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2024 Monster Energy Supercross Recap - Anaheim 2

After back-to-back weekends of rain-affected races, it's nice to see a break in the California weather for a change, just in time for the first Triple Crown Supercross round of the year in Anaheim. This couldn't be coming at a better or worse time, depending on who you are, for the 250 West group. The schedule is a bit wonky this year, and they get a week off before receiving an additional month and a half off after Glendale. Not a round you want to stew on for a week and then close to another two months if Glendale goes poorly as well.

Regardless, we came into this weekend with six winners across the two classes: Jett Lawrence, Chase Sexton, and Aaron Plessinger in the 450s, R.J. Hampshire, Jordon Smith, and Nate Thrasher in the 250s. I don't think I need to go into why the odds that number could turn to eight winners in four weeks are very high, but this 450 field is very deep, and this 250 West class has been a whirlwind to begin the year. Would A2 be any different? But first, a lot happened during the week.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't need to do a plot synopsis on what happened between Jason Anderson and Jett Lawrence during the San Diego Main Event by now, but what happened in the ensuing 48-72-ish hours can only be described as incredible content. Anderson, in an Instagram post, claimed that the apology posted by Jett post race wasn't him, he then went on to block him after sending others to be middlemen in the immediate aftermath effectively. But the real kicker was the final line he dropped.

"The King won 72 races and kept it 100 till this day. Jett is amazing but he will never be The King. 71 to go."

But wait, there's more because people from all over the industry popped up in the comments like the Avengers at the end of Endgame, I couldn't believe it. Ken Roczen, Jeremy McGrath, Austin Forkner, Twitch Stenberg, Ryder DiFrancesco, Jarryd McNeil, Josh Grant, former New England Patriots edge rusher Rob Ninkovich, and that list somehow got bigger in the following couple of days as well. I simply couldn't believe it, as close to everyone was some mix of Pro Anderson/Anti-Jett. I don't think it takes a genius to conclude that he might not be the most popular guy in the paddock at this juncture. I was just more shocked at how quickly that comment section filled up if anything, but I'm fascinated to see how crowds react to Jett moving forward. [Spoiler: He was booed on Saturday]

Daytime Program/Injury Notes: 

- There was supposed to be a tunnel jump, but the floor plan changed to a bowl corner and an overlapped wide sweeper on its outside instead.

- Adam Cianciarulo pulled out for the evening due to a hand injury suffered at A1 (contact with Jorge Prado in the final corner)

- Several of my bones turned to dust when the news of Bill Laninovich making the 250 Night Show became official.

- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (59.058)

- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 32 Justin Cooper (57.933) (His first fastest qualifier on a 450 was on a lap over .300 seconds faster than second place Chase Sexton).

- Cole Davies wins a thriller of a SX Futures Main Event.

250 West Class Recap

1st - No. 47 Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) (1-2-3)

With this format, you don't necessarily need to be the fastest guy, just the most consistent, and the results will probably come. Thanks to a bad start and late wreck by R.J. Hampshire, Kitchen was able to win A2 for the second year in a row by just playing the numbers. Even if he didn't get that confidence booster by getting R.J. in the final moments of Main Event 2, Kitchen was very impressive otherwise. He never started worse than third, and the bottom line is he didn't shoot himself in the foot. Better yet, he's going to be one of two 250 West riders rocking a red plate at Glendale now.

2nd - No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) (2-1-7)

Even with that disappointing third Main Event, Rick James still put it on the podium for just the second time all year, and both are in the same building. On another note, I was very impressed with how he handled himself at the end of that second Main Event. Kitchen was 100 percent faster, and he didn't panic, and not only that but displayed some elite defensive riding. Hampshire gave him no opportunity to knife down in that final bowl corner, which is exactly how you draw it up. Did it matter in the end? Obviously not, but nice to see him show that off. Otherwise, he looked super fast in those first two races.

