For the second time this season, Supercross took over Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Coming off of a weekend in San Diego with two first-time winners, there was no shortage of headlines entering round four. With this serving as the unofficial quarter mark of the season, both the 250 West and 450 points races are now sorting themselves out. Who could jockey themselves to the front?
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Two rounds of the Supercross Futures series are now in the books, and the only real headline is Ryder DiFrancesco is for real. The Kawasaki prospect has boat raced the competition, picking up monster victories in Oakland and now in Anaheim. To put his pace in perspective, DiFrancesco would have qualified nearly inside the top five of Saturday’s 250 West field. Did we also mention that he is only 16 years old? Sure the competition isn’t the same, but that raw speed being shown already is big. Keep an eye out for DiFrancesco through the year leading into Loretta Lynn’s.
Heat Racing Recap
250 West Class
Vince Friese picked up his third Heat Race holeshot of the season over Michael Mosiman, although it was not a clean start. Dilan Schwartz got taken out on the inside going into turn one by the latter. Mosiman tried for laps on end to get by Friese but just couldn’t find a way around. That was until Friese did Mosiman’s work for him, taking himself out on a tuff block after the finish. Not only did the No. 62 lose first, but second as well to Jalek Swoll. However, he was able to get back to the second before the finish.
Nate Thrasher and Christian Craig meanwhile led the field and took off to begin Heat 2. However, in short order, Craig took over the point and set sail, with Thrasher and Hunter Lawrence in tow. From there on out, it was a cordial affair in the final 250 West heat. Just another dominant run for Craig. Garrett Marchbanks meanwhile was not on the gate due to a mechanical issue and was forced to the LCQ.
Aaron Plessinger absolutely stole the opening 450 Heat Race holeshot from Eli Tomac, with Dylan Ferrandis and Justin Brayton in tow. The No. 7 and No. 3 ran fairly even for the first few minutes, but Plessinger was holding strong out front. Unfortunately for him, Tomac was able to find a way by in the dying seconds, to take the lead and win. A great battle between a pair of riders on new teams though.
Chase Sexton pulled out a monster start in Heat 2, picking up right where he left off in San Diego. Shane McElrath occupied second for about 10 seconds before Ken Roczen found his way by. Surprisingly the No. 12 was able to put up a good fight holding off the trio of Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, and Justin Barcia behind him. Feels like McElrath drops like a rock the further a race goes, which was not the case here. Anderson was the only one to get by, but he took an off-track excursion which lost him four spots. Sexton, remaining scorching hot, took home the Heat win.
250 West Class Roundup
No. 28 Christian Craig- Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (1st Place)
What else is there to say about Craig at this point? The only reason he isn’t four-for-four to open 2022 is a first turn incident that was completely out of his control. Even without a holeshot, Craig was able to sit behind Mosiman for a ton of time. It was never a matter of if, just when the No. 28 was going to take the lead, and he did so. Now Craig is up 11 points over Lawrence and 14 over Mosiman four rounds in. Big assist as well to the Steve Matthes Memorial Nets™ for keeping him safe on press day after this crash.
No. 29 Michael Mosiman- Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing (2nd Place)
Despite the way he lost, Mosiman has nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, he had more than a few opportunities to punt Craig to retake the lead and opted not to. Didn’t score him any bonus points but that probably earned him some respect from his peers. With that said, Mosiman has to win one of these next two races, before Craig puts this thing out of reach.
No. 41 Hunter Lawrence- Honda HRC (3rd Place)
Lawrence is kind of in the same boat as Mosiman here. The only difference is the HRC rider has a three-point cushion over the GasGas man for a second. What likely caused Lawrence to not get at least one spot better than he did was his start. Across the line for the first time, he was scored in fifth, the worst of the top three finishers. He is not running badly, but the goal should be to win one of these next two rounds. Cant let Craig just keep rattling off these victories.
No. 31 Jalek Swoll- Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (5th Place)
After a solid return a week ago, Swoll did two spots better in Anaheim for his first top-five of the year. Given that it was a concussion that kept him out of Oakland, Swoll feels right about where he should be in his second round back. It will be interesting to see how he fares with the Triple Crown format in Glendale next weekend. Perhaps the shorter sprints could favor him as he gets back up to speed.
No. 62 Vince Friese- Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda (19th Place)
Friese missed out on a sure top-five night due to one of the scarier-looking incidents in quite some time. Late in the Main Event, he fell in the whoops, then got nailed in the head by Jo Shimoda as he was getting back up. By some absolute miracle, Friese’s worst ailment out of this was that he bit his tongue and needed stitches. He was very lucky that this wasn’t worse, but it’s great to see that he got out of this as good as he did.
No. 97 Jerry Robin– FCC Motorsports GasGas (DNQ)
No Main Event for Robin, but it’s now been two weeks in a row that he is demolishing the competition in the kit/bike wrap game. Last week in San Diego, the SKDA boys hooked him up with a San Diego Padres wrap with his CANVAS kit to match. This week he broke out one of the most iconic looks in the history of hockey. That being the old school Anaheim Ducks look, the final product did not disappoint. Here’s to hoping for an Arizona Coyotes look next week.
