McThoughts | Anaheim 1 Supercross – 250 | Strikt Gear

By Jeff McConkey

Photos by Billy Rainford

Presented by Strikt Gear.

A1 250 Podium: Colt Nochols, Dylan Ferrandis, Shane McElrath.

Going into a season opener, there are so many variables: new riders, new teams and bikes, and injuries. That’s what makes this so exciting. There are so many questions, as well. Who has put the work in, and who hasn’t?

Going into 250 West action for 2019, there are many different guys who could win this championship, many more that can win races, and there are a bunch of guys, new and old, that should land some podiums.

The obvious title favourites have got to be Adam Cianciarulo, Shane McElrath, and Dylan Ferrandis. These 3 are seasoned for the class and pretty much due for a championship. Right behind them we have the ‘next’ group of riders who just aren’t there yet, but could possibly shake things up and steal wins.

The track looked to be really fun and flowed well, and we were honestly gifted with great racing considering the rain and wet conditions. All in all, in was great to get the first gate drop, so let’s take a look at the results and my thoughts.

#39 Colt Nichols.

1st #39 Colt Nichols: Colt has gone into the past few seasons with some serious off season injuries that have left him behind the eight ball. For 2019 that is not the case. He’s super healthy, prepared, and on a great 250. Colt got a great start and just did his own thing. He looked calm and rode to his first career win of many. If A1 is any indication, Colt Nichols just inserted himself as a key player. Oh yeah…and you can bet he had some of the tightest lines on his fresh new ‘Cartwright.’

#34 Dylan Ferrandis.

2nd #34 Dylan Ferrandis: Dylan was pretty quiet in my eyes. He qualified well and rode smart. I think he has all of the tools to challenge for wins and even this championship. His speed will be very good on dry tracks, but I think he rode very well in the wet conditions and showed us his fitness at the end.

#12 Shane McElrath.

3rd #12 Shane McElrath: I think Shane rode safe for this first round. He knew he didn’t have a win, so he played it safe and smart. He will be fighting for wins every round, so this is a great start for his championship hopes. He’s a veteran of the class and this could/should be one of his best chances at a championship.

#31 RJ Hampshire.

4th #31 RJ Hampshire: I feel like this is the year where Hampshire really needs to stay healthy, pull off a bunch of podiums, and win a race. RJ has been on a factory team right from the get-go, so I expect a little more out of him. He rode well all main and stayed consistent. About halfway through, AC put an aggressive pass on RJ, but RJ fought back and put AC down in the next corner. No, it wasn’t dirty at all, it was pure racing, but Hampshire has got to know that payback is coming from the #92.

#92 Adam Cianciarulo.

5th #92 Adam Cianciarulo: This has got to be Adam’s year. At the rate he is going, he will be too big for the 250 by 2020. All jokes aside, AC looked great in his qualifying and heat race. Maybe he was a little too excited off the start of the main, but he dug deep and salvaged his championship hopes. A 5th isn’t awful, but this has to be Adam’s worst race of the season if he hopes to win this West title.

#61 Garrett Marchbanks.

6th #61 Garrett Marchbanks: Great quiet/safe ride for Marchbanks’s first ever SX. The talent is there, the program is there, it’s just going to take some time. I didn’t see anything bad from Garrett, but I didn’t see any crazy flashes either. I think he needs to real off a few more rides like this, and then he can up the pace and tempo after he gets some consistency.

#64 Jimmy Decotis.

7th #64 Jimmy Decotis: Not the main Jimmy wanted, but he will bounce back in the dry conditions. He proved to himself last season on what he can do, and he will be hungry and looking for top 5’s and better.

#156 Jacob Hayes.

8th #156 Jacob Hayes: The 25-year-old SX rookie had a pretty good day/night. A mistake here and there, but for the most part Hayes looked really good. I really think with all of his AX experience that Jacob will be able to adapt to any track very quickly, and that he will be a top 5 threat immediately.

#111 Chris Blose.

9th #111 Chris Blose:​ Chris had his hands full all main event long with Jess Pettis and Cameron McAdoo. Very good start to the season for Blose.

#160 Jess Pettis.

10th #160 Jess Pettis: I love that Jess isn’t afraid to get a great start and just go with it. He led a lap in his heat race and his confidence must be great right now. His starts and aggressiveness are fantastic, and his skills are getting better every time he lines up. I’m sure Top 10 was a season goal, but now maybe a 7th or 8th might be next. Great job, Jess!

Jess Pettis is the 250 A1 Stud, of course.

Biggest Stud: Jess Pettis is my stud for obvious reasons. We bag on a lot of Canadians for not taking the ‘chance’ and racing SX, so we really need to support the ones that do. Jess is riding a high right now, and I don’t see it stopping.

Biggest Dud: I don’t have a dud. I know, weird right?

Biggest Surprise: I think the biggest surprise for me, is how good the track was, and how raceable it was considering the weather.

MC’s “G’d Up from the Feet Up” Award: Adam Cianciarulo and teammate Garrett Marchbanks get the nod in the Fox boots, Fox kit, Bell Moto 9 helmets, and Scott Prospect goggles. It was a very good look.