THE AFTERMATH | ANAHEIM 1 SUPERCROSS
THE AFTERMATH | 2020 ANAHEIM 1 SUPERCROSS
Photos by Daryl Ecklund & Trevor Nelson
Story by Josh Mosiman
The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season has begun, and after months of anticipation, Anaheim 1 has came and gone. Now Supercross fans have one week to reflect on the season opener and make predictions for who we think will win this weekend’s Main Events in St. Louis and we can debate on who we think will be on top of the point standings after 17 rounds (or 10 rounds for the 250SX West class). In Motocross Action’s The Aftermath, we like to share our favorite photos from the event and dive into the details about the racing, the riders and the top stories lines from the opening round of the season.
Coming into Anaheim 1, nobody knew who would walk away victorious in the 450SX class. Obviously, high expectations were placed on Cooper Webb being the defending Champion, but he was under the weather with the flu virus. Eli Tomac has won more 450 Main Events than anyone in the last three years and his name was placed on top of the new “Power Rankings” list as the industry’s top ranked rider coming into A1. Adam Cianciarulo came in hot off his 2019 Monster Cup win, Ken Roczen was said to be healthy, reports from the Baker’s Factory said that Zach Osborne had been battling back and forth with Cooper Webb and he was looking quick. Jason Anderson was fairly under the radar as we know he prefers, Justin Brayton came in with confidence, but most people still didn’t peg him to be on top. Blake Baggett was underrated as usual and so was Malcolm Stewart and the others. It’s widely known that the Yamaha crew has been working hard on the 2020 YZ450F(read here for MXA full test of the 2020 YZ450F) to make Justin Barcia happy and he sounded confident coming into A1, but who could’ve known that he would go out and win both his heat race and the main event?
Justin Barcia won at Anaheim 1 in 2019 and it was a huge feat, but it was a mud race and no matter how good Justin rode in the treacherous conditions, people will always downplay the accomplishment because it was in the mud. But this year he was able to back it up with another win at Anaheim 1 and critics won’t be able to knock him this time. With perfect weather and a challenging track with tacky and rutted Anaheim dirt, Justin Barcia won his heat race and battled back and forth with Adam Cianciarulo to eventually win his second Anaheim 1 450SX Main Event in a row.
Justin Barcia led the 450 Main Event after making an aggressive pass on Vince Friese in turn-five on the first lap. He led for twelve and a half minutes until he made a mistake in the first rhythm section on the third base line and went off the track. Justin quickly jumped back on the track after Adam passed him and he tried to make a pass back on Cianciarulo right away after jumping back onto the track, but he couldn’t make it happen. Then after Adam Cianciarulo led the Main Event for seven minutes, he made a mistake in the second rhythm section and almost crashed. Justin Barcia was doing a triple-triple through the second where most riders where going double-triple-single. Adam went for the triple-triple and slid off the face of the jump, cased it and almost crashed. Later Adam would nail the tough rhythm, but Barcia had already passed him after his mistake and he was holding a solid lead. Justin went on to win the first Main Event of the 2020 season.
Adam Cianciarulo didn’t have the best start, but he snuck through the inside of the first turn to make his way to fifth at the end of the first rhythm section. His pace was clearly faster than anyone else on the track and he passed his way into second behind Barcia on lap four. He got into the lead on lap 8 and he put down the fastest lap time of the race on lap 9.
It’s kind of wild to think that Cooper Webb’s third place at Anaheim 1 was his first time on the podium at Anaheim in the 450 class. Last year Cooper finished 5th at A1 and 10th at Glendale before winning his first Supercross at Anaheim 2 and going on to win the title. Cooper Webb came into the season opener with the flu and you could definitely tell he was struggling with it. He was 15th fastest during timed-qualifying, but he pulled it together when the night show started. A third in the heat race and third in the main event was exceptional for the defending Champ.
Ken Roczen said in the pre-race press conference that he was healthy and ready to go, but he didn’t give a very confident answer when asked if he was completely healed from the illness he suffered from in 2019. He did mention that he has been dealing with EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) and he said that he’s been working closely with doctors to get the situation handled. His answer still left room for critics to doubt. We hope to see Ken 100% healthy and battling for this Championship again, his presence at the front always elevates the excitement levels.
