To say round 3 of the 2017 AMA Supercross Championship was
eventful would be a massive understatement. There were so many shocks and
surprises that it's tough to summarize them effectively. Perhaps it's best to
be put this way: this season just got a whole lot different.
Of course the biggest upset of Anaheim 2 was the crash and
season-ending injury of 450SX championship points leader Ken Roczen. While
battling his way through to the front of the pack, Roczen mis-judged a jump in
one of the rhythm sections and was ejected from his CRF450R, landing hard on
the face of an upcoming jump. The result was a massive break and dislocated his
left wrist and elbow that spelled the end to his 2017 campaign. While Roczen's
spirits have been relatively high on social media, the sport mourns his loss in
what looked to be "his year" for the highly coveted 450SX title. Best
wishes to Roczen, Team Honda and all who support him.
The person that Roczen was chasing when disaster struck was
Ryan Dungey. Enjoying his first significant lead of the 2017 season in the 450
Main Event, Dungey was setting a blistering pace up front. No other rider was
able to match the pace. This comes as no surprise though, as Roczen has been
the only one to beat him this season. Dungey's win puts him in the driver's
seat for a three-peat of the 450SX title and with Roczen now out, it appears
that it is his to lose.
Again on the podium, but this time in the runner-up spot was
Dungey's teammate and training partner Marvin Musquin. Also putting in his best
ride of the year, Musquin had little trouble dispatching several top names in
getting up to second spot. With only one rider between him and the top step of
the 450 podium - a position he's never achieved - Musquin is now hungrier than
ever to get that elusive win.
Justin Hill put on a bit of a clinic for A2 in the 250SX
West Main Event, coming away with his third 250SX win of his career. Hill was
fast all night and seemed untouchable from gate drop to checkers, after getting
a good start. The finish put Hill third in points -- just one behind Aaron
Plessinger and seven back of leader Shane McElrath. After A2, if there was ever
a question of Hills ability to beat the rest of the field, we now have that
answer. He will be one to keep your eyes on at Glendale.
Coming out of the woodwork with a surprise heat race win was
Davi Millsaps. Formerly an elite of the 450SX class, Millsaps has been a bit
off the past couple of seasons and also battled with illness and injury prior
to this season's start. His main event wasn't as good as his heat race, but he
was still able to place within the top ten along with his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
teammate Blake Baggett. With a front-runner like Roczen now out of the picture,
it may revitalize some of these truly talented and factory-supported riders
like Millsaps, so keep an eye on him for the remainder of the season -- podiums
aren't out of the question.
Having the best race of his short, three-race 250SX career
was Austin Forkner. Busting out a heat race win, Forkner finally delivered a
performance fans expect from him. Heralded as potentially one of the
"gifted", Forkner hasn't quite rode up to expectations thus far. Then
again, he's all of but three races into his supercross career, so it's safe to
say there's plenty of room to grow. Did that heat race win give him the
additional mojo he's been looking for?
Anaheim 2 may have been the start of something big for
premier class rookie Cooper Webb. Finally getting a start that placed him at
the front of the pack, Webb managed his race with confidence and pulled off a
fourth place finish -- the first top-five result of his 450 career. With
laptimes comparable to Musquin and Seely, both of whom finished just ahead of
him and rounded out the podium, Webb must've breathed a huge sigh of relief as
he rode back to the pits last Saturday night. Let's cross our fingers that he's
practicing more starts this week so we can have a fresh new face running with
the trio up front.
At Anaheim 2 we were also able to welcome back one of the
Stewart brothers to AMA Supercross racing - Malcolm Stewart. Running his own
program and jumping in a few rounds late, along with not racing competitively
since May of 2016, it seemed Malcolm was setting himself up for disaster.
Instead, he came out swinging and ended up 18th overall -- but that doesn't
tell the story of his race. He was fast, battling with the best, and made it
known he absolutely has what it takes to add some pizzazz to the 450SX class
for the rest of this season. Now, when will James show up?
The track at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale,
Arizona is primed and ready to go for this Saturday night. Since the stadium is
not open-air, there's no worry of crazy weather making a mess of things. There
is, however, an incredibly long start straight and a nearly 360 degree turn.
The race should be interesting, so you won't want to miss this one.
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for live timing and scoring, as well as results and the day's schedule.