4th - No. 30 Jo Shimoda (Honda HRC) (9-3-2)

Appearing as if it was going to be another rough day for the Agenda due to some incidental contact with Jordon Smith in Main 1, Shimoda rebounded for his third fourth-place finish in four races. Getting a bit too excited on that first lap in San Fran is coming back to haunt him, as despite his three good points days, Shimoda is a whopping 30 points out of the points lead, and has only finished higher than the current top three in points (Jordon Smith, Levi Kitchen, and R.J. Hampshire) once a pop so far. It'll be one hell of a comeback if he somehow gets back into this thing, but his inability to have consistently good, clean starts and opening laps in these Main Events will be his biggest roadblock.

6th - No. 100 Anthony Bourdon (Toyota Redlands Bar X Suzuki) (8-6-8)

I'm going to assume that some people aren't entirely familiar with Bourdon still, but he's the best feel-good story in the sport a month in. The seven-year vet and 2020 French SX2 Champion has been excellent given the circumstances in his first full-time season in America with the BarX squad. A pair of sixths now to go with a 10th and 11th have him fifth in the 250 West standings after four rounds. That's not a typo, you read that right. Only four guys have had better starts to the season, and only one non-factory team rider (Garrett Marchbanks). I think a lot would have to go right to see him hit a podium at this time, but Bourdon getting some top fives from here on out shouldn't shock anyone, the Frenchman can go.

22nd - No. 132 Billy Laninovich (Team Faith Bobby J’s Yamaha) (20-21-21)

I want to put the fact that Laninovich made it into the night show on Saturday night into perspective real quick. At the ripe young age of...*checks notes*...FOURTY (40) YEARS OLD, the last time he made a Supercross Main Event was nearly 12 years ago in Las Vegas, and his first-ever start in Anaheim was A2 2002, a mere 22 years ago.

So, just to recap, Laninovich, 40 years old, his last Supercross Main Event start was nearly a dozen years ago, and his first ever Supercross start was this event nearly a quarter of a century ago, and on Saturday, he raced against guys who weren't even close to being alive the night of his first start. Dudes rock, I have nothing else to add.

250 West Class Anaheim 2 Top 10

1st No. 47 Levi Kitchen (1-2-3)

2nd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (2-1-7)

3rd. No. 57 Nate Thrasher (3-10-1)

4th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (9-3-2)

5th No. 31 Jordon Smith (4-8-4)

6th No. 100 Anthony Bourdon (8-6-8)

7th No. 929 Julien Beaumer (12-5-6)

8th No. 34 Ryder DiFrancesco (5-7-12)

9th No. 26 Garrett Marchbanks (6-16-5)

10th No. 36 Phil Nicoletti (7-4-18)

250 West Class Points After Anaheim 2

1st No. 47 Levi Kitchen (84 Points) (New Co-Points Leader)

2nd No. 31 Jordon Smith (84 Points)

3rd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (76 Points)

4th No. 26 Garrett Marchbanks (70 Points)

5th No. 100 Anthony Bourdon (55 Points)

6th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (54 Points)

7th No. 55 Mitchell Oldenburg (51 Points)

8th No. 57 Nate Thrasher (50 Points)

9th No. 929 Julien Beaumer (48 Points)

10th No. 41 Carson Mumford (47 Points)

450 Class Recap

1st - No. 2 Cooper Webb (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (2-2-5)

Saturday was a dosage of good karma for the former two-time Champion after how San Diego went down if nothing else. Chase Sexton was probably the fastest overall guy on the night, but Webb was just consistently smooth all night, which afforded him the luxurary to take it a little bit easier in that final Main since Eli Tomac went off into the wind in the opening laps.

Additionally, for those keeping track, this was Coop's 22nd career Main Event win, good for sole possession of 10th all-time, and he's only a half dozen points out of the points lead after this opening West Coast swing. Should Webb end up going on a run, I think it'll be once we get into the thick of the East Coast rounds instead of these next few weeks. Either way, this was not what any rider on the gate wanted to see. Cooper Webb carrying confidence and momentum is a dangerous thing.

