Story and photos by Jeff Kardas
Oakland, California's O.co (Overstock.com) Coliseum was host last weekend to Round 4 of the 2013 AMA Supercross Series. A chilly night in the city by the bay, northern California's crowd was still out in full force to see a night full of great racing laced with a few unexpected surprises.
Not much of a surpise, though, was Ryan Villopoto's 2nd win in a row, as he was on a terror all day in Oakland. From the first non-timed qualifying session to the last lap of the main event, the defending champ. Villopoto must have worked on starts all week prior to Oakland, as both times he lined up he managed to pull the lead out of turn one - and that typically spells the beginning of the end for the competition. Now moving into 3rd in points and only eight points behind Millsaps for the lead, the sense of an impending storm must loom heavily over the entire 450 class at this point.
Going into Round 5 and still with the red series leader's plate is Davi Millsaps. At this stage of the series it's no longer considered a surprise to see the #18 up front, as Millsaps as proven time and again that he is a top 4-5 rider every weekend. With consistently good starts and aggressive riding, David's clearly a force now at the front of the pack in the premier class and clearly feels that he belongs there. Just behind him in consistency this season has been the #41 of Trey Canard (just behind him in the photo above), who's now just a few points out of the lead. Millsaps' 2nd at Oakland was enough to keep him ahead of Canard who was able to muster only a fourth after getting stuck along with Ryan Dungey (#5, above) in the massive second turn collision that had such an impact on the 450 main.
Adding to the 450 class drama was Justin Barcia's hard crash in turn two of the main event. In an event that contained many of the class front-runners, Barcia seemed to fare the worst as he was unable to re-mount his bike after colliding with Ryan Dungey and hitting the ground hard. The latest reports are that Barcia simply had the wind knocked out of him and that he will come to Anaheim 3 this weekend with full force, albeit another 25 points out of the title chase. This makes two weekends in a row that Barcia has DNF the main event, just after winning the previous one in Phoenix. BamBam now finds himself a distant ninth and 44 points out of the series lead.
The 250 class in Oakland was less predictable than it had been thus far, after series leader and defending champ Eli Tomac had troubles in both his heat race and the main event. Tomac went down hard in the first whoops section and scared a lot of people when he was slow getting up. In what resulted in a DNF, the young Coloradan eventually pulled himself together to walk off the track under his own power, but the damage to his points lead was already done. With Cole Seely running up front and Ken Roczen closely in tow, those two cemented their spots at the front for the season as Roczen took over the lead with Seely a close second going into Anaheim 3 this weekend.
Worth mentioning at this point has been the surprisingly solid season put in thus far by 250 Supercross rookie Jessy Nelson. The #36 TLD Honda has been up front several times this season, if only for a lap or two at at time, but nonetheless serving notice that Nelson is probably the biggest surprise this season in the class. Despite sitting 11th in points, Nelson has provided plenty to be proud of for the team who also puts Seely at the front every time the gate drops.
With Tomac's DNF and zero points scored in Oakland, the 250 class has been blown wide open. Roczen is now nine points ahead of Seely with three rounds remaining. Tomac is suddenly fifteen points down, but seems fairly solid in that position as fourth place Zach Osborne (#338 above) is a somewhat distant fourth at eighteen points behind Tomac. Jason Anderson rounds out the top five. We'll definitely keep our eyes peeled for a brutal showing of force by the #17, and possibly a careful but defensive ride by Roczen to keep the lead.
That's where the series stands heading to Anaheim 3 this weekend. Be sure to check back here at AMASupercross.com for Live Timing and Scoring, plus practice and race photo coverage on our Facebook page. Also, this weekend marks the return of LIVE television coverage on the SPEED channel beginning at 10PM EST.