‚ÄčThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
2017 Monster Energy Supercross
Round 1 - Anaheim 1

250 Class

The Good: Shane McElrath | 1st Place

Dang! Shane McElrath came out of practically nowhere and stole the Anaheim 1 win! Alright, maybe he didn't come out of nowhere, but he wasn't really on anyone's radar as far as title contenders go. I personally thought that he'd be a semi-regular podium guy, but not a race winner. Nonetheless, he looked solid all night long and rode a very smart and consistent main event. He straight up earned the win, and now he has to be thrown into consideration for the title as well. Will he win next week as well? I'm not so sure about that. We now have at least five guys in this championship that could win a main event, so it'll most likely come down to whether or not he grabs another holeshot. San Diego can't get here soon enough.

The Bad: Tyler Bowers | 11th Place

Now, I didn't expect for Tyler to come out and win the main event or even podium, but I figured that a top eight finish was a lock. Well, I guess it wasn't as Tyler didn't look super comfortable out there and crossed the line in a disappointing 11th place. I'm hoping it was just a bad night and that he shows up next week ready to break into the top ten. This is a make or break season for Tyler. He's shown potential in the past, but a couple of seasons derailed by Epstein-Barr and other injuries have cast a shadow of doubt over his future. If he doesn't perform this year, his chances of landing back on a factory team may be over. I really hope Tyler puts it all together and scores some solid results this season.

The Ugly: Phil Nicoletti | 17th Place

Phil's Anaheim 1 did not go very well, at all. He crashed on the first lap of qualifying practice, in the first turn of his heat race, and during the main event. He was able to salvage a 17th place finish, but I bet Phil was not super-pumped on how his first race back on the 250 went.... Not that he's ever super-pumped about anything. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of Phil's 250 season goes, whether it's good or bad. Either way, it'll be pretty entertaining.

450 Class

The Good: Ken Roczen | 1st Place

Surprise winner! No? Alright. I don't think anyone was truly surprised when Ken Roczen absolutely ran away with the Anaheim 1 main event win. It wasn't even close. He had everyone covered and this is exactly what I was afraid of. A Ken Roczen that has his starts down and a bike that he's happy with is a very dangerous combination. In fact, it's a combination that could make the "most stacked season ever" a snoozefest. I don't want that, and neither does most of the Supercross fan base. So while I think that it's awesome that Ken is finally happy with everything and appears to be in the best shape of his career, I hope that Dungey, Tomac, or really anybody is able to close the gap over the next few weeks. Otherwise, it's going to be a very long season.

The Bad: Eli Tomac | 5th Place

"My arms set off a freaking mushroom cloud bigger than anything that's ever happened," that's what Eli Tomac had to say about his main event at Anaheim 1. It definitely wasn't what he was looking for, or what any of us expected. It's no secret that Eli struggled in Supercross last year both with the bike and with fatigue/arm pump. Now it seems like he has the bike figured out, but arm pump may still be a problem. Early in the main event he showed some great pace and it looked like that he might mount a charge after Roczen for a few laps, but then he started fading and eventually found himself in fifth place. He's probably very frustrated, as he should be, but I think he'll have an arm pump-less main event next week.

The Ugly: Christophe Pourcel | DNQ

Ouch, this one had to hurt for Christophe and the rest of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna crew. He showed speed during timed qualifying (shocking), and really I thought he looked better than last year out there. Unfortunately, a so-so start in the LCQ coupled with Christophe not being a very aggressive rider led to him missing out on the main event. We all knew at least one rider on a factory supported bike wouldn't be on the gate for the main event, but I wasn't expecting it to be Pourcel. If he struggles to make the main event over the next few weeks as well, it may be time to hit the panic button. But hopefully it won't come to that.

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

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