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By Jody Weisel

Ken Roczen currently is the lease holder on Anaheim Stadium. he gets another shot at the Big A in two weeks.

(1) BLACK FLAG: There were several levels of stupidity working in the Chad Reed/Trey Canard incident. First, Trey assumed that Chad would go where he went the lap before in that left-hand corner. That was a big mistake. Chad knew that Trey was coming and he changed up his lines to hold on to his position. Smart move by Chad and one that every racer would have done. Second, Trey totally committed to the inside the moment he turned into that section…he was all-in. That was a mistake — a racing mistake, not a take-out move. How can you tell? Trey took himself out along with Chad. Nobody, racing for a Championship, pulls a take-out move on themselves. There has to be a calculation of success in a take-out. Third, Trey rejoined the race well off the racing line. Chad rejoined the race with the intent of a heat-seeking missile. He was locked on to Canard, crossed the track at an angle and caught Canard with one hand off the bars adjusting his goggles. Make no mistake about it, this was a take-out move — motivated by pure rage and stupidity. Throwing an elbow into Trey’s face only added insult to injury. Had Chad picked his bike up and put his head down, he would easily have raced into the top ten — which is what he was there for. Okay, it wouldn’t have been the top five he was hoping for before Trey came dropping out of the sky, but a professional works with what the situation offers. Instead, “Bad Chad” got black flagged by the FIM, with the AMA in agreement. It wasn’t the first time a black flag has been thrown in a race — but it is the first time that Chad Reed and Jason Lawrence’s names have been used in the same sentence. Finally, Chad played dumb about what happened when questioned about the events, saying that he didn’t know that Trey had been pushed off the track and into the Tuff Blox—although he did admit to throwing an elbow. Chad could use some lessons from Tyler Bowers about how to own it. Be proud—you were proud enough to do it. Claim it. The black flag didn’t just mean that Chad would be demoted to 22nd place, but also that his name would be erased from the books, given zero points and zero dollars (22nd normally get 1 points for the night).

Not exactly living in the shadow of 250 National Champion Jeremy Martin, Cooper Webb is setting the bar high for his Star Yamaha teammate (who will be in the 250 East).

(2) BOWERS BOWS OUT. Speaking of Bowers, he was part of a whole group of dive bombers who turned Anaheim II into the 405 Freeway after an oil spill. From the drop of the gate in the second 250 West heat race, Bowers cleaned out Aussie Jackson Richardson and then engaged in a game of high-speed chicken with Justin Hill. Later in the 250 main Bowers would live/die by the sword, when Cooper Webb dive bombed him on the last lap and slid his rear wheel into Bowers bike sending Tyler down. Amazingly, Bowers would remount to still get second place. Just as amazing, Jackson Richardson, got up in his heat race and actually came from last to make it into the 250 West main. The Aussie would finish 11th overall (and resisted the urge to throw any elbows).

Last year Fredrik Noren got called up to factory Honda for the outdoor Nationals and acquitted him very well. But, he was just a fill-in rider and didn’t get the paying gig. They told him that if he could prove himself in Supercross he might get a shot. It takes more than three races to prove yourself.

(3) MARCHING ORDERS: Crashing was the order of the night (sometimes with help from malcontents like Josh Hansen, but just as often in lonely endeavors). Barcia had a roller coaster night. He set fast time in qualify, didn’t transfer out of his heat after submarining Trey Canard (by sliding under him in a sweeper), got into the main through the semi (despite having a bad case of the tipsies) and then came back to score a fourth in the 450 Main — his best result this season. Barcia wasn’t the only one with crashitis: Fredrik Noren cased a jump and sat stunned on the sidelines for awhile. Justin Brayton broke his collarbone in the Last Chance. Jessy Nelson skipped off the top of the Step-Over tunnel and was collected by the Tuff Blox — while winning the 250 Main. Josh Hansen did a “Bad Chad” on Shane McElrath and, of course, Bowers wouldn’t give up on the last lap and went off the track.

Andrew Short (29) has his reflexes in fine fiddle for the starts, but it didn’t make any difference at A2.

(4) GETTING SPRUNG: Ken Roczen can win without help, but in both Anaheim I and Anaheim II, Roczen has been sprung into big leads by Andrew Short. At A1, Roczen got by Short and Alessi immediately and was long gone as the majority of the pack was stuck behind them on the less-than-stellar A1 layout. At A2, Roczen got by Andrew Short immediately for the lead and them Short chest bumped into the next turn and stacked up the field  (forcing Jason Anderson to ride over his bike and crash also). This left Dungey and Tomac swerving to avoid the carnage. They would come back to finished second and third, but the 4 seconds they gave up on lap one was the deficit they lived with at the checkered flag.


