Ryan Dungey [pictured above] started the year with yet another podium appearance. That’s 34 podiums in the last 36 SX’s. Photos by: Chase Yocom
The opening round of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, and the Anaheim 1 SX was a dominating performance from the HRC / Honda’s rider Ken Roczen. Roczen made his first Supercross race on the Honda count and took home a sixteen-second win over Red Bull / KTM’s Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin. Roczen got to the lead early and simply took off with a runaway win. The #1 was started off his bid for three straight Championships with solid second place points with his teammate also grabbing his first podium of ’17 early.
In the 250SX main event, Troy Lee Designs / KTM’s Shane McElrath led wire-to-wire on his way to his first ever main event win. With Shane not on many experts’ short list of riders picked for the Western Regional Championship, it was a big breakthrough for the #38. Landing on the podium with Shane were Star Racing / Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger in second and Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Martin Davalos grabbing third.
Below, check out what some of the top finishing 250SX and 450SX riders had to say about their 2017 Anaheom 1 SX main events.
Ken Roczen: (1st in 450SX) “The race went good. You could really tell that they, for this year—well they always tame it down for Anaheim 1—but they really tamed the track down quite a bit more. It was a good idea because, during practice, the transitions were really soft. It made it difficult on us no matter what. I think it makes for better racing. Overall, things were good. I got two good starts, but I actually messed up a little bit on the second start. I kind of muscled my way through and had a clear track. I pretty much just focused on myself. I tried to not make mistakes because the track got rough. It was hard underneath and really pebbly on top, so it really required a lot of focus to not make mistakes. Overall, I’m really happy with how tonight went. We have to keep a good head on our shoulders and look forward to the next weekend. It’s fun to celebrate our first win, but there’s a lot more races to go and we gotta keep the focus.”
Shane McElrath: (1st in 250SX) “It’s so unreal. This is such a great feeling. I’ve been working really hard and this is the first time in a while where I’ve entered the season healthy. We’ll keep working hard and pushing each weekend to be up on the podium.”
Cole Seely: (6th in 450SX) After so much testing and practice, it’s always nice to get the first race out of the way and do well in the process. I wish we could have been up on the podium, but it gives us something to reach for next week. I’m looking forward to San Diego.
Martin Davalos: (3rd in 250SX) “I haven’t raced West Coast in a long time. I struggled a little bit today. I couldn’t find my happy medium. I definitely battled the track – it was pretty slick. We made a lot of changes throughout the day. I tried to get a good start and do my best, but the guys out front were better than me today. I need to do my homework this week and take it one race at a time.”
Cooper Webb: (10th in 450SX) As far as nerves go, the nerves were there all day. It’s part of A1, but especially as a rookie and seeing all the guys that I was racing. It was a little bit of a weird day, for sure. I’m just glad the first one’s out of the way. We know what to do and what to work on from here.
Jeremy Martin: (6th in 250SX) “It was a bummer, didn’t get the start. That was the biggest thing, it’s not a matter of speed, fitness or anything else, it’s just a matter of execution, and I just didn’t get it [the start] tonight. We started the day at A1 out great in practice logging the top spot in qualifying, and then felt solid in the heat race going into the main. But I made a mistake on the start in the main which affected my whole race. Ultimately, it made me just go into damage control! San Diego [round two] can’t come soon enough.”
Eli Tomac: (5th in 450SX) “My arms set off a fricken mushroom cloud bigger than anything that’s ever happened. I don’t know. It was bad—I blew up [physically]. That’s all there is too it. I got really bad arm pump. Anyone’s that ridden dirt bikes has had it. It happened around lap nine or ten and from that point I was just along for the ride. It was a bummer ’cause the rest of the day was really good.”
Justin Hill: (5th in 250SX) “I felt really good all day. “My practice times were pretty good and qualifying went well, but at the end of the day I still have some work to do. I need to improve my fitness and to make my riding more fluid so it’s easier to race at the pace I’m capable of. It’s difficult when I know I have the speed and the bike to be at the front but I come home fifth. I’ll take this as motivation, go home and put the work in.”
Jason Anderson: (4th in 450SX) “A1 was pretty decent. I struggled with setup earlier in the day but we made some changes and I was able to come through the pack to get fourth. All-in-all, it wasn’t too bad.”
Ryan Dungey: (2nd in 450SX) “My race was pretty decent. I got off to a 4th or 5th place start. I kind of weaseled my way through the first turn. There was kind of a lot going on there because riders were trying to cut down. I didn’t want anyone to come underneath me. I found myself in fourth and Marvin and Eli were right ahead of me and Kenny was up front. Pretty soon Marvin and Eli started going at it so I caught up to them. At some point, I was able to make the pass on each of them to get into 2nd. I could see where Kenny was and I was trying to gauge where he was at. He had a decent size lead and I was more focused on not making a mistake. The track was tough tonight and the track could reach out and bite you a little bit if you tried to hard.”
