For the second time in three weeks, the supercross world rolls into Anaheim, California. The second round of Anaheim is typically a bit calmer, a bit more subdued, and usually offers better racing as riders settle in. With the introduction of the Triple Crown format, though, the racing gets turned on its head.
Three equal-length races are a great change (my opinion anyway) and really add some variety to a long championship. It opens up possibilities for unlikely winners, varying results, and big drama for the final race. Last year, Justin Brayton, Cole Seely, Blake Baggett, and many other riders were in the hunt that we generally didn’t consider for race wins. With the wild variations we have seen so far in 2019, we could see a crazy night in Southern California.
Dirty Little Secrets
The track for A2 is a little more open than the first two rounds but still has a plethora of rhythm sections and two whoop sections. Glendale was very technical and forced riders to execute perfect laps. Anaheim 2 will be a little faster than that but still has a few sections to keep riders on their toes. Depending how wet the dirt is after heavy rains all week, those rhythm sections could be rutty. If so, the level of difficulty will skyrocket.
The start is another long left 180 (which I love), giving riders room to operate and maneuver. Notice we haven’t seen huge pileups so far, and I believe this start variation is a big reason why. The first section is just a short straight which gives riders time to shuffle into position before heading into a right hand turn. Coming out of the turn, there is a medium set of whoops which I expect to be fairly easy with the rains all week. The dirt will break down from the moisture and when the track is rebuilt for the night’s racing, expect these to be an afterthought.
A quick 180 leads to an easy on-off and another quick left. The next section is an inside/outside option which will force riders to choose either carrying momentum or using the optimum angle for the next double. If riders go inside, they will lose time early but regain it by jumping across the turn-double with speed and the preferred angle. If the riders choose to rail the berm and go on-off, they will be faster early but how much will they have to brake to double across the turning double? That’s the question that riders will have to answer. My feeling is that riders will go outside, jump on-off but try to veer left when landing the off portion. That will allow them to open up the angle a bit and also utilize the fastest line. Watch for riders moving around a lot in this section to make it work.
The next standard supercross triple should be really easy after landing the double. The next right hand 90-degree turn is in the home plate section of the stadium and leads into the longest rhythm section of the course. There are several ways to execute this section but riders will have to choose between jumping onto or over the tabletops and also which options to triple. There is usually a clear cut way to most efficiently execute a rhythm section but on this one, we will have to wait and see how it’s actually built. The dirt being soft and rutty could change the whole approach.
A 180 right sends riders back into another long rhythm. Riders will either have to jump on-off or over the first tabletop. If they jump over it, they will then have to go on-off for the next tabletop. If they jump off the first tabletop, they will then have to jump from the face of the next tabletop. It’s a pick your poison scenario that will be dictated by how they can piece together the final six single jumps to end the section.
Another bowl berm 180 will put riders into the second whoops section. A key point here is that riders will now have two difficult rhythm sections followed by whoops. Three difficult sections in a row will wreak havoc on breathing and heart rates. Watch for riders to take a deep breath on the finish line jump at the end of these three sections.
The fastest sections of the course are up next, with a 90-degree right that sends riders toward their mechanics. An easy double into a right hand turn (watch for block passes here) sets riders up for an easy step down double and back onto the start straight for lap two. On the step down, riders will scrub and try to angle right toward the Tuff Blox on the inside. They will want to cut across the tightest angle possible when entering the start straight but that has to be done mid-air. This “shortening” of the race track is an important concept for high level SX racing.
Blake Baggett won his first ever 450SX main event. He stalked his nemesis Jason Anderson and made his move when Anderson looked to be unable to respond.
Adam Cianciarulo had a flawless day. Seriously, he dominated Glendale. If he can put in more days like that, he will be your champ and it won’t be close.
Ken Roczen has the red plates for the first time since his brutal Anaheim 2 injury in 2017. He looks calm, cool, and collected out there. He isn’t the same Kenny from two years ago but this one is still capable of winning.
Colt Nichols held onto the number one plate after a roller coaster main event. He is proving to be in this for the long haul.
Poor Mookie. In easily his best start to a season, Malcolm Stewart crashed big while chasing the leaders in Glendale. His broken femur will keep him out of foreseeable future but he proved that when healthy, he’s as fast or faster than anyone.
Joey Savatgy crashed and was forced to sit out Glendale. This was not the start to 2019 that he planned for.
Enzo Lopes had two crashes in the 250 main event, relegating him to the back.
Mitchell Harrison has blown a season’s worth of engines and we haven’t even gotten to round three yet.
After dropping multiple “sorry’s” in Glendale, Jason Anderson is officially given Canadian dual citizenship.
Mitchell Harrison’s bike withstands more than one hour of operation.
Justin Barcia and Dean Wilson get into another altercation in which neither of them actually know why they are in an altercation.
After a wild crash on a straightaway for Ferrandis and Musquin’s continued whoop struggles, coach Vuillemin sleeps in a padded room leading up to Anaheim.
The Triple Crown format is awesome as usual.
Vince Friese holeshots something.