The new Supercross Power Ranking comes from a panel of 75 people ranging from past Supercross Champions and experts in the industry. New for 2020, they will be voting each week on who should be ranked in the Top 10 in both the 450SX Class and 250SX Class. Throughout the season, each Thursday before every race, a new Power Ranking will be released. Eli Tomac was placed on top of the 450 Class coming into A1.
Many people had high hopes for Eli Tomac coming into 2020. He has won 27 Main Events in the 450 class over the last three seasons, more than the rest of his competitors, but he still hasn’t been able to win the Championship. Eli’s history at Anaheim 1 is a 3rd in 2019, 22nd in 2018, 5th in 2017, 4th in 2016 and 20th in 2015. A 7th place for Eli at A1 in 2020 isn’t his worst finish their, but it definitely shows that he has work to do going into St. Louis.
Chad Reed’s statement during the pre-race press conference was one of the best we’ve heard in a long time. In response to everybody saying how you can’t win the Championship at A1 but you certainly can lose it. But Chad said, you can’t win the Championship at A1, but you certainly can make a statement and set the bar high for your competitors.
Justin Cooper and Justin Barcia share the same first name, they both ride Yamaha, they’re both from New York and they’ll both have the red plate going into St. Louis next weekend. After battling for wins in 2019 and eventually battling for the Championship with Chase Sexton at the final rounds when Austin Forkner was out with injury, Justin was finally able to win his first Main Event. Last year he placed second in the 250 East division, only 13 points behind Chase Sexton in Las Vegas, even though he hadn’t won any Main Events.
Defending 250 West Champion, Dylan Ferrandis was the fastest rider all day in the 250 class, but a bad start in the Main Event held him back and he wasn’t able to catch his teammate Justin Cooper.
Austin Forkner was second off the start in the 250 Main Event and he made a pass on Justin Cooper in the fifth corner of the track on the first lap. This was the same corner that Justin Barcia passed Vince Friese for the lead on the first lap of the 450 Main. Justin Cooper kept the pressure on Austin until there were three and a half minutes left in the race when he made a mistake and landed on the tough blocks. Luckily he was able to keep the bike up on two wheels, but when he pulled the bike out of the tough blocks, he spun the bike around and he was facing almost backwards on the track. At this point Austin was on the landing of a jump and instead of turning his bike around, to follow the track into the corner, Austin cut the track, missing three jumps and an entire corner and almost taking out Dylan Ferrandis in the process. Luckily, Ferrandis was able to change his line and go around Austin while he re-entered the track, but it was still a very questionable move. After hours of consideration, around 11:30 P.M. after the race was over, interviews were complete and the stadium was empty, the AMA released the official results from the 250 Main Event which showed that Forkner had been docked two positions. Austin was dropped back from third to fifth which bumped Christian Craig and Michael Mosiman up one spot each.
Coming into the 2020 season, Christian Craig had a ban from the FIM and he wasn’t supposed to be racing until March 9th, 2020. But after going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzlerland and pleading his case. He was able to get the ban lifted so that he could race starting January 1st, 2020. Christian then rode a smart and smooth race to finish fourth in the 250 Main Event and that result later turned into a podium finish after the AMA decided that Austin Forkner would be penalized two positions. Christian didn’t get to stand on the podium or talk at the press conference, but he did earn 21 points and the result sheets have been updated with his name third.
Michael Mosiman’s night started off rough, but he got better as it went on. Michael’s first crash in the heat race (see below with Aaron Tanti and Jett Lawrence) set him back, but then another crash all on his own kept him out of qualifying position. He then went to the LCQ where he grabbed the holeshot and won by over 23 seconds on Mitchell Falk. In the 250 Main Event, Michael started from the very outside gate and swept around the first turn to come around in 6th. Michael battled back and forth and eventually worked his way to fifth by the end of the Main Event. On the last laps he closed the gap on Christian Craig, but he wasn’t close enough to pressure him for a pass. Michael ended up fifth, but later he was moved up to fourth after Forkner was penalized. Fourth place tied Michael’s best 250 Main Event finish in his young career.
The Anaheim 1 track design was far from simple. Their were nine straight aways, (not including the start) and each lane had jumps, whoops or sand rollers. There weren’t any straightaways or lanes that crossed the start to give the riders a break. With that, the start led straight into a long and technical rhythm section which expanded across the length of the stadium on the third base line. As you can see in the photo above, rhythm sections after a start create some very close and sketching moments for the riders.
Zach Osborne struggled with crashes in qualifying and in his heat race. After winning the LCQ Zach went on to finish 14th in the Main Event. He stated that he had been suffering from a fever since Tuesday before the race.