Jimmy Decotis: (9th in 250SX) “This weekend was pretty stressful for me. I had two crashes in the heat race which sent me to the LCQ. I had a terrible gate pick for the main which resulted in a bad start. The track was really basic and hard to pass, I felt I laid down solid and consistent laps but the whole night snow balled from the bad heat race. I put myself in bad positions and it cost me my main event. I’ve been working so hard with my trainer Seth and GEICO Honda has put in so much work during the offseason. I feel we are much better than what the results say on paper. I’m looking forward to next weekend and getting back up to the front of the field.”
Marvin Musquin: (3rd in 450SX) “The goal was to get a good start and that’s what I did. I was really happy about my start. I went a little too far outside around the first turn, but I was able to be really close to Ken. I was on the outside of the second turn so I was 2nd. Man, I really wanted to keep my position. Those guys behind me were pushing really hard. Eli was right there and Ryan, but it was a good battle. I was slow in the beginning of the race, but I got better and better. Once Ryan got around me, I was able to regroup. I was able to keep the distance with Ryan and passed Eli too. To be able to get a podium in the first round at Anaheim is big for me.”
Aaron Plessinger: (2nd in 250SX) “In the main I was in the inside and I got the best jump I could. I kind of got pinched off. My starts where better than they were last year (laughs) so I guess it was a good start to the season with starts. The track was really good. It was a little soft in practice, but it shaped up really good in practice. I raced my rookie year in the West, so it good to be back on hard pack. Usually the whoops don’t wear down that much, but it was fun. It was a good race.”
Josh Grant: (9th in 450SX) “My day didn’t quite go as planned after having to qualify out of the Last Chance Qualifier. It is always so hard to concentrate at A1 because I’ve got the added pressure of all my family and friends here watching. I’m looking forward to moving on to next week and having everything settle down a bit.”
Austin Forkner: (8th in 250SX) “My first Monster Energy Supercross went pretty well. I crossed the line second in my heat which was good experience for me. In the main I didn’t get the start I wanted but was moving forward pretty quickly. A few laps in I was passed in the whoops and had to let off to avoid a collision, which put me in the dirt. I got up, got back in the race and worked my way forward. I threw down the fastest lap of the race and was right on pace with the leaders until the checkers, so all in all I’m pretty happy with my performance.”
Davi Millsaps: (7th in 450SX) Seventh is not too bad of a night for having some adversity coming in here. I was dealing with some setbacks I had a couple weeks ago, and now I have something I can build on. [Davi answering what happened a couple weeks ago] I broke my ribs and then got the plague. I didn’t get out of bed for five days with the sickness. It’s still with me and even just two days ago I didn’t think I would be able to race.
Tyler Bowers: (11th in 250SX) “Consistency is key in my book. I don’t feel I rode anywhere near as fast as I’ve been riding leading up to Anaheim. No excuses, it just was not my night and know it’ll be a different story in San Diego.”
Broc Tickle: (16th n 450SX) “I’m pretty happy with the way the season started out Saturday night. I put in a lot of work over the off season and we worked on the bike a lot. I put in a ton of work training and I felt like I was well prepared coming into the race. I was confident and in a good place. Overall, it was a good weekend. We won our semi and I felt really good heading into the main. I was having a pretty consistent night and was able to move up and make some passes. Unfortunately, I fell late in the race but my speed was better than it has been so I’m in a good place to improve. My goal for the year is to finish top five in points and I think that’s realistic. I’m looking for some podiums and top fives. I know the class is stacked and there are a lot of good guys on the track but I don’t feel like those goals are out of reach. I’m feeling really good on the bike and we’ve done a lot of work. The team and I have grown together and I’m in a good place to take advantage of that.”
Hayden Mellross: (21st in 250SX) “It was great to finally be out there racing and see where my speed actually was against that stacked West SX field. I felt great all day and the bike was working amazing in qualifying and the heat race. I put the 51FIFTY Yamaha up front early; was pumped to be inside the Top 3 and felt I had the speed to stay with the lead pack. It was a freak issue with the bike when it just died. I was frustrated for few seconds but have already put it behind me. I rode solid, my speed was there, and I was up front. Wish San Diego Supercross was tomorrow night.”
Justin Bogle (12th in 450SX) “It wasn’t the result we were looking for but our Suzuki RM-Z450 was fast and I’m happy the first race with my new team is in the books. I didn’t get the best start in my heat or the main but I’ll get that cleaned up and be better as the season goes on. I was definitely hoping to be better than 12th but you have to start somewhere. We’ll work hard this week so we can put together a better effort next weekend. On to San Diego.”