2nd - No. 3 Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (5-7-1)

They're letting ole ET3 hang around just enough while he's still not firing on all cylinders, man. We saw a glimpse of some breakaway speed and pace in that third Moto, but it certainly wasn't there on those prior two gate drops, and much less so at A1 and San Diego. Even so, Tomac is only 10 points out of it four rounds in, which, after A1 especially, is pretty good. If this ball gets rolling, I could see two weeks from now being as good a time as any. Tomac has four wins in Glendale in his last six trips, including these last two years. Lots of floor room there to let that YZ bark.

4th* - No. 21 Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) (4-1-8*) (*- Docked one position for gaining an off-track advantage, dropping him from 2nd to 4th in the overall standings)

I had a whole spiel ready to go about this being a great way to wrap up this week in particular for El Hombre, but the word got out that the AMA docked him a Main 3 position, taking him off the podium completely, which ends up being a great development for points leader Aaron Plessinger. As far as the penalty goes, he skipped the whoops after he went down on the start, but I can't say in all certainty how much of an advantage that ultimately gave him.

In any case, let's talk about the positives with Anderson, like his pace, which continues to be excellent, and not that far off from his 2022 form. Every lap he ran in that second Main was under the 60-second mark save the last lap, where he took it easy. Also, that thread the needle move to the inside of Webb, and the triple-in into the third-base line rhythm lane was as legit a pair of moves I've seen in a while. Walking home with four fewer points will sting for a few days, but Anderson has to keep his head down. Everything is right there in front of him at this point.

5th - No. 1 Chase Sexton (Red Bull KTM) (1-11-2)

Sexton's pace in the bookend races wasn't enough to overcome a bad start and a late race incident at the end of the middle third of the evening. Better that this happens at a Triple Crown rather than your standard SX round, but this was Sexton's big problem last year: leaving meat on the bone. He looked like the best overall guy for most of the night, but he left eight points on the board because of one bad gate drop. Still, it's very early in the season, and he's been great otherwise, but this might be one for the memory bank.

6th - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC) (7-3-4)

You could say Lawrence was in the same boat as Sexton last night as well, only he had the two crucial mistakes instead of the one. Granted, turning that Main 1 start crash into a seventh was some great work, but that whoops crash will haunt him for a while, more so than Sexton's Moto 2 issues. I was saying this to myself in that second Main, but he looked visibly uncomfortable in that whoops section after that flat 180 with the rollers the entire race, and sure enough, that's where it all unraveled on the last lap of Main 3. Officially taking him from what would've been two points out of first to eight points back, this wasn't a good grand opening for his villain arc.

450 Class Anaheim 2 Top 10

1st No. 2 Cooper Webb (2-2-5)

2nd No. 3 Eli Tomac (5-7-1)

3rd No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (6-4-3)

4th No. 21 Jason Anderson (4-1-8) (Docked one spot in Main 3 taking him out of second and third)

5th No. 1 Chase Sexton (1-11-2)

6th No. 18 Jett Lawrence (7-3-4)

7th No. 94 Ken Roczen (3-6-10)

8th No. 32 Justin Cooper (10-5-6)

9th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (8-15-7)

10th No. 27 Malcolm Stewart (11-10-9)

450 Class Point Standings after Anaheim 2

1st No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (80 Points)

2nd No. 1 Chase Sexton (76 Points)

3rd No. 2 Cooper Webb (74 Points)

4th No. 18 Jett Lawrence (72 Points)

5th No. 3 Eli Tomac (70 Points)

6th No. 21 Jason Anderson (67 Points)

6th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (62 Points)

8th No. 94 Ken Roczen (57 Points)

9th No. 51 Justin Barcia (49 Points)

10th No. 111 Jorge Prado (45 Points)

Anaheim 2 Lit Kit Recipient: Chase Sexton (Alpinestars)

Next Up: Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan) (3:00 EST gate drop airing live on Peacock and NBC) (250 East Season Opener)

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