayton (R) still having fun