Exciting Season Opener in Anaheim’s Angel Stadium
The 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series kicked off Saturday night with Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen grabbing his fourth season opener win in the 450SX Class inside a sold-out Angel Stadium. Defending champion Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb charged hard for a second place finish amid the roar of 45,050 race fans. Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia, who was in line for a record-breaking fourth-straight season opener victory, put in a smart and fast ride to fill out the podium in third.
In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Christian Craig turned a good race start into a great start to his season with his first win inside the stadium in which he grew up watching Monster Energy Supercross from the stands.
Roczen and Sexton battling for the front, Roczen at the finish.
Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton grabbed the holeshot in the 450SX Class Main Event but his teammate Roczen was past him almost instantly. The two Honda riders quickly gapped the field by more than six seconds, with sophomore 450SX racer Sexton keeping clear of potential contact but looking like he had the speed to make a pass for the lead. Behind them, struggling with a pre-season shoulder injury, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo held third place with Barcia behind but not yet applying pressure.
The first eight minutes of the 20-minute plus one lap race were outwardly uneventful, but then things started to happen rapidly and dramatically. The Honda teammates nearly made contact in mid-air; shortly after that Sexton got out of shape at the end of a rhythm lane and crashed entering a bowl turn. He recovered quickly but crashed harder a lap and a half later re-taking second place from Cianciarulo. The second crash dropped Sexton well outside of the top five.
Barcia took second from Cianciarulo, then a few laps later Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson, the 2018 series champion, passed Barcia to put a green bike back into second place. Barcia quickly retaliated and put Anderson on the ground. Then Cooper Webb put on one of the late-race charges that’s he’s become known for, putting his KTM into second place with just over three minutes left on the clock. Amid the position changes up front, Chase Sexton climbed back as high as fourth before giving up the spot up to Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin right at the checkered flag.
Craig, Hammaker and Friese in action in the 250SX Western Regional.
Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Seth Hammaker grabbed the Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event holeshot but Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda’s Vince Friese pushed past into the lead early. Christian Craig moved quickly from fourth to second, then made the move into the front spot less than four minutes into the 15-minute plus one lap race. On the fifth lap Hammaker got past Friese with Muc-Off FXR ClubMX’s Garrett Marchbanks right behind. Marchbanks applied pressure for the spot, but it was Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence who put in the final attack for the spot with contact in the final corner. It was not enough to take the position. Other title favorites Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman and Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda ran into trouble early but showed speed climbing through the pack that indicates they’ll be battling for wins in the coming rounds.
The 17-round 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series lines up the racers every Saturday night with only one break in April for the holiday weekend. Round two invades RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, California on January 15th. Tickets are available now to attend one of the exciting, family-friendly, day-long events. Every race is aired live on the Peacock app, with showings also airing on NBC, CNBC, and USA Network.
For tickets, videos, more photos, race results, and event information go to SupercrossLIVE.com.
*Photos by Feld Entertainment.
A Supercross event is truly a spectacle to behold. Thrilling for the whole family. 450SX Class podium (riders left to right) Cooper Webb, Ken Roczen, and Justin Barcia. 250SX Class podium (riders left to right) Hunter Lawrence, Christian Craig, and Seth Hammaker.
450SX Class Results
1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
2. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
3. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
4. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
5. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
6. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
7. Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
8. Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., KTM
9. Aaron Plessinger, Leesburg, Fla., KTM
10. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha
2. Seth Hammaker, Temecula, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
4. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha
5. Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda
6. Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS
7. Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
8. Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha
9. Dominique Thury, Scheenberg, GER, Yamaha
10. Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Suzuki