250 West Class Anaheim 2 Top 10
1st No. 28 Christian Craig
2nd No. 29 Michael Mosiman
3rd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
4th No. 49 Nate Thrasher
5th No. 31 Jalek Swoll
6th No. 910 Carson Brown
7th No. 30 Jo Shimoda
8th No. 43 Carson Mumford
9th No. 69 Robbie Wageman
10th No. 74 Derek Kelley
450 Class Roundup
No. 3 Eli Tomac- Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (2nd Place)
He was getting progressively better with each round, and now Tomac has himself his first win of 2022. Save for a short run by Anderson at the end, Tomac’s odds to win once he took the lead felt never in doubt. Now with career win No. 38, ET3 sits six points clear of Sexton in second, eight clear of Anderson in third. After a lackluster run at Anaheim 1, Tomac looked anything but in the second trip to Angel Stadium, and now he resides in the catbird seat.
Hear from your 450SX Main Event winner, @EliTomac 🗣
— Supercross LIVE! (@SupercrossLIVE) January 30, 2022
No. 21 Jason Anderson- Monster Energy Kawasaki (2nd Place)
It was another great night for Anderson last night, but not without some controversy. For the second week in a row, he got into it with Roczen and ruined his evening on a pass in the sand, which he took fault for. Didn’t seem intentional, but that’s two weeks in a row now. Outside of that, one errant triple-triple onto the elevated corner cost Anderson the lead and the win to Tomac. Despite that, he made a small run at the very end to make things close. On the eye test, taking results out of the equation, Anderson may be the most impressive 450 rider four rounds in.
Tomac to the lead!
— Supercross LIVE! (@SupercrossLIVE) January 30, 2022
No. 23 Chase Sexton- Honda HRC (3rd Place)
The 450 field is about a few weeks away from having a big Sexton problem because he’s been big time. After four rounds, only Tomac has more points and a better average finish. While only Roczen has led more laps. Sexton will be a title contender if this pace keeps up, he’s right in the conversation with Anderson and ET3 right now. In addition, he is only six points back of the latter for the points lead.
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis- Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (4th Place)
The most impressive ride of the evening last night came from the man on the No. 14 YZ-450. After a horrendous start, Ferrandis clawed his way from 14th to gain 10 spots in 20 minutes and change. Starts still seem to be a major issue for the Frenchman, the speed and pace however could not be more of a non-issue. Once he gets these starts down, he should be competing for wins.
No. 27 Malcolm Stewart– Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (5th Place)
This is now the third consecutive week where Mookie has brought home a fifth-place finish. Probably could have been a spot or two higher given his fantastic start, but a top-five is far from horrible. Currently, his average finish of 5.5 is good for the fifth-best in the series. On top of him sitting sixth in points, 15 points out of first. Overall, not a bad start to 2022 for Stewart whatsoever, just probably wants to improve on this string of fifths.
No. 94 Ken Roczen- Honda HRC (13th Place)
Roczen now is in the midst of the second-worst three-race stretch of his Supercross career. Granted, last night was not on him. After a relatively quiet lead-up, Roczen picked up the Main Event holeshot. Although it didn’t feel like he was going to win based on the early speed, he at least had a good shot. Then Anderson put him on the deck for the second week in a row forcing Roczen to nearly 20th. Despite rallying to 13th, the German is already nearly a round’s worth of points out of first. Not on him, but can’t say there’s a ton of optimism in the No. 94 camp.
The 2️⃣1️⃣ and 9️⃣4️⃣ make contact in the sand! 😱
— Supercross LIVE! (@SupercrossLIVE) January 30, 2022
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger- Red Bull KTM (DNF)
After a poor start in the Main Event, Plessinger compounded things with a get-off where he hurt his wrist. The bad news was that this ended his night prematurely and now has him 30 points back of Tomac. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t sound like Plessinger will miss any time due to this which is good to hear.
450 Class Anaheim 2 Top 10
1st No. 3 Eli Tomac
2nd No. 21 Jason Anderson
3rd No. 23 Chase Sexton
4th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis
5th No. 27 Malcolm Stewart
6th No. 25 Marvin Musquin
7th No. 51 Justin Barcia
8th No. 1 Cooper Webb
9th No. 15 Dean Wilson
10th No. 12 Shane McElrath
Week 4 PulpMX Fantasy Supercross Lineup
250 West: Nate Thrasher (All-Star +7), Robbie Wageman (+2), Jalek Swoll (No Handicap), Garrett Marchbanks (No Handicap)
The first of three Triple Crown rounds of the year is next weekend in Glendale. Biggest floor and start stretch in the entire series, which should provide for some good racing as well. A big round as well, with the Tomac, Anderson, Sexton points battle rounding into form. Meanwhile, in the 250 West class, just two rounds are left before the 250 East series begins in Minneapolis.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
Main Image via Yamaha