It’s been eight long, dark months for Supercross fans around the world as they’ve been forced to endure the downtime between racing seasons, but Saturday night marked the highly-anticipated return of the world’s best SX athletes to center stage.
Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, hosts the annual Supercross kick-off party commonly referred to as “A1” each and every year, and the 2013 season started with Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey both scoring impressive podium finishes.
Western Regional 250SX Class
Entering the series as a heavy favorite in the class, Roczen immediately served notice that he means business in 2013, throwing down the second-quickest lap time during the afternoon’s timed practice sessions -- just a fraction of a second off of Eli Tomac’s time.
Still feeling the flow, Ken grabbed the holeshot in 250SX Heat 1 to become the first race leader of the New Year and never looked back as he took the seemingly easy win.
A sloppy start in the main left Roczen scratching as the field battled down the first rhythm section, but by the exit of turn two he had impressively worked his way into the second spot. A blistering pace by eventual race winner Tomac combined with a few mistakes throughout the 15-lap main relegated Roczen to second place in the end, but he was more than content to leave A1 with runner-up points.
“I feel great right now,” Roczen said after the race. “I had a few ups and downs today, but I’m very happy with second and am really looking forward to Phoenix next weekend!”
Rounding out the podium in third, TLD/Honda/Red Bull’s Cole Seely rode a smooth and calculated main event and looks to be a major threat for the remainder of the series.
250 Supercross Main
1. Eli Tomac
2. Ken Roczen
3. Cole Seely
4. Jason Anderson
5. Malcolm Stewart
6. Ryan Sipes
7. Zach Osborne
8. Tyla Rattray
9. Max Anstie
10. Michael Leib
As has been the case during the majority of his career thus far, Ryan Dungey was the model of consistency at Anaheim 1. Save for a mediocre start in his heat race, the Minnesota native rode smooth, fast, and in control all night long at Angel Stadium, eventually finishing the 450SX main event in third place behind winner Davi Millsaps and Trey Canard in second.
“Anaheim 1 is always survival of the fittest,” Dungey explained at the end of the night. “Everybody is fired up to come out and show what they’ve got and see where they stack up against everyone else, but that can be dangerous.
“The championship can’t be won here, but it can definitely be lost, so it’s really important to be patient. I’m stoked to have ended the night on the podium.”
Prepared and ready to go to battle with the world’s top Supercross athletes, James Stewart and his Red Bull-backed Yoshimura Suzuki went to work on the challenging Anaheim circuit during the timed practice sessions, dropping the quickest lap time of the day in the process.
Unfortunately, JS7’s momentum was short-lived, as a bobble during the last lap of the session (his fast lap) left him with a tweaked and extremely painful knee.
Still uncertain of the extent of the damage, Stewart battled through pain all night long to salvage an eighth-place finish in the 450SX main event, collecting valuable championship points in the process. Although far from meeting expectations, JS7 survived to compete another day, and looks forward to rebounding strong next weekend in Phoenix.
“We’re not exactly sure how bad the knee is yet, but right now I’m feeling pretty good to get out of here with an eighth,” James commented after the main. “I’ll get it checked out this week and we’ll go from there, but I’m planning on racing in Phoenix.”
1. Davi Millsaps
2. Trey Canard
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Chad Reed
5. Jake Weimer
6. Andrew Short
7. Justin Barcia
8. James Stewart
9. Justin Brayton
10. Kevin Windham
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