(5) ONE-THIRD OVER: The 450 series may last for 17 weeks, but the 250 West officially passed the one-third point. By the time the next three 250 West rounds (all on the West Coast) are over, the series will be two-thirds done and headed for a long break as the 250 East starts up. At the moment Cooper Webb, with two wins out of three tries, has a 4-point lead on Jessy Nelson and Tyler Bowers. Zach Osborne is 10-points back, with Justin Hill 11-points adrift. Only three other riders are within 25 points of Webb — Plessinger, Stewart and McElrath. Everybody outside of the top ten needs bad news from the Webb, Nelson and Bowers camps if they want to be contenders.

Ryan Dungey’s plan is working perfectly. He wants to be there at the end of the 17-race series. So far, he’s gone 4-3-2 in the first three races. If you are a mathathlete, you know where he’ll be next week in Oakland.

(6) CALCULATING: The 450 series has a long way to go (with 14 races left), so even though the points chase looks bleak for the chasers, there is more time to work with. There are only three riders racing on the same race (Roczen, Dungey and Anderson), everybody else is at least 26 points behind Roczen. Not even Eli Tomac is within one race of Kenny. He is 26 points adrift. Chad Reed, after his DQ from Anaheim II, is the first rider that is 50 or more points behind Roczen. It’s hard to imagine Skippy being two full races behind the series leader after only three races.

(7) MAN DOWN: Weston Peick broke a bone in his foot last week in Phoenix during his gallant effort to hold off Ryan Dungey and get on the podium. Weston had the bone pinned during the week and showed up to race at A2. No go! The question mark is whether his Jeffrey Herlings-like attempt to race before being healed will cost him even more time. Justin Brayton’s Supercross season is over, at least until his collarbone heals. There was good news from A2 for some struggling riders. Nick Wey, Kyle Chisholm, Ben Lamay and Cade Clason all made their first 450 mains of the year. Cade Clason had people scratching their heads as he ran as high as second in his 450 Semi. He finished fourth and didn’t have to go to the Last Chance — pretty good for a guy no one ever heard of.

The AMA should watch this guy’s every move with a magnifying glass.

(8) AMA/FIM GUMPTION: People who love “Good Chad” and those who hate “Bad Chad” all agree that the AMA needs to begin enforcing some kind of rule against blatant take-out moves (shouldn’t Josh Hansen be on permanent vacation?). But, before they start doing that, they need to get a brain. Last year Mike Alessi’s blatant take-out move on Broc Tickle earned Mike a $4000 fine. But, and this is the kicker, they then handed him a $1500 check for getting the holeshot in the 450 main and $2780 for a fifth place finish — which means that after his $4000 fine, Mike Alessi made a net profit of $280. Plus, they let him keep his 15 points for the night. Oh yeah, they put him on probation — which means nothing. Probation is a fake AMA action. “Bad Chad” on the other hand gets black flagged, disqualified, loses his points and doesn’t get any money (22nd place pays $1415). Where did Alessi’s $4000 fine come from? Where did the Reed’s black flag come from? Do they make this stuff up as they go? The rule that should be applied in these cases is “endangering another rider.” However, intent is what counts — Chad and Mike both had bad intentions (as did Josh Hansen in his 250 West escapade with Shane McElrath). The obvious penalty for the “intent” to endanger another rider is disqualification, loss of points and surrender of all and any prize money from that event. We accepted that the AMA/FIM are the judge and jury in these calls, and there will be some cases where they will be wrong, but they will always be wrong when they do nothing or apply the rules all willy nilly. If the AMA and FIM want respect, which they have yet to deserve, they should protect the riders from angry vigilantes out seeking revenge. Start enforcing this rule at the very least — we know they don’t enforce very many of the other ones. But this one really matters. What would we be saying if Trey Canard was laying in a hospital bed today because of Chad’s blatant take-out move?

Dean Wilson is now on track. He finally got out of the no man’s land in the back of the pack. He should now know the amount of effort it takes to be a player in the 450 class.

(9) TRACK BUILDING: Could they have squeezed one more jump onto the Anaheim II track design? Highly unlikely, and if they had the bike’s wheels would have only touched the ground for 1/10th of the track layout. Even the lowest 250 Novice on the totem pole knows that racing dirt bikes is all about the dirt. When you go out to your local track to ride, the most important thing is dirt prep. The Supercross track builders have proven time after time that they know nothing about dirt. Most of the flat corners at A2 were the consistency of Tijuana parking lot. Yes, we know that the Monster truck races held between the Anaheim Supercross races pounds the dirt into concrete, but that’s why they make heavy equipment. Loam! Ever heard of it? Water! Ever hear of it? Ripped dirt! Ever heard of it? If you went to a local race and that was the dirt you had to race on, you’d be angry.

