The first round of the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season is in the books with a memorable debut on FOX Sports 1 filled with incredible racing, wild incidents, and a pair of unexpected winners.
Each week, The Holeshot will provide 22 takeaways – a full starting gate – from the most recent round of action.
1. As mentioned earlier, the sport couldn’t have asked for a better debut on its new national sports network. Viewers at home got to witness a little bit of everything that makes supercross such a captivating and unpredictable sport.
2. We need more cable cam! FS1 pulled out all the stops for this initial broadcast, with a bunch of unique camera angles. The blimp shots and the camera at the end of the whoops were great, but the cable cam provided an entirely new dynamic to supercross coverage and it was always a welcome perspective.
3. Kudos to the Feld and Dirt Wurx crews for the track layout. It produced great racing all night long, particularly with the out-and-back turns that criss-crossed the start straight. They ended up being the site of a lot of dramatic passes thanks to the variety of racing lines that were produced.
4. Watching Chad Reed’s son Tate ride his own motorcycle alongside his dad during opening ceremonies had all of the 45,000-plus fans in attendance on their feet. It was one of the coolest ideas for rider intros I’ve ever seen and I hope it continues.
5. Breaking with tradition for the FS1 debut, the 450SX Class was first on the gate last Saturday night so the event could lead with its showcase division. This isn’t a practice you should expect to see again so if you took notice, realize it was a special moment for the sport.
6. The decision to put 450’s first was a good one as Mike Alessi and Ryan Villopoto put on a show. These longtime bitter rivals played games with one another in the closing laps of the heat, with Alessi getting the edge for his first ever heat race win.
7. Alessi was so emotional and happy about his first taste of victory in supercross that he shed tears during his interview on FS1. Alessi no doubt works hard to be successful but has never consistently been able to run up front in supercross. A great win for him and perhaps a confidence booster moving forward.
8. Alessi’s chance to win the heat race was a result of his perfectly timed launch out of the gate. He took off just as the gate dropped, jumping out to a two-bike-length advantage almost immediately. He tried to replicate that launch in the main event, but went early and got stuck, ending any hopes of a good finish.
9. Malcolm Stewart also took home his first heat race win in the 250SX Class. Now that he has a few seasons under his belt, Stewart should start challenging for main event wins this season. He has the speed, but his stamina will be what ultimately puts him in a position to win a main event.
10. A unique occurrence arose following the conclusion of practice in the 250SX Class. Both Dean Wilson and Zach Osborne posted identical times of 58.187 to sit atop the charts. However, Wilson was given the top spot because he posted the time first.
11. Jason Anderson’s first career win last season in Salt Lake City clearly wasn’t a fluke. The KTM rider was up front all day and all night in Anaheim and now has two wins in the last three races. He could be the breakout star of 2014.
12. Obviously Anderson’s pass on Cole Seely with only two turns remaining was the highlight of the 250SX main event. It was a hard, aggressive pass that could be considered dirty, but was really just about winning. Anderson acknowledged it wasn’t something he would do normally, while Seely said he left the door open and was caught off guard. No hard feelings, but I’m sure Seely won’t forget either.
13. The 450SX Class lost one of its promising rookies early when Eli Tomac didn’t return to action following a first lap crash in his heat race. There has been word that Tomac might be battling through a pinched nerve in his shoulder, so it doesn’t look like he will be out for long if at all. Let’s hope for a quick return.
14. It was a long night for Jake Weimer, who needed the heat race, semi, and LCQ to finally secure his spot in the main event. It surely wasn’t the start to the year Weimer wanted, but he’ll bounce back.
15. Ken Roczen has always appeared to excel on the big bike, consistently running at the front whenever he’s raced in the division. His win wasn’t a surprise per se. I think it just happened sooner than expected.
16. Saturday was very well the most dominant night in KTM history in supercross. A 1-2 effort in the 450SX Class and a win in the 250SX Class has KTM atop the racing world right now.
17. Ryan Villopoto said earlier in the week that as long as he left Anaheim with a better result than the season before, he’d be happy. I’m sure giving away a win doesn’t sit well with the champ, but based on how he appeared to back off and hold down a top-five finish I think he was indeed content to get out of there in fourth and be within striking distance going into Phoenix.
18. James Stewart’s crash was the most spectacular moment of the evening, but we should all be glad he walked away no worse for wear. Stewart looked great all night and he simply pushed the limit a little too much in going for the win. You can’t fault him for going for it. There’s a fire in Stewart’s eye and I think he’ll be looking to make a big statement this weekend in Phoenix.
19. With everything that was going on around them, Dungey and Reed had unassuming second- and third-place finishes. Both riders methodically worked their way forward and reemphasized their status as the most consistent riders in the sport.
20. Given how fast he was in practice and his heat race, I was surprised that Justin Barcia wasn’t a factor in the main event. His fifth-place finish is a solid start, but he wasn’t even close to the front-runners. Phoenix was a memorable place for Bam Bam last season, so we’ll see how it plays out this time around.
21. Keep an eye on Cooper Webb as the season continues. The rookie looked comfortable in his first career race and doesn’t appear to be intimidated at all by the tracks or his competitors. He was tracking down Wilson for fourth at the end of the 250SX main event.
22. This season definitely looks as though it could be wide open. It’s been just one round, but a lot of riders have already stepped up to the challenge. It will be interesting to see who the first one is to generate some serious momentum.Anaheim, FOX Sports 1, Supercross