Written by Tyler Pastorius
In a night that was filled with fast racing and big whoops, Blake Baggett was able to claim a spot on the podium at the very top. However, even though the night was filled with joy for some, the evening was spent with worry and anger for some.
450 SX Main Event
1. Blake Baggett
2. Jason Anderson
3. Ken Roczen
4. Eli Tomac
5. Marvin Musquin
6. Justin Barcia
7. Justin Brayton
8. Dean Wilson
9. Cole Seely
10. Cooper Webb
11. Aaron Plessinger
12. Vince Friese
13. Justin Hill
14. Chad Reed
15. Justin Bogle
16. Kyle Chisholm
17. Alex Ray
18. Carlen Gardner
19. Ben LaMay
20. Ronnie Stewart
21. Cheyenne Harmon
22. Malcolm Stewart
The night seemed perfect for Ken Roczen (Factory Honda HRC) getting the holeshot after having a wide gate pick. Ken was leading the race for about the first seven minutes of the race until heartbreak set in for fans as they seen Malcolm Stewart go over the bars in the big whoop section. The crash was so bad the red flags came out and forced a restart of the race. The restart was a “staggering” start which took away the lead that Kenny had. After a few corners, Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna) was right there and made a little of an aggressive move on Ken that put him down. Roczen tried cutting down a little earlier than Jason expected and it ended up with Anderson clipping Roczen. Roczen got up and got going but was in fifth place but kept battling and was able to finish with a third place overall finish and now will be the points leader heading into Anaheim 2 next week with the red plate.
For Jason Anderson, he was battling all night to get into first. He was able to do it when he made a little aggressive move onto Roczen (I wouldn’t say it was overly aggressive, more of a “rubbing is racing” move) but his endurance didn’t seem to hold up. After last week’s race there was talks of an injury to Anderson in the wrist but there is no official word on it. But one thing is for sure, Anderson is not as fit as he was last year. Blake Baggett (Rocky Mountain/ATV KTM) was charging after the restart and took over first with around eight minutes left in the main event. After Jason got passed, he did not look the same. His body seemed a lot tighter and just wasn’t moving as well as he was prior on the track. This ended up putting Jason with a second overall finish but again, there are still a lot of questions surrounding him this year especially after tonight’s race that seemed to be a track catered toward his fast flowing style.
Blake Baggett though had a great night and looked like the best Blake Baggett the Supercross industry has seen. He kept charging throughout the night and ended up passing Jason Anderson. Once he got around Jason, Blake never looked back and was able to claim his first victory. Now to be honest, it is hard to say what would have happened if the red flag did not come up but with that happening and Roczen going down, Blake made the most of it and claimed his first 450 victory.
For Malcolm Stewart, he again was looking good in his heat race and then when it came to the main event little mistakes took over. However this time it was a lot bigger than expected. Malcolm was charging into the whoops and about halfway through he got a little sideways and ended up going over the bars and slamming into the Glendale dirt. Malcolm was down for a long time and left on the Alpinestars medical team and looked to be in a lot of pain. Overall, the race was red flagged through at least three commercial breaks so thoughts and prayers to Malcolm and hope for a speedy recovery. There is no official word on what his injury is yet. His season was looking to be a good start but now, it may be over.
Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) also went through his own struggles throughout the night. In his heat race there was a mechanical issue that caused Eli to place outside of the top nine which meant he had to go to the 450 Last Chance Qualifier. Of course with his level of talent, he was able to win the LCQ. But when the Main Event rolled around, again he did not have a great start but was hanging around the top ten and was able to fight for a overall fourth place finish. For Eli, he keeps hanging around the top of the pack but just like last year he is struggling early on in the season.
Marvin Musquin aboard his Factory Red Bull KTM, finished in fifth but it was not what he was looking for. Marvin was in second for a moment in the Main Event but once he got passed and the race went on Marvin continued to fade back out of the top three. Marvin’s knee injury was something of topic in tonight’s race and you have to imagine riding with a injured knee is going to affect your endurance through the night especially in the Main Event.
After tonight’s race if your in the Ken Roczen camp, you can’t be to mad with how the evening went. Granted he still didn’t claim his win, he had a third place and now a second place finish on the season. It is clear that Kenny is past his two arm/wrist injuries and is looking to being a contender for the title. Luckily for him heading into Anaheim 2 next weekend, Ken Roczen will be holding the red plate as he is now the points leader. Ken will look to finish on top of the box next week and try to build his lead for the title.
Justin Barcia is right behind in second place overall in the point standings by just one point but with tonight’s sixth place, it did not help him maintain his lead. However, Justin is making his point to also be a contender for the title. He is continuing to show his speed but he just needs to be consistent week to week.
Overall with two rounds behind us now in the Monster Energy Supercross season, it is clear that this year’s championship can be wide open. A lot of riders are charging and competing in both races that we have seen. In A1 we seen what riders can do in muddy conditions and this week we seen what they can do in fast and long rhythm sections. Yet there is still a mix of the top talent in the results of the races. One thing for sure, I would say there is no clear cut favorite for the title this year. There truly is the question of whos next.
Next week’s race will be in Anaheim, California again for round three. With rain in the forecast as of right now, we may see another mudder race in Anaheim next weekend and can play a huge factor again in the points standings.
(Image Courtesy Monster Energy Supercross)