If you can’t start, you can’t win Championships. Eli doesn’t need more speed — except in the first 100 feet.

(10) TROUBLE IN RIVER CITY: Not every rider is on his game by the third round. It may take a few guys until race six or seven to come to terms with the current pace. Need examples. If Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen traded their positions on the first lap of all three races so far, Eli would be leading the 2015 AMA Supercross series. If you can’t start, you can’t win the Championship against an equal field. Davi Millsaps is not a Kawasaki rider. After his long layoff from injury, he really didn’t need to have to adjust to a new bike. Davi needs more time in the saddle—mostly play riding in the hills to become one with the green machine. He looks awkward on it and is currently tenth in the standings and 42 points out of first. Brett Metcalfe’s 12th at Anaheim II was his best finish so far. He is just a tourist in the Supercross series on his way to somewhere else. In his case, Canada. Dean Wilson finally made the top ten this weekend—the guy he replaced at Team KTM finished first. Mike Alessi is predictable. Every track has a guy who holeshots every moto and them fades into obscurity. In professional racing Mike is that man. There is a school of thought that Mike would finish higher if he let the pack go on the start and tried to race up through the pack. He couldn’t do worse. Although on Alessi’s side of the ledger, he did win a heat race at A2 and gave a slightly downbeat interview on the podium (his previous heat race victory speech was much more epic). Jason Anderson should be doing better — say what? Jason is currently third in the standing in his first season, but if he hadn’t been knocked down in the Andrew Short crash on the first lap of the 450 main, he would have most likely finished on the podium instead of seventh. Unlike Millsaps, Metcalfe and Wilson, Anderson isn’t struggling, he’s aiming high.

Jason Anderson has put Husqvarna on the map. His night was ruined by having to plow over the fallen Andrew Short’s bike.

1. Ken Roczen…SUZ)
2. Ryan Dungey …KTM
3. Eli Tomac …Hon
4. Justin Barcia …Yam
5. Broc Tickle …Suz
6. Cole Seely …Hon
7. Jason Anderson …Hus
8. Dean Wilson …KTM
9. David Millsaps …Kaw
10. Blake Baggett …Suz
Other notables: 11. Trey Canard ; 12. Brett Metcalfe; 18. Cade Clason; 19. Mike Alessi; 21. Andrew Short …KTM
DQed. Chad Reed.

1. Cooper Webb …Yam
2. Tyler Bowers …Kaw
3. Justin Hill …KTM
4. Zach Osborne …Hus
5. Malcolm Stewart …Hon
6. Jessy Nelson …KTM
7. Josh Hansen …Kaw
8. Alex Martin …Yam
9. Thomas Hahn …Hon
10. Shane Mcelrath …KTM
Other notables: 11. Jackson Richardson; 13. Aaron Plessinger; 14. Austin Politelli; 19. Zach Bell; 22. Chris Alldredge.

Chad’s had bad nights before, but his disqualification takes the cake — not that he wasn’t totally in the wrong.

(After 3 of 17 races)
1. Ken Roczen …72
2. Ryan Dungey …60
3. Jason Anderson …51
4. Eli Tomac …46
5. Justin Barcia … 43
6. Trey Canard …43
7. Broc Tickle …38
8. Weston Peick …32
9. Andrew Short …31
10. David Millsaps …30
11. Cole Seely …29
12. Blake Baggett …28
13. Jacob Weimer …26
14. Dean Wilson …23
15. Chad Reed …22
16. Kyle Partridge …22
17. Tevin Tapia …22
18. Brett Metcalfe …18
19. Mike Alessi …17
20. Justin Brayton …14

(After 3 of 9 races)
1. Cooper Webb …64
2. Jessy Nelson …60
3. Tyler Bowers …60
4. Zach Osborne …54
5. Justin Hill …53
6. Aaron Plessinger …40
7. Malcolm Stewart …39
8. Shane McElrath …39
9. Josh Hansen …34
10. Thomas Hahn …30
11. Alex Martin …27
12. Michael Leib …25
13. Zach Bell …24
14. Matthew Bisceglia …18
15. Scott Champion …17
16. Zack Freeberg …15
17. Jackson Richardson …13
18. Austin Politelli …12
19. Cole Martinez …12
20. Landen Powell …8

Photos: John Basher, Geico Honda, KTM, Husqvarna


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