After Dean Wilson had a huge crash at the Monster Energy Cup, reports were going around that he wouldn’t be ready to go by the time January came around. But luckily for Dean, his hip healed enough to start riding two months later and he was able to go racing at the opener. With only two weeks on the bike, he wasn’t as prepared as he’d like to be, but he went racing anyways and finished 13th. Scroll to the bottom of this page for Dean’s thoughts on the day along.
Justin Brayton was riding well all night on his new HRC Honda ride. He won his heat race, but unfortunately for Justin, he was taken out in the Main Event. Immediately after Blake Baggett passed him in the whoop section, Justin braked to hit the inside and try to tuck in behind Baggett, but Jason Anderson came in hot and took Justin out. Brayton still finished 8th in the Main Event, even after the crash.
Chad Reed was the first man on stage at the pre-race press conference and after Ricky Carmichael spoke a heartfelt introduction about Chad Reed, Chad spoke about his decision to retire. If you haven’t watch the video yet, check it out by clicking here.
450 POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 1 OF 17)
- Justin Barcia-26
- Adam Cianciarulo-23
- Cooper Webb-21
- Blake Baggett-19
- Jason Anderson-18
- Ken Roczen-17
- Eli Tomac-16
- Justin Brayton-15
- Malcolm Stewart-14
- Vince Friese-13
Justin Hill rode well and had some flashes of brilliance at A1 but he missed the top 10 by one spot. Justin was one of seven factory riders who didn’t place in the top 10. The factory riders behind him were; Aaron Plessinger, Dean Wilson, Zach Osborne, Justin Bogle, Freddie Noren and Jimmy Decotis.
We’re not sure how this massive banner was placed here in the stadium, either someone paid for it to be there, or it was covering another advertiser who paid to be there. Either way, Chad Reed still gets the loudest cheers when his name is mentioned on the loud speaker, even after racing 250 Main Events.
Youngster’s not only get to meet Pro riders while strolling through the pits, but they also get to sit on mini-bikes built for them. Husqvarna had this TC50 set up along with their mini electric bike and TC65 for people to sit on and look at up close.
Benny Bloss is back on the Rock River Yamaha team after riding for the Rocky Mountain KTM team. Benny originally earned a fill-in ride with the team in 2016 and that turned into a full-time ride for 2017, 2018 and 2019. The team helped Benny out and let him race one of their bikes at the 2019 Monster Energy Cup, but they signed Justin Bogle instead of Benny for 2020. Now Benny is back with the Yamaha team that first helped him when he turned Pro.
Martin Castelo experienced every Supercross rider’s nightmare on Saturday. First, he was taken out by Mitchell Oldenburg in the 250 Heat race when Mitchell crashed in front of him in the whoops. This brought him to the 250 LCQ where he was third on the opening lap, right behind Aaron Tanti when Tanti swapped out and launched his bike into Castelo. Martin was ejected from his bike and he stayed down for a few laps.
Martin said via Instagram: “I don’t believe in good or back luck but man, last night was crazy. I’m thankful to be in one piece and to have a great team behind me. Thank you to everyone reaching out to check on me I’m all good just feels like I got hit by a train. See everyone in St. Louis!”
250 WEST POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 1 OF 17)
- Justin Cooper-26
- Dylan Ferrandis-23
- Christian Craig-21
- Michael Mosiman-19
- Austin Forkner-18
- Cameron McAdoo-17
- Brandon Hartranft-16
- Derek Drake-15
- Jett Lawrence-14
- Alex Martin-13
Kyle Cunningham just missed qualifying for the 450 Main Event. He was in third place coming into the final lap of the 450 LCQ when both Aaron Plessinger and Tyler Bowers got around him in an intense last lap battle. Bowers earned fourth place and the final spot in the Main Event while Kyle Cunningham will have to try again in St. Louis.
Freddie Noren’s first official outing as a factory rider had some highs and lows. Freddie had good starts all night, including a sixth place start in the Main Event, but unfortunately he got together with another rider in the air and crashed. Luckily he was okay and he went on to finish 21st.
