Anaheim 2 - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 2

Get Grant's perspective on how the weekend went...from all sides.

Anaheim 2 - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

250 Class

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The Good: Joey Savatgy | 1st Place

Joey is back! It was very weird watching him struggle so much last year. He won the opener, yes, but then he had a streak of weird little mistakes and mediocre finishes....and then that last lap incident in Las Vegas. Yeah, you could say that 2017 won't be a year of Supercross that Joey will look back on fondly. But from the first timed practice of this year, you could tell that he has returned to his 2016 form. He has looked comfortable, smooth, and fast. His start wasn't the best at A1, and he got straight up beat by Aaron Plessinger at Houston, but he was the man at A2. His starts were solid, and his pace was nice and steady. Now he has to keep the ball rolling, especially with such a stacked 250 West field. There is no room for mistakes. He's also a veteran now, so it's time to show that he can handle the pressure.

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The Bad: Aaron Plessinger | 6th Place

Speaking of a stacked field, is there a better way to prove that than by looking at Aaron Plesinger's results over the past two weeks? He went from a win in Houston to a sixth in Anaheim, and it wasn't because of a lack of speed. The Triple Crown format, the higher intensity, and his usual semi-poor starts all came together for a mediocre night for the (now former) red plate holder. As I said last week, and the week before, there still isn't a title favorite in this 250 region yet. We've had three different winners, and we're about to have our third different red plate holder in three rounds with Joey Savatgy (although he will share it with Shane McElrath). So if Aaron wants to turn his plates red again, he's going to have to figure out his starts, because he won't always be able to slice through this field like it's butter.

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The Ugly: Mitchell Harrison | 13th Place

Mitchell had a nasty crash during timed qualifying. It actually wasn't all that different from Adam Cianciarulo's, and I was certain he wasn't going to make it to the line for the night show. He did line up, but it didn't go very well. And really, his entire season hasn't gone that well so far. Sure, he's on a new team adjusting to a new bike, but I'm sure he, along with everyone else in his camp, expected more than 14-13-13 results to start off the season. I don't think I'm being unfair by thinking that this is a make or break season for him. He needs to start putting in some solid results indoors, or his time on a factory team may be coming to an end. That's just how this industry is. 

450 Class

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The Good: Eli Tomac | 1st Place

Well, hot damn! Eli came out to play in Anaheim. When it was announced that he would race A2, I think everyone had their doubts about whether or not he'd actually make it to the line–and if he did make it to the line, how well would he actually do? Then he went out and won the overall! That's one hell of a turnaround. I do think it was good for him to return on a round that was using the Triple Crown format. The format allowed for him to get three main event gate drops instead of one, so he could really test the durability of his shoulder and get some valuable race time under his belt. I'd expect for him to get stronger and stronger over the next few rounds (assuming he doesn't re-aggravate the injury somehow) and possibly make a charge for the championship. Will that charge be successful? The chances aren't in his favor, as he was in a smaller hole last year and fell back in after climbing out of it, but it's not impossible. Jason Anderson leads the field, Ken Roczen isn't far behind, and Marvin Musquin and Eli attempting to charge back...this season is already quite interesting.

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The Good Bonus: Cole Seely | 2nd Place

Take out the Triple Crown format, and I still wouldn't be surprised to see Cole Seely snag second place at A2. He looked fantastic all night, and it also helps that his style is so fluid and smooth. It's like watching poetry in motion. Anyway, this was something Cole really needed to remind himself that he is one of the top guys. He won Houston in 2015, but since then he's been primarily a fourth-to-sixth place guy with the occasional podium thrown in. Now he's shown everyone, including himself, once again that he has the speed to run with the guys who are winning these things. Now he just has to finish one spot better than he did Saturday.

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The Bad: Ken Roczen | 9th Place

I debated back and forth with myself for a while about whether or not Ken Roczen should get this spot this week. Did he have a bad night? Yeah. But is it understandable that he had a bad night in the stadium that he suffered a nearly destroyed arm last year? Yeah. I would have been riding tight as well, not trying to get injured again. Still, it's undeniable that a ninth-place finish did not help his championship position at all. Is it as big of a hole as say Marvin Musquin or Eli Tomac are in? Absolutely not, but he can't take a ton of nights like this one when Jason Anderson has proven that he very well could end up on the podium every round of the year. Look for Kenny to be more comfortable, and up towards the front, next weekend.

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The Ugly: Broc Tickle | 16th Place

I don't think that Broc Tickle's trying night in Anaheim is that much of a surprise when you consider that in general he's not a sprint guy. He's very good at getting a decent start and settling into a decent pace, which often results in a decent finish. But he's not a guy that you look at and say, "Yeah, this dude could blow everyone's doors off in an eight-minute race." That's just not the kind of rider he is. But, I still think he's way better than 22-13-12 finishes. Sure, he was involved in a pile up in the first main event. We can give him a pass on that one, but the next two main event finishes were just not what he wants. It's been a weird start to the season for him, but I think that he breaks out of the funk next weekend and finishes at least sixth.  

Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson

  • iRide110

    1/24/2018 10:52 AM

    The Good was that nobody got seriously hurt last weekend. The sprint format was making everyone push their limits really far if they did not get a great start. I know it makes for good racing, but there's a risk/reward line that I feel this format pushes riders beyond. The bad was the racing format for the night. Nobody that I have seen has had much of anything positive to say about the format. Three sprint main events made it confusing for people at home and in the stands to follow how well everyone was doing. Plus, by getting rid of the heats and LCQs, many people supporting the privateers had no way of even seeing them in the night show. The ugly was the broadcast. There were so many commercials and filler segments I had to turn it off. For a 3 hour program, barely one hour of it was actually racing. I'll be at Atlanta because we bought tickets before seeing what this triple crown event would be like. But, if they bring this back next year, I (and a lot of others, I imagine) will be passing on going to these rounds. This format is okay for events like Monster Cup because there's a huge purse on the line, it is not a part of any series (so not everyone is required to line up), the main events are nearly full-length, and they have other race classes to show between the pro main events. Putting it into a series like this seems more like an obvious money-grab by the promoters than anything else. (sorry for the ranting, but it needed to be said)

  • GD2

    1/24/2018 11:31 AM

    You make some fair points.

    I don't think that the Triple Crown format should be run on a regular basis, but I don't mind it being used it for one-to-three races a season. It's a little something different and it shakes things up as we could see different winners, etc. I think that there's valid arguments for using it and not using it.

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