Anaheim II brings series into clearer focus as Roczen and Webb become season’s first double winners
By Jon Row, Lance Thruxton, and Bikeland Staff
A2’s Western Region 250 race was a fifteen lap bar-banging brawl that featured multiple lead changes, crashes and take-outs. Zach Osborne led the pack for two laps until series points leader Jessy Nelson took charge. Nelson crashed on lap seven handing Tyler Bowers the lead. Cooper Webb on his Yamaha, came through the pack from 14th hunting Bowers down. With the checkered flag waving just a few yards away, Webb caught up in the final turn, muscling Bowers off the line and over the tuff blocks. Webb’s second consecutive win gives him the 250 West series lead. Bowers gathered up the Kawasaki in time to hang on for second place holding the flu-constrained Justin Hill and his KTM to third.
After the podium ceremonies, Webb’s excitement bubbled over as he told Bikeland “I won better than him I would say”. Bowers was remarkably composed while conceding, "I saw him the whole race. Last turn for the win and you have to go for it. Later tonight I’m probably going to kick myself in the ass“. Fans will kick themselves too if they miss any remaining events for the 250 West Coast Championship Crown.
Another fast qualifier, Justin Barcia and new heat race winners Ryan Dungey and Mike Alessi provided Anaheim fans with additional suspense and anticipation.
In the main event, Andrew Short stole Jimmy Albertson’s hotly contested holeshot only to be passed quickly by Davi Millsaps and Ken Roczen. Shorty then crashed hard on lap two taking Jason Anderson down in the process.
Millsaps barely led the first lap as Roczen easily motored by followed by Dungey, Reed and Canard. On lap eight, Canard uncharacteristically overshot a jump and ran into the back of Reed taking them both down. It was a racing accident but after they got up and underway the seething Reed retaliated with a knock down and was disqualified from the race. Reed’s move killed any championship hope for Reed’s Two -Two Race Team this year. As owner/rider/ manager Reed doesn’t have to ‘splain himself to anybody except perhaps his kid. A point of irony given the pre race Jumbotron videos of Reed & Grant parenting their sons into racing.
Meanwhile up front on his RCH Suzuki, Roczen proceeded to put in a perfectly poised and controlled race. Dungey managed to pare Roczen’s lead to three seconds at the mid-point. Unable to get closer, he wisely settled for second. Eli Tomac laid down the event’s fastest lap coming from an eighth place start. Tomac rode smart to claim third overall and chip his points deficit down to 26.The lead trio lapped up to 13th place.
Fast qualifier Barcia had a tough night, sliding down in the heat then banging back from last to second in the semi after running off track. “Bam Bam” got a bad start in the main but managed to salvage fourth overall, his best result of the year so far. Alessi, Short and Grant all DNF’d.
Where it goes now
Roczen and Dungey are consistently strong with Anderson, Canard and Tomac able to keep them honest. Reed, Millsaps and the others haven’t reached the podium in three races. These guys know competition gets easier as the season unfolds though and injuries thin the field. Everybody has to stay healthy to stay in the hunt.
There were comments last week about how long Dungey took to get past young Weston Peick for third at Phoenix. That patience paid off. The hard charging Peick broke his foot on a jump fending off the more cautious Dungey. Nobody will have to pass Peick for a while now.
More bad luck will inevitably appear this season. Expect series leaders Dungey and Roczen to each have a bad night; the kind Reed, Short and Tomac have already tasted. Track designs and 22-rider gates assure it. That’s why it’s Supercross and that’s also why SX Championships often come down to the bitter end.
450SX Class Results: Anaheim II
1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha
5. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki
6. Cole Seely, Laguna Beach, Calif., Honda
7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna
8. Dean Wilson, Wesley Chapel, Fla., KTM
9. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
10. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki
450SX Class Season Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki, 72
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 60
3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna, 51
4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 46
5. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda, 43
6. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha, 43
7. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 38
8. Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 32
9. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 31
10. Davi Millsaps, Murieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 30
Western Regional 250SX Class Results: Anaheim II
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha
2. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
4. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Husqvarna
5. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda
6. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM
7. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki
8. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha
9. Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda
10. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
Western Regional 250SX Class Season Standings
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 64
2. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM, 60
3. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki, 60
4. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Husqvarna, 54
5. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM, 53
6. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha, 40
7. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda, 39
8. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM, 39
9. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki, 34
10. Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda, 30
Check out all of Bikeland's exclusive photos from Anaheim 3