PRE-RACE MOMENTS FROM THE PITS
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS
Ken Roczen said via instagram: “First off thank you for the support to my fans, friends, family and my team! From previous experience i have set my bike up very stiff for safety reasons. I have realized that even before going to Anaheim 1 that it May be on the stiff side. At the same time i didn’t want to flip everything upside down and keep messing around with anything just before the season starts. Ultimately i wanted to get to the races and then go from there. The tracks get really rough in the main and having a too stiff of a bike doesn’t help the whole situation and conditions. I felt like i was riding a BMX bike 😂No excuse though! Not pointing fingers or anything. We all know i can be and should be up at the front. The first race is down, i got the speed and i have put in my work over the off season no doubt. This week is about taking everything a step down and come to St Louis happy and motivated!
Justin Barcia said via instagram:“GRATEFUL is what comes to mind right now!
The sacrifices, blood, sweat, tears, hard work and a never give up mentality are what got me that win last night!
I couldn’t have done it without some key people: my wife @amberrosebarciafor always being there for me and being my rock, my riding coach @kilbarger412 for not sugar coating things and getting my riding top notch, my trainers @tomdanielson and @[email protected] for putting together the most bomb training program in the off season, @drfeelgoodmx @[email protected] @kdayinthelife for being the best support crew anyone could have, my mom and dad for always believing in me, and my whole Yamaha team for busting butt all off season! My amazing sponsors @[email protected] @[email protected] @zippspeed
It’s a long season and I’m looking forward to it but this is a great way to start!
Shout out to all my diehard fans for always having my back👊🏻
See you guys in #stlouis
Cooper Webb said via instagram: “A1 is done an dusted an very happy with my 3rd place result. It was a damn tough day an race trying to make it happen with the flu but those are the cards your dealt sometimes. Will focus on healing up to be 100% at St Louis. Thanks Team”
Dean Wilson said via instagram:“We made it to A1!! 2 weeks of riding and finished 13th. Unfortunately someone crashed into me first lap and had to come from 21st. But I will take it get better, stronger and fitter from here. So happy to be at the first round as it was always my goal. Massive thank you to everyone that helped me get to this point! My PT @erinsrunnerdpt has kicked my a** and still is with my therapy, my fiancé @sarahvanicek for always damn near almost wiping my a** when I was hurt 😂 I also went to @paradisehbot every single day with the help of @lululemonmen . Thank you to my team @rockstarhusky for being there for me. Let’s go another 16 rounds “
Chad Reed said via instagram: “What a weekend ! I promised myself to do my best to take it all in, I can honestly say I soaked it all up from press conference to the racing. The support from the fans, industry and close friends was something I’ll never forget. When childhood heroes drop by your truck to wish you luck and share a few personable conversations that really hits home I achieved taking it ALL in but fell victim to taking it all ON.
The emotions got the best of me and my on track performance was less than fun or acceptable
Sometimes I wish I didn’t care so much, but truth is I care so freakin much and want to make my people and fans proud. I’m excited I get 15 more tries 🙌🏻
THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT #onelastride”
Adam Cianciarulo said via instagram: “I fell in love with SX watching Anaheim 1 in 1999. Ever since, I’ve been dreaming about what I got to experience yesterday. From opening ceremonies, to getting my first 450 podium—the night certainly did not disappoint. I have a lot of things to work on but I’m stoked on this result. Thanks team!”
Dylan Ferrandis said via instagram:“A1 2020 done ✅ with #2 in the main event.
Feel good all day just missed my start and wanted to win so bad that I rode technically bad… looking forward to St. Louis this weekend 👊🏻👊🏻 Good day for my team @starracingyamaha winning everything 🙌🏻🙌🏻
Austin Forkner said via instagram: “Bit of a rough first day back for me yesterday with some crashes and stuff. Honestly happy to get the first one out of the way and was happy with my riding in the main until I hit the tough blocks. Some mistakes on my part and I’ll just try to clean em up👍🏼”
Eli Tomac said in a Kawasaki press release: “Man, the first race of the season is always an interesting one. The whole day is just chaotic. I started feeling a bit of a flow by the end of the last qualifying session today, but in both the heat race and main event tonight I got decent starts but got shuffled back in the first turn and the way the track broke down tonight it became very one-lined and difficult to make passes. The competition this year is deeper than ever, so we will regroup this week and come out swinging in St. Louis next weekend.”
Zach Osborne said in a Husqvarna press release: “The first round didn’t go the way I would have liked. I’ve had a flawless off-season and it’s a bummer to come in super prepared on a great bike/team and then get sick – I’ve had a fever pretty much since Tuesday and tonight I just had nothing left to give.”