Hello again, old friend: Monster Energy Supercross returns to Angel Stadium of Anaheim this Saturday for its third round of the 2019 season. We opened the year in Anaheim two weeks ago, and after a quick trip to Arizona and State Farm Stadium, the dirt has been moved around to produce an entirely new layout for this weekend’s tilt.
It’s anyone’s guess as to who will top the 450 class after two surprising finals to start the year, while the 250 West contenders have begun to properly assert themselves. Here’s what we’ll be watching out for on Saturday night:
Dean Wilson was the surprise of the first Anaheim round this year, but it’s Rocky Mountain ATV/MC rider Blake Baggett who scored a surprise victory in Glendale with an outside pass on defending 450 champion Jason Anderson. Although he’s been an outdoor winner in the past, last weekend marked just Baggett’s first Supercross 450 win.
After mid-pack performances for both Baggett and Anderson in Anaheim last week, they’ve improved their respective fortunes in the point standings. But both are currently chasing Ken Roczen, the only rider to podium in both 450 races so far. Coming off of another injury-shortened indoor season, the Honda rider’s durability will always be a concern, but as long as he’s still on the bike, expect him to keep fighting for podiums and a return to the top step soon enough. Anaheim 1 winner Justin Barcia sits second, just one point off of Roczen’s score.
Unfortunately, Malcolm Stewart took the first major injury of the 2019 season in Glendale, undergoing surgery for a broken femur that will take him off the bike indefinitely. 450 rookie Joey Savatgy also suffered a concussion in Arizona, but plans to ride this weekend pending clearance from the series’ concussion protocol.
And what of the racers who rivaled Anderson for last year’s title? Eli Tomac sits a quiet third in points after third and fourth place finishes to start the year. Marvin Musquin, meanwhile, is sixth. We’ll see how the year plays out for those two, but it seems like the folks who needed a clean sheet the most after 2018 are the ones who are currently taking advantage.
250 West Class
Even with so many top 250 riders moving up this offseason, the West class has kept things plenty interesting to start off the season. Colt Nichols seemingly came out of nowhere to run first and second in the first two races, surprising everyone when class veterans like Adam Cianciarulo and Shane McElrath are still hanging around.
To their credit, Cianciarulo still won in Glendale and McElrath has joined Nichols on both podiums with a pair of third place finishes. The trio is separated by only seven points in the standings through two rounds, a relatively small difference when you consider that we’re only in January right now.
Dylan Ferrandis, who completed a Star Racing Yamaha 1-2 with Nichols in Anaheim two weeks ago, is fourth, just nine points off the lead. Consistent performances from RJ Hampshire, Jimmy Decotis, and Garrett Marchbanks behind him also have those riders on the fringes of the early title conversation. It’ll be interesting to see if any of them can push forward in the coming weeks the way that Nichols has thus far, and perhaps further muddy the championship waters.