McThoughts | Anaheim 2 | 450 Class
By Jeff McConkey
The big news was that both pre-season championship favourites Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac were going to be back in action. The 450 class is stacked in 2018, without those two, but it definitely adds with them in the line up. Jason Anderson is in control, and looking like a serious title threat. He has the speed, the fitness and intensity, but now it looks like he has added some patience to his game. He has a very good team and group around him, and as long as they can keep him from losing his cool, I really do think he can win this thing.
Last season when Tomac started off poorly and had to claw his way back, Ryan Dungey was playing it safe. Almost too safe as Tomac almost won the championship with his 9 wins. Well, Anderson is a very different beast from Dungey. His speed is better, he is more aggressive and he’s younger. I think Tomac is in real trouble championship-wise as El Hombre is not going to settle. Either way we are going to have an awesome battle right up until Vegas.
Here are the results from A2 and my thoughts.
1st: Eli Tomac 5-1-2: Tomac came back and made it count. Eli rode very well all night and captured the o/a. He’s in a bigger hole points-wise this season compared to last, so I don’t really see him reeling off the 9-10 overall wins that almost captured him the title last year. Anderson is willing to hang it out for wins, where Dungey wasn’t last season. It will either hurt Tomac’s championship hopes, or help him out.
2nd: Cole Seely 1-2-7: Cole and his starts were both great on Saturday night. When I look through the top 10, I honestly feel Cole should be 4th or 5th on average nights. Let’s hope this will be a confidence booster and he will push himself into that top group. Cole is currently 2nd in points, 11 behind the leader, Anderson.
3rd: Jason Anderson 7-3-1: Jason got caught up in a pile up in the first main and that really cost him. He made some great clean passes and wasted no time getting to the front in the others. He is the real deal in ’18. He is our points leader and retains his red plate.
4th: Justin Brayton 2-6-3: This was a fantastic night for Brayton. I think the shorter ‘sprint-like’ main events helped his style. Great starts all night long made this possible. Justin looks stronger in the heat races, so this was right up his alley.
5th: Weston Peick 4-9-5: Weston has been great so far this season. His starts have been a big part of it. He now sits 5th in points with 54.
6th: Josh Grant 4-6-8: Very solid night for Josh. He has been pretty steady early on this season, but the first 2 main events on Saturday were his best. Josh is 7th in points with 45.
7th: Blake Baggett 3-10-6: Blake had a very good first main event, an average 2nd, and a decent 3rd. He still needs to be much better. Baggett is 8th in points with 43.
8th: Justin Barcia 8-5-9: Barcia had an off night, but it still wasn’t terrible. He’s still looking very good on the new Yamaha and he sits 3rd in points with 57.
9th: Ken Roczen 11-12-4: Ken returned to A2, the place where he almost lost his arm and his career. He chose to run the same colour combo he was in for A2 a year ago. Kenny was visibly not himself in the first two mains, but was much better in the 3rd. I expect him to be back to normal in Phoenix. Ken is 4th in points with 56.
10th Cooper Webb 10-7-11: Just like Justin Hill in the 250 class, Cooper Webb seems off. He looks nothing like his former confident, aggressive self. It’s not the bike. Barcia has shown that he can get great starts and lead laps on it. Something is up with the #2. Cooper sits 10th in points.
Biggest Stud: Roczen is my Stud. I know he was off the pace at A2, but for him just to be back racing, not to mention winning heat a heat race last weekend leading some laps, that alone could land him Stud status all season long.
Biggest Dud: Just like I hate picking on Justin Hill in the 250 West, I feel the same about Cooper Webb. This guy is not the Cooper we all know. He’s just way too talented to be riding around out there.
Biggest Surprise: Eli Tomac is 43 points down after 3 rounds, but he somehow managed to take the overall. No one has ever doubted his talents, I’m just very surprised to see him win this soon after returning from injury.
MC’s ‘G’d Up from the Feet Up’ Award: Dean Wilson looked pretty dapper in his Fox/Shift kit. Very clean, very sharp.
